Friday, December 26, 2014

Review of 2014 : A-Z

Our A-Z playlist of bands we liked in 2014, there are a few letters missing but 22 out of 26 isn't bad. That concludes the 2014 review, see you in 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Review of 2014 : Top 10 songs

The best 10 songs we heard in 2014, of course we didn't hear everything but everything that needs to be heard. Not all of these songs were released in 2014 but thats when we heard them.

1) Real Estate - past lives
2) Ane Brun - the opening
3) Vierance - mosaic
4) The Pierces - kings
5) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - until the sun explodes
6) Shura - indecision
7) Royal Blood - figure it out
8) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - simple and sure
9) Zoe Muth - too shiny
10) When Nalda Became Punk - song for Carrie Mathison


Sunday, December 21, 2014

MV : "Run" by Spiritualized

A classic track and video.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review of 2014 : Top 5 Albums

Lets kick off the end of the year review thang, starting with the "Best 5 albums from 2014" (or late-ish 2013) as decided by us. Why we have chosen these albums and anything else in later best-ofs will remain an esoteric secret of course.

1) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - days of abandon
2) Mary Chapin Carpenter - songs from the movie
3) Postcode - zebratronic
4) Real Estate - atlas
5) Royal Blood


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mary Chapin Carpenter - songs from the movie

Only an artist like Mary Chapin Carpenter with such a rich and storied back catalogue could pull such a project, where some of her classic songs are orchestrally reimagined with heavy influence from film soundtracks, off with such aplomb. You can just only wonder what a film that actually had these as part as an original soundtrack would be like.

As well as musically rearranged the songs often had to be sung in a different way to suit the backing. Songs like "Come on come on" and "I am a town" are very different. Sometimes it doesn't quite work but overall the album is an exciting addition to the MCC catalogue. Atmospheric and complex, rich and deep.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Ice Choir - pure holiday

Ho ho ho, a holiday season single from The Ice Choir - best band in the world (FACT!) "Its different now" starts off very low-key but has some tasteful Christmassy sounds and lyrical references wrapped up in the usual Ice Choir retro-futurist melodic beauty. Then towards the end of the track it explodes with an 80s-ish pop flourish. "Cut down the tree" is even more Christmassy, its almost as if Santa has started a synth pop band.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Zipper - the worst day of the week

Out now on Dufflecoat Records this is the latest slice of bright energetic indie pop from Zipper, "Wednesday (the worst day of the week)" is pop tastic though personally i think Tuesday is worse. "Something big" continues the fuzz pop attack. Its a great 7" in the time honoured pop sense: immediate and frenetic. Its maybe not that original but indie pop done so well. "I know that you know" is the perfect close to proceedings, the song building up to a crescendo.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ramona Lisa - arcadia

A solo project by Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, and while Ramona Lisa is electronica its also very different to the day job. Ramona Lisa is ethereal and complex, baroque and mystifying. The title track meanders through a myriad of soundscapes and aural experiments. Its beautiful though sometimes you wonder exactly what is going on.

"Dominic" is more straight forward and indeed is a very enjoyable pop song with a light bouncy melody. "Avenue" is a truly beautiful soundscape, like much of the album quirky and asymmetric. Its experimental, sometimes chaotic but so often enjoyable.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White Door - windows

A lost and obscure synth-pop album from the early 80s, and it could well qualify as a "lost classic" by the quality of the songs and music. Take the title track, it might start with a rather insipid percussive rattle but soon serves us sizzling synth tones and an urgent (by early 80s standards anyway) melody with a great chorus. "In heaven" also shows a keen ear for a glorious yet fragile synth laden melody.

"Where do we go from here" has a very strong pop melody and is a true highlight of the album. Its the kind of song that puts a real smile on your face, especially the dinky electronic tangent the song heads into towards the end. Truth be told you can see why the album didn't propel White Door into the synth pop aristocracy, it lacks the edge and energy of other bands of the time though the somewhat delicate and ethereal feel of the album sounds more up-to-date for ears of today than some of their contemporaries. So they played the real long game and won.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Top 5 Records (November)

1: Shura - indecision
2: Royal Blood
3: Chvrches - the bones of what you believe
4: Sequal
5: Bob Dylan - under the red sky

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Röyksopp - the understanding

Röyksopp's second album is a masterpiece in modern electro pop and dance, though maybe too close to the mainstream at times. For some that may be a problem though not for me when its as well done as this.

Its certainly very listenable, especially on vocal tracks like "Only this moment" with its neat little tinky bop electronica underpinning male-female vocals. Style wise the album is a satisfying fusion of synthpop, dance beats and intelligent electronica. The pop focus however may deter the hardcore dance fan, the rest of us can simply enjoy the tunes.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shura - indecision

Effortlessly retro and modern at the same time, a superb single by up and coming synth pop artist Shura. Upbeat with slinky samples, breathy and sparkly and perfect pop. Its hard to think of anything better sonically at the moment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Princess

Stock, Aitkin and Waterman brings to mind late 80s and early 90s plastic pop horrors, but actually there were some good artists and good records released by SAW of which Princess may have been the best of all. Her first album, released in 1986, contains a number of superb pop hits full of tasty electro-pop and R&B. "Say i'm your number one" being her big hit, a top 10 which should have topped the charts. Atmospheric and intelligent as well as very catchy. "Just a tease" is another great track with some slinky bass beat and a teasing melody.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Laura Branigan - self-control

Released in 1984 this was Laura Branigan's third album and was her biggest success yielding 2 top 20 hits including the superb title track, a classic slice of mid-80s pop with tasty synths, plenty of drama and baffling lyrics.

That is by far the best song off the album though which struggles to raise above average or filler for most of the time, though "Ti amo" has some lovely melodies and "The lucky one" has some great big pop feel. Overall the good songs make it worth it but don't expect a classic.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kacey Musgraves - same trailer different park

Tales from middle America, modern country music indeed and very well done. The songs like "Silver lining" and "Follow your arrow" and simple yet effective, evoking a feeling of hope amid the confusion of modern life. "Merry go 'round" has a lovely banjo led melody that matches the melancholic feel of the song perfectly.

The album has a good mix of styles though on the whole is pretty easy tempo and has plenty of high lights, "Blowin' smoke" has a tasty honky tonk vibe. "Back on the map" is laid back and multi-textured. Its not alt-country as such but intelligent mainstream and very enjoyable indeed.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Paul Parrish - the forest of my mind

Some "lost 60s masterpieces" arn't really, well apart from being lost and from the 60s. This album from 1968 is very much of its time, with flutes and strings highlighting a trippy light psychedelic feel. Its rather Donovon-esque in many ways. The songs are intricate and sweet such as on "Suzanne" and on the flowery and reverb happy "Walking in the forest of my mind".

There is also a bit of a Motown feel on "I can't help myself" which in some ways works better than the psychedelia which errs on the wrong side of the twee-cool divide at times. Its still an interesting work but a bit patchy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Debbie Gibson - out of the blue

The 80s idol's first album from 1987, derided by some at the time as being uncool and teen girl pap and lauded nowadays by... well no one really as far as i can see. So how does this album stack up? Actually its very good indeed, its slick and commercial of course but very well done. There are some lovely pop melodies and hooks to make even the hardest heart (secretly) sing.

Of course songs like "Foolish beat" and "Play the field" are all very innocent and teen sweet but whats wrong with that? Everything need not be a harsh gritty vindaloo, sometimes you just want a nice mild korma.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Top 5 Records (October)

1) The Pierces - creation
2) Ramona Lisa - arcadia
3) White Door - windows
4) Princess
5) Mary Chapin Carpenter - stones in the road

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Brideshead - the mermaid

Dufflecoat Records's latest release is this lovely 7" single, classic indie pop thrills on "The mermaid". Its fast and catchy and full of fun pop noises. Its ticks all the twee boxes with its incessant energy and enthusiasm. "The loneliest boy in the world" could come straight off a Sarah single, a joyous slice of jingle jangle pop. I suppose you could say its nothing new, covering well-worn ground, but it does it very well indeed. York Minster isn't anything new either and that doesn't stop it being lovely and well worth your time, as is this. A great pop record to lighten the dark nights.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Royal Blood

Its furious stuff, brutal drumming, slabs of rock noise and songs that hit you like an iron fist covered in a chain mail glove. Classic British rock is in Royal Blood's DNA (a blood joke would have been a step too far) and their influences are pretty apparent as you listen to them but the sound this duo produce is amazing.

The album is full of great riffs so picking out favourites is difficult but "Come on over" and "Figure it out" can spark total rock outs in even the most jaded fan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Soft Walls - no time

A mournful drone fills the air, then perforated by an urgent garage-y drum beat and Stereolab-ish guitar. "No time" has an interesting mix of styles and tones, lo-fi but with layers of complexity including some sweet retro electronica. There is a definite atmosphere here, and quite a down one too but in despair is joy allegedly. Or at least a very enjoyable album.

"Guided through" is my favourite track with its guitar shriek. "All the same" also scores highly with its juicy lo-fi repetitive thrash.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Naked Eyes - burning bridges

A tasty slice of early 80s synth-pop with a rockier edge. This was Naked Eyes' debut album from 1983 and it yielded a couple of minor hits (more successful in the US than their native UK). The biggest hit being a cover of Bacharach/David's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me". Bacharach himself said he liked the cover a lot though i wasn't that keen, it sounds a bit too novelty to me. Great pop track though as you would expect.

Better tracks are the jaunty, more complicated and somewhat funky "Voices in my head" and "Promises promises". It covers all the early 80s sonic bases and is a great listen.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Arctic Flow - january stars

The Arctic Flow is gentle and beautiful pop music, mixing the right amount of ethereal dream pop feel with pop melodies. The title track is a masterclass in how to build a gorgeous indie pop song with its delicate tone and melody. "Without her" brings a classic Sarah-esque dream pop feel to proceedings. "I'd rather not remember" is melancholic and reflective. Its perfectly judged, perfectly made, just perfect.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Wedding Present - valentina

Another Cassette Store Day release though this album was originally released (on other formats) back in 2012 and the track listing hasn't changed. Of course The Wedding Present have been around for aaaaaages, i've been a fan since the Hit Parade days and that seems an ice age ago. Well the sound hasn't changed a great deal if at all, great if sometimes shambolic indie pop with frequent doses of noise.

Maybe that could be considered stagnation and i guess it is, but that didn't stop me enjoying this album a lot. There are some seriously great pop tunes on here. "Stop thief!" is my highlight from the album, a sometimes meandering and sometimes rollicking pop epic.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Psychic Markers - scrapbook no. 1

Cassette Store Day, what a great concept... so i just had to get some cassette albums of course. And worry about what i was going to play the tapes on later. Luckily one of my two old tape players still works and Psychic Markers sound great indeed.

Modern day psychedelic with big lashings of dream pop and various noises some of which sound like the distorted tones of Soviet Short Wave propaganda (might be the cassette player) and explosions of guitar at odd (and the right) moments. Meandering swirls of pop noise, melodic and dynamic. Yeah i liked this a lot, its everything you could ever ask or hope for.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

U2 - songs of innocence

Ah the "free" album that vexed so many people, well a few loudmouths on twitter who didn't know how to delete something anyway. Actually this is only the 2nd U2 album i've ever owned, i've never been that big a fan of their's (the other one was Achtung Baby natch) but this is actually pretty rocking. Its all very heart felt and overblown, but hey its U2 that kinda comes with the territory. The lead single "The miracle (of Joey Ramone)" is full of bluster and energy though i also liked "California" with its sweet soundscape and the uplifting "Every breaking wave". See its not so bad after all, so stop moaning.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ewian - good old underground

Distorted guitars, screechy noises, a stumbling beat, soaring vocals. Well thats the opener by this German/international group on their first full-length album, "My dear dead memory". So this album is off to a good start yeah? The title track is much the same, a great noise indeed. Its not all bluster and noise though, "Escape" is a beautiful ballad, an atmospheric track led by haunting piano that leads into scorching guitar noise. Now thats what the kids would say is a "tuuuuuune!"

There are lots of highlights on the album, "Zampano" adds some lovely warped noises. "When i was dead" is ethereal and wispy leading into intelligent electronica and then into an orchestral wall of sound. This is really an album of sonic surprises, and good surprises at that.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Top 5 Albums (September)

1) Jessica Mauboy - beautiful
2) Debbie Gibson - out of the blue
3) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - days of abandon
4) Tiffany
5) Naked Eyes - burning bridges

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Pierces - creation

The fifth album from this folk-psychedelic duo and its a lighter softer affair. Its verging on soft rock territory in fact with a big sound and production washing over the tracks along with some terrific pop melodies. Its unashamedly catchy on tracks like "Kings" and the title track. Its all very luscious and uplifting, maybe a little bit more bite here and there could have made it a bit more complete but thats a minor nitpick, as a package its a brilliant listen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Jesus & Mary Chain - psychocandy

The long play debut of the Jesus & Mary Chain changed the world, or at least the indie rock part anyway. What is commonplace nowadays (shoegazing, feedback noise buried in a pop beat) was fairly unknown back in the mid-1980s when this came out and this album inspired so many. So what is it like, apart from iconic naturally?

A lot of it is very simple, classic pop melodies under a harsh layer of noise. But noise is beauty as has been proven so many times and this is beautiful pop. "You trip me up" is one amazing track among many, a growl under a chainsaw. "Never understand" and "The living end" also excite. Unlike quite a few iconic albums Psychocandy actually stands up pretty well, and noisily well too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Top Of The Pops (Volume 18)

The July 1971 edition of the Top Of The Pops series. As i was in my Mum's tummy at the time and she always bought these LPs i was probably exposed to these tunes before birth... Its an eclectic mix as always including covers of hits by the likes of T.Rex, The Sweet and The Supremes. These covers including the opener "Get it on" are actually pretty good.

The Stones and Who covers are not though, TOTP albums did tend to fall down on the big rock bands. But hey this was fun and it was cheap and maybe its what made me the man i am today...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Strange Creatures - stargazer

The Strange Creatures play classic dream pop: sweet pop melodies, male female vocals, jingle jangle, whats not to love eh? Actually there is a lot to love here, the title track opener reminds me of a number of Sarah bands. "Despite everything" plays around with some interesting melodies and sounds adding a mysterious psychedelic edge to what is another lovely pop song.

"I feel like i'm on drugs" similarly takes us into light psychedelic territory. "I don't want to see your face again" is a big song, the ballad has that special sauce to elevate it above Yet Another Pop Song. Reflective and layered as it progresses, its the highlight of what is an EP of enjoyable surprises.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mandy

An intriguing life Mandy Smith has had, married and divorced to a Rolling Stone, a model and also an 80s pop star. Not bad for someone who is still only in their mid-40s now! Mandy Smith released this self-titled album by the (in)famous Stock, Aitkin and Waterman in 1988 and its bright electro-synth pop. Its very manufactured (her singing is not the best... or the worst, its perfectly fine on undemanding pop like this) and hyper mainstream of course but has a lot of charm and some great pop treats.

Included is an interesting version of "Don't you want me baby" along with the hits like "Positive reaction" which is a great pop track by the way. Best song though is "Got to be certain" one of the extra tracks on this reissue by Cherry Pop. This song was written for Mandy though a certain Kylie released it instead. Mandy's version is a lovely song with some amazing pop hooks and a catchy chorus.

So lets not be cynical for once and enjoy some straight forward shiny pop.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Watoo Watoo - une si longue attente

On their fourth album Watoo Watoo expand their soundscape from indie pop to encompassing the likes of space rock, new wave and retro futuristic sounds. Hooked into the same late 60s space pop fantasy as the likes of Stereolab but still at the core is a solid pop underpinning and some amazingly catchy melodies. Stand out is "Tes histories invisible" with its 60s organs, analogue synths and urgent tempo.

"Un lundi comme un autre" is another superb track, a spacey pop fantasy, an alternative future now (and a much cooler one than the reality). This is the soundtrack of purple hair-dos and silver jump suits. "Searching for Mr Right" is an example of the other direction of the album, relaxed lounge core though just as retro futuristic as the rest of what is simply an amazing album full of surprises and timeless perfect pop sounds.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Top 5 Records (August)

1) under the red sky - Bob Dylan
2) stones in the road - Mary Chapin Carpenter
3) world of strangers - Zoe Muth
4) days of abandon - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
5) return to Bohemia - The Cleaners From Venus

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Palms On Fire - cars EP

Russia is all over the news these days but what about Russian indiepop? So enter Palms On Fire with their joyously twee guitar and girly vocal sound. Their new EP on the eternally brilliant Dufflecoat Records is a journey through sweet pop and delicate melodies. The title track is the pick with its simple yet acoustically intricate melody. "Suitcase" with its retro electronic touches is also lovely, reminding one a bit of 80s children's TV show theme music.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Byrds - younger than yesterday

A tasty mix of country rock and psychedelia, "Younger than yesterday" was The Byrds' fourth album and is packed with interesting songs including the opening pop tastic "So you want to be a rock and roll star" but its only the start of a fine collection.

"Renaissance fair" locks into some lovely psychedelic grooves. The Dylan cover of "My back pages" is simply superb with typical Byrds-esque harmonies. Its an album of many layers with so much to appreciate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kim Wilde - another step

Kim Wilde's 5th studio album from 1986 featured the monster hit "You keep me hanging on", a classy slice of late 80s pop with all the right sounds and attitude and the song that broke her in the US at last. It does the right thing for a cover version in that it mashes up the original and tries to produce something different while being familiar enough to gain instant recognition. It almost succeeds though maybe lost in the state of the art synths and production is lost a bit of heart.

Much of the rest of the album is in the same vein, a stand out track being "She hasn't got time for you", it feels softer and more heart felt than much of the rest of the album which can be harsh and mechanical at times. Its still pretty good but you just feel that is could overall have been a bit more soulful.

This re-issued version of the album comes with a second CD of remixes and single versions, including seven versions of "Say you really want me" back to back, its a good song but that might test the resolve of even the biggest fan!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Broken Twin - may

An ethereal and haunting soundscape thanks to  Broken Twin's beautiful vocals sparsely accompanied throughout. Its like a collection of Nordic Noir soundtracks for series yet to be made (well she is Danish), songs perfect for self destruction and despair and the bleakness of loss.

"No darkness" for example perfectly suits a grey cold sky. A simple restrained wisp of a track. Another bleak slice is "Soon after this", its dark and mournful but so beautiful too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - days of abandon

A softer more poppy more melodic sound is at the heart of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's third album. Its still great and is a welcome evolution of sound though at times you do miss the sharper lower-fi edge of some of their earlier work...

...but not enough to not enjoy "Days of abandon" hugely. "Until the sun explodes" is euphoric, an uplifting pop blast and a bit Cure-ish at times. Stand out track is the beautiful "Kelly", a classic slice of melodic guitar pop. Single "Simple and sure" is joyous with a light life-affirming chorus. It has no fuzz but does have hand claps. Yay!

So the "difficult third album" isn't at all, POBPAH resisted falling back on old glories and set out on a different sound (a number of personnel changes no doubt had something to do with it). A dreamy pop album for the year and many more beyond it.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coldplay - ghost stories

For their sixth album Coldplay toned down the big sound somewhat, though there is plenty of their anthemic rock on show, in the dancey and euphoric "Sky full of stars" especially. More interesting though are the more low-key tracks like "Magic" which still manages to pack in Coldplay-esque melody magic (ahem) without the bombast. "Midnight" is a real grower, mysterious and beautiful.

Some say the album will not suit many of their fans who like the big tunes blasting out of their car stereos, i still found the album perfect for a roadtrip personally. Its an interesting and layered album, sometimes delicate and sometimes esoteric. And so often really good.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Top 5 Records (July)

1) Phil Reynolds and the Dearly Departed - if my feet were fingers, i'd stab you in the eye
2) Ane Brun - rarities
3) Various - Hello everyone: popsike sparks from Denmark Street 1968-70
4) Mary Chapin Carpenter - stones in the road
5) The Olive Shoots - anteros

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vierance - semblance

Oh this is good, we like a bit of dark synth. Vierance produce atmospheric yet often sparse and bleak soundscapes, bleak but beautiful. Well beautiful if you like darkness and doom perhaps as we do. There is a bit of a pop underpining to some of the tracks too, "Mosaic" for one has some great melodies, albeit amid the destruction. It and "Athens cries" reminds us a bit of early DM sonically but although it has a step in the past it is firmly rooted in the future. Superb.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bob Dylan - under the red sky

Meaningless anecdote alert, years ago i was visiting my Grandma and she saw the advert for this album in my copy of Billboard. She asked me "Who is that scruffy man?" Back then i didn't really know, but years later i do and finally i have bought this album 24 years after that advert.

"Under the red sky" splits the critics, many called it rather poor. However i've found that that usually means i love the album, and this is no exception. A mysterious and somewhat fun collection of tunes starting with the ridiculous yet infectiously fun "Wiggle wiggle". Much of the album is quite childlike, utilising nursery rhymes and some good production. It doesn't take itself seriously and sounds great to be honest, but if you are like radical man you might not agree. The title track is another excellent track with some lovely organ and an easy laid back groove.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hearts Of Oak - New England

"Country shoegaze" is the genre apparently, therefore Hearts Of Oak should score highly with me as they combine two of my favourite things in the musical world so lets see... Well there is certainly a very alt.country feel to much of this, its laid back and rootsy but also often with a vein of menace looming behind proceedings.

"Well lit highway" is a great psychedelic rock track, the vocals very Bob Dylan (albeit before Bob lost his voice) with some tasty wall of noise. Hearts Of Oak have a fairly retro late 60s and early 70s sound in many ways but updated sonically and technically for the now, and it sounds very fine indeed. "Lovers ain't easy" could be a late 60s Dylan song that went missing. "Grey riders" is a very appealing reflective track that stretches off into an effect laden soundscape.

I'm not sure about the "country shoegazer" label but there are elements of both especially on tracks like "Grey riders", but lets not get too hung up about labels. Its really good music, all the description you need really.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lily Allen - its not me its you

One of the few intelligent faces in modern pop Lily Allen's second album scores with inventive and often highly catchy melodies and witty wordplay. "Everyone's at it" on endemic drug use and "The fear" on the insecurity and emptiness of the vacuous life of a micro-sleb are great tracks and a brilliant way to open proceedings. Some of the other songs are a bit filler-ish or just plain poo but "22" on the fear of getting "past it" is another star track. Star quality album and artist too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blackbird Raum - swidden cassette

Released on the cassette indie Erode Releases (don't worry its also available digitally) this album is a wonderful slice of folk thrash or root punk or just good music if you prefer. Blackbird Raum are a US group who formed out of a squatter community in California. Living without electricity and much else they began playing folk (as you do) mixing it with other styles like ska, indie and punk and this is the result.

It is often chaotic but the band sound like they are having a blast as will you. "Rubicon drawn" is a perfect example of their genre splitting and/or creating style mixing folk dance and bluegrass with a punk energy.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Cleaners From Venus - return to Bohemia

The latest album from Martin Newell who started out way back in 1973 as the singer of glam rock outfit Plod (cool band). The Cleaners From Venus have been around since 1980 and were a band who released many of their early works on cassette only. So thats the background (and it would be hard to find a cooler one) so what is the sound of Cleaners From Venus 2014 like?

Its very fine indeed. Songs like "Cling to me" have that easy class that only a true veteran who's been there and burnt the t-shirt can do. A great piece of rock and roll that song is, mixing classic pop melodies with a bit of a stomp. "Days of May" is reflective and laid back. Sounds wise this album is 60s pop melodies dipped in mellow British psychedelia the latter especially notable on the superb track "Mrs Gale and her new lover".

Well bottom line is its wonderful and its available from here, and you really should check it out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cozy Catastrophes - way last June

Insistent and urgent in a jingle jangle way, Cozy Catastrophes' debut album is not short of catchy melodies thats for sure. Tracks like "Always say never to forever" channel a number of C86 and psychedelic influences mixed up in a pleasing lo-fi twee soup. The music is simple, drum machines and guitars but you don't need an orchestra to produce a great pop track.

Judicious use of the glockenspiel on tracks like "Pillow fight" adds a further layer of whimsy but in a good way. "Wait up" has a lovely soundscape. Its an album thats well worth checking out.

Available digitally from here, a cassette version is also available. CDs are dead or something and vinyl is so last week. TDK forever yeah?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Bordellos - will​.​i​.​am, you're really nothing

St Helens' finest indie trio The Bordellos return with another album of ire and bite and great garage-y indie sounds. "The gospel according to Julian Cope" is a growl of a track yet also has some lovely pop moments. "Public execution - gangnam style" has one of the best titles for some time and sounds like a sub-atomic nuclear test.

The title track is a tasty indie groove and another great title. The album is often quite dark, somewhat sombre but full of wit and invention. Take "My dream festival" for example which sounds like the world has been conquered by 1980s electronic toys. The Bordellos cover many genres and styles, usually in one song but do it all so well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Richard Earls & Thierry Audousset - older wiser harder volume 1

Part one of a three part work comprising "twelve songs covering a lifetime of experience, written and produced by duo Richard Earls and Thierry Audousset who, together, bring over seventy years of music making to the project" so what exactly is this about then?

Part 1 of the trilogy shows that this could be something very special indeed. The opener "Before that long hot summer" just oozes class. "Youth and beauty" is wonderful and whimsical. A catchy jazzy pop track with a psychedelic feel. "Licence to kill" is laid back and bluesy. Finally "Expressionless" has some beautiful piano. Four songs, four snapshots, four essential slices of life. You really should check this out.

Available from here on CD or digital download.