Monday, March 31, 2014

MV : "Sweetheart" by Phil Reynolds and the Dearly Departed

Great sound by this band. Comes from an excellent album we must review soon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Top 5 Records (March)

1) Tommy February6 - Tommy airline
2) The Depreciation Guild - nautilus
3) Mary Chapin Carpenter - songs from the movie
4) The Julie Ruin - run fast
5) Various - everything is fine

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Maple Leaves - threads EP

Lovely folk indie pop is in Maple Leaves' DNA and this EP released back in 2011 that collects together some of their earlier songs is no exception. "Tapestry" is mellowy urgent with cute keyboards in the background. "Easy speak" is even more so with sweet male-female vocal interplay. "Kirsty" has some beautiful pop moments and is an excellent uptempo number, "Fields" is more laid back but no less enjoyable and the bonus remix of that track is spacey and atmospheric. Another great EP, a rich sound with so much to appreciate.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chas & Dave - that's what happens

Rockney legends Chas & Dave return for their first studio album in nearly 20 years but this is altogether a big different. Cockney knees-up by the old joanna are at a minimum, instead there are a number of covers harking back to the band's blues and folk skiffle roots and its wonderful. Its relaxed, authentic and great fun too. The superb single "When two world collide" is an easy melancholic slice of swing. Jug skiffle stomp "Railroad Bill" which starts the album off is almost like a history of pre-rock and roll western pop music on its own.

"Rocking gloworm" sounds like a silent movie soundtrack and probably the closest you will get to the "classic" 80s Chas & Dave sound (which some hate and some love - personally i am in the latter). The acoustic reworking of their big 80s hit "Ain't no pleasing you" is sublime and probably worth the money on its own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Soundcloud : Hana ACBD - the calm before the storm

Hana ACBD's sound is evolving fast, taking on more of a sophisticated R&B veneer to her lo-fi electronic backing and sounding pretty great too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mighty Melody (SEA Indie)

An early SEA Indie compilation from 2011 bringing together 16 Malaysian indie artists with a great mix of styles and songs. Highlights include the driving indie rock of Couple with "lagu cinta untukmu" and the sweet indie folk of Liyana Fizi's "this feeling".

Romancesa's "woody" is youthful and exuberant guitar rock pop. The Hollow's "silent" is intense and atmospheric with classic 90s style noisy indie pop moves. poppy's acoustic "beautiful" is relaxed and ..well.. poppy. As with all SEA Indie compilations an intriguing and varied mixture of bands which deserve your full attention.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Depreciation Guild - in her gentle jaws

The first full-length Depreciation Guild had a fuller sound than the early often sparse chiptune/shoegaze experiments such as on the Nautilus ep. It was a lot more refined but still pretty raw and exhilarating. "Sky ghosts" for example is driven along by a blast of fuzzy guitar and 8-bit beat. Amid all the noise and electronic din however is a beautiful pop melody and that throughout has been why the Depreciation Guild were one of the best bands of recent years... and this album near as damn essential.

"A room, a canvas" follows the pop noise and early electronic noise blueprint but puts it into a dramatic epic soundscape. Another highlight is the frenetic pop blast of "Butterfly kisses". In truth all of the songs are wonderful and yet it was only a taste of what was to come.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hello everyone: Popsike Sparks from Denmark Street 1968-1970

Just when you think every last rarity and obscure gem from the late 60s has been mined then up pops another collection of bands you've never heard of. This collects together from the Spark label who released obscure psychedelic singles in the late 60s and as with many compilations of its type it comes with a lovely thick booklet of history, photos and cover artworks.

The compilation starts off with the terrifically named Sir Ching I's "hello everyone", a perfectly fine slice of late 60s pop. Other bands featured on this 27 track compilation include The New Generation whose "Sadie and her magic Mr Galahad" takes you on a joyful sunshine pop journey. The Fruit Machine's "follow me" is a funky piece of driving pop complete with drums that sound like dustbins... who knows maybe they were.

Simon De Lacy's "baby come back to me" is a mix of late 60s psychedelia and classic pop, whimsy and harmonies in abundance. Not all of the artists on the compilation are obscure or largely unheard of, also included are a couple of songs by... Eartha Kitt! These songs are wonderfully weird. More star power is provided by Icarus however... who included Fraser Hines (then in Dr Who as Jamie) and his brother. Icarus' progress was arrested when both Hines started to appear in the time travelling show. Icarus' songs are a bit pedestrian maybe but certainly worth listening to.

So a mixed bag, but a great mixed bag. Some great songs to enjoy and more obscure British psychedelia to bring into the light.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Julie Ruin - run fast

The Julie Ruin is an exhilarating rush of riot grrrl punk and intelligent modern alternative pop. You, of course, should expect nothing less considering the members of the band including the legendary Kathleen Hanna of course. Its a long time since Bikini Kill and even Le Tigre perhaps but the dynamism, anger and sheer excitement are still there but now there is so much more too.

Starting off with "Oh come on", its an amazing punk thrash but just the start of a journey that takes us through inventive pop, sharp surf guitars and synths culminating with the synth laden autobiographic reflection of the title track. Kathleen delivers a blistering vocal attack throughout helped out on tracks like the psycho-surf-thrash-pop-kinda-thing of "South city pizza" by Kenny Mellman.

The album is a smorgasbord with so many surprises and twists throughout. Some highlights include "Cookie road" brings together the above mentioned punk and pop elements in a frenetic yet jazzy pop attack. "Kids in NY" is a delicious shamble of a track. "Goodnight goodbye" has a cosy pop melody. "Girls like us" is a majestic synth driven track.

Riot grrrl is a music movement i grew up with. Its been a long time since 1991 thats for sure. However its never sounded more relevant or more alive than on this astonishing album.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Rolling Stones - let it bleed

The eighth Rolling Stones album from 1969, the last to feature Brian Jones but also featuring a cake on its cover made by Delia Smith no less! "Let it bleed" is one of the higher ranked Stones album and suits the dark end of the 60s in tone and feel. Some of its tracks are among the Stones' best like the powerful "Gimmie shelter" and the epic "You can't always get what you want".

After years of fantasy this brings us reality with a bump. It can jar, it can delight. Its harder than earlier records and darker. The party was over, the 70s were about to begin. We may have lost the Summer of Love but we would get laser beams.