Monday, 31 October 2011

Glowbug - Where Is My Mind?

If hipsterdom had a loyalty scheme, then based upon "Covered in Lights Vol.1," Washington based Glowbug would surely have saved enough points to buy several pairs of thick framed glasses and Sylvia Plath's back catalogue.

The E.P contains covers of alt-friendly bands Radiohead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Smiths. However, the highlight of the E.P is Mr Anderson's take on The Pixies' classic "Where Is My Mind?" This downtempo electronic cover version, with washes of reverb and shoegaze vocals, calls to mind the work of both Maps and Sigur Ros.

Interestingly, the title of the E.P suggests that there may be a sequel lined up in the future. Here's hoping that Suede, Teenage Fanclub & Eels are amongst the covers to be featured.

"Covered In Lights, Vol.1" is available to download for free from Glowbug's Bandcamp.

The City and Horses - Dum Dee Dum

Halloween is upon us, and to mark the occasion The City and Horses have released the new music video for "Dum Dee Dum", which is taken from their album "We Will Never Be Discovered"

Featuring guest vocals from Katie Costello, "Dum Dee Dum" is a joyous piece of piano-pop which would not sound out of place in an advert for the latest Apple product. The music video, directed by Cetusss and Le Contremaitre et sa Contremaitresse, is a completely bizarre beast, which features, amongst other oddities, zombies in drag.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Forest Fire - Future Shadows

On paper, "Future Shadows" by New York based quintet Forest Fire seems to have been the result of a computer based mash-up. It's as if someone has taken the acappella from a Mumford and Sons b-side and placed it over the instrumental of an Animal Collective demo. Yet this melding of seemingly opposing styles gives the song its own particular charm.

"Future Shadows" will be released on 12th December on Fatcat Records, backed with "Stage Lightning" as the b-side.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Pandas and People - Grab Everything

Up until yesterday, if you asked me if I knew anything about Redditch, I would respond with a blank face. Now however, I can improve on that and add one detail about the town: it's the hometown on alt-pop fourpiece Pandas and People.

Their track "Grab Everything" is a finely produced, sonically pleasing song that utilizes Yeasayer's unusual grooves with an intelligent pop aesthetic. With the song written, recorded and produced by the band themselves, it signals a bright future for the group.

"Grab Everything" is taken from Pandas and People's debut album, which is also called "Grab Everything".

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Dead Social Club - This Painting Is Cursed

If the success of The Horrors' channelling of Simple Minds is anything to go by, then the world is desperately crying out for more 80s inspired synth-rockers to break it out of its collective doldrum. Thankfully, there are bands out there more than worthy of stepping up to the mark, such as London sextet Dead Social Club.

Their track "This Painting Is Cursed" begins with a massive Gary Numan-esque synth line, which morphs into a post-punk stomper with The Cure inspired miserabilistic vocals. If this track's anything to go by, then there may be milage in this New Wave revival yet. Just promise to leave the funky hair and make-up in the 80s, where it belongs.

"This Painting Is Cursed" is available as a free download, and is taken from Dead Social Club's "Syrian Kisses EP".

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cashier No.9 - Oh Pity

The release of a new music video from Belfast band Cashier No.9 is starting to become something of an event for me. They have followed the quirky video for their last single, "Lost at Sea", with a rather novel video for their latest song "Oh Pity", my favourite track from the group's Bella Union issued album "To the Death of Fun".

The music video features a digital projection of the band being superimposed over the bandage covered members of the group for an eerie visual effect.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Eugene McGuinness - Lion

Singer/songwriter Eugene McGuinness is gearing up to release his third album at the beginning of next year. In anticipation of this, he has released the first track from the record, "Lion", which is a completely bonkers piece of rock and roll meets New Wave fun, complete with some witty and downright hilarious lyrics. How many other songs this year start with a couplet as off-the-wall as 'I'm sitting on the ventrilioquist's knee, allowing his hand where it shouldn't be?'

"Lion" is available as a free download from Eugene McGuinness' website.

City Reign - Making Plans

Someone told me recently that "if you like Tribes, then you will certainly like City Reign." I do like Tribes, so I decided to check out the music of the Manchester based quartet.

Thankfully, I was not disappointed. Their track "Making Plans", with it's angular Britrock sound, sounds like a cross between the heavier side of Idlewild and the chorus of "Dakota" by Stereophonics.

"Making Plans" is taken from City Reign's E.P "Numbers for Street Names", which will be released on November 21st.

King Charles - Bam Bam

If I was to describe the sound of "Bam Bam" by London based musican King Charles, I would class it as a mixture between Vampire Weekend and Scouting For Girls, based upon it's indie chasing sensibilities and it's unashamedly pop-oriented structure. It's a heavily addictive song, and more capable of inducing an earworm as any other song this year (with the possible exception of "Ricky Dee")

"Bam Bam" will be released on November 28th.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Athletes In Paris - Heartbeat

There have been quite a few bands in the past year or so that have been cut from a similar indie-dance-pop mould to Friendly Fires and Two Door Cinema Club.

One such band that flirts with a similar style is North East England based 5-piece Athletes In Paris. On their track "Heartbeat", the band go from an acoustic intro into a high energy slice of indie-disco friendly alt-pop, complete with robotic drums, funky guitars and a chorus as big as the Eiffel Tower. It's fun, it's instant, it clocks it at less than 3 minutes. What more could you ask for?

"Heartbeat" by Athletes in Paris is available to download for free from the band's Bandcamp page, complete with 5 remixes (including a rather snazzy French house re-working)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Cave Painting - Midnight Love

"Midnight Love" by Cave Painting is how I imagine The Big Pink would have sounded if they got in touch with their more earthly, sensitive side. The band showcase a percussive heavy sound that has a widescreen, cinematic feel to it, which was particularly highlighted in a short film that it soundtracks.

"Midnight Love" features on their debut E.P "You'll Be Running Soon", which is out on November 7th.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Soulmates Never Die - Dance Contest Winner E.P

I've never really understood the idea of the anti-folk genre. From my extensive research on the subject (read: searched for it on Wikipedia), I have gathered that it is a post-modernist movement that seeks to challenge the accepted norms of the folk genre.

And it is under this banner that Leeds based performer Joshua Lewis, aka Soulmates Never Die finds himself under. His laptop recorded E.P, "Dance Contest Winner", is a raw, brutal, and incredibly frank set of songs that melds delicately strummed acoustic guitar with lyrics that feel as if they were ripped straight from Mr Lewis's diary.

When a singer croons that "I sometimes wish I was dead, but I think that I don't really mean it", like Joshua does over a familiar 4-chord melody on "Wound On My Fingers", you start to realise that this is a performer that wears his heart on both his sleeves. Other songs on the E.P deal with feelings of inadequacy ("S*** Hot Haircut"), and wanting to meet up with someone who you're not completely sure of ("Old Canal").

"Dance Contest Winner E.P" by Soulmates Never Die is available to download now.

Soulmates Never Die // Wound On My Finger from Jennifer Morris on Vimeo.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Petter Seander - When Something Dies

On appearances alone, you might think that singer/songwriter Petter Seander might be Sweden's answer to Beck. But like most things in life, looks can be deceiving indeed. On "When Something Dies", Seander seemlessly blends the Scandi-pop sounds of The Cardigans, the indie-pop stylings of Two Door Cinema Club, as well as some infectious Americana sounding guitar lines.

"When Something Dies" by Petter Seander is available to download for free from Soundcloud.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Rams' Pocket Rado - Dogs Run in Packs EP

Ever since I heard the demo version of "Dogs Run In Packs" by Lisburn's Peter McCauley, aka Rams' Pocket Radio back in 2009, I immediately fell in love with it, declaring it one of my top 10 tracks of the year, and keeping it on constant rotation on my iPod ever since. Now the song is being released as the lead track of his latest E.P, and with it a much more expansive production. As well as a few slight lyrical changes, this new version sees the pianos beefed up and walls of guitars added to the mix.

At the time of the original release, I joked that "Dogs Run In Packs" would be the perfect soundtrack to the final minutes of an episode of an American teen drama, where the unrealistically beautiful boys and handsome girls learn an important life lesson and grow a little inside. With this re-recorded version, the Music Supervisors of America have absolutely no excuse.

Whilst the other songs on the E.P don't have the same immediacy as "DRIP", they still showcase Mr McCauley great songwriting chops with the electro-candlelight tenderness of "You and Me, Babe" being the other highlight of the E.P

"Dogs Run In Packs E.P" by Rams' Pocket Radio is available to download from good MP3 stores, whilst the CD version will be available at the end of October.

The Standards - Mice

If it really is true that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, then I suppose that a certain Mr Cocker would be pleased to hear the work of London trio The Standards.

On their song "Mice", the group have taken the blueprint mapped out by Pulp all those years ago and ran with it completely, with it's sinister yet undeniably pop-based production, witty lyrical wordplay, and the vocals of Neil Winspears, which can go from hushed and sensual to frenzied within the space of a few bars.

"Mice" will be available to download on November 7th, in anticipation of their debut album, due out in 2012.

2:54 - Scarlet

"Scarlet" by London based quartet 2:54 is an exceptional piece of downbeat anthemics, with it's instrumentation making it sound like a forgotten off-cut from Radiohead's "OK Computer" sessions, coupled with massive Shirley Manson-esque vocals. Apparantly down really is the new up.

"Scarlet" will be released on November 13th on limited edition 10" vinyl.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sophie Barker - A Forest

It's a testament to the writing skills of Robert Smith of The Cure that his songs can be transposed into so many different genres and still sound reassuringly fresh. Take Sophie Barker's version of "A Forest" for example, where the dark guitars, throbbing bass and strained vocals of the original are replaced with soaring strings, acoustic finger-picking and dreamlike, yet impassioned vocals of Ms Barker.

"A Forest" will be released as a double A-side single with original track "Say Goodbye" on October 31st on Ho Hum Records.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Window Seats - Local Superhero

Belfast based rock trio Window Seats have released the eagerly anticipated video for their brand new single, "Local Superhero." The video, which can be viewed below, is a rather snazzy effort from the group, and features references to Star Wars & Ghostbusters, with the band taking on the roles of Venon, Wolverine and The Hulk.

The song itself is available to download for free.

Local Superhero by Window Seats

The Wonder Villains - Zola EP

The Wonder Villains are perhaps the greatest pop band that currently ply their trade in on the NI music scene. Having been gigging for over two years now, the band have signed to local label No Dancing, and are gearing up to release their first E.P for them, "Zola," on October 16th.

The three tracks on the E.P showcase what makes the band great: feel good, hook laden, cultural reference infused pop songs that will leave a smile on your face as you hum along to the infectious melodies. The title track of the E.P is dedicated to former Chelsea skipper Gianfranco, and feature, whilst "33" makes reference to lost star Jorge Garcia.

The last track on the album, "Running in Circles", is a bit of an oddity. It originally featured as the b-side of last year's single "SpaceJam", and whilst the version featured here in a re-recorded version, it is still listed as being a demo. It's possible that either the band haven't recorded a version yet that they're truly happy with, or the song is being held back for consideration as a future single, or quite possibly both. Nevertheless, even in this form the track is a fantastic slice of pop-goodness.

If "Zola" is anything to go by, then the future is certainly rosy for The Wonder Villains, as long as they continue to produce such fanastic, feel good material.

Sharliza Jelita - Breaks My Heart in Two

Don't you just love unrequited love? One such person who does is Sharliza Jelita, who wrote "Breaks My Heart In Two" about her crush on the Duke of Downbeat himself, Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

In comparison to the dizzy-pop sound heard on her last single, "No Go Pogo", "Breaks My Heart in Two" is an afro-beat inspired piece of subdued infatuation-pop, whose dark heart is hidden by the overall loveliness of Sharliza.

"Breaks My Heart In Two" is available as a free download to commemorate Thom Yorke's birthday, and will feature of Sharliza Jelita's album "Strange Things", out in February next year.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Deep Sea Arcade - Girls

On their upcoming single "Girls", Australian five-piece Deep Sea Arcade channel the spirits of classic British indie-rock, channeling the spirit of The Stone Roses and Kasabian's first album, in a mix that is both psychedelic and dance worthy.

"Girls" will be released on October 31st on New Music Club.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Hoodie Woody Freaky - Rain

The melding together hip-hop influences with tenderly strummed acoustica has been used by several artists. Ed Sheeran recently hit the top spot of the album chart with his smashing together of the two worlds, and Plan B famously rapped inner city life to the sound of his acostic guitar on his first album (before he sold out and went all blue-eyed soul)

One band that have mixed the two together in an interesting way is Indonesian trio Hoodie Woody Freaky. In the hands of another group, the song "Rain" could've been just your standard singer-songwriter fare. But with Fikri Haikal's beatboxing added to the mix, the song becomes interesting and, dare I say it, fun. Hoodie Woody Freaky are definately doing something different to many bands, and for that they should be applauded.

"Rain" is taken from the group's debut E.P "Story of the Early Days", which is available to download for free.

The Metaphorical Boat - September 2011 Round-Up

Another month has passed us by, and with it has come another set of fantastic songs that has floated my Metaphorical Boat. Here are the five most popular songs on the blog from the past month:

1. The Cold One Hundred - Hedonist

2. Emperors Club - Our Time

3. Ocean Cloud - Dreamin' in a Coffee Break

4. Post War Glamour Girls - Spitting Pearls

5. Soviac - French

And once again United Kingdom and the USA have been the most popular locations for fans of the blog, followed by Brazil, Italy and Canada.