Sunday 31 July 2011

Glow & the Forest - Pop Song

Not many artists can name drop KFC in a song and get away with it. Thankfully, Japanese based trio Glow & the Forest are not many artists.

Their self-knowing "Pop Song" manages to stretch the boundaries of lo-fi twee to whole new levels, and is very infectious, in a good way.

Pop Song by Glow and the forest

Gaoler's Daughter - St. Peter

London based 4-piece Gaoler’s Daughter have been finely crafting their art for several years now, releasing several well received EPs, and receiving the praise of such luminaries as Zane Lowe and Tom Robinson. Next month, they will be releasing their single, “St.Peter”, which is shaping up to be their most exciting single to date.
Produced by Mark Yardley of dance duo Stanton Warriors, “St. Peter” is a dark, yet infectious song that calls to mind the sounds of their influences (Can, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Smiths) without sounding like any of them.
I would say that based upon “St. Peter”, Gaoler's Daughter sound like a livelier version of Chapel Club, or a musically superior version of White Lies. With an anthemic chorus and semi-theological lyrics, this song has the potential to become a mainstay in indie clubs in the future, and I can just imagine how great this track would sound played live.
The single will be available to download on September 26th, but until then, here is a preview:

Saturday 30 July 2011

Glorie - Highrise

Memphis based instrumental-rock band Glorie indeed have an impressive pedigree behind them, with members of the group performing with artists such as Cat Power, Jay Reatard & Al Green. Together, they make music with cinematic qualities, as can be seen in their song "Highrise", which would sound great in a retro-inspired espionage movie, or during a montage where a master criminal hacks into the mainframe of several massive companies. I especially enjoy hearing the much maligned vibraphone being put to good use in a rock song

Their self-titled album is available to download from their website on a 'pay what you want' basis.

Owl & Mouse - Roll Another

Sometimes, you don't need to over complicate music to make it engaging, as evidenced by London based Owl + Mouse. Essentially a solo project, the music is as simple as it can get, with just the voice and ukulele carrying an elegant, pristine beauty. The vocals bring to mind Emmy the Great, and there's a playful sense of cuteness beneath it all.

Here is the lead track from their EP1, "Roll Another"

Thursday 28 July 2011

Pinkunoizu - Time is Like a Melody

Full Time Hobby has been one of my favourite indie record labels of recent times, with fantastic releases from School of Seven Bells, The Leisure Society and The Hold Steady coming out in the past year.

One of their most recent signings is the rather awkward to pronounce Pinkunoizu, a group that mix psychedelica, shoegaze and lo-fi influences into one mellow, easy to digest package, as evidenced on their song "Time Is Like a Melody," with its seemingly meaningless mantra taking on almost spiritual properties during the song's 3:43 duration. Let's hope that the Danish 4 piece continue to florish.

The song is available to download for free on the band's website.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The Vaccines - Norgaard

After the ridiculous amount of hype that surrounded them at the beginning of 2011 has died down, The Vaccines are now reaching the stage where their music is being examined on the basis of its quality, rather than the strength of its promotion. It is at this stage, fresh from the festival season, that the band release their next single from their Gold selling album "What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?"

Thankfully, "Norgaard" shows the band at the top of their indie-punk game. I've always felt the band have been at their strongest with their shorter, spikier, Ramones-esque numbers. The song harks back to their debut single, "Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)", with it's 3 chord, sub 100 second length reminding us that bigger and longer is not always better.

Fixers - Swimmhaus Johannesburg

A great philosopher once wrote, Naughty naughty, very naughty "To look forward, one must first look back." It is with these words that I look at the latest song from Oxford based 5-piece Fixers.

Their latest single, "Swimmhaus Johannes," mixes 00s bass sounds, 90s house piano and beats and 80s sample manipulation, and also contains the best emergency sirens this side of the theme tune to "The Bill."

This is music the word fun was invented for (and if it wasn't this song, then I imagine it was somewhere in the top 5)

Swimmhaus Johannesburg by Fixers.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Tomorrow Dies Today

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are perhaps one of the more prolific bands currently out there. Not just content with releasing one of the greatest albums of the year in "Belong," the band now have a new track up for streaming, entitled "Tomorrow Dies Today."

The song itself is not as synth heavy as some of their recent songs, but it is a very strong piece of melancholy indie pop, the sort that Pains... have turned into a fine art.

Is it just me, or does the chorus does sound a little bit like "American English" by Idlewild?

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Tomorrow Dies Today by PIAS Entertainment

Tuesday 26 July 2011

John D'Arcy - Barcelona

Belfast singer/songwriter John D'Arcy launches his latest single, "Barcelona", on July 30th.

Backed up by his band, The Great Bunch of Lads, and produced by Rocky O'Reilly, "Barcelona" is a dizzy slice of indie-pop about holidays gone wild.

The single also contains remixes of the song by Tape Jack and Doctor Lilt.

Tribes - Sappho

In the past few years we've had the 80s revival, and a revival of the C86 sound, so it was only a matter of time that the Britpop movement would come roaring back, and it seems that the forerunners of this are Camden based 4-piece Tribes. Their last single, "We Were Children", seemed to act like their mission statement, so it falls to their latest song, "Sappho", to remind us why we will be falling over this band in the months to come.

With it's sing-along, existential chorus, "Sappho" brings to mind the b-sides of Britpop alumni Suede and the Manic Street Preachers. (and this is by no means an insult, as anyone who has ever listened to "My Insatiable One" or 'Dead Trees and Traffic Islands" can attest to)

Monday 25 July 2011

Sethway - Perfectly Alone

Pop-rock might not be the coolest genre about, but that does not mean that isn't crammed with nuggets of musical joy. Take Sethway for example. The 5-piece from Ballymena have a good ear for using contrasting dynamics to give us the sort of music that Kerrang! would've plugged to death in the early 00s.

One of their slower songs, "Perfectly Alone" is taken from their "Innocence is Ignorance" E.P, and would sound perfect soundtracking one of those U.S teen dramas, where at the end of the episode one of the characters learns an important moral and grows a little inside.

Perfectly Alone by sethway

This Many Boyfriends - I Don't Like You (Cos You Don't Like the Pastels)

I'm a great fan of jangly indie-pop, which is why I was glad to hear about Leeds five-piece This Many Boyfriends. They are releasing their Steve Lamacq approved single "Young Lovers Go Pop" on August 22th, but until then here is their quirky, self aware "I Don't Like You (Cos You Don't Like the Pastels)".

They describe themselves as "funpop", a description I can hardly argue against.

I Don't Like You (Cos You Don't Like The Pastels) by This Many Boyfriends

Southern - Beach

Songs for the summer are not the sole property of Ibiza, y'know. Belfast based trio Southern showcase their sun-kissed pop on their song "Beach", mixing the sumptuous harmonies of the Southern siblings with some rather charming whistle hooks.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Foe - Deep Water Heartbreaker

When I first heard "Deep Water Heartbreaker" by Foe, I commented at the time that it sounded like "Garbage with half the budget, but twice the balls." I don't really have much more to add to that.

Yes Cadets - Le Mans

Belfast based 3-piece Yes Cadets first caught my attention back in 2010 with their electric single "Lies". Since then they've gone from strength-to-strength, playing at Glastonbury and earning the praise of 6music DJ Tom Robinson.

It's not hard to see why they're doing so well when you listen to their latest single, the Francophillic, Radio 1 playlisted "Le Mans", which mixes Two Door Cinema Club-esque guitars with Friendly Fire's electronic atmospherics.

Big Surr - Gone

Channeling the early 90s indie style of bands such as Ride and Black Tambourine are Nashville based group Big Surr. In pure hipster style, they released their debut E.P. 'Miss You Most' as a limited edition tape, in addition to MP3.

Taken from the E.P, here is "Gone", which mixes scuzzy guitars with honeyed vocals: