Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The tiredness of the long distance worker

Good lord, I'm knackered, so forgive the lateness of the hour and the crapness of the post today please. This morning I was listening to an album called White Magic by a band called CEO, (not the rapper as spotify might try to tell you) who are all electropop excellence and well worth checking out if you like that thing or even if you don't, a good ear for a tune is all you need. Anyway without further mumblings here's a video for a song that's been going round in my head all day.



That's it, short and phenomenally sweet. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, 8 November 2010

That was 15 years ago and things were very different then

It's not very often that news of a band reforming can make me do anything more than shrug and say "mfffh" in an attempt at appearing interested. The news however that Pulp are to reform makes me genuinely excited. More so that it's the original line-up. Even more so that it's a line up that hasn't played live since 1996. They were rumoured to be reforming for glastonbury last year, but when that didn't happen I sort of gave up.

I first heard Pulp on John Peel way back in 1993, long before I really even knew that much about music, I was tuning the radio looking for some sixties stuff (probably, parents influence was quite heavy back then) and just came across this noise (in a good sense) that I'd not heard before, it was just astounding to me. I bought my first Pulp album in 95 (and probably my third or fourth overall, the others being Blur and Oasis, and let's forget all that shit about those two battling out for number one and all that crap, back then nobody managed to convey what it was to british, disenfranchised, and an outcast better than Jarvis did, and no one managed it til Hayman) and I've loved them ever since. 15 years now. So that's it, I coud go on and on here, but I'm just going to post some of their videos instead.

Lipgloss :-



Mile End (not a proper video):-



I'm a man



Wickerman



That's more then enough, normal service resumed shortly, but for now I'm off to dance like Jarvis

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Down by the water

Morning! Imagine a world where you don't start work until 1pm and it gives you a chance to uphold your promise to attempt to post more on a middling blog you write. That's the world I live in!

Anyway straight in.

There's a new Decemberist's song available to download for free (well in exchange for an email) on their website, they've been playing it live for a while but this is the studio version and, oh yes, it's called 'Down By The Water'. I like the Decemberists, I like the folky pentanglesque sound of some their stuff, and the more ambitious side, and the chamber pop side too. And now I like the R.E.M sound they make, because that's what this new song sounds like. A little Cuyahoga maybe? Or something else circa 'Life's Rich Pageant'? Maybe just that fact that Peter Buck's guesting guitar jangly on this is unmistakable. Whatever, Meloy has made no bones about this being the direction that The Decemberists are going to take and I like it. See what you think. You can have a listen here

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart also have a new single out, you can hear it on Pitchfork, it doesn't sound a hell of a lot different then anything else they've done, but I doubt any fans will complain.

Elsewhere to delight your ears, noisepop slackers Matt and Kim have released a new record, I've not heard to much of it yet, but 'Red Paint' off of it is undoubtedly excellent. You can listen to it on the pop sucker blog, which is here

That should be enough for a media heavy Thursday morning.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Back, back, back

It seems that whenever I've posted here in recent months it's always with an apology about being lax with updates, and once again it's the same routine. I got around to checking my view stats and it amazes and pleases me in equal measure that some people actually do keep visiting. It gives me an immense feeling of schadenfreude and reminds me that maybe I should actually update more, which I will endeavour to do from now on.

Firstly then I'd like to pimp (or promote, delete as appropriate)a forthcoming gig that promises to be excellent, it's Nottingham's own Horowitz plus a couple more, and should be as racously entertaining as they always are, there's a facebook page for it here. There's an added incentive of it being only £3 if you're unemployed which is a fantastic enticement I feel, take that Government! If you need any other enticement (and you really, really shouldn't) there will also be cake.

There's not much other news to report music wise, but I did go to the End Of The Road festival some months back, and am still reeling from the absolute genius that Sam Beam or Iron and Wine to his friends produced, and I can think of no better way of signing off on a dark, wet, November day then to post the song he opened with on an equallly damp and terrible evening in September. I hope you enjoy it, keep reading and expect some proper updates soon!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Dexter Poindexter

Hello; it's been awhile hasn't it? Put that down to a general malaise caused by joblessness (why is it that when one has nothing but spare time there seems to be no desire to use it), afternoon drinking and too much gaming and lets move on.

It's the curse that when you don't do something things that need your attention start to crop up all over the place. Normally the Beerandbands email is as barren as a nun but this month I seem to have recieved some actual stuff from bands and labels, so rather then waste their effort in contacting me I thought I'd better get round to actually reviewing some of this stuff.

So today it's an FREE EP from February Records called Silver Spings by Dexter Poindexter. Dexter Poindexter is one man from Chicago named Tommy Komorowski, apart from this EP he's also released one with Weepop and their's a forthcoming album on Series Two records (who have released some splendid stuff in the past); a strong pedigree indeed, and one which is clearly evident on listening to the EP itself. I've heard it 3 times in succession and already the songs are stuck in my head.

First song 'Two Cracked Heels and a Ghost' sounds ever so slightly like Bright Eyes in the verse (no bad thing at all) before hitting a chorus that's insanely hummable. It sounds instantly like you've heard it before, even though you know you haven't a sure sign of absolutely quality. There's such a giddy joy to it that I defy any lover of good pop music not to take it to their heart. There's a lovely little rock-a-billy type breakdown here too, just for good measure.

Sandwiched in the middle of the EP is 'From The Midwest' which has a much more countrified swing to it. There's not as much of a hook to this one, but it's as enjoyable as the first one, and shows that Dexter Poindexter is capable of diversifying quite nicely.

Final song 'From The West' is probably the pick of the bunch. Again it has a slightly country feel to it, but more upbeat than the previous tune. Once again it possesses an earworm of a chorus. It rounds off the EP nicely too, and leaves me wanting to hear more.

All 3 of these songs are excellent, it's nice to see consistency in an EP, and considering Dexter Poindexter hasn't released too much stuff so for it's very confident and reassured. There are artists who've been around for years who don't make songs as catchy as this. I get the impression they're might be even better to come from him. Bottomline if you like your bands jangly, a little bit country, and full of joy and chorus that'll stay with you, then this is right up your street.

Oh yeah, you can download this (it's part of February Records free digital downloads) from February and really you should, it's not often you get music as good as this for nothing.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Stuff and then some

Hello, what's up? In lieu of anything more exciting, here's some stuff I've discovered whilst I've been battling the post-Indietracks blues. It's almost a recognisible medical condition these days.

1. The new Thermals single/song is excellent. I saw it posted on yonder Hype Machine yesterday but apparently it's cropped up on other sites in recent weeks too. Anyway it's vintage Thermals and therefore properly awesome. You can find it lurking here.

2. Whilst googling Indietracks, as you do, I came upon this rather interesting little video nugget. For what ever reason the line "You should your tits to The Felt Tips" amuses me greatly.



3. The Rocky Nest have split up. I think the 'Nest probably weren't as well known as they should have been, but I saw them twice and both times they were highly enjoyable. I'm guessing it's slightly too late now, but if you've never heard them you should at least check out their Myspace and see what you might have been missing.

Finally after the sad news of the demise of The Rocky Nest I was thinking of other bands that I've enjoyed that have died or gone missing in action and I remembered (as I often do in these cases) the rather brilliant Tales Of Jenny. They've been quiet for far too long (and for admittedly a damn good reason) and are another band who are far less well known then they deserve too be, so what better reason then to tell you to head over to their still functioning website and listen to some of the songs on there. Both 'Other Boys' and 'Trotsky Of Our Time' are pop songs of geniune excellence.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Indietracks 2010

I suspect by now (if you have any real interest in indiepop anyway) you've already read a bunch of blogs/posts/facebook statuses about Indietracks, so forgive me for adding to the outpourings of high praise, but it's almost a law that you have to write about it if you've been.

I wasn't even going to go, I'd been every other year but this time I just couldn't really afford it but come Friday night when I was just moping around the house I was more or less ordered to turn up. I'm glad I did. The atmosphere there is just so special; it don't know if it's the Derbyshire air, the sight of steamtrains or the fact that it's full of great people and bands but the moment one steps off the train onto the platform the urge to dance, run and grin like a massive loon for an entire weekend takes over. It affects everyone from the smallest child to the gruffest, biggest man. It's a beautiful thing to see, and a testiment to the festival itself.

Anyway I got there just in time for Red Shoe Diaries who, as a Nottingham dweller, I've seen plenty, and who I've not seen recently as I thought I'd seen them enough. Turns out I forgot how great they actually are. They were on top form, and the new songs and old songs were equally greeted with joy by the crowd in general and especially by the hardcore fans down the front. A nice way to start off my Saturday.

I didn't see a lot of bands on the Saturday, or if I did I was a bit too drunk to remember (which seems likely) but I do remember seeing The Smittens. They've played 3 years in a row now, and each time they've been terrific. A band who seem absolutely made for the festival, not just for the music and how happy the crowd always are but because for much of the weekend wherever I looked there was a least one of them watching a band or wandering around with a big grin. It's nice to see.

I caught a bit of White Town in the church, where I heard 'Your Woman' and realised it's 13 years since I bought that single; which caused me a quick existential moment when I realised just how much time that actually is, before David Tattersall came on and I lost my train of thought. Despite the fact that the church was so hot, and he was pretty ill or had been (a story he told at great length and hilarity) he played a great set. I must confess the songs didn't instantly click with me like The Wave Pictures do but his songcraft and guitar playing are clearly high level and he had the crowd in raptures.

Sunday dawned with me waking up on the backseat of a car, and wandering round the campsite until everyone woke up. At some point I wandered into a great open field and dead silence, which was a marvellous moment. The quiet realisation that just 5 minutes away there was a whole festival going on and yet here were acres of lush green brought home again just how special the whole thing is. Then I went back down to the festival site to imbibe some more and maybe catch a band or two, bands like..

MJ Hibbett and The Validators. Remember when I mentioned a few moments ago how some bands are made for the festival, this lot definitely are. Mark and the band always look so comfortable up there. An unprecendented FOURTH year playing the festival and yet their enthusiasm for the whole thing only seems to grow. They played a storming set too, opening with the (at least for me) tearjerker of 'Billy Jones' to the mass audience participating frenzy of 'Easily Impressed' they filled every single moment of that set with joy. From encouraging mass tweeting of the word 'happiness' to getting the crowd to do the indiekid, every moment was memorable. So much so that a friend remarked to me straight after that "Mark Hibbett is the greatest man in the world" or words to that effect. The other stages only seemed to have about 15 people watching the band in them, they were that popular.

It got better though because then I saw The Specific Heats. Last year everyone who saw they're set in the church came away raveing about it. This year quite alot of people came to see them on the strength of that, and they were even better. Last time out they blew up an amp, but they're so thrilling they don't need to. Mat (and the bands) energy on stage, whirling like a dervish acts like a lightning conductor and whips the crowd into a total frenzy. I think everyone who saw them praised them as highly as possible when they finished. Brilliant.

Next I see Standard Fare. Their's is an album that I've listened to more than any other this year I think, and when I saw them a few weeks ago in Nottingham they were the best band I've seen too. Here at Indietracks they were even better. I think sometimes they are so suprised to see so many people watching them, I don't know if that's because they just don't know how good they are but to see them smiling so much through their set made me very happy. What a set it was too, despite the fact that album hasn't been out for too long, a lot of the songs seem to have become Standards (ha!), Philadelphia especially has the crowd pogoing and yelling in equal measure, and Dancing does the same. The new songs sound brilliant, and they do a lovely cover of a One Happy Island song, whilst Brad of said band played the ukulele. There's always one moment of a festival that I look back on as the moment, and for me, jumping about in the rain whilst yelling "I don't wanna have to wait a year!" was that moment. I'm sure that particular lyric sums up people's attitudes about Indietracks too, I wish it was next year already

I was a bit drained after that, but I did enjoy watching Shrag jumping about, and especially the antics of The Loves; dancers and Jimmy Cairney (of the Bobby Mcgees) dressed as Jesus is the way to go for next year too I think. I enjoyed Slow Club too, who drew a decent crowd and really seemed to be enjoying themselves. I love the discrepancy between the lady singers voice and her none more Yorkshire speaking voice, but it works and it works well.

Finally The Pains come on and I get down the front and dance for a bit, before the legs give out and I have to wander away, but turning my head whilst stood at the side of the stage, and seeing people stood on the hill whilst the day slowly fades and 'This Love is Fucking Right' belts out is magical.

I've written loads, and probably far too much, but it's so hard to write succinctly about Indietracks when it's so much that makes it special, the bands, the venue, the fantastic food, the organisers and volunteers who do such a great job and the trains. But, and it's a cliche, I guess what really makes the festival each year is the people. Without people it's just a bunch of bands playing in a field, with people it's a vindication of everything that everyone who puts on gigs (or festivals) or puts out fanzines or runs a record label or posts on a forum believes in. It's a moment where turning around to see someone dancing behind you can lift your heart 'til you're feeling giddy or someone you haven't seen in forever gives you a hug, and suddenly you remember that, yes, this is what Indietracks is all about. Roll on next year.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Hexicon - The Blossom Sighs

I don't know why I haven't blogged about this Hexicon album, or Hexicon in general really, yet. I saw them a little while ago and they were a really good, fun, live band; I hadn't known what to expect from them but I came away really, really, impressed. So yeah it's about I gave them a bit of blog time.

Hexicon are Michael and Paul of Allo Darlin' and Tom (who has played horn with Hayman), plus a rotating drum tag team of Andy and Greg with Giles on bass. It's the sort of line up that you can't help but feel excited about. Add to that the fact that Elizabeth Morris (also of Allo Darlin' fame) turns up on the album to add a little help and you've got a release that I can't wait to hear.

It's called 'The Blossom Sighs' and it's out on Haircut records. It's got lovely cover art too, but the main thing of course is what it sounds like.




First track 'Well Done' kicks the album off in a hazy languid style; a fine vocal backed with touches of horn evoke a taste of summer. It has that easy feel that early Belle and Sebastian songs do. A fine beginning.

Second track 'Annie Oh' leads with a keyboard vamp and vocal with far more of a swing feeling, but that summer vibe is very much present, when the backing vocals join in and the whole thing swells it's a thing of joy.

The next couple of tracks change it up again, 'Something Strange Beneath The Stars' has some of the mystery and loveliness of mid-period Yo La Tengo, as has 'Dawn Comes To Save Us' though with a slightly rockier feel.

'Ireland' glitters and sparkles in equal measure, 'She Plays Games' has the same nostalgic and touching feeling to it that a some of the better Sarah Records bands did. Elsewhere 'Blood In Your Eyes' utilises soft slide guitar and lilting harmonies to make an absolute delghtful floating country sound.

The album heads to it's end in much the same way, crafting gorgeous melodies but retaining the it's soft easy going nature, and summery vibe.

At it's most basic then, this album is sublime dream pop. It's the kind of music you can put on and just float away to. It's lovely on first listen, and consecutive plays just draws the listener further in to their tangled web of lucious horn and harmony. If you want a record to soundtrack your sunbathing in the backyard or to drift you off to sleep this could be perfect for you; don't get me wrong though, this is far from background listening, there's a lot going on and plenty to keep drawing you in long after the first blissful hearing. You should see them live too.

You can listen to the album and buy the album on Bandcamp

You can visit the band HERE, and finally you can learn more about the band's label Haircut right HERE

Friday, 25 June 2010

It's already Friday.

Hello!

Not much happening today, but I thought I'd just pop on a quick update about things you might have missed/not been aware of, and things I'm enjoying at the moment.

Firstly, back to that old staple, Bandcamp. I've been listening to Popical Island #1, I like the name, and I like the slightly scratchy, DIY feel of what they do. I'm not sure the whole record hangs together in any kind of cohesive way, but it's so enjoyable and infectious I doubt it matters.

Next, I imagine most, if not all, of the readers of this blog have seen the new Pains Of Being Pure At Heart video now, but on a similar Fortuna Pop tip, have you seen the Tender Trap one? Well now you can. I particularly like the Tatty Devine Indietracks necklace Amelia has on.



What else, oh yeah; February records (yep them again!) can't seem to stop putting out stuff of quality at the moment. This time it's a duo of free downloads for you to wrap your ears round. One is by Brilliant at Breakfast, an E.P entitled Almost Verbose who make absolutely lovely stuff that you owe it to yourself to listen to, and the other is Secret Charisma which is the side project of Brad from One Happy Island who, by the way, are wonderful. Links below.

Brilliant at Breakfast


Secret Charisma

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The 1959 Hat Co - Awesome Sneakers.


It's always a delight to recieve something in the post from Weepop records, their releases are beautifully packaged and the pedigree of the label (they've released stuff by The Just Joans, Allo Darlin' Transmittens amongst others) means that expectations are always pretty high for anything new. That was the case with this new E.P from The 1959 Hat Co, and I was not disappointed.

The band themselves were previously known as 'the hat company' and hail from various areas of the US (Detroit, Toledo Seattle and Ohio if you're interested) and are described as having influences ranging from Brain Wilson and Phil Spector through Morricone to reach Aztec Camera and the Jesus and Mary Chain. This is no doubt accurate, but there's plenty more to the band then that.

The EP could not be anymore summery if it came with shorts and an ice-cream, it's arrived at the perfect time of year, and is a joy, but you could listen to it at any time of the year and still have a smile on your face.

First track 'Awesome Sneakers' kicks off with a fine jangly guitar line. The verse with it's backing girl harmonies and sweet male vocals is part Smittens, part Beach Boys and contains all the joy you'd imagine a pairing like that would do. A love song about being shy to be around someone (whilst the harmony background vocal goes "you're so cute, you're so cute" it's like a bolt of sunshine. Pure, unadulterated pop joy. You can listen to this one yourself over HERE.

Second track 'Amber Brown Assembly Line' is a little different, the opening vocals on this one do indeed evoke the black spirit of The Jesus and Mary Chain and when the horns kick in you could be standing on a dusty street in the old west. Then the chorus comes in as light and airy as a breeze through a floral garden. It's a lovely, yearning thing.

Final track 'Midst Of Seasons' is a happy, easy going guitar tune with a sense of humour, starting as it does with a line about losing swimming trunks. It's almost vaudevillian in it's jauntiness and again it evokes nothing so much as endless summer days.

The 1959 Hat Co, has managed to grab the essence of summer and press it into 9 minutes of perfect pop. Far more then just the influnces stated at the beginning, it's 3 songs you'll have on constant rotation whilst driving between festivals in the summer, and yet it's sweet and tender enough to keep you warm and cosy when the colder part of the year drifts in. You can get it from Weepop now, and you really, really should.

PS, whilst we're on the subject Weepop are releasing a Stars of Aviation EP next week, and there's a song to here from that HERE. It's great too.

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Cavemen Go - New Lives

New Lives by The Cavemen Go, is the latest release from February Records (formerly Tweefort) so it probably won't be a suprise to regular readers that although I'm not sure about the bands name, I do know that I like this record quite a lot. I don't know how February do it, they just seem to have a knack for finding great bands.

The album kicks off with 'Forget About it Claudia' a song that takes it's template from 'Blood and Chocolate' era Elvis Costello but plays around with that to create something truly the bands own. Meanwhile 'We're Not That Different' (track 4) recalls the sort of mod rock that The Small Faces made their own.

'Get Back To Me' manages to combine the 60's pop sensibility of someone like Donovan, with the much more up to date sound of bands like The Shins, whilst managing to fit in horns to create something intensely catchy. 'Hey At Least I Tried' could be a mellower Weakerthans and the nicely titled 'Tell Me Something Shallow, Dilettante has the sort of sound (and fury) that The Kinks captured so well.

I could write reams about this album but the bottom line is this, if you like artists like Elvis Costello (lyrics and music), and The Kinks, 60's pop, harmonies and modern indie rock, and you'd like all this to also sound like something new, then this is definitely a record that would only enhance your record shelf. You can buy it now from February and you find the band's Myspace right here.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

World Cup Fever

IS THIS THING ON?

Bloody hell it's been so long since I've done one of these you'd have been forgiven for thinking I'd died, or that my hands had dropped off through lack of use. Happily that's not the case and I've returned to burn your eyes with words yet again.

Anyway in case you've been asleep for the last few months, whether you like the sport or not you can't have failed to notice that it's world cup year. What this means is a whole lot of ball kicking on telly for a month, and sometimes a world cup song or two. England have had some pretty awful ones in the past, but Alayerofchips recently posted a fantastic song by Mark E Smith's side project Shuttleworth which is ace. So on a similar theme and attempting to go one better here's fabulously brilliant band Eux Autres doing "World Cup Fever 2010". It's giddy, be warned.



Also on a World Cup bent, Indiecater records have put together a world cup collection of songs about countries into group order. Band of the moment, Standard Fare's ditto about Mexico is about as enjoyable as you could expect a song to be! It's available to listen to from that link above, and you can buy it too in what sounds like a really nice package; I'd definitely suggest you do that.

I'm off now, apologies for the unreasonably long hiatus, normally service will be resumed shortly!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Birds Of California

Tweefort records are a label I've mentioned a couple of times already since I've been sporadically updating this blog. They've done a really great job of getting regional bands releasing stuff and have also issued one of the best albums of recent months in 'Like An Octopus', the debut album from Women's Basketball. Taking the local (Connecticut) and making it global is always a fine thing to do. Anyway, due to the wish to be even more inclusive for a broader range of music, the label is changing it's name. By the end of the summer they'll be called February records. A name I like a lot better. Not that I mind Tweefort as a name, it's just that in some circles, rather sadly, the word 'twee' still has a few negative connotations and it almost instantly pigeonholes. The name change can only be a good thing, and if it helps the label sign bands and releases more (and more diverse) records then it's fantastic.

Which brings us nicely to Birds Of California and their Great Expectations EP which just happens to be the latest Tweefort/February free digital single. Birds Of California have 2 of Lunchbox and a member of Boyracer among their number, so they've got a fine pedigree from the beginning. They make a fuzzy, melodic swirling pop packed with melody and harmony and powered by horns. First track 'Great Expectations' being a case in point. Horn driven lines, coupled with little interesting sonic flourishes and a strong melody point the way.

Second track 'Saturday' starts off sounding like Pavement, with a sprinkle of Sparklehorse. It's impressive stuff. The kind of melody you find yourself humming down the street when you least expect it. There's a pretty ace and uplifting guitar solo in their too.

Final track 'Laugh Out Loud' continues with the horn motif, adding a spacier sound with a rousing coda of doo doo doos, and a slight hint of shoegaze.

All in all it's a really fine, really strong offering. which you pick up, well download, from tweefort/february for free right HERE. If this is the kind of stuff they'll be releasing under the new name then the future is very bright indeed.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Media heavy

I haven't got much to write about today, but I've decided that I'm going to attempt to do a blog post anyway. A decision that could prove to as spectacularly bad as making a television sitcom based around Hitler called 'Heil Honey I'm Home'. What you see below you is no Youtube mockup either, just ask wikipedia. Surely I can't produce anything as bad as this.



Have you heard the new Zipper song? It's up on the bubblegum records myspace. It's well worth a listen, all fuzzpop goodness. Whilst we're on the subject of Bubblegum there's a new Starshy song up too - so you may as well check that out as well here

Elsewhere new Apple Orchard track up on Bandcamp, it sounds a little bit like Ride, it's really rather good.

From Anorak, Elizabeth from the Darlings posted this nice video of them performing at SXSW which somebody sent to them. It's pretty joyous.



If you're around in Nottingham tomorrow, then you could do worse than come to this: -



It promises to be fantastic, Hexicon feature a copy of Allo Darlin (see I don't just throw this stuff together) and Tom from the band has played Horn for Darren Hayman. So worth getting to. Some great songs on their Myspace too.

I'm going to sign off today with the classic 'Throw Aggi from the bridge' for no other reason than the fact I've been enjoying the Slumberland records reissued Black Tambourine record. The song is 18 years old and still sounds amazing. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

On Tape.

As you've probably already read/heard/osmosised, Indietracks have just announced another 2 bands for their forthcoming festival. Both The Pooh Sticks and Love Is All have been announced as headliners, to join The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart atop the bill.

This is great and interesting news. For a start The Pooh Sticks aren't really the best known band around, they're legendary yep, and they've reformed, but I bet they aren't as well known as say Heavenly (whose singer Amelia joined The Pooh Sticks for album The Great White Wonder) or more pertinently The Orchids - who played Indietracks shortly after reforming. I'd say they might be more in line with Mighty Mighty, but I don't know. I just think it's great that one of the headliners is a reformed, perhaps less well known band then is the standard for most festivals. Also The Poohs weren't renowned for being the most professional of bands live, and they're line-up will probably just be Huw and a bunch of recruits, but I think it'll still be brilliant. Why? Because The Pooh sticks are/were brilliant.

If you've not heard them think wry, funny, Power Pop songs often cribbed from other bands. They were a joy. You probably know the song "I know someone who knows someone who knows Alan McGee quite well" They could easily be interpreted as a sort of joke band in some respects. Were it not for the fact that their music is so good. The aforementioned 'The Great White Wonder' is probably seen as their best, but Formula One Generation might also be mooted. Both of which (I think) have been re-released. They're both on Spotify too. I personally would suggest Million Seller is their best record, not to be contrary but because it really is. It's probably harder to find, though Amazon have it cheap. The below song is one of the best from that record.



Meanwhile the other headliner - Love Is All are maybe even more suprising. Because while The Pooh Sticks are legendary (in certain circles) Love Is All are much more modern and despite already releasing 2 great records, not massively well known. This is a good thing. As is the fact that they're art punk/indie rock might not necessarily be what people would expect from the festival. Indietracks has often worked best when it's played a bit with people's expectations - Specific Heats are a prime example, and Art Brut went down very well. I like the fact that there's a bit more of a diversity to the headliners this year. Anyway Love Is All are, as I say great. Some of them were once in classic indie band Girlfriendo. Both records are again on Spotify and readily available. I'd recommend getting them. The below video for 'Turn The Radio off' from their first album is just a taster of what we can expect come summer. I for one am very excited.



Finally in a complete and utterly unrelated note, may I point any of you Sarah Records fans in the direction of this website, it may be of interest. Though I will make a disclaimer that Beerandbands in no way condones downloading music from the internet, but realises that what you do in your own time is up to you.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Monday mix #1

You wait for one post and then two turn up at once, typical.

I've just had the idea that I could easily make a Spotify mix every Monday. On a theme perhaps, or just a bunch of songs that I like. So I've run with it. Apologies if you don't have Spotify. It's worth getting though.

Anyway this first one has worked out (completely unintentionally as it happens) at exactly 1 hour. It's not exactly inspired, but it features some new and some old stuff that I'm enjoying at the moment. Future mixes might be a bit more eclectic but this will do for now. Please do listen if you have the inclination.

Monday mix #1

I do like Mondays

Hello it's Monday, or Day Of The Moon if you're latin; which I'm (perhaps wrongly) assuming you aren't. It's also the day that ushers in the rest of the working week and the usual mix of new releases, re-releases and, um, releases. What better day for a round up of goings-on then, eh? Let's go.

Up first this time, Fortuna Pop have just recently released the latest single from London based pop geniuses Allo Darlin'. It's likely that you've heard this already, but I've not heard the mix of sweet singing coupled with Monster Bobby's Calvin Johnson like vocal then you're missing a treat. Either way it's out now, and you can get it for FREE (well for the simple exchange of your email address) here.

Mates Of State, next. I love Mates Of State, I love the fuzzy organ sound they sometimes utilise, I love how happy they can, I love their energy. I also like covers records. What could be better for me then the fact that Mates Of State are releasing such a thing; entitled Crushes; in Summer. You can hear a really cover of 'Laura' by Girls over on the Mates Of State website at the moment. Looking at the track listing I can imagine the band doing a smashing cover of 'Sleep The Clock Around' but I'm most keen on hearing their version of Waits' 'Long Way Home'. A beautiful song which I hope they'll do justice too, someone has made a rather nice Youtube video for it, so I think I should use it.



Exciting me last week was the news that Blur are going to be releasing a brand new track for Record Store Day. Record Store Day is a fantastic idea giving, as it does, a bit of exposure to independant music stores and hopefully getting more people into said stores. There's special vinyl and promotional things to be picked up if you can make it to a participating retailer before everythng is gone. This is happening not just in the States but also in stores across the world. Click here to see if you're country is included and make sure to get there if you can on 17th April.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Where do they get this stuff?

Hello there, Beerandbands is starting to resemble BBC tv effort'The Bubble' at the moment, I feel; all news round-up and little else, but on the plus side, it means you don't have to surf the internet for random nonsense because you can find it all here. Never say we don't do anything for you, dear visitor.

Firstly today, there's yet another terrific looking popfest on the horizon, and like a lot of the really good musical festivals this year (Indietracks and End Of The Road being notable exceptions) it's not in this bloody country. Yep, it's NYC Popfest, a popfest so good that I'd sell me own testicles to go along. Well maybe one. Sadly it's not going to happen, but to while away the sad hours whilst I think about what I'm missing (in more ways than one) the kind folks who put it on have provided me and you with what is an absolutely cracking mix that you can download from their website/blog. You surely should, featuring as it does a number of Beerandbands favourite artists of recent months. Excellent stuff. If you're a massive indiepop fan you'll love it, and if you're just discovering this sort of thing you'll probably love it even more.

Meanwhile back on these shores, have you seen Mark Hibbett's FAB cover of 'Dreaming' by Allo Darlin' yet? It's been posted on a few blogs and sites that I've seen recently, but it's definitely worth posting again. Hibbett also suggested that other bands playing Indietracks should cover each other. I agree wholeheartedly. Let's have Ballboy doing The Specific Heats, oh and The Smittens doing Standard Fare



Finally today, the new Pipettes song 'Stop The Music' is finally going to be released on April 19th, and now there's a video to go with it. It's all dance moves and 30's glamour and I, for one, really enjoyed it. As for the single, I'm detecting a slight Sophie Ellis Bextor feel to it. It's not as instantly in your face catchy as 'Pull Shapes' was, but turn your back and it'll have run up it and into your ears before you've had a chance to think, "wow this is actually dead good". Definitely good to have them back. See what you think

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Thursday, Holy Thursday

Hello it's Maundy Thursday. The day the Queen gives out some of her ill-gotten gains to the more deserving poor of the country. It's probably about 80p, but y'know she can afford it and that. It used to be tradition for the Queen to get down on her knees and wash people's feet too, but sadly that don't happen anymore. Imagine, the monarchy on it's knees.

Anyway it's time to stop daydreaming and get on with the order of the day, namely a couple of new things for your listening delectation. First up it's the WIAIWYA monthly singles club again. This time round it's a couple of songs from Hillary and the Democrats who played on Hollyoaks you know. That's a recommendation of quality before you even here the songs, and what songs they are. In particular the first of the two 'I wish I'd Taken More Photographs', It starts with a bunch of Ba-bas and has the punch of prime-quality Hefner. It's unquestionably fantastic. Lots of shouting and a really joyful chorus. It's the type of song that as soon as it comes to an end you just want to put it on and play it again, and shout "SNAP, SNAP, SNAP, SNAP" Don't take my word for it though, get it from the website.
Whilst you're there you should pick up the Meow Meow (cutural zeitgeisting at it's best) from last month too.

Todays other lovely news is that Cloudberry records have just released Bonne Idee's debut 7" and you can listen to some of it over on their website if you wish too. If dreamy, shimmery pop is your thing then you definitely should.

That's it for today, I'm off down the pub.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Indietracks band preview thing part 3.

Next up in the sporadic look at bands to play Indietracks is Be Like Pablo. I'm looking forward to this one because I've never heard them before. In one sense I suppose I'm taking a little bit of joy out of the festival by hearing them now (it's always a delight when one discovers a band for the first time in a live setting) but the line up for this little Derbyshire festival is looking shit hot this year, and unless I can somehow manage to listen to ever band I'm bound to miss something great, which would be a massive shame.

The band themselves are from Forres and Edinburgh up in that Scotland, I believe. There's 3 boys and a girl, quite a lot of fantastic synth, and they've been around since last year. I think that's correct. Not that it matters, the main point for the moment is what the music is like.

What is it like? Great, actually. Really great. I'm listening to the songs on their myspace as I type this, and just smiling and feeling quite sunny. At their heart I guess they're powerpop, which is a wonderful thing, there's not enough bands doing powerpop (or GOOD powerpop) at any rate. This lot are happily redressing that balance. 'Julianne' for a start is a cracker of a song, that opening synthy line just reaching out and pulling me in; it's sound like Weezer or Silversun when they were really good. It's just dying for a crowd who know all the words to yell them back at the band. 'Without the Pain' mixes it up a bit with some spoken (or almost) word. 'Oh Emily' sparkles like Teenage Fanclub and 'The Post-It song combines really nice boy-girl vocals with a heartfelt message.

There's magic here, and more importantly huge promise. I think their will be quite a few people at Indietracks who catch them by accident and come away thankful for it.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The rain falls down

Aha, British Summer time. One always knows when it's arrived. The clocks get changed again, the days get longer, someone misses an important function because of said clock changes and it RAINS. Yep, it rains and rains and rains, on humdrum towns all across the U.K; indiscriminately drenching everyone and rudely splattering it's drops across my window panes, it's enough to bring anyone's mood down, or it would be if not for so many wonderful things happening. Call it reasons to be cheerful.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are playing indietracks. It's a match made in heaven really, The Pains take their influnces and push, poke and mould them into something heartwrenchingly and heart drenchingly wonderful. Indietracks does the same. It's not hard to understand the sheer buzz of exciting from certain corners in regards to the festival this year.

Elsewhere The Hot Toddies are releasing a new album on June 15th. I've been waiting for an official announcement and looking at their Myspace almost everyday for any kind of word so this is great news for me. Just hoping to hear something new from the girls really soon now. If you're not familiar with The Hot Toddies spiky brand of surfy girl pop, then familiarise yourself immediately. If you are familiar, take the time to reacquaint yourselves. I'm taken the chance to post a nice live video of them too



The new School album is sounding terrific, can't wait to get it. In the meantime you can hear it here as long as the link still works.

On top of all that, the summer and beyond looks excellent for gigs, Alayerofchips has some lined up (more on that soon) including another Nottingham alldayer, this time on the 25th September. One for the diaries.

Finally, I've also returned for another scout around Bandcamp today. Presented for your musical delectation are today's band you may or may not have heard of 'Bourgeois Hereoes'. I like the quirky nature of the band, in particular the wooziness of 'The Postcard Collector'. That said, I can find something to love in all the songs presented on their Musical Postcards album. Go and give it a listen

Monday, 22 March 2010

At the heart of everything

So the next band in our whistlestop tour of who's who at Indietracks is Ballboy. Like Allo Darlin', Ballboy are well known within the indiepop community, and beyond thanks to people like John Peel.

I first came across Ballboy through 'The Sash My Father Wore and Other Stories', perhaps not the best place to approach the band from, since it's obstensibly a Gordan McIntyre solo record, but it hooked me, I was especially taken by the cover of 'Born In The USA' given I'm a rather large Bruce Springsteen fan. From there I got the next record 'The Royal Theatre' which IS a band record. It's brilliant too, it has something that I think a lot of scottish artists have; a melonchalia mixed and juxtaposed with uplifting music, it's also a showcase for McIntyre's special brand of writing about people. It's life under a microscope. The first track being a case in point.

After hearing that record, I was able to copy it for someone who in turn copied me 'Club Anthems' an earlier Ballboy record. An aching, soothing, heart battering slab of a record. 'Donald in the bushes with a bag of glue' and 'A Day In Space' are songs I never tire of. If either of those are played at Indietracks I'll be very happy.

Ballboy or Gordon at least, have played Indietracks a few times already and I've not seen them, though Gordon is responsibly for one of my favourite moments of last year. Standing in a tent whilst everyone is singing along to an acoustic version of 'What do we do now' by The Just Joans, my girlfriend is bumped into by the man behind her. Turning round in a fury she is met by Gordon McIntyre himself who simply states "If I do that again, punch me in the face", which I think is a lovely thing to say. I also think it's a good indicator of what Indietracks is like for someone who hasn't been. Where else could you get a performing artist to suggest you punch them? Nowhere that's where.

Anyway, that's Ballboy then. I suspect you've heard of them. If not then you really should. Most of their back catalogue is waiting to be raided on Spotify. I'll leave you with the rather fantastic 'I hate Scotland'

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Start Of Something Else.

So bands have already been announced for Indietracks, suggestions of who people would like to see headline are filtering in and expectation levels are already being racheted up. Due to this I've hit on the idea of profiling each of the bands that have been announced(to a greater or lesser degree). I'll try and do this in alphabetical order, though of course as bands get added I'm bound to have to back that rule. I just think it's a good way to give me something to blog about most days, and in a selfish way, I imagine it will help me familiarise myself with the bands I don't know before Indietracks arrives, maybe it'll help you too. If you're not going then it might just turn you on to bands you wouldn't of heard otherwise. Who knows? I think I'll give it a go though. There may well be none indiepop festival related news too.

Anyway first up is Allo Darlin'. I imagine if you're the kind of person who wants to go to Indietracks, is going to go, or has any interest in Indiepop at all, you've probably heard of Allo Darlin, so I'm not really going to do much profiling on this one. Instead I recommend that you: -

A) Read Alayerofchips' review of the forthcoming record.

B) Check out the band's Myspace and listen to the new single 'Dreaming'. Check out Monster Bobbys, slight Calvin Johnson type vocal. It's aces.

C) Watch the really fun live video of 'Henry Rollins Don't Dance' below and do the opposite of Rollins himself.



So there you go, admittedly not the most indepth of profiles but I'm well excited, and they're only the first band to listen to of many.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Slight return

Really quick entry, though I'll try to blog again later today, but did you see there's a new 'A Smile and a ribbon' single being released by Cloudberry?

I love the band and I've been waiting for something new for awhile, I still isten to 'The Boy I Wish I Never Met' often, but a new record would be greatly appreciated. Until then we have the new single, which sounds lovely to these ears, loving the little "ba,ba,ba" harmonies. Great stuff.

Anyway you can give it a listen via this LINK have fun.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

R.I.P Mark Linkous

It saddens me immensely to have to be writing another r.i.p blog entry so soon after the death of Jay Reatard, but the passing of Mark Linkous formerly of Sparklehorse deserves a blog entry.

Mark took his own life (he had attempted such a thing in the past), his family issued this statement "It is with great sadness that we share the news that our dear friend and family member, Mark Linkous, took his own life today. We are thankful for his time with us and will hold him forever in our hearts. May his journey be peaceful, happy and free. There's a heaven and there’s a star for you." I don't really think I could say anything else as eloquently as that, but I'd like to try.

I came across Mark and Sparklehorse through the single 'Hammering The Cramps' which I'd heard played on radio 1, but it wasn't until reading a review of 'Good Morning Spider' in the NME of all places that my love for him and his music really grew. I bought that record in the summer of 1998 and I've played it at least once every couple of months every year since. I think it's that good. It's lo-fi and experimental, but it's poppy and punky. It has heart in spades too. It's a dark record, but it's a joyful record, and contains some of the loveliest music and lyrics. Words such as "There will come a time gigantic waves will crush the junk I've saved. When the moon explodes or floats away, I'll lose the souvenirs I've made.
Anyway I loved it, and that record carried me through some quite sad times.

After that I followed Mark Linkous through his musical life and numerous collaborations. From his, perhaps, overlooked collaboration with Nina Persson (of the Cardigans) as A Camp; through to the record he made with Dangermouse last year, whilst taking in the 2 subsquent Sparklehorse records he released. The music of the man has permeated my life for so long it seems a little wrong to think he won't be with us.

My saddest moment, is that a few years ago I lived with my parents in Blackburn and never went to again gigs (I had no friends living near me). After years of nothing, Sparklehorse released 'Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain and toured it. I got a ticket. I was so excited, then the day came and I chickened out of going taking the 1hr train ride to Manchester to see them. I regret that to this day, and it hurts that I won't ever get to see them now.

Another terribly sad thing is that Mark had apparently almost finished a new record, and that 'Dark Night Of The Soul' the album he recorded with Dangermouse was going to get an official release. So much promise still to come. I really feel that we've lost one of the greatest musicians of the past decade or two, and that's the saddest thing of all. But I hope that something good comes of his death; I really hope that people who have never had the fortune of listening to some of the wonderful stuff he did will discover it posthumously.

Nothing else to say really, I'm sorry I couldn't be more elegant or eloquent. Instead I want to leave you with some videos of a couple of my favourite Sparklehorse songs.





I like 'Hundreds Of Sparrows' best I think. "I'm so sorry, my spirits rarely in my body" Sadly accurate today. The song tells someone that they are "worth hundreds of sparrows" Mark was worth thousands.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Lazy Lines

What's that you say, where have I been? Just being lazy I'm afraid, but I'm back to darken your Friday.

First up, a little self indulgence. I'm rather excited about the fact that Belle and Sebastian have announced tour dates and the fact that they're going to be recording a new album this year. I'm still a big fan, even after the lacklustre 'The Life Pursuit'. I still think they have it in them to pull off something beautiful and wonderful (if Stuart's 'God Help The Girl' stuff was anything to go by they do) and I can't help but really look forward to that. Anyway here's the self indulgent bit; I'm only talking about this so I can post this video of 'Is it Wicked not to care'. It's one of my favourite songs of theirs from my favourite record. The album just reminds me completely of spring, which fits in perfectly with the weather today.




Elsewhere this week I've been listening to the new Morning Benders record, I mentioned them a few posts back, which you may remember of you are one of our infrequent visitors. Anyway the new record 'Big Echo' is really from good indeed. It sags slightly in the middle of the record, but for the best part it's all sweetly sung harmonies, glossy production, hooks galore and happiness. Better still you can stream it all here. I hope you enjoy it.

Continuing my theme of arriving at bands/artists slightly later than other people I've just encountered Zee Avi who makes sweet and soothing solo music, just the right thing for an early morning.

That's it today, I'll attempt to update this blog a little more regularly again from now on. Oh yes, one finally thing.. I've been told that the M.J from M.J Hibbett actually stands for Michael Jackson, as he's such a big fan.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Shorty

Hi. Let me apologise in advance for the extremely short blog post I'm going to deliver today. Just seems that music news, or more importantly music news that I want to report, seems a little thin on the ground today.

So because of that I've retreated to the refuge of Bandcamp again. This time I want talk about 'The Curiously Strong Peppermints', they're aren't new so perhaps you've heard them already, but I guess there's enough people out there who haven't to make posting about it worthwhile.

Anyway, apart from the rather strange name, the band make music that sounds a little like the Beach Boys, and wouldn't be out of place working with Elephant 6. Pop harmonies and strange sounds abound. My personal favourite is 'Flannery O'Connor' and not just because it's named after the fantastic southern gothic author, in fact it's pop sensibilities and sunshine are a world away from the darker elements of O'Connor's work.

You can have a listen right here if you should have the inclination.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Shirley Lee

Do you miss Spearmint? Or perhaps more importantly, do you remember Spearmint? You should. They had a fair bit of airplay in the mid 1990's, in particular with the song 'Sweeping The Nation', album 'A Week Away' was critically acclaimed all over the place, and then they seemed to drop out of the public conciousness. Which is a terrible shame because they followed it up with more cracking records, not least 2006's 'Paris In A Bottle' a concept album of sorts, packed to bursting with hooks and singalongs. If you've never heard them or forgotten how great they can be, you might want to listen to 'A Week Away' on Spotify - Spearmint – A Week Away (Special Edition). Why? Because towards the end of the year, the band release a new album and I expect it to be great; the reason for this is that lead Spearmint Shirley Lee (or Mr. Shirley Lee) as the press sometimes dub him, has just released his eponymous debut album with backing from the rest of Spearmint, so obstensibly a Spearmint record. It's good too, or as much as I've heard of it. It sounds like Spearmint, which is a great thing. Songs tinged with melancholy and nostalgia that occasionally sound a bit like the Lightning Seeds or at times a lighter touched Belle and Sebastian. It's definitely worth a listen, and it's quiet brilliance is quite likely to suck you in, plus rather brilliantly there's a fair number of tracks to listen to HERE, so you've really got no excuse.

Elsewhere I've been keeping an eye out for news of 'The Bundles'. The band lineup is a certain kind of indie-kids wet dream featuring as it does, Kimya Dawson, Jeffrey Lewis and Jack Lewis. Plus Anders Griffin who has played with Regina Spektor amongst others. With a line-up like that there's a chance that they could produce something brilliant. The album itself is due in March, I think, but I managed to find a song called 'Pirates Declare War' which promises some good stuff. It sounds like most of the songs from Jeffrey Lewis' '12 Crass Songs' album or some of 'City and Eastern Songs', which is of course a great thing. You can hear it by following the upcoming link.

Pirates Declare War

Finally, simply because I've got the urge to listen to more Jeffrey Lewis now, here's a short film for Lewis' song 'Champion Jim'. Like many of his short film songs I don't think that this has been officially released, but it's brilliant.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

(put) Your hands (together)

Hiya. Once again it's a bit of a digest today.

First up, have you heard the first single from 'The New Pornographers' upcoming album? I have. I really like TNP, it's hard not to. Ostensibly a supergroup they make some really great spiky pop tunes. That said, although I liked some of last album 'Challengers' it didn't really resonate with me as much as previous albums like 'Twin Cinema' or 'Mass Romantic' had. That said, both Carl Newman, Dan Bejar and Neko Case have seperately all released brilliant new material recently, so I have high hopes for this new record, so let's go back to the single; it's called 'Your hands (together)' I must admit it didn't quite click with me on first listen, although I think that's partly due to listening to it on a netbook with slightly tinny speakers. Having listened to it since I've come to love it already, I think it's closer to 'Electric Version' or 'Mass Romantic' in sound (particularly with the Neko vocal) and that is a really good thing. If you're a New Pornographers fan, I think you'll love it, and if you're not a fan or have never heard them before, then give it a go eh? It can be heard here:-

http://www.thenewpornographers.com/media.html

In other brief news, there's some freebies out there on the net for you.

Tweefort records (who i've mentioned briefly before) have a compilation series to download for absolutely nothing, which is nothing short of wonderful of them. It's great too.

Oh yes, and the hugely anticipated London Popfest!! (explanation marks bloggers own) have a compilation playlist to listen to. That's available from this link :- http://www.mediafire.com/?v2zqemozllj

I've not listened to it yet, but with the line-up of bands for popfest being as good as it is, that compilation is liable to be nothing short of brilliant.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Bad Poetry

Haiku Salut make
very beautiful music
I really like them.

Apologies for that poor attempt, I'm no Basho , though I think the poem says everything I feel about the band anyway.

Elsewhere, Bandcamp continues to prove a rich gold mine for great bands. Apple Orchard are one such, 'Hit or Miss' and indeed the rest of the new E.P puts me in mind of Sarah records, which is no mean thing. It's reflective and beautiful, I hear echos of Bobby Wratten in some of the vocals, and ghosts of indiepop past in the guitar. I really like this.

Oh and lazy and (borderline) plagiarism means I'm not afraid to just steal things straight from an anorak thread and whack them up here. So, may I also present to you Playpeople. I've heard the name before, but not the music before which is quite remiss of me, especially because they are jolly good.

Righto, sorry to cut this short but there's a rabbit to look after. See you soon.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Band Camp

Look at that title up there. Look at it and tell me what it means to you. Perhaps it makes you think of an American feature film circa 1999 featuring a gone to seed ginger girl and a slightly chubby guy, or perhaps you're thinking of the kind of summer pastime we don't seem to have in England. Though I wish we did. Anyway this post is about neither of those things, though a few days ago I'd have thought the same. Nah THIS band camp is a rather nifty website where bands can share music and people like you and me can listen to it. That's a good thing right? Yes, I know what you're thinking, "aren't there lots of these sites?" There are, yeah, but this one is really great because it seems to be a lot more diverse, and importantly it has a fairly good smattering of indie-pop bands (as well as other genres) sharing stuff on there, in some cases whole albums. Admittedly I have no idea how to get an account for it that isn't an account for bands, and I've not found a search bit on there either, and have had to use google BUT I have found some new (or new to me) bands and I thought I'd share a couple with you.

Firstly the rather brillant 'The Super Cutes'

I love this, I love how the first line of the first song is 'I dream of fluffy kittens' and how tongue in cheek it is, mentioning Zac Efron carries extra points too (as does having a song called Ice-cream and Nazis). I love the whole do it yourself sound of the thing and just the sheer joy and exuberance of it. I listened in a half-awake state this morning, and almost instantly had a big smile on my face and was wide awake, so there you are the musical equivalent of caffiene. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Then Beat radio. I don't quite know what it is about Beat Radio, whether it's the vocal or the crisp drum sound in the background, but there's something there that just gets it's hooks into me and won't let go. There's a hum and a buzz to the music that makes me think of cities (unsuprisingly Hefner's We Love The City pulls this off too), it gives the songs an underlying energy that keeps me wanting to listen. It's something I can see myself coming back to quite a lot.

Anyway, so there you go, Bandcamp. If you figure out how it works any better than I can, let me know.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Smorgasbored

Welcome back to the blog that no-one is calling a veritable musical smorgasboard. Apart from me of course, I'm getting t-shirts made up with that on them.

First up, yet another band that I've only just discovered that you may or may not have heard of. I like how this keeps happening, it suggests that there must be even more bands out there that I've yet to here, and that is a very warming and comforting though. The band I've stumbled across are called The Very Most. In grand 'Beerandbands' style, I know nothing about them, apart from the fact that the banner on their myspace says they had a new record out in January, and that the songs on said Myspace are very nice indeed, delicious indiepop of a fine order. Get over to their myspace and lend them your ears.

Billie The Vision and The Dancers on the other hand are a band I'm very aware of. I'm still unsure on whether I like their name, but I know that their last 'I used to wander these streets' was as good a record as emerged from Sweden in 2008, or indeed in the last couple of the years. It's great to hear, then, that they have a new single out called 'I'm alive'. Sadly I couldn't find an MP3 of it, but there's a nice live version of it up on youtube, so here it is :-



Finally 'The Morning Benders' are another band I'm quite a fan of, they make fun nostalgic pop to sing and swoon along too. Their covers album from a few years ago is a cracker too. Their website is currently offering a free mp3 from the new album to download, so i'd check out that if I were you, and here's the link to the page that has the covers album to download if it's still available - HERE. Oh and if you'll forgive me for posting yet another video, then you should watch the below, right now. It's wonderful.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lovely things

Hello there! How are you today, good I hope.

Today I've been having a quick read of some of the Anorak forum, I never pay as much attention to some of the stuff on there (and it's a great site for finding out things first), but I stumbled across Pebble records. It's really nice to be able to browse (and buy records from) a whole lot of indiepop artists in one place. It's good work, and I therefore encourage you to go and have a look as soon as possibly.

Elsewhere, Laura Marling has announced that she'll be releasing another album of folky goodness, 'I speak because I can' in the UK and Eupore on March 22nd; Australia on the 19th March and the US on the 6th April. There's an official video for 'Devil's Spoke' a track of the album available on the 'net, but I've got it here for you. See what you think. I'm getting overtones of Beth Orton, but loving that guitar sound underneath, it's great.



Next, if you're lucky enough to live in London, then I've spotted a pretty good gig that you might not have been aware of. Owl Parliament. Just LOOK at that line-up. Mount Eerie solo, Aidan Moffat, Hayman. If you're able to go to this and you'd don't, I would suggest that you are extremely foolish.

Sadly that's it for today, sorry there's not more to report.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Seethers Digest

Hello! Sorry I've been away, my excuse this week is a passport form debacle and a new rabbit. Anyway to get back in the swing of the typing thing I thought I'd just write a quick digest on things that might interest you.

Firstly if you're in London and not doing a lot tonight, you could do a lot worse than dragging yourself down to THIS. Not only are there fantastic bands playing that, but it's for a good cause too, namely helping Allo Darlin' to play South By Southwest. In addition, I think Darren Hayman and Amelia Fletcher doing some songs from 'We Love The City' is not to be missed, if they do 'Good Fruit' that alone will be worth the price of admission. It's something I doubt we'll see again. Now would be a good time to post the wonderful 'Good Fruit' video actually, so I shall.


So anyway, yes, get yourself along to that, you won't regret it.


Elsewhere, The Melting Ice Caps have a rather lovely new single out now. Even better it's all for free. I've listened to the first song 'Our Lovely Afternoon' and found the band adopting a degage attitude mingled with a pleasant warmth. It's well worth hearing, and since it's a freebie you've got no reason at all not too. Get it from the website.

Continuing on the free theme, Where It's At Is Where You are, have just put up the next in there series of free monthly download singles. It's a goodie too, get over HERE and give it a listen.

Finally, and I hope she won't mind, a friend of mine puts together a lovely zine called Intercity Baby. More copies have just been reprinted and are on sale again. It's really such a pretty thing and definitely worth a read. Here's a little blurb

"The zine is full of wistful reminiscing on journeys – be they by train, car, or airplane – and the wonderful people and pop events that await us on the other end. I cannot fully express how genuine and fascinating the stories are. I really can’t wait for you to read them!

Some of the contributors include Laz of Bubblegum Lemonade, Pete Green, Jenny of Strawberry Fair, Charlie of Bears and The Golden Rule, and Pete of Horowitz.

I posed five questions (see them here
) to a number of glittering international pop luminaries. Some of those who thoughtfully answered these questions are from The Orchids, Summer Cats, Pocketbooks, One Happy Island, Friends, The Foxgloves, Very Truly Yours, and more!

"I've always wanted more people to read the heartfelt stories, the daydreams through drizzly skies, the real-life wanderings through which I've lived vicariously while reading. So I'm hoping you might want a copy! We can do an exchange - send me anything you've made, be that a zine, a small piece of music, a poem, a postcard, a drawing. Or if you want, you can simply PayPal me 2 (popchicago@gmail.com) "

So, yeah, do your bit for the independant fanzine writer, and get yourself a copy.

Until next time then..

Monday, 1 February 2010

We Disappear


This morning I went downstairs to discover a little package from the lovely folks at Weepop. Said package contained the new Transmittens mini-album, a badge, a sweetie and a really lovingly designed envelope to hold the 3 inch CDR. It's nice to get something so delightful through the post, and I love it when a label puts such a lot of love and effort into what they do. With Weepop this extends to the bands, and Transmittens are no exception.

I mentioned that Transmittens had a new record, 'We Disappear' coming out a few posts ago, but now that I've actually recieved it, I think it definitely deserves a larger post and it's a good excuse to post the lovely looking artwork again.

What can I say about the record except that it's fantastic? It's really very short, 10 tracks and 20 minutes, but when has that impaired the quality of a record? I think A Smile and A Ribbon's first record was similarly short and similarly brilliant. Also when it's that short, it's a great excuse to put the record on again, like I'm just about to.

Music wise, where talking tinny, bouncy, happy keyboards and cute girl vocals for the most part, though there's some nice boy/girl vocal harmonies thrown in for good measure; this is especially evident on 'Summer won't End'. Every song is catchy as hell, and the keyboards helping to suck the listener in with more hooks then a Peter Pan convention. Elsewhere, 'Too Right To Sigh' carries a calypso feel, whilst the short but sweet 'Hot Dog Suit' is ridiculous and ridiculous lovely. As the aforementioned 'Summer won't End' may have led you to suspect, this album just vibrates with the feeling of hot days and long drinks. It'll be one to play over and over (and will sound fantastic) with friends in the park, or on summer lawns or in the car on the way to another festival. There's a slight sad and nostalgic feel to some of the songs too, just right to capture that wistful mood as the sun slowly fades and casts long shadows of dusk across a city park.

That said, there's no reason why you shouldn't be listening to it now. There's already been mention of albums of the year in indiepop circles (Standard Fare being the main one), but 'We Disappear' should definitely be up there. As I say I think it's a record a lot of people will be listening to for a large part of the year. Do yourself a favour and go and order it now. Oh and once again, if you missed my post from the other day, then you can listen to opening song from the record, on Weepop. I left the link at the top for you.

Friday, 29 January 2010

My Secret Favourite

Once upon a time there was a brilliant, but rather undiscovered, band from Long Island called My Favourite. They released some absolutely fantastic record and a bunch of great singles, combining nostalgia with a rose tinted view of the world. Just watch the video below and revel in the brilliance. Or listen to 17 Berlin.



They were wonderful, and when they finally called it a day it was a sad one. That could have been the end of it, if not for the fact that Michael (the main lynch pin) from the band started another group called 'The Secret History', who've been quietly gathering praise and fans for a little while now, they played NYC popfest last year, and are doing so again this year. I've been enjoying their 'Desolation Town' EP for a little while now, particular the song 'The Haunted Hearts' fervently awaiting the advent of new material. Thankfully that wait is over because they've just put up a new song called Johnny Anorak over here on their Myspace. It's predictably great, when the chorus comes in it's as swoonsome a song as I've heard this short year. Even better they've announced a new album for March. You can download the song and read about more on this blog. I'm really excited. I think 'The Secret History' are going to get a lot bigger this year. I've got my fingers crossed for them to play Indietracks. I suggested them on Anorak but like most of my post, it got ignored. Maybe they've already got them. Here's hoping.

Oh yes, If you want to listen to their 'Desolation Town' EP, then click below.

The Secret History – Desolation Town

Thursday, 28 January 2010

IRM

Often I think that my musical life (or at least this blog) can be likened to a man stumbling around in a darkened room until his hand alights on an object which can illuminate the darkness, except in my case it's music not objects.

One such band who've managed to permeate the deep dark of my musical ignorance this week are The July Days. I've never heard of them before, though I guess and hope that they're named for the events that occured one July in Russia over 90 years ago. Anyway, I know a little bit more now thanks to their Myspace. They are from Birmingham and have supported The Lovely Eggs and My Sad Captain as well as winning a Battle Of the Bands at Birmingham University. See what I mean about stumbling in the dark? This lot should have been on my radar ages ok, still I'm just glad I found them. Hopefully you will be too. I think one listen to 'I Said, You Said' should be enough to convince you. I can't quite explain why, but that song makes me giddy and tells my feet they want to dance, and only the best songs can do that. Give 'em a listen over here.

The other thing I've been listening to today is the new Charlotte Gainsbourg record. Charlotte of course is the daughter of the legendary Serge, in fact her first musical outing came on a Serge single. She's an actress as well as a musician and such a fine pedigree comes over on the record. Her current release IRM, is written, arranged, produced and parly played by oddball Beck.

In places it has elements of Beck's slightly darker pieces mixed with a chanteuses touch of the sublime. It's arranged beautiful, and Charlottes voice, although not perfect fits the music very well indeed. It's a lovely, fragile, thing to listen to, and I'd encourage you to do so if you get the chance.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM