Thursday, 25 February 2010


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:-

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 :-

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


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 ( "

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.