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.