Friday, 25 June 2010

It's already Friday.


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


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!