Thursday, 21 April 2011

Indietracks announcement 3

So Indietracks has announced the next bunch of bands and, as suspected already, it really is shaping up to be a cracker. I know this isn't much of an inspired blog post considering I'm more or less just copying and pasting from the indietracks blog, but I think the bands speak for themselves; just look at them:-

Help Stamp Out Loneliness are being raved about across the net, Milky Wimpshake are always great value. Elsewhere there's local boys (the mighty) Horowitz and it's fantastic to see that they'll be back at the festival again. Then there's Haiku Salut, who although they contain former members of the Dierdres are really very different to that band, all beautiful instrumentation and swoonsomeness. It's varied further by the brilliantly named and riotiously entertaining Anguish Sandwich.

So, yeah, it's a varied and brilliant line up this year as you can see from the below plagiarism. So what are you waiting for you've only got another 3 weeks to get those early bird tickets. Snap to it! Announcement follows...

"Help Stamp Out Loneliness, whose Krautrock-inspired poptastic debut record is a clear contender for the album of the year.

Milky Wimpshake, Newcastle’s punk pop legends, with three ace albums and numerous fantastic singles under their belts.

Just Handshakes (We’re British), described by Rough Trade as “officially one of the best UK indie pop bands around”, and with a recent single on the legendary Elefant Records.

Band A Part, a charming Spanish indiepop duo, again continuing our festival’s Elefant Records connection.

Amor De Dias, amazing collaboration between The Clientele frontman Alasdair Maclean and Pipas’ Lupe Nunez-Fernandez.

They’re joined by bundles of other fantastic bands. The following have also been added to the main stages:

Guatafan (Spain), A Fine Day For Sailing, Sloppy Joe (Japan), The History of Apple Pie, Horowitz , Frankie Machine, Haiku Salut, Victoria & Jacob, World of Fox, Ace Bushy Striptease, Heroes of the Mexican Independence Movement, Moustache of Insanity, Anguish Sandwich, The Proctors.

And the following will be playing acoustically on the trains:

The Whatevers, Peru, Oxo Foxo, Graeme Elston (Love Parade/Pure/Slipside), Mat Patalano (The Specific Heats)(US), Remi Parson (Electrophonvintage/The Sunny Street).

Headliners already announced for this year’s Indietracks include Edwyn Collins, The Hidden Cameras, Jeffrey Lewis, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Jonny, Ringo Deathstarr and Math and Physics Club"

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

That's No Moon

I mentioned a couple of post back posts back that I was looking forward to seeing Ringo Deathstarr at Indietracks, but that was after only hearing a few songs and not the new album. Now that I've heard 'Colour Trip' (over and over) I can safely say that I'm seriously excited.

Like yesterdays blogstars The Midgetmen, Ringo Deathstarr also hail from Austin, Texas, and are also pretty loud. However where the former are primarily punk, Ringo Deathstarr are for the most part shoegaze. Some would say derivatively so (I've seen JAMC mentioned lots of times in reference to the band), and whilst it's fair to say that you can play a fair amount of spot the influence listening to the album it would be unfair to say that that's all there is to the band.

For example whilst opener 'Imagine Hearts' is straight forward shoegaze, the following track 'Do It Ever Time' comes off like Calvin Johnson fronting Yo La Tengo, and contains the couplet "we're falling apart again, she took my cardigan". It's brilliant.

That vibe sort of flows into the next track 'So High' whose giddy pop just makes me want to dance. It's the sort of song that could have been the other A-side to 'C Is The Heavenly Option'.

Other highlights include 'Kaleidoscope' ,which is a utterly beautiful fuzzy pop gem. The sort of song that if it was corporeal you'd hug it to your chest and never let go; 'Tambourine Girl' whose chainsaw guitar kicks into the most joyous melody, and the sweet and tender closer 'Other Things'. It's all great though.

So yeah, even in the course of that review you can see how easy it is to compare the band to those that have gone before (but surely it's that way for most bands) and yes you could play spot the influence or be all snotty and dismiss this as derivative but that would be missing the point; that Ringo Deathstarr have produced a record that is a joyful, heartlifting, humalong, jumpalong, gem of a POP record. More of this sort of thing please!

You can hear the album on Spotify now

Listen to some stuff on Last FM

Oh and maybe see them live at Indietracks

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Midgetmen - Loud Enough

There's a number of things I love about writing a blog, the chance to be (albeit mildly) creative, and the joy of realising that there are genuinely people reading this, are two of the main ones. Another one is getting to hear music from bands, I may not have done otherwise. A case in point is The Midgetmen.

Until I recieved an email from the band asking if I'd be interested in reviewing their new album, I must confess I'd never heard of the band; and they're just about to celebrate their 9th anniversary. I do ;however; suspect I'm not alone in this, a suspicion backed up by the fact that a flyer which comes with the new record, Loud Enough, confirms. It reads "You've possibly and likely ignored our first three albums. It happens". They're right I have and it does, but I can tell you honestly that I wish I hadn't, because whilst Loud Enough is a truly accurate album title there's much more to this band then just noise.

I could write a bio of the band, but it would seem a little silly since I've admitted knowing fuck all about them, so I'll leave you to read the band doing that themselves on their website.

It opens with 'Beer's Gone'. A high energy opener, which probably proclaims that "when the beer's gone, we're gone". A sentiment I can happily agree with. This is followed by "Unforgettable" whose sing song lyrical melody is defiantly catchy in direct contrast to the title of the track. It's gloriously sloppy punk.

Third track 'King Kong' is the first here to demonstrate that the band are more than just another throwaway punk band here or indeed just "loud enough". Riding a punishing guitar line, it mainlines the same kind of sonic brilliance that the Pixies and more recently Titus Andronicus have peddled.

It contains in much the same excellent vein, 'Glue Factory' is a taut and wiry kick to the face, a less drunken, less Irish Dropkick Murphys. 'Race To The Bottom' is frenetic, 'Honus' will have you attempting to yelp along long before you know the words, 'Sword Fight' will take that even further. Try not to yell "SWORD FIGHT" whilst listening to it.

It doesn't stop there, 'Advice' is an earworm; 'Wheeling Downs' is touching and noisy, 'Sea Shanty' hits the kind of heights that the Replacements did at times, and 'Fly High Fly Low' pounds and shudders.

It comes to an end with 'The Dream' which is as an epic closer as you could ask for.

As I said at the beginning, it's a little sad to think that I've missed out on The Midgetmen until now, but at least I've finally heard them. Yes this record's title is accurate but beyond that the record is also big, fun, and very very good.

You can hear 'Kong' from the album on the band's site right now. You can buy it too and so you should.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Rip it up

Time flies, dunnit? Doesn't seem to long since I was at Indietracks; less time still since the first batch of bands were announced for this years, and now all of a sudden we have the second batch of announcements, and reet good ones they are too; let's have a look shall, we have (deep breath):-

Edwyn Collins, Jonny, Suburban Kids with Biblical Names (SKWBN), Butcher Boy, Withered Hand, Pocketbooks, Ringo Deathstarr, Chris T-T, A Little Orchestra, Dignan Porch, The Bumblebees, Papa Toco.

That's a nicely varied and this looks to be shaping to be a cracker. Edwyn played a fantastic set at End of the road last year, mixing up old Orange Juice stuff with new stuff, and the obligatory 'Girl Like You' he went down a storm and garnered excellent reviews. He'll be in his element at Indietracks and I would expect a rapturous crowd.

Jonny are Norman Blake, of former Indietracks headliners Teenage Fanclub, and Euros Childs (Gorky's Zygotic Mynci). They make music as beautiful and heart warming as you might expect given their track records. SKWBN's are a band who will get people up and dancing, Swedish indiepop at it's best and one of Labrador Records' finest bands, which is a pretty big deal when you consider their roster.

Elsewhere Pocketbooks return to Indietracks is bound to please a lot of people, their glorious take on indiepop always goes down well. Withered Hand will probably make you cry, but in a really good way.

Of the ones I've not heard or seen before, I'm really keen to see Ringo Deathstarr. I like their name, they are coming a long way and most importantly they promise to be excellent, fuzzy, melodic, shoegaze. What's not to like - check out 'So High' below - short sweet and excellent. A perfect pop tune in other words

As I've said several times now Indietracks is already looking like having one of the best line-ups it's ever had, and considering it's had some fantastic line ups you'd be mad to miss this one.

The festival takes place the last weekend of July and you can find out everything you need to know at their website. Tickets are available at an early bird price until May 7th.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


Just a short post today.

WIAIYWA are currently offering Help Stamp Out Loneliness' (HSOL) track 'Record Shop' as a free download of the month, and boy is it a good one.

I've mentioned HSOL recently when I talked about the first 3 tracks from their forthcoming album being up on Bandcamp. I pegged 'Record Shop' as a favourite then and it remains so. A beautiful and catchy paean to stalking and there is definitely a lack of songs on that subject. It hits with a Fight clubesque (musical) hook to the ear and continues unrelentingly until the track finishes and you want to stick it back on again. It has that same instant classic feel that 'The Start Of Something' by Voxtrot had or Standard Fare's 'Philadelphia. By this time you should have already downloaded the track, it's free for goodness sake, but if not go back to the top and click the link.

Also as I mentioned above HSOL had the first 3 tracks of their album available on Bandcamp. Since I last checked, their are now 3 more. All of which are equally excellent. If this continues there is little doubt that 1) we have an album of the year on our hands, and 2) HSOL have the potential to be big. They've already had a mention in the Guardian Don't be suprised if you see them cropping up all over the place fairly soon.

You can pre-order the record from WIAIWYA as well, I suggest you do.

Friday, 1 April 2011

March playlist

Hello you lot,

Apologies for not updating the blog yesterday; sometimes it almost seems like I have too much time to do everything in and just don't get around to it. That may sound ridiculous, but if you've ever spent a weekend saying to yourself, "I'll do the washing up/painting/greco-roman wrestling practice in a bit, I've got all weekend", only to find that the weekend is suddenly gone and you've not done anything then you'll know what I mean.

Anyway, I do have a few things to review, but as I've not had much more than a cursory listen I'd rather not review them yet. Seems a little unfair to bands who put in time and effort on a release, only to have some cloth-eared blogger listen give it a perfunctory first listen and then cast it aside.

Instead then I've gone to the old fall-back staple and made another Spotify playlist, this time for the best (in my opinion) new stuff released in March. As always apologies if you don't have Spotify. Also the tracks aren't arranged in any real order so it might not flow to well, and of course this doesn't take into account albums released this month that aren't on Spotify. There's a lot of those, sadly.

The link is below anyway, it's not a very long playlist I'm afraid, but I hope you enjoy it and apologies for the lax post. Better things to come next week.

Best of March 2011