Wednesday 30 June 2010

Sleep all over it

Have I mentioned SLEEP ∞ OVER before? I should of, shame on me. As the name suggests this is yet more West Coast distorted dream pop, smothered in reverb, echo and other float-away sensibilities. The difference here is that its all taken that extra mile, even sweeter more distorted female vocals, even dreamier washed out rhythms and even more ethereal hues of sound that wash over you, tempting you down to even darker depths. Gem like stuff this.

SLEEP ∞ OVER put out a new 7" Outer Limits on Gorilla Vs Bear's label Forest Family this month and have previously put out a split 7" with SM favorites Pure Ecstasy, vid and taste below.

SLEEP ∞ OVER - Outer Limits

Sleep ∞ Over - Your World Is Night from Josh Morgan on Vimeo.

We are all Eternal Fags

In Dalston there is a very special venue called 113 and I'm not going to tell you anything more, not even a link. In my mind you have to show a certain level of dedication to the London gig scene to get to go to 113 - of course this means that you'll probably end up there 'cos your mate told you about it, but that's beside the point. But if you want in, put in leg work yourself.

But needless to say, any band that play 113 is worth your time. The venue has a great ear for booking truly inspiring bands that seem to keep going despite what anybody thinks of them and you've got to admire that.

One such band that have graced the threshold of this awesome venue is Glaswegian trio Eternal Fags. Chaos and structure are not easy bedfellows but Eternal Fags are that kind of band that use the latter to make the former, to great effect. Combining wailing gut wrenching yelps, clattering guitar and drums around a solid punk base. At times, in fact all the time, Eternal Fags sound like a band on the brink descending into a complete shambles at every turn, they dance on the edge of oblivion, toy with total chaos, flirt with anarchy just for fun but, and this is the strange thing, never fall off the edge. This is chaotic rock at its best, a complete mess that hides a driving rhythmic heart deep at its core.

Eternal Fags played 113 at the back end of May with Leeds trio Pifco and put out a self titled album (well I say album, it clocks in at only 17mins, that says it all really, ace!) on Scottish label Winning Sperm Party around the same time, you can download it for free here, there's also physicals too. I'm warning you now, this shit is not for the faint hearted! See what I mean...

Eternal Fags - Spy Fags
Eternal Fags - Annie

Sunday 27 June 2010

Zorch those Holy Deacon Fuckers to the ground!!!

I saw Holy Fuck at Breeders' ATP last May, and was suitably impressed - their first LP has had a prominent place on my playlist ever since. The Canadians use live instruments and other non-instruments to create electronics...without the electronics. In doing so Holy Fuck have created a very refreshing and fun sound that a lot of bands are now trying to emulate.

I saw Dan Deacon only a few weeks later at ULU. The Baltimore mad scientist was brilliant - crowd participation and interaction combined with a blisteringly fun set that had all and sundry writhing around with the goofiest of grins. Hence Bromst was added to the mix.

Now if these two electro avant groups had a hedonistic night together in a multicoloured wigwam in the middle of the desert, the illegitimate lovechild would invariably shirk both bands whilst intrinsically holding onto their DNA, move to Austin Texas and call themselves Zorch.

Zorch made a hell of an impact at Austin's South By South West, and no wonder. Their two-piece noise orgy is everything that noise should be - intricate, loud, and fun. The best description of their sound has to be Rhythm Sektion's review ( "...makes me feel like a koala bear crapped a rainbow on my brain"). Get their demo for free here, and if you still arent sold, listen to the track below. Prepare for multicoloured fecal matter to flood your senses...

Zorch - Zut Alore!

Woos like deformed vermin....

Isaac Brock. I really do love this frenetic, boozy, headcase of a man, even if his main musical outlet Modest Mouse has lost a touch of that inexplicable spark (although last year's EP No One's First And You're Next showed MM on the upward curve). One of my all time favourite albums is The Lonesome Crowded West, although I initially came to them through The Moon & Antarctica (thanks to Jo, in turn thanks to Andy, in turn thanks to Amy - the beautiful daisy chain that is the sonic equivalent of 'paying it forward'. Oh, and The Moon & Antarctica is also fucking amazing). When I saw them (only the once thus far), they played Doing the Cockroach and Trailer Trash, snd even though Brock wasnt as manic as I had been led to believe, it was mighty fine.

But there is more to Brock than cryptic screeching and awesome guitarwork. Take his side project Ugly Casanova. Why the inverted commas? Because UC's only album, Sharpen Your Teeth, came out way back in 2002. So it was more of a one-off (albeit brilliant) endeavour...until now.

Brock has recorded 8 songs (most new; one a reworked version of a Sharpen Your Teeth track) for doco 180 Degrees South, which features songs by Shin's James Mercer and Jack Johnson amongst others, put out by Johnson's Brushfire Records. Its a mighty exciting time when Brock puts anything new out, and you can call this current batch of tracks as a mini Brock album if you like. Either way, the Modest Mouse trick (AKA inexplicable smiles and salivation), once dormant, is kicking in again...

Ugly Casanova - Here's To Now
Ugly Casanova - Lay Me Down

And just cos Im generous - and its Sunday - here's some Modest Mouse:

Modest Mouse - King Rat

Saturday 26 June 2010

Album review - These Monsters' Call Me Dragon

Im placing These Monsters firmly in this grouping. It would be easy to say “Oh wow, they are from Leeds, so therefore Brendan will harp on about them.” And here I am, harping on about them. But as Ive stated, Leeds seems to be providing the right atmosphere in the solar system that is the English music scene – but its up to the band to struggle out of the water and onto land, take its first breath – then become the alpha male, marking its territory and baring its teeth to maximum effect. And on their first LP, Call Me Dragon (which Ive been sitting on for a couple months - sorry about the delay!), we see not only that from These Monsters, but a monumental step forward from their admittedly awesome self-titled EP – evolving faster than its brethren – a mutant amongst mere mortals. Apt band moniker then…

Call Me Dragon is brilliant in the fact that it perfectly showcases what you can still do with stoner rock. The infusion of jazz, the stripping of (or sparse use of) vocals, the gargantuan undercurrent of a rolling rhythm section that concertinas perfectly with the inventive growls and rumblings of killer guitarwork – none of it seems put on; all of it seems incendiary, and indeed necessary. Opening with the title track, These Monsters roll on like a World War Two tank, the battlefield your eardrums as the funkified dirge is completed by reverb heavy and deeply disturbing guttural wails. The tempo remains pretty much the same throughout – yet its to These Monsters’ eternal credit that it doesn’t feel monotonous, old or worn in the slightest. The niche cut here is unique, but far reaching at the same time. There is so much to like – I can hardly fault anything here – I really can’t.

But while I can state that being a fan of bands such as Pelican, Isis, Red Sparowes, That Fucking Tank!, Mogwai etc etc etc certainly helps, it doesn’t change the facts. Which are that These Monsters are amazingly accomplished artists; that there is enough fire here to fuel ten thousand armies; their inventiveness and energy pervades every nook and cranny of every song; and ultimately a bruising force of nature – even the calmer moments are brooding, electric affairs, leading the listener to a darker realm before the storm crashes down once more. A fantastic album to kick off an infinitely exciting new act.

China's No Wave Revolution

Carsick Cars are amazing. Being sick in a car is not. However, it would be if Carsick Cars was playing on the stereo - you would be grinning from ear to ear as the bile dripped off your chin and stained the upholstery of the seat, effectively eradicating Daddy's precious toy's New Car Smell, bringing the ire of your entire family as they bathe in the heat of your vomit - and there is still 6 hours til your final destination...

So yeah, I guess I should say why such a scenario would be close to the raddest thing on earth. Because Carsick Cars fucking kick. The fact they're from China is certainly a quirk for those who only like obscure as fuck bands (which can at times be me, but I must say I never hesitate to hold onto a band like its my last piece of Easter egg, feverishly preserving it til the end of days...), but Carsick Cars deserve so much more than that. They offer us something different in the sense that many bands have tried and failed to do what they do with apparent aplomb - mirror Sonic Youth. The proof is in the pudding. These guys embrace everything from Glenn Branca to Suicide to The Velvet Underground (a personal favourite of the band's) in the space of a single song - seamlessly. Thurston Moore handpicked them personally for 2007's European tour. They released their 2nd LP You Can Listen You Can Talk last year. They rocked South By SouthWest this year. And I implore you - find their albums and buy them - then play the fuck out of them. NOW.

Carsick Cars - You Can Listen You Can Talk
Carsick Cars - Zhong Nan Hai

Sebadoh fails to go Missing, come good once more

Here's a couple little anecdotes for ya, to start off your Saturday whilst drinking your coffee/tea/finger of amber. Both involve Lou Barlow's Sebadoh.

And before I get started - no, i don't like Lou Barlow, he's a twat.

But after being notoriously ousted by his bandmates J Mascis and Murph of Dinosaur Jr, to then go and be infinitely more popular than when he was involved, he continued on with indie band Sebadoh, who in 1994 put out Bakesale, one of the best albums of the 1990s. I still remember the first time I heard about them, AND the first time I heard them. There was a review of Bakesale in Rolling Stone magazine, the 1st one I had ever bought (it had Smashing Pumpkins on the front, with d'Arcy of course, before Billy Corgan became a full blown douche and dated Jessica Simpson). It certainly piqued my interest - and for some reason the cover art was burned into my brain. So about a year later Im in my cousin Greg's room. This was a seminal afternoon for me, as I also properly listened to Sonic Youth for the 1st time - but that's another story. I noticed, peeking out of the myriad of scattered CDs littering the floor, that cover art for Bakesale. Greg put it on - and it killed.

My love affair with Sebadoh has been always off and on, short torrid bursts of indulgence followed by long troughs of disdain. But that album is still amazing...

2nd anecdote - my friend Si (or my sister's boyfriend Si, however it should be put haha!), mentioned that he always thought that Lou Barlow was a ballbag and never really gave Sebadoh the time of day, writing them off as incredibly shit, possibly (nay, most probably) shitter than shit. Then for whatever reason he heard Bakesale - and although it doesnt change the fact the Barlow can shit off, the album is a true testament to proper slacker indie rock.

Now, finally, some songs! First up is 'License to Confuse' off - what else? - Bakesale (I think Harmacy is pretty good too - not iii though, or most of Barlow's solo excrement). The second is from the band Sentridoh, Barlow's collaboration with The Missingmen. Stereogum claim that the EP that's coming out wont be as exciting as iii; if that's the case, avoid it like the plague. But Im pretty sure they're wrong on this account - 'Losercore' is a pretty cool song. Enjoy!

Oh - and I dont like Lou Barlow, just so's you know's.

Sebadoh - License to Confuse

Sentridoh - Losercore (Sebadoh + The Missingmen)

Friday 25 June 2010

Sunbirds, Sunshine, All The Time!

Paul is right - its hard to resist a band that evokes a sunny disposition when the English summer commences. Its even harder when the band's name evokes summer frivolity. Best Coast, Eternal Summer, Beach Fossils, are all on high rotation - and it helps that they are kick arse bands too.

Sunbirds, when reading of their make-up, would appear to have a confused notion of what it means to make sunny pop, due to dislocation of geography - members hark from London, Los Angeles and France. However their generous and upside down frown take on shoegaze fuzz is very refreshing, and marks them as a band to keep an eye on over the summer months - which you can start doing next week! Sunbirds are playing Hoxton Bar and Grill on Monday 29th June (supporting The Whigs and Expatriate), before launching their first EP River Run, out in July through Smoky Carrot.

Sunbirds - Sunshine

Friday cover up - mining the Noughties hitlist

Im in control of the Friday Cover Up this week, as again Im am left to man the controls while Paul and Ani flitter off to a festival (something called Glastonbury - speaking of which, when are we going to hear about Primavera? Seeing as most of us had to stay here in England and live life in the 'real world' - insert vitriol here...) Last time I was left to do my own thing, I brought in David Cross. Today - its the It couple of Hip-Hop and RnB, Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Well, strange imitations thereof. Jay-Z's iconic anthem '99 Problems' is given a twee as fuck makeover by none other than Philadelphia Grand Jury, as mentioned earlier this week.

For Beyonce, we are attacking a Destiny's Child song - and we owe Elbow for the offering. Well, kind of...

Elbow - Independent Woman (Destiny's Child cover) - as covered by kittens...

So Jay Z says stay clear of independent bitches, and Beyonce says get out of the way of us independent bitches - or pussies - that smoke... They're a match made in heaven - a true intellectual force to be reckoned with... And that's it, Im in desperate need of getting shitfaced! Enjoy the weekend folks - there'll be some ruminations on Sebadoh, Modest Mouse, and other things to spit at your monitor over. Until then - get smashed!

Do not lament - Wavves of old still lurks...

After I posted Wavves new 'single' 'Post-Acid' last week, fellow Sonic Masala-er Paul was more than a little concerned. He felt that by adding the glossy finish, Nathan Williams, in the effort of trying something new, was actually creating something generic, decidedly un-Wavves - AKA the end of the world.

Fear not, Pauly Shore.

Stereogum has announced that two tracks Wavves threw out last year, 'Cool Jumper' and 'Mickey Mouse', will be on 3rd LP King of the Beach. Well, one of them will be, most definitely - 'Mickey Mouse', in some guise at least. And in case anyone has forgotten, this is what Wavves sounded like before the production values kicked in:

Wavves - Cool Jumper
Wavves - Mickey Mouse

I am excited regardless. You should be too, Paul. And you too. And you...and you...maybe not you...but definitely YOU.

Thursday 24 June 2010

Forest Swords primed with new song

Just a quick post about Forest Swords' new single 'Rattling Cage', out through No Pain In Pop. Check it out - I likee.

Forest Swords - Rattling Cage from ///NO PAIN IN POP\\\ on Vimeo.

And just a little puffing out the chest kinda thing - we covered Dagger Paths months ago, and here's Pitchfork's review from today - so we do have our finger on the pulse!

Clipd beaks - Liars via Trash Humpers?

These guys seem a wee little fucked up. Their music denotes the filth and the fury of the netherworld, further augmented by music videos like the one for 'Home' (see below) that provides a literal translation. Harmony Korine would be smiling smugly Im sure. Be that as it may, Clipd Beaks have created a visceral monster of a record with To Realize (through Lovepump, home of noisemongers HEALTH) - get this, post haste! 'Home' is brilliant - a seething serpentine sound that at first evokes Liars before it explodes into noise and screams that would frighten if they didnt arouse... A true horror movie of a band - and we all know how successful that genre is... Expect to see this guys rise up, take the sun out of the sky, and cast the land in darkness.

Clipd Beaks - Home

Clipd Beaks - Alien

Encounter Fans On the Hori-zine

On Tuesday we told you about the supports for Male Bonding (which was a great show BTW - straight to the point, appropriately aggressive, and can be heard via Xfm). Well, tonight we have Cymbals Eat Guitars gracing Camden's Barfly stage, and I thought Id introduce you to 'em.

1st and foremost - Fanzine, a London fourtet that are straddling the distorted guitar/thumping drums aesthetics of 90s indie rock with a smattering of lo-fi garage - all with a sense of tongues firmly in cheek. Their songs (there arent many so far) are catchy as all get out, and is just another band that will benefit from that inexplicable communal happiness that overcomes London when the sun graces us with its presence. (check out track 'Susan' below for a taste).

Also supporting are Encounters, who I know next to nothing about other than their name and myspace page. So check that out I guess.

Make sure to catch these guys before Staten Island's own blow you all away. Fin.

Fanzine - Susan

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Sinister Sounds

Viernes are a duo, Sean Moore and Alberto Hernandez, based in Florida. Their experimental ambient soundscapes as evidenced in new LP Sinister Devices are like menacing stormclouds rolling across desolate plains, lit up intermittently by the flashpoints of ball lightning - yet held within it all are grains of sonic warmth and beauty that tempers the psychedelics. Its an accomplished effort, and well worth your time. Furthermore the vinyl is a nice work of art (see above - although not sure about that singlet...).

Viernes - Entire Empire
Viernes - Sinister Love
Viernes - Honest Parade

Civil Unease

The 1234 Shoreditch Festival is going to be killer. So many awesome established and up-and-coming acts, all on one day, all in the middle (east) of London, all for a twenty, all with aftershows well into the wee hours... Cant ask for much more, can you?

CAN you?

Well, I think you can. Many of these acts are locals, or are putting in singular shows around July, so why settle on indulging only once?

Civil Civic are one such beast. This London duo are going to be very busy come July. Starting with the release of their limited edition vinyl 7" release (also available digitally - however the wax is 500 of, and can be garnered from their Bandcamp site) on July 5th, they then do a host of shows after 1234, namely at the Notting Hill Arts Club (29th), Camden Barfly (30th), The Flowerpot (31st) and the New Cross Inn (OK, so this is on 6th August, but would still be great to catch). Their electric anarchic slabs of guitar/bass/electro/rhythm noise, intricately sliced and blazingly delivered, will have many clambering to visit every show, and with good reason.

Here's some tracks to show you what it's all about - and their pretty darn cool blog to boot.

Civil Civic - Less Unless
Civil Civic - Run Overdrive
Civil Civic - Fuck Youth

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Black Angels back with a Phosphene Dream

Psychedelic gods The Black Angels have announced their 3rd L.P titled Phosphene Dream will to drop September 13th. The band have also made a early taste, in the shape of track Bad Vibrations (nice Beach Boys nod there) available to download here and below. The Black Angels' last L.P Directions to See a Ghost I swear could move the underworld so this news has got me so excited and if Bad Vibrations' slow drawl lament and then switch to interstellar turbo charge is anything to go by this could shape up to be a contender for album of the year. Phosphene Dream is out on Blue Horizon Records and their will be tour dates to match, they're even playing Reading Festival, the one year I don't go, ger!

The Black Angels - Bad Vibrations

Reopening the Books

Damn those Decibel Tolls folks! I had this post gestating overnight while I had a well earned sleep, and they go and steal it from under my nose! Ah well...

My mate Andy is a big Books fan. Me, Ive been a mere dabbler. But after my sojourn back to Oz back in April, Andy's musical influences have seeped into my playlist, and my heaspace, taking up residence and refusing to get out other than by extreme duress, and with the battering that my eardrums and brain have taken in past weeks Im not sure I could take it - so the Books remain.

They are an intriguing, beguiling bunch, The Books - newly crowned chillwavers notwithstanding. They are their own beautiful beast, having inhabited their own niche for so long that it seems damn rude to allow anyone else to encroach on their territory. They are the alpha males of their domain - a regal stag atop a snowcapped peak at early morn, antlers outlined against the growing grey light...or something like that anyway.

New LP The Way Out is out next month - if you havent immersed yourself in Books, then dip in now and start the rabid anticipation for this beauty's release.

PS - this new track is mega rad of death.

The Books - A Cold Freezin Night

Judge, (Philadelphia Grand) Jury and Executioner

Tonight at Barfly Camden Dalston (and SM) faves Male Bonding are playing.  They are
supported by the very able Philadelphia Grand Jury. Consisting of
MC Bad Genius on bass,
keyboard and guitar and Berkfinger on vocals and guitar,
the Australian duo (now with
drummer Calvin Welch) pump out effervescent garage rock
pop, and have been going
from strength to strength - they played an especially delicious White
Heat gig at Madame
Jojo's, last month, and recently toured with the likes of Fiery Furnaces
(a band Ive never
fully gotten into, but still...) They mark another Aussie band who have
fled to the UK to
chance their arm at something bigger and brighter.
Check out their 7" now

On a side note, the
other support act is Standard Fare, who we have championed in the past.
This promises to be a special (and very sunny) gig indeed, so make sure you grab tix now!

Philadelphia Grand Jury - The Good News

Saturday 19 June 2010

Unwieldly footwear make National anthems

Predominantly intriguing and beguiling instrumental act Clogs have been gracing the periphery of musical majesty for a while. Their 10 year history has seen them build in strength, even if founding member Bryce Dessner's other band The National have taken precedence. Originally a collaboration between Dessner and Aussie Padme Newsome, Clogs have evolved into an elegaic creature that takes its listener into an ethereal underworld, offering luminence, epiphanies and virtuosity in equal measures. Graceful in its strangeness, Clogs feel at home when in a place that is alien.

They are releasing an amazingly structured album, The Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walton, which features collaborations with The National's Matt Beringer and Sufjan Stevens. It is brilliant. It really is a difficult beast to explain, so you really need to immerse yourself into it. For a starter, here is 'Last Song', featuring Beringer, possibly the simplest structured song on the album and of their oeuvre - and yet all the more striking because of it...

Clogs - The Last Song

Friday 18 June 2010

The Friday Cover - mad with a duo make over

Really - this week I was trying to find a cover of New Order's World in Motion for the Cover Up, yeah I'm bitten by the World Cup bug too. But I failed (any help with that one?) so I thought a bit of Friday madness would go down well. So here's California duo (think they might be a trio now) No Age's Björk cover of It's Oh So Quiet, yes you did just read that right! Its as mad as it sounds but with a healthy smear of No Age drone. Thanks to Lou for the heads up.

No Age - It's Oh So Quiet

Avoiding the wrath of Superchunk fans - and my sister...

If I thought I would get hung for admitting to 'not getting' Black Lips' Good Bad Not Evil, Id be hung drawn and quartered, plus being repeatedly cut then having someone piss in my wounds, if I didn't mention Superchunk. Yep - my sister is that sadistic...

The 90s guitar pop wizards are back together, playing blistering and yet fun as fudge shows, and are also recording. New album Majesty Shredding is out soon, and the first track to be heard from it is 'Digging For Something' over at Stereogum. John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats provides backing vocals, but this is no doubt a Superchunk track - chirpy, energetic power pop, all the way.

So are you appeased Sara? Have I? Sardine? Cool beans.

Hear Me Out Before You Judge Me...

I know that this would be deemed blasphemous in some of my mates' opinion, but I have never fully embraced Black Lips. Before I get lynched in my front garden with a burning cross illuminating the street, let me explain. I came to Black Lips from hearing 'O Katrina' and 'I Saw A Ghost (Lean)' of their fourth (and groundbreaking...of sorts) album, Good Bad Not Evil. So naturally I delved into said album - and I really could not see what all the fuss was about. Im not going to kid you - when they came to Australia I was clambering for a ticket (The Black Lips have a reputation for crazy live shows that have included vomiting (Cole's medical condition), urination, nudity, band members kissing, electric R.C. car races, fireworks, a chicken, and flaming guitars), and the resulting show was blistering (mine included barrel surfing and flaming guitars). But as far as a watershed album is concerned? Nah, Ill pass.

That doesn't sufficiently explain anything does it? I can feel my neck itching pre-emptively from rope burns...

But now this. Through the Adult Swim Singles Program (insert explanation here), Black Lips have released a real crawler of a blues-house whisky stomp. 'Before You Judge Me' is excellent. Not as punky then as Good Bad Not Evil, and enough for me to want to hunt down their other recordings, and to anticipate whats on the horizon. I really like this track - this is the 14th time Ive listened to it consecutively this past 45 minutes. No grower here - its hooks grip you and haul you in to a sleazy sweaty embrace.

I hope that this, my defence, saves me from the gallows...

Thursday 17 June 2010

Runs in your blood

He calls himself Blood Music and with one listen you'll understand why. If Sonic Masala has one genre of music pumping through its black heart then its post rock. Names like Mogwai, God Speed, Slint, Sonic Youth (and a shed load of non-post rock to be honest) brought us together, bound us in the early hours, and fueled us through our drunken ramblings - or was that the curry? Anyway I'm sure you get the idea. But its been a while since I've dropped some proper post rock shapes on the pages of SM so stumbling onto the new E.P from Blood Music, If You Listen You Will See, feels like coming home somehow.

But this is no 'me too' post rock. No, its music that practices the art of anticipation perfectly, the soundtrack to a walk home right on the cusp of dawn, it welcomes you, takes you in, warms the very blood in your veins. But you know danger could be around every corner, distant but still ready.

Blood Music have put out the new E.P free to download here and as you can probably tell I'm smitten. Blood Music, is the work of Karl-Jonas Winqvist form Sweden and he's due to play 1234 festival in July, which has the kind of line up to die for. Now I've got yet another band I pray wont clash with Action Beat.

Blood Music - When You Realize
Blood Music - Orpheé

Supergrass say goodbye at Brixton

Brit pop legends Supergrass called it a day last week, shots below from their penultimate gig last Thursday at Brixton Academy, London.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Lil Dagger time

Its nice when bands get in touch. It's even nicer when the said band's music is a raucous blend of garage swagger and psych surf fun - and that's just where Lil Daggers fit the bill perfectly. The Miami gang push the kind of lo-fi psychedelic upbeat surf rock that begs to be played in a hot sweaty basement or at a messy summer BBQ. It's sunny fun but with a dark wicked grin running right across its face. In other words, these guys would be perfect to put any UK festival on the front foot. Question though: are they going to make it across the pond before the end of summer? I hope so.

Lil Daggers have a few tracks doing the rounds in blog land at the moment, Hungry seems to going down well and the 7" E.P King Korpze is out in July. Get your self in the mood below...

Lil Daggers - Hungry
Lil Daggers - Devil You Know
Lil Daggers - King Korpze

Sleep with the Crocodiles, See...

Crocodiles' new single.  Cleaner, lighter, echoier - and
radder. This was evident through their live set at Madame
Jojo's a couple weeks ago - still tres cool, of course,
Brandon Welschez doesnt do it any different - so this pushes
forth as a follow up that will be a true progression. 7"
will be out in August through Fat Possum, with a new album
in the works before 2010 is out.

Crocodiles - Sleep Forever

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Falling for Beachy Head

You Can't Be Alone today

This is the third time I've posted about All Saints Day, Katy of Vivian Girls and Gregg of Cat Power's side project, so before you get the wrong impression I'm going to keep brief. Basically the duo have released another track for you to download. Its lovely, its below, enjoy.

All Saints Day - You Can't Be Alone

Lick like the cat

The above a pic of my folks cat Susie, she's a bit of tart, had kittens when she was dead young, the moment you sit on the sofa she's up there on your lap for a stroke and some quality purr time. But why this feline affection? Well courtesy of The Decibel Tolls blog (who clearly share a fondness for our feline friends) We Like Cats, a new 'supergroup' made up of White Rainbow, Honey Owens of Valet, and Inca Ore, have dropped this slice of lazy Tuesday morning (or any time of day for that matter) fuzz smeared dub. Think a Scratch Lee Perry sonic shaped ice lolly and you're nearly there.

We Like Cats - Ruffalution (Vital Ital Version)

Drop Acid and Ride the Wavves...

I haven't had much luck with Wavves. My one and only chance thus far of seeing them was last year at the Old Blue Last. Paul and I went up to buy tickets on the door. There was literally no one in there, and yet it was 'sold out'. We ended up at 93 Feet East - and the less said about that the better... Two days later Wavves had a meltdown on stage and that was the last of him for a while. These events (in)explicably left a bad taste in my mouth, and I had found my interest in their actions waning...until now.

2nd album King of the Beach is almost upon us - out in August via Fat Possum - and a track (out on Green Label Sound) and the cover art have been flung at the wall to see what sticks. Sometimes that's how Wavves comes across - a mad pastiche, forever fighting a losing battle for coherence, yet (in)explicably listenable. 'Post Acid' lives up to the claims of a cleaner sound, without losing any of that innate craziness. Its warped and ugly, and yet beautiful - like a rainbow shining off a BP oil spill. My yearning to catch Wavves in the act has returned.

There's plenty chances to do just that too - Upset The Rhythm are hosting a night in his honour, and he's playing a host of festivals including 1234 Shoreditch. Unless he beats another band member to death with his own shoes, we will all have a chance to take the plunge...

Wavves - Post Acid

Monday 14 June 2010

Obit - March on, Hot Snake...

The past week has been rough on me. Work has been a
maelstrom of manic meltdowns, forcing me to miss out on
Supergrass' apparently excellent gig, tone down at a 30th,
and generally howl at the moon. Today however has been the
payoff - glowing review of my output and portfolio, as well
as my short story being submitted to a major national
competition. So Im chuffed as fuck. This news did a double
helix to the sun with the news that Hot Snakes were doing a
reunion! Unfortunately, it wasnt exactly true. However it
opened up a lot of amazing memories, and with rose tinted
Ray Bans firmly in place, I thought Id highlight a
criminally underrated act - and what they have since morphed

It was a sad day five years ago when Brooklyn balltearers
The Hot Snakes decided to call it a day. Made up of members
from already fucking amazing acts Drive Like Jehu and Rocket
From The Crypt, Hot Snakes offered the world tightly wound,
tension filled garage rock to the point that your body would
secrete out every ounce of fluid - blood, sweat, tears, piss
- as its only recourse. Three albums (Automatic Midnight,
Suicide Invoice, Audit In Progress
) and incendiary live
shows put Rick Froberg, John Reis, Gar Wood and Jason
Kourkounis (briefly replaced by Mario Rubalcaba near the
end) on a underground pedestal, elevating them into punk
demi-gods. I was lucky enough to see them in 2005 just
before their demise - it was damned special.

None of the band have stayed idle. Reis' 'day band' Rocket
From The Crypt also closed up shoppe in 2005 ( a sad year
indeed...), and since then he has continued work with his
independent label Swami Records, his artwork as seen on the
remarkable Hot Snake LP sleeves very much in evidence,
whilst playing in bands such as the Sultans (2000-2007) and
current act Night Marchers (which sees him reunite with
Snakers Wood and Kourkounis). Froberg has been kicking
around with his new act Obits for just on two years now.

And now the exciting part - they are touring together! No
Hot Snakes reunion yet, but Obits and Night Marchers are
stamping their seal of (dis)approval all over the US this
July. Obits are taking it one step further, bringing their
admittedly "Hot Snakes with less vitriol and more melody"
schtick (which is actually a good thing - although not as
good as HS, still a damn sight better than most other stuff
out there) to Europe in October! No exact dates for the UK,
but we'll keep you in the loop...

Anyway, here's a track from Obits' to date only LP, I Blame You. Also
included is some Night Marchers (taut and fierce

guitars, drums pounding but not over-bearing, the occasional
shouted backing vocals mix well with Reis' powerful everyman
vocal delivery, nastily catchy chorus hooks - everything
we've come to expect from the big man), one of Hot Snakes'
best...and hey, what the hell, you only live once - some
Rocket From The Crypt and Drive Like Jehu! Now how about
draining that keg? What, its only Monday? The vicious
cycle begins again...

Obits - Pine On
The Night Marchers - Jump In The Fire

The Hot Snakes - Let It Come

Drive By Jehu - Do You Compute
Rocket From The Crypt - Pigeon Eater

Gettin' Wet...

I was dubious when the single 'Born Stoked' came across my desk. Wet Illustrated - if a Chet, Chad and Ralph from frat house Alpha Omega Wanker formed a band to sing about their beer bong chugging and how big their theoretical dicks were, this would be the name that would be picked. So its with a hell of a surprise that not only am I posting about this band, Im championing their efforts.

They are nothing like the aforementioned faux slacker circle jerk band I had created in my mind. These San Franciscans - helped out by Tim from Fresh and Onlys - have crafted a perfect summer slice of guitar pop that has drunken singalong prowess and pogoing to burn. A mix between Japandroids of '09 (see previous post to get my meaning) and my mates' Brissy band Nova Scotia - as random a comparison as any, and Ill post about Nova Scotia soon to give you an idea of what I mean - 'Born Stoked' - the debut 7" single, put out by Corvette City Records - should generate a hell of a lot of excitement for these guys. I cant get it out of my head, especially due to the shitty weather of the past few days...

Wet Illustrated - Born Stoked

No! Please, you take all time in the world

Some bands take their time between albums... but frankly The Vaselines really do take the piss. Last year I was fortunate to catch the indie pop legends at Latitude festival, one of their reform shows to support the anniversary rerelease of Enter The Vaselines. Back then there was rumours of new material but to be honest I don't think anyone believed it. There certainly wasn't any new work gracing their live sets that I knew of.

But last week The Vaselines announced they do have a new album called Sex With An X coming out on Sub Pop in September and just in case we don't believe a word of it they've made a new track, I Hate The 80's, available to download below. Its only taken them 20 years. I mean 20 years! That's got to be a record? (no pun intended) So below is a taste of the forementioned track I Hate The 80's, you should really give a listen. Not just because its taken 20 years to surface but also its a classic slice of Vaselines charm, wit and indie pop godlike genius.

The Vaselines - I Hate The 80's

Sunday 13 June 2010

Friday Cover Up - gone but not forgotten

I haven't posted in a while. Sometimes life is a bit like that, stops you doing things you really want to do but I know I owe you all this much - a rather belated Friday Cover Up. After witnessing an awesome penultimate gig by Supergrass last week I could only pick one cover, well in fact a couple of tracks from a whole album of covers. Yes dear reader, I'm talking about Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey's side project The Hotrats, the duo's 'just for fun album' with producer Nigel Godrich. So here's a taste of the art of the cover version at its very best...

The Hotrats - Lovecats
The Hotrats -Damaged Goods

On a side note it was so sad to see Supergrass call it a day - I Should Coco was one of the albums that soundtracked my early adolescence - but Supergrass are not gone... yet! The band have their last and 7th long player, the mysterious Release The Drones due out soon, ish, I think, anyway you can have a taste of sorts here too. And I'm only guessing but I can't see Gaz Coombes hanging up his guitar forever!

Japandroids Can't Get Any Younger - Can They?

picture by charlotte zoller

Vancouver-based garage/punksters Japandroids plan to release a series of singles this year, both digitally and in 7” format, each featuring an outtake from 2009’s fucking amazing Post Nothing. The first one, “Art Czars”, dropped back in April - I didnt post about it, Ill talk more in a mo - and now the second is being readied for a July 7 release. It features “Younger Us”, backed by a cover of X’s “Sex And Dying In High Society.”

Now I have professed my love of Japanadroid's sweaty loved-up debut on a number of occasions. I have also stated how great they were when they trashed Madame Jojo's last year. However the new singles have a much cleaner, crisper sound to them - and this frightens me. Although it wont change their live presence - fingers crossed - I feel that the better production values actually devalue the snot-nosed rambunctious aesthetic appeal these Vancouvereans hold. I still hang out for each of these admittedly cool releases - but my enthusiasm is diminishing somewhat...

Anyway, maybe I will be disheartened for no reason. And maybe you'll love what is in store. Check it out and make up your own mind....

Japandroids - Younger Us

Saturday 12 June 2010

Islet - Free download of their track Iris

Following up on Bren's post on Islet last week and ahead of the release of the Cardiff quartet's mini-album on Monday 14th June, their track Iris is available right here as a free download, courtesy of Turnstile Music. Thanks to Drowned In Sound for the tip.

Dirtier Three

Dirty Three - seminal Melbourne three piece whose instrumental menageries can evoke edginess, anarchy, meloncholia, and beauty in equal measures. An intrinsic part of the Australian - indeed, the global - musical fabric. But before the inception of the Dirty Three, there was...

Venom P Stinger - an unrelenting hardcore prowler of a Melbourne band, completely uncompromising in their approach to music and their audience, unable and unwilling to fit in or sound like anyone else, forever destined to wade waist deep in the ether of the subconscious darkness. Formed by two-thirds of the Dirty Three, guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White, along with bassist Alan Secher-Jensen and mencing vocallist Dugald Mackenzie, Venom P Stinger put out a killer LP in 1986, Meet My Friend Venom - so pertinent today in its rawness and power, and amazing sound considering the age and the lack of production values. The band split up and reformed a number of times over a decade-long career, producing two more albums (What's Yours Is Mine and Tearbucketer) and a smattering of EPs and 7" releases, plus various lineup changes.

This is one underground act that is begging to be followed, devoured and worshipped. They reformed again for Pavement's ATP in May. I didn't go, but I told my sister to go see them, therefore seeing them by proxy. But did she or her boyfriend listen? No. However, the rest of you listen - they are still, all these years and other projects down the line, a completely uncompromising blitzkreig of a live act, and if you ever, EVER, get the chance to see them, sell your vital organs to do so. I know I will.

Venom P Stinger - PCP Crazy

Venom P Stinger - Full Circle

Friday 11 June 2010

A pyramid of mish-mashed weirdness...

Brooklyn quintet ArpLine are an intriguing bunch. I was sent this, their first single of their first LP, Travel Book, on Monday, and Ive been toying with it ever since - mainly because I dont know what to make of it. It has equal parts shimmering 70s glam rock vocals, early 80s glam rock sheen, part late 80s shoegaze wall of noise, with synths and guitar noodling as well... It thuds and rocks around, is incredibly well crafted and produced, it alludes to so, so much more...but what? So Im posting here to ask for your opinion. There is something here...I just cant work out what it is...

Arpline - Fold Up Like A Piece Of Paper

Thursday 10 June 2010

Eat Skull - More than just the coolest part of The Lost Boys

Siltbreeze has steadily built itself up into one of the most exciting labels on the planet. With acts such as Times New Viking, Sic Alps and Naked On The Vague on its roster (also Guided By Voices ?!?), expect to hear a hell of a lot more of what they have to right now!

Eat Skull have been dishing out a scuzzy as fuck noise pop formula for a few years now, alongside fellow Portlanders and Siltbreeze stablemates Psychedelic Horseshit (although PH take the cake in shambolic - don't worry, we'll post in due haste), and have inadvertantly found themselves on a wave of popular music...and yet somehow left behind in the slipstream. Crystal Antlers, Wavves, No Age and their ilk are gaining monumental popularity/notoriety. However Eat Skull deserve just as much of the accolades - even though they probably dont give two shits either way.

1st album Sick To Death really got things rolling, showcasing a band that could grab all of their favourite musical genres and put it through a shiny meat grinder to produce grisly slabs of murky gold (that sounds absolute rubbish, but listen to 'Beach Brains' followed by 'New Confinement' and you'll be swayed). 2009's follow up Wild and Inside was still awesome +, but didnt have the immediacy of its predecessor, despite the incessance of the organ on pop-tart of death opener 'Stick To The Formula'. You can definitely hear bands like the Clean in there - just not as clean. But still cleaner than before - even if less clean is cleaner...

Fuck, let me put it this way - Eat Skull are great. Really really great. Their abominations of pop, punk, garage rock, art rock, and scuzzy no-wave somehow add up to priceless soundbites that can be embraced wholeheartedly - and you will embrace them. They are criminally underrated. Chase down their albums, become devotees, some skulls...

Eat Skull - Beach Brains

Eat Skull - New Confinement

Eat Skull - Stick To The Formula

Psych Rockers Back With Bite

I love Black Mountain. Their take on the 70s psychedelic rock sound has indelibly influenced the genre over the past 5 years, ever since their self-titled LP, and further cemented with sophomore effort In The Future. Their 3rd album, Wilderness Heart, is out in September through Jagjaguwar Records. They are also touring in July, playing the Lexington (which is already sold out?!? What the Fuck!!!) and other UK venues, then return in October...

Wow, this post isnt doing Black Mountain any justice! Ah, to hell with it, just listen to the new song and Ill try to make it up later...

Black Mountain - Old Fangs

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Album review - Male Bonding's Nothing Hurts

This review has been a long time coming. Nothing Hurts, the first long player from Dalston trio Male Bonding, perfectly emulates their rise and rise over the past 18 months, where they have gone from literally a party band to supporting the likes of Vivian Girls, HEALTH and Fucked Up, to being the poster kids of Upset The Rhythm, to being on everyone's lips and in everyone's ears (not literally - well, I can't say for certain, I dont know the guys personally, but let's just say this is all figurative). 15 songs. 27 minutes. Every track is killer. There is no room to breathe. So much guitar, hooks, chantable lyrics, and wanton jocularity. I listen to this and feel how I felt when I first heard Japandroids' Post-Nothing - an overwhelming sense of joy that such a ramshackle piece of heaven could ever come into existence. It's amazing that two records could land of that same ilk and calibre only 12 months apart - but it has happened. There's enough DIY punk energy swagger ('Paradise Vendors'), pop hook sensibilities ('Years Not Long'), duets with Vivian Girls ('Worse To Come'), slacker rock ('Nothing Remains') and moody atmospherics ('Franklin') to fuel other bands' entire career spanning back catalogue. It certainly is a difficult claim to make - and also a seemingly insurmountable feat to surpass. Its nothing original, per se - but it is the perfect timecapsule of now, the proper definitive noise pop collective that will prove most other wannabes false. So until that 'difficult 2nd album' comes around, revel in the sounds of three Londoners playing their instruments for fun, making music for shits and giggles, and providing an album that all can enjoy ad nauseum. Something that is truly special.

Male Bonding - Nothing Remains
Male Bonding - Paradise Vendors

4AD Crowns Insanity As Genius – And The World Agrees?

Ive used the term ‘cracked genius’ a few times when describing the left of left of left field meanderings of various musical entities, but none deserve the crown moreso than Ariel Pink. Conversations with Simon and Scott last Friday about some ‘live gigs’ that he has performed here in London in the past few years alluded to a hobo who sang along karaoke style to his own recorded songs – lead vocal track still intact – and the burgeoning distaste of his antics by audience members and even his own sessionists. Yet both claimed that these shows were some of the best they had ever seen, just because they were almost too crazy to be believed.

Now it seems that Ariel Pink will no longer be content at showering his insane genius to dingy hellholes, and is about to do a Daniel Johnston on us all. 4AD somehow saw a marketable enterprise, placed Pink with a band, and now Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti have released their debut album, Before Today. And everyone is saying that Pink IS a genius – that the album has garnered stellar reviews and that he is the godfather of lo-fi home recordings that has flooded the musical airwaves over the past few years. Funny ol world innit?

I will probably get in some shit here – but I don’t get it. Ive read some reviews of the album, and of Pink, and the guy sounds fucking interesting – as far as reading about him goes. Meeting him, hanging with him – that sounds like an endurance event. Listening to him though falls somewhere in between for me – a ho hum, ‘I get where he’s coming from…sort of’ mentality. Before Today holds some merit for sure - the opening track 'Hot Body Rub' has some serious funking attitude to burn - but the fanatical foaming at the mouth that hipsters are generating doesn’t seem to add up in my opinion. Hey, Im happy to be proved wrong though guys…

But even in saying that, Ariel Pink still holds that animal magnetism that only evangelists and the charismatically insane (or both) that draws you to him, and everything he says and does. 4AD have inexplicably struck gold with giving Ariel Pink the big(ger) bucks, and for better or for worse, I await to see what this warped musician will concoct next.

(NB - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti are playing at Scala on Tuesday 15th June - see the madness for yourself...)

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Beverley Kills

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Declaring War

Ive been intrigued by Warpaint ever since hearing their single ‘Billie Holiday’ some months ago – or was it last year? – and thinking that Chan Marshall had started a band and was revisiting her Psychic Hearts days in earnest. Having signed to Rough Trade and started work on their debut album, its hard to think of the future of music without throwing these twisted chanteuses in the mix. Aptly described as a mix of Cat Power and Liars, their seductive ambient tones tempered by moody atmospherics can be rendered asunder by sudden bursts of inexplicable waves of distortion, anger, and spike-laden psych. The more I listen to Warpaint, the more I imagine the mythical Sirens luring me onto the jagged rocks that remain shadowed from my vision until it is fatally too late. It is intoxicating to the point of anguish – the true tightrope between pleasure and pain.

If you missed their recent shows at the Lexington and the Luminaire, do not despair – they will not falter until all have fallen under their spell, entwined in their embrace, then are shattered upon the rocks…

Warpaint - Elephants

Jets Still A Mystery Thanks To Spaced-Out Ships

I'm going to be writing a lot about Offset Festival this year, now its 3rd year nestled in Hainault Forest in September. Not just because it attracts a vast array of interesting, exciting, new and blatantly weird acts, but also because it could quite possibly be the only festival I take in this summer…Anyway, enough about that. With the likes of Shit & Shine, Liquid Liquid and Monatonix in attendance, with many many more acts to be announced, its going to be an amazing weekend.

One of the acts mentioned in the new line up announcements is Mystery Jets. I knew nothing about them before today… although for whatever reason I had an uneasy hangover of an idea that they were indelibly shit. I was willing to wipe them straight away except for the fact that Wooden Shjips has remixed the Jets’ track ‘Dreaming Of Another World’, a crunching, droning, 6 minute splurge that has confused me in many ways. I know that Wooden Shjips are a damn cool band, but do they have the wizardry to polish turds into gold? Or is there something behind Mystery Jets’ synth stylings that suggests a band of some note? The jury is still out, but I do like this track enough to declare Blaine Harrison’s act innocent until proven guilty - just…