Contained within the retro book style of the record’s artwork the Quiet Lane EP is a collection of sunny pop songs from the apparently almost hermitic (through spending time writing at home writing these tunes) Coley Park. The EP’s title track is lifted from the album Rhinoceros, to be released next week and it is a delightfully upbeat, bouncing tune, if perhaps a little similar to comparable material.
This four-track EP is a compilation bringing together the two self-recorded 7” releases by the doom metal quartet predating the work that the majority of the band are now famous for in Sleep, and more recently Om and High On Fire. Although the slightly messy production is now a little dated (after nearly twenty years…) the music is in many ways fitting with trends which are more popular now and is generally ultra impressive — vicious vocals, huge riffs, punishingly slow tempos — this is some awesome doom.
It’s been two years since Tom Holland released anything on the cult hip-hop et al label that he founded, Anticon, and that was as his alter ego, Sole (on Live From Rome). Following five-or-so years of lo-fi mixtapes, EPs and compilations Holland has bought his instrumental Mansbestfriend project back to it’s spiritual home for the first ‘official’ MBF release.
DJ Mayonnaise, along with Alias and Moodswing9 (in which he also played) was one of the first artists to be released on what is the now influential San Francisco Based Imprint Anticon. DJ Mayonnaise’s work as with much of the Anticon roster is characterised by the integration of sampled and live instrumentation.
In 2004, after a brief but influential career The Beta Band broke up, went bankrupt and went off to get jobs in Waterstone’s or something, I don’t know, went off the radar at least. But here they are right back on it! Like the bit at the end of Top Gun where Maverick re-engages to save Val Kilmer and millions of teenagers across the world gave each other massive high fives. YES!!
Salt is the second full length from Nashville born Forget Cassettes who are currently sallying around Europe with …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.
The air grew dense while the floor got packed when headliners, Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) took the stage. The army of sixteen year olds girls and gay men went ape shit when lead voice tress LoveFoxxx danced onto the stage in a sequined figure skating suit, tossing handfuls of confetti to her adoring crowd.
Dear Companion is the debut solo effort from Espers vocalist/guitarist Meg Baird, recorded within spare moments of the recording sessions for the Philadelphian psych-folk group’s II. The music has a much more traditional feel than its progressive partner though, often remaining just vocals and guitars, though offering some gorgeous multi-tracked harmonies, and working half from traditional source material.
This is the fourth album by the Israeli-born Keren Ann, who has quietly built favourable comparisons to Nico and Francoise Hardy (along with general critical acclaim) with 2002’s La Disparition, Not Going Anywhere from 2004 and her last album Nolita. These last three have been self-produced but she has taken the interesting step of bringing in former Tool and QOTSA affiliate Joe Barresi to mix this latest eponymous project, though fortunately he’s kept the metallic elements for another time – that would be a jarring step too far.
12 Stone Toddler are a band out in a field left of the normal pop world, the modern one at least, although they are far from being a retro band. Their focus on hook-laden songwriting at the centre of a complex of influences gives them something recognisable but quite unique from their peers. Perhaps the best stylistic comparison comes through looking into the last album from Californian mentalists Mr Bungle, where the mentalism is toned down to rest on a more focused pop-tinged exotica.
This first show in London followed Band Of Horses’ live UK debut in the previous weekend’s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties vs The Fans’ festival in Minehead, Somerset. These shows, part of a short tour, were a break from Band Of Horses’ recording of a new album.
The debut LP from St Helens’ The Loungs flies in the face of fashion (thankfully), sounding like they’ve never heard of the word zeitgeist. We Are The Champ has thirteen songs averaging two and a half minutes each, but is packed with another couple of album’s worth of ideas. Most of the tracks here jump between stations, which can be difficult to pull off, but this self produced effort generally manages to get away with it.
Quirky, madcap and inventive are not normally traits associated with popular British bands, but Hot Chip have found their way into the public eye by resisting easy categorisation. Their fondness for mixing pop, electro, folk and techno resulted in a Mercury-nominated second album in the form of The Warning (2006) backed by the massive hit Over and Over played in clubs everywhere. Now they’ve been given the chance to air their influences on !K7’s much-lauded DJ Kicks series in a trip through electro-pop, techno, Balearica, off-kilter house, hip hop, drum’n’bass, R’n’B, blues, jazz and a lot more besides. It proves to be a lot of fun.
The summer is here, and it sounds distinctly like it’s the summer of love (in a good way), at least for Gustav Esjstes, Dungen’s mainman who pretty much wrote, recorded and produced the whole of Tio Bitar himself. The album, whose title translates as “Ten Pieces” is, as with its predecessors, sung entirely in Esjstes native Swedish and offers a fascinating modern interpretation of the grooves and styles of the experimental eras of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Psych, folk, prog, kraut, Canterbury, pop, The Beatles, Donovan, Caravan, Hendrix, Love, Can, Faust, The Who etc etc — all and more make some kind of appearance in the mesh of influence
Howl To The Hills is the second in Xemu’s series of Dead Meadow reissues following last year’s release of their 1999 debut Dead Meadow. The album continues the trend of its predecessor with a blend of 60s psych and 70s hard rock influences coming out in a music that resembles a baggy take on stoner. Although offering pretty similar material this second album is unable to capture the ideas in quite the same way as the first and ends up a little more hit and miss — when it’s up its engaging and interesting although sometimes it falls a bit flatter, and into territory which is decidedly wetter.
Having spent the last few years touring The Death of a Party are ready to be unleashed to a wider audience with their debut album The Rise and Fall of Scarlet City. Earning their stripes in the Oakland underground, the dancey post-punk foursome went from warehouse parties to touring with Metric and opening for bands such as Bloc Party, Deerhoof and Autolux. Their live show has been compared to a full-on gangfight, and while their album brings with it the headbanging beats and shouty lyrics you would expect of an act born in counterculture, this is perhaps the tip of the iceberg of this band’s talents.
The band’s spacey, ethereal take on folk music fits with late sixties/early seventies acid/psychedelic trends and also stands suitably near to the work of major British groups like Pentangle and Fairport Convention. The groups very impressive second studio album II provided almost all of the material performed here, the band promising to provide some newer material next time that they’re over. It is perhaps understandable that their is a lack of new material in the time since that record’s release last year due firstly to touring time as well as the fact that members are involved in other projects (main vocalist Meg Baird for one as well as the work with Sharron Kraus discussed above has a solo album coming out next month) but there was no complaints from any crowd members at hearing the II tracks.
The glamourous indie-queen Feist was obviously the major draw here though — the fact that the gig was actually a seated affair seemingly much more down to her wide appeal than to that of the comic opener. Touring to promote the recently released solo The Reminder Leslie Feist is famous as much for her early punk outings but even more so for the recent stint in Broken Social Scene, though her solo efforts have produced two studio albums in 1999’s Monarch and 2004’s acclaimed Let It Die. The singer/songwriter was on impeccable form both vocally, instrumentally (on her guitar) and also as an entertainer — leading the band and the crowd with jokes, banter and bringing out audience-wide singalong harmonies too.
Half Cousin are comprised of two School friends from the Scottish island of Orkney decamped to London. The pair’s creative output is acceptably described as a kind of offbeat folksy pop. Their use of trashy-junk percussion and classic folk instruments such as the accordion and fiddle means that at times they sound like a slowed down version of gypsy revivalists Gogol Bordello with some choice pieces of toy electronics and soft vocals pushing things in the direction of The Postal Service.
Stay Close is the debut album by Death Vessel, which is the vehicle used to present Joel Thibodeau’s work to the world — and it’s a vehicle with a very special passenger (like the popemobile). His vocal delivery is stunning; a high-pitched, poignant soprano that manages to transcend the polarising effect of the likes of Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. The studio and live versions of the band feature a revolving band of players and contributors, including regulars Pete Donnelly, Erik Carlson and his brother Alec.
Taken from the debut album Consequence Music, “Hearts and Minds” is the first EP from a man billed as Scotland’s answer to Philip Glass: Dextro, aka Ewan MacKenzie. His ambient grandeur has also been likened to Sigur Rios and Mogwai which is high praise indeed. Here the title track is presented along with three remixes adding different touches to the dreamy original.
Since the arrival of “Film Music” and then Rock It To The Moon at the turn of the century, Electrelane have turned out several acclaimed albums incorporating a love of krautrock and keyboards with some post-punk experimentalism and an indie sensibility. No Shouts, No Calls is the fourth record from the all-female group from Brighton and appears, once again, slightly different from it’s predecessors yet holding together all the essential components.