Sunday, 28 June 2009

Neon Klaw Compilation N.001

Can't be bothered downloading all the releases on here but still wonder what some of them are like? Too busy to absorb it all, well here you go, the first Neon Klaw compilation, a wash with tracks from reviewed albums on here. Enjoy and share with others.

Also anyone wanting to write on here give me a shout, silly hours are making it difficult to post. Wether you want to post and review your own music, or be given assignments just let me know

Track list:

1. Jeremy Jay - In This Lonely Town
2. Grass Widow - Celebrate The Mundane
3. Katie Stelmanis - Join Us
4. Woodpigeon - Piano Pieces For Beginners
5. Bachelorette - National Grid
6. Gun Outfit - Guilt And Regret
7. Antlers - Sylvia
8. Japandroids - Wet Hair
9. Rainbow Arabia - Harlem Sunrise
10. Matthew King - Can't Define The Word Cool
11. Blank Dogs - Setting Fire To Your House
12. Frankie Rose - Where Do You Run
13. Lenguas Largas - I Feel
14. Beach Fossils - Daydream
15. Ghost Bees - Sinai

DOWNLOAD NEON KLAW 001

Ghost Bees - Tasseomancy

Canadian twin sisters; Romy and Sari Lightman hail from Halifax, Nova Scotia and play guitar and mandolin on this another advent garde export from a country that just keeps giving us great innovative artists. On this their official debut they’re also joined by good friend Amber Phelps-Bonderoff on Viola to add a little more depth to their stripped down sound (having once been a large folk troupe, now whittled down to just two, she sometimes also accompanies them on tour). Their music is best described as haunting folk, in a similar vein to Marrisa Nadler, Coco Rosie and Joanna Newsom. In fact at first glance it would be very easy to dismiss Ghost Bees as just another ‘soundalike’ artist. And you’d be right to think so, the elements of medieval folk are gently combined with fascinating lyrics and sound like they could fit onto ‘Ys’ with ease. Normally this would be a bad thing, to be so easily compared to such a prolific artist as Joanna Newsom, but with her work being so individual and the Ghost Bees being such accomplished musical group it works incredibly well. It retains all the elements that made ‘Ys’ a great album whilst adding enough to make it just a little different. Songs such as ‘Sinai’ and ‘Vampires of the west coast’ have all the key elements to keep you coming back to them; strong engrossing lyrics, beautiful harmonies that get carried on a wave of soft strings and an overall feeling that consumes you wrapping you in a timeless blanket of sound. Complete escapism that can whisk you away from the drudgery of every day life into a world where mythical creatures and Gods hang around on every street corner, pedaling natural, organic drugs that give you an ultimate high without any of the next day repercussions. Like that feeling you used to get watching ‘Labyrinth’ or ‘Return to Oz’ when you were younger. Magical Stuff.

Score: 8.9/10


For Fans Of: Joanna Newsom, Final Fantasy, Laura Barrett


Links: MySpace, Downloads


Video: Vampires of the west coast (Live)


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Lenguas Largas - I Feel 7"

No time for a proper review but this is also something else worth checking out. Apparently its cold minimalist punk, whatever that means. Anyway highly recomended, check it out

Insound Review

VINYL FORMAT. Debut 7" from Lenguas Largas includes three songs that linger in a minimal mode through a haze of herbal therapy, alcohol, and dark vibes. Lenguas Largas employs cold, minimal, post-punk stylistic leanings and tosses them through everything in the kitchen sink. Gathering up neat layers of friction and warming them up for the humans of the planet Earth.

DOWNLOAD
MYSPACE

Marshmallow Kisses & My Little Airport

There’s nothing greater than finding a piece of music that feels so original and innovating that you just can’t stop listening to it, like that feeling you get when you find a type of sweet or chocolate you remember from your youth in an old rundown sweet shop on the shore of some horrible British seaside destination. However sometimes you can find fondness in the simplest of music styles. I for one find it all most impossible to not shout a long to ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins or stop my legs from wanting to dance when I hear some perfectly crafted pop song originally designed to appeal to kids at a primary school disco. It’s this same feeling that can sometimes mask otherwise insignificant music. The best example of this is when you find something that represents the ‘sound’ or culture of a country. Bands like Beirut and Hawk and a Hacksaw do this wonderfully well, taking Balkan sounds and incorporating them into ‘rock’ songs and creating something both arty and enjoyable. Last year we also saw Yelle create what could have been another horrible euro-dance album, but avoided the cliché by mixing perfectly, elements of this torrid genre with modern beats and styles. Here we have something similar, Indie music but with an Asian twist. Both of these Groups hail from Hong Kong, and to be honest its pretty hard to differentiate one from the other. They are though, both well worth checking out if your into this sort of inter cultural exchange. Sounding like an Asian Belle And Sebastian there’s certainly a lot to fall in love with about both these bands. Twee indie pop that’s hard to hate, but definitely not something to boast about listening to if you’re out to impress

Marshmallow Kisses:

Score: 6.5/10

MySpace

Download

Last FM



My Little Airport:

Score: 7.1/10

MySpace

Download

Last FM



VIDEOS:

Marshmallow Kisses:


My Little Airport:

Brave New World


A Look at what all those cool kids will be bragging about having ‘heard years ago’ in a couple of months. So let’s all get one foot ahead of all that hipster bullshit.


Beach Fossils

Beautiful pop songs for the new lo-fi world to bask in. Based in Brooklyn, New York must help get you noticed, but regardless of your post/zip code you still have to have the tunes to help you stand out, Beach Fossils three tracks available on their MySpace are more than enough to keep them afloat though, in what has become a vast ocean of noise pop. Their fleeting lo-fi amble seems to gently washes over you, at times seeming unimpressive, but this works in their favor. Most of the current scene sounds like okay rock songs recorded badly, or in some-cases catchy pop songs ruined by poor production values, to give it that ‘cool’ edge. Beach Fossils can be enjoyed without having to adjust your ears to the same frequency they were used to when traveling to school listening to music on a two pound walkman bought from Woolworths powered on ‘value’ batteries through second rate headphones.

Link: MySpace


P.S. Eliot

Guess what, more lo-fi noise pop here as well. You may have read further down the page my damning review of the Baby Shakes album, and how they were undoing the hard work of Vivian Girls and other artists pioneering the female movement in alternative rock. Well here’s a name to tip the balance the other way. This all girl three piece from Birmingham Alabama make great punk tunes without any of the untoward attitude normally present. They also seem to have a pretty good taste in music referencing Fugazi, Bikini Kill and X-Ray Spexs as their influences. All of which are present to some extent on their demo ‘The Bike Wreck’. Check it out through the link below for some great contempory punk with female vocals and imagine how good a full EP/LP could be.

Link: MySpace, Download


Grass Widow

Girls! Girls! Girls! Looking for a good time. These three ladies certainly know how to have one, or at least write songs about it. Quirky pavement influence surf rock is what’s on the menu here. And you’d find it hard to find many people who couldn’t find something about this New York group they liked. There’s upbeat sing-a-longs, beautiful melodies, fun jangly guitars and plenty of new innovative ideas. Perfect if you’re like me and keen on the whole new lo-fi thing but sometimes wish you could hear those songs without having to wade through a mist of distortion and tinny guitar sounds

Links: MySpace, Download

Friday, 19 June 2009

Poor Show


Hey! The links for the reviews below are running a bit late due to 50-60hr a week shifts and the visit of a certain DV. I promise they'll be up soon aswell as some more news posts and reviews of Fanfarlo, Woodpigeon, Dead Science, Bruce Peninsula , Grass Widow plus a Hong Kong Fight off between Marshmallow Kisses and My Little Airport (Twee'lightful)

Later
X

Red Light Company, These Are Powers, Mint Chicks, Baby Shakes, Julianna Barwick, Greg Kowalski, Pukers, Nathan Fake


Baby Shakes – First One

Hailing from New York City, this all girl four piece make what has been described as ‘jolly punk/power pop’. This is their third full length and it raises the question of how on earth is that possible. Lo-fi nostalgic rock is the key to their sound, and it’s done with all the panache of an anorexic belly dancer. Each song focuses around a simple verse/chorus/verse structure, with cringe worthy, slightly off key sing-along lyrics tinted with a pinch of punk attitude that sounds like a public school girl trying to rebel against her parents by getting her ears pierced…..at Claire’s Accessories. For all the good work groups like Vivian Girls have done for all girl groups the Baby Shakes have almost all but destroyed with what sounds like a teenage Disney television show add-on album. Poor show.

Score: 3.0001/10
For Fans Of: B*witched, Hannah Montana, Lindsay Lohan
Links: MySpace, Download


Greg Kowalski – Tape Chants

Drone, minimalist, ambient, call it what you will but I find it very hard to review or even comment in polite society about albums like this. I try to be careful to not criticize the genre to much, as I’m sure there are elements off it my ear just aren’t accustomed to yet. But the only way I can ever really enjoy these sorts of albums is at bed time when I need something inoffensive to fall asleep too. Generally praising music for its ability to send you off to sleep is not normally considered a major achievement in sound engineering. At times I manage to get by this, especially with Stars Of The Lid and Brian Enos ‘Music For Airports’ but they both took a lot of time, and as snobby and ‘art faggy’ as I try to be, sometimes I can’t escape the thought that it’s just one man holding down a single key on an organ for fifteen minutes. My only real enjoyment of this type of music was when I used to spend endless nights round a friends flat, having DJ-offs whilst playing football manager. At a certain point in the night, just as the sun was beginning to raise its head we’d hit minimalist hour. At this point the rules of the DJ box became simple.

1. No Bass
2. No Drums
3. No Vocals

This album would of got a lot more plays from me if I’d had it back then.

Score: 6.9/10
For fans Of: Stars Of The Lid, Murcof, Any other minimalist stuff
Links: MySpace


Julianna Barwick – Florine

This got an amazing review on ‘The Grape Vine’ the new review blog by the guy who runs Gummo Ga. Comparing it with Grouper’s latest ‘Dragging a dead deer….’ I thought it was definitely worth checking out. Like Greg Kowalski above it settles into the minimalist side of alternative music, but has a heavy focus on vocals, making it more accessible to me at least. For all this heavy concentration on vocals it lacks any definitive lyrics, using them instead to create sonic soundscapes, not to dissimilar to what Bjork did on Medula, but without the Rahzel beatboxing and Mike Patton yodeling. Some of the tracks here are done only using vocals, Julianna uses her voice and others to create a completely different type of instrumental album full of melodic, mesmerizing and sometimes even dizzying sounds that make this a fascinating soundtrack to those late nights plagued with insomnia.

Score: 8.7/10
For Fans Of: Grouper, Atlas Sounds, Stars Of The Lid
Links: MySpace


The Mint Chicks – Screens

Here we have some self produced experimental punk/pop from New Zealand. Using a heavy mix of keys and effect laden vocals The Mint Chicks have made an album that’s full of hooks, and ‘nice’ twinkly sounds, but unfortunately that’s about it. Overly twee they struggle to get the balance between ‘pop tunes’ and ‘rock songs’ correct, resulting in an album that doesn’t really know what its trying to achieve. Some of the tracks here wouldn’t be lost on a homemade BBC kids show about some snotty girl learning about morals by making mistakes and dealing with them. Other times they try to cover the same ground as groups like DAT Politics and The Mae Shi but never quite manage to reach the bar. Nice enough but ultimately very forgettable

Score: 4.7/10
For Fans Of: Phoenix, DAT Politics, Mae Shi
Links: MySpace,


Nathan Fake – Hard Island

Norfolk born Nathan Fake’s 2006 album ‘Drowning in a sea of love’ released on Border Community made him many fans, including Mixmag magazine, which made it their number 2 album of that year. That time around he focused on more minimal electro sounds, on Hard Island however he’s moved into a more ‘techno’ direction. There are still elements of what he did before on ‘Drowning…’ here but they’re sparsely used to make this hard techno album more accessible than most. ‘Fentiger’ is the best example of this, slowly building up with bass heavy drums before winding down to an ambient chillout. Like a whole night out and following Sunday morning summed up in six and a half minutes

Score: 7.8/10
For Fans Of: James Holden, Clark
Links: MySpace


Pukers – Born In The USA

I can understand if you were in a run of the mill indie band, that starting an advent garde noise group could be an interesting proposition. Doing something different from the day job that would appeal to a whole new collection of fans. But if you were in one of the scenes current ‘darlings’ I find it a little hard to comprehend. My only idea for why Pukers, who are members of Raco-oo-oon from Iowa City, USA who over the last couple of years have made themselves quite a name in the ‘noise’ world would choice to start a new band for this album is due to the worry their fans would disapprove in the new direction ‘Born in the USA’ has taken. All this isn’t too say Pukers is a carbon copy of their previous tribal drone work, they have taken on a new lo-fi, home recorded direction which to me makes it a lot more interesting than Raco-oo-oon previous efforts. However for most the ‘spazzy’ uncomforming screams and poorly recorded drum sounds will be a little too much for the ears. It’s certainly taken me a while to be able to listen to it from start to finish in one go. However I’m sure that’s probably the kind of thing their after.

Score: 6.8/10
For Fans Of: Raco-oo-oon, Wavves
Links: MySpace, Download


Red Light Company – Fine Facination

A real mongrel of a band here, featuring members from Australasia, Japan, USA, and the UK. You’d think this cross breading would create some kind of crazy experimental monster of a band? Unfortunately this isn’t the case, instead what we have in yet another UK alternative rock group. Trying to join in with the bigger boys like Grammatics and White Lies they play tuneful indie songs, complete with keys and melody ridden choruses. However their not just a run of the mill, A-B copy of what we’ve seen before. Imagine a more cheerful Twilight Sad and you’d be close to describing the Red Light Company sound. Also they mention Broken Social Scene on the track ‘Scheme Eugene’, I like it when bands mention other bands I like, it’s like saying the thought that runs through my head aloud “God I wish I was in a band as good as….*insert band name*. Maybe the Red Light Company also spend hours on trains listening to music through their headphones pretending it’s them singing the songs? I appear to have revealed too much. This album won’t be remembered in a few years time, but it has enough about it to keep you playing it all summer.

Score: 7.8/10
For Fans Of: Twilight Sad, Captain, Joy Formidable
Links: MySpace,


These Are Powers – All Aboard Futures

Last FM has been telling me to listen to these guys for some time now. Normally I tend to not bother with their recommendations too much because, whilst intuitive enough most of the time it also tells me I shouldn’t be friends with my mate Gareth because although we both like Neutral Milk Hotel, Fugazi and The Decemberists that isn’t enough and our music compatibility is too low to sustain a meaningful friendship! For once though they have thrown something my way that’s pretty interesting. All Aboard Futures is a crazy mix of pounding beats, odd electronic sounds and heavy guitar riffs that when combined with some overly ‘sassy’ vocals creates a style of music that’s pretty dam hard to categorize. Bits of it sound industrial, other parts like simple electronica and the rest like an off-kilter indie experiment gone horribly wrong. It’s good, but not amazing by anyway, interesting enough though to make it stand out and become quite a rewarding listen. Ones to watch perhaps.

Score: 8.2/10
For Fans Of: Mi Ami, Abe Vigoda, Indian Jewelry, Liars
Links: MySpace,

Sunday, 14 June 2009

More News 14.06.09

ATP film to premier at EIFF

That’s right, Britain’s pioneering ‘boutique’ festival is moving from the beaches and onto a cinema screen near you, well actually more like a large, well stocked video rental store near you. The Documentary, distributed by WARP films, looks set to show different perspectives of the festival, filmed using a mixture of footage by director Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) and ‘found’ video sent in by festival goers, it looks set to show a real fans ‘point of view’ and artist opinions on one of the most well respected festivals amongst both artists and museo’s. The first chance you’ll get to witness this film is at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. There’ll be a special one off show at the Edinburgh Picturehouse, featuring special guest performances, curated by ATP! There'll also be people in blue coats, mini bingo and some northern soul DJs. This’ll be the first time I’ve missed the EIFF in four years so pretty gutted I’ll not get to go to this, or the Daren Aronofski ‘in person’ event. There will also be a ‘normal’ screening of the film during the festival at the Edinburgh FIlmhouse on Lothian Road. Check out the brilliant Clockwork Orange inspired trailer below. Look real close and you may see yourself, I haven’t but I keep trying.
Dates & Prices:

20thJune, Edinburgh HMV Picturehouse 20:00 $18.50
25thJune, Edinburgh Filmhouse 18:00 $8.50/$7.50


Trailer:


Warp Box Set

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, WARP records will be releasing what looks like a very special behemoth of a box set. Featuring five CDs, five 10”s and a 192 page booklet, there’s certainly plenty here to keep you occupied.
Included is the following:
The Warp20 (Chosen) double CD, a compilation of tracks from the label's history, with 10 songs chosen by fans' votes via the Warp website and 10 songs chosen by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett. It'll also include a pullout poster with memories and messages from people who wrote into the website. And because voting has closed, we actually know which 10 fan-chosen songs made the final cut. You can see the list here. Man, Flying Lotus almost made it.

-- The Warp20 (Recreated) double CD, a compilation of Warp artists covering other Warp artists. It'll include tracks by the likes of Autechre, Jamie Liddell, Maximo Park, Harmonic 313, Clark, Seefeel, Luke Vibert, and Plaid.

-- The Warp20 (Elemental) CD, an hour-long piece from "Intro-Inspection" mash-up kingpin Osymyso, commissioned especially for this box set, made up entirely of bits and pieces of Warp records.

-- The Warp20 (Unheard) triple 10", which collects rare and unreleased tracks from Boards of Canada, Broadcast, Autechre, Elektroids, and others. This will come in "uncoated card sleeves with debossed typography." Sounds fancy!

-- The Warp20 (Infinite) double 10", a collection of locked-groove loops from Warp tracks.

-- Warp20 (1989-2009): The Complete Catalog, a 192-page book of cover artwork from every Warp release up until August 2009.

*Information on box set gained from Pitchforkmedia

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Facebook Group


Yes I'm a sell out!
So if you want to keep up to date with this blogs goings ons then feel free to join the group. And why not let us all be friends at the same time, facestalk!

Cheers all. x

CLICK ME FOR FACEBOOK GROUP LINK

News In Brief

A short round up of the weeks news, well the bits that interested me at least. As you can see people need to send me more stuff to review. If things doen't improve you'll soon get some kind off horribly musical related weather report. Enjoy, and feel free to email me with any music you want reviewing. patrickgamble@hotmail.co.uk

New Mount Eerie Album:

Phil Elverum is renowned for his heavy work ethic. The man behind The Microphones and Mount Eerie is constanly releasing new material. His last ‘proper’ album featuring Julie Dorian was some off his best work to date, so this, his new full length will be one his fans will be waiting for with baited breath. Last year Elverum hinted a new direction into heavier realms with another EP ‘Black Wooden Ceiling Opening’. He experimented with black metal dynamics, resulting with some very crazy, ‘out-there’ sounds. Due out on the 18th August ‘Wind Poem’ looks to follow on from that EP with a full blown adventure into the same world, look at the art work above, sure looks pretty dam metal to me. Should be on here as soon as I can find it.

Wild Beasts Tour:

To co-inside with their new release on Domino ‘Two Dancers’ this London art-pop troup, who’s previous album ‘limbo Panto’ was one of last years surprise finds, will be touring relentlessly round these shores over the next few months. The tour is seventeen dates long so it should be easy to find a venue near you, look below for a full list of dates. God I wish I still lived in Edinburgh, looks like Birmingham for me, anyone fancy it?
Single 'Hooting & Howling' is out 20th July and the album ‘Two Dancers’ follows on the 3rd of August.

July 10 – Canterbury – Lounge On The Farm
July 11 – Ireland – Oxegen Festival – Pet Sounds Arena
July 18 – Cheltenham - 2000 Trees Festival
July 19 – Latitude Festival, Suffolk
July 25 – Truck Festival - Oxfordshire
July 26 - Dorset – Camp Bestival
August 6 – London – Hoxton Hall SOLD OUT
August 8 – Ilkley - Moor Festival
September 30 - Edinburgh - Cabaret Voltaire
October 1 – Leeds - Cockpit
October 2 - Nottingham - Bodega
October 3 - Bristol - Thekla
October 4 - Birmingham - Hare and Hounds
October 5 – Brighton - Hanbury Ballroom
October 7 - Oxford - Academy 2
October 8 – London – Garage*
October 9 – Manchester – Academy3

*Yes that does say London Garage, its re-opening in July

Cat Power to Direct Vodka Commercial:

42 Below Vodka are currently running a promotion called ‘OneDreamRush’ which features 42 directors doing 42 second shorts all about their sleepy thoughts. For all of you who ever wondered what it would be like to share a bed with Chan Marshall, you’re about to get one step closer by knowing what she dreams about! After making some acting appearances, albeit as herself in ‘My Blueberry nights’ and ‘Sleepwarkers’ this will be her first stab at directing, well so I’m reliably informed by the normally dependable www.IMDB.com.

Trailer:



Conor Oberst, Jim James and M Ward to release album:

After numerous tours together, recording together and covering each other’s songs Bright Eyes Conor Oberst, My Morning Jackets Jim James and M.Ward of, well M.Ward fame will finally be releasing an album together. Due out in September this offering should wet the appetite of anyone with even the smallest interest in the new world of folk, or nu-folk as the kids are calling it. Produced by Mike Mogis and featuring all new material it’ll be interesting to see how these large musical egos mesh together and even more interesting how it sounds.

Sally Shapiro new Album:

That’s right euro sad disco is coming back! After 2006’s ‘Disco Romance’ wooed us, Shapiro the electro Sweede is coming back after far too long a break. Expect more heart breaking, disco beats and beautiful melodies on her aptly named follow up ‘My Guilty Pleasure’. Due for release via ‘Paper Bag’ on August 25th her new album, produced by Johan Agebjom features contributions from Tensnake and Cloetta Paris and will be preceded by the single ‘Miracle’ released June 16th. Shapiro will be hoping ‘My Guilty Pleasure’ will make you fall back in love with her again, after listening to ‘Miracle’ you’ll realize you never stopped, she’s even said it herself when recently asked about her new opus she remarked “hopefully it’ll make you fall in love with the person sitting next to you on the bus.” She’s obvious not taken the Southfields to town route from my house where smiling politely will get you the same result.
Tracklisting:

01 Swimming Through the Blue Lagoon
02 Looking at the Stars
03 Love in July
04 My Fantasy
05 Let It Show
06 Moonlight Dance
07 Save Your Love
08 Dying in Africa
09 Miracle

Patrick Daughters - Video Colection


Earlier this month i posted the amazing new Grizzly Bear video for 'Two Weeks', directed by Patrick Daughters. So impressed was i, that ive made this post of some of his previous work and a bio from the always reliable wikipedia*. God i'd love this guys job!
*this sentence may not be true


Wikipedia Bio:

Patrick Daughters (born 1976 in Berkeley, California) is a music video and commercial director currently signed to The Directors Bureau, after departing Black Dog Films in late 2006.

Daughters is a graduate of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. While still in college, he gained attention with three award-winning short films: "In Life We Soar" , "Any Creature" about a young girl who witnesses a mysterious car accident, and "Unloved". "Unloved" earned Daughters the $20,000 Grand Prize Award at Nintendo's Eternal Darkness film contest in 2002. He started directing music videos in 2003.

In December 2003 he directed a concert film for The Rapture titled The Rapture is Live, and Well, in New York City, filmed over a 3 day residency at New York's Bowery Ballroom, released on June 28, 2004.

His video for "1234" by Feist, consists of one single continuous tracking shot, and was nominated for a Grammy and won the award for Best International Video at the British CADs. The video was featured in "Stacks", a late 2007 commercial spot for the release of the third generation iPod nano directed by Mark Coppos and Virginia Lee.

He has also directed commercials for the ONDCP, PeTA, Microsoft Zune, Clarks, Motorola ROKR E8 and Wrigley's. He frequently collaborates with cinematographer Shawn Kim and editor Anthony Cerniello.

Please ignore the Mika Video.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps


Feist - Mushaboom


Blood Brothers - Laser Life


Liars - Plaster Casts Of Everything


Department Of Eagles - No One Does It Like You


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Chris Garneau, Blank Dogs, Crystal Stilts, Gowns, Olafur Arnalds & The Muslims (The Soft Pack)



Chris Garneau – El Radio

Singer/songwriter/pianist Chris Garneau combines elements of folk, Americana, baroque and pop styles on his new album ‘El Radio’ to create a joyful journey into a fantastical musical world. From Boston, but growing up in Paris and New York would be enough to fuel the creative fires in anyone. And with friends like Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu fame he obviously still hangs in the right artistic circles. This though is a much more accessible album than anything by Stewart and takes a less aggressive approach to issues of love, family and growing up. Signed to Absolutely Kosher, this is Garneaus second album. His first ‘Music For Tourists’ had its moments, especially ‘so far’ but never really flowed well from start to finish. This however is a much more complete piece of work. It’s brilliantly ‘twee’ and not too dissimilar to Owen Pallots Final Fantasy in how he creates sounds that remind you of all those eighties kids films we all look back on with such nostalgia. Combining childish sounds and lyrics too complex adult issues, like a Pixar film it appeals to both fun and serious music fans. Garneau still isn’t at the top of his game though, and there’s certainly more to come from this young singer/songwriter. Although this is an album that makes you want to fall in love with it and him, he’s still missing that indescribable key element that makes it more of a fling than a full blown love affair

Score: 6.9/10
For Fans Of: Fionn Regan, Final Fantasy,
Links: MySpace, Download


Blank Dogs – Under and Under

Blank Dogs is actually just Blank Dog, Mr Blank Dog to be exact. Not much is known about him, and looking at his Last FM profile doesn’t help much either, simply describing him as an “Invisible man, hard to understand”. This anonymity though does make it easier to concentrate on his music. ‘Under and Under’ is just one of many releases by this prolific artist, but probably his most ‘complete’ sounding collection of songs. His bedroom/new-wave pop sounds could easily be lumped into that whole new ‘lo-fi’ collective that’s about at the moment, and with its ‘tinny’ minimalist sound it’s easy to see why it would be. Blank dogs though offer something more than their counterparts. Less of a garage sound and more of a dark eighties influence is on offer here. Joy Division vocals combined with Cure style synths and melodies are the principle ingredients on offer here. Under and Under isn’t an instant ‘hit’, but with a little persistence your ears begin to adapt to its eroded sound and pick up the hidden melodies that lurk everywhere underneath all the distortion. A lot of his work is pretty hard to get hold off so make use of the download below, especially as there’s an awful lot of demo tapes and such available on the web, which really don’t do him justice.

Score: 7.1/10
For Fans Of: Wavves, Times New Viking, Interpol
Links: Myspace, Download


Crystal Stilts – Alight Of Night

No not the electro, screeching art punks, that’s Crystal Castles. There’s no wild 70’s prog influenced drumming, that would be Crystal Antlers. This is Brooklyn, NY quartet Crystal Stilts. Like Blank dogs reviewed above they use minimal bedroom sounds to create a heavily 80s Manchester influenced moody, yet buoyant album. As with the rest of this genre they draw comparisons with Interpol, Joy Division and Jesus and the Mary chain. This is their first release with new drummer Frankie Rose. Some of you may recognize the name, that’s because she used to be in Vivian Girls, who made one of last years best albums. Rumor has it, it was Rose who wrote all those songs, heavily influenced by the Stilts. She left after being kicked out of the Vivian Girls to join her idols and you can hear those same song writing skills here on Alight the Night. The album is stocked from start to finish with good to great songs. Sometimes the lo-fi sound can cause some elements of monotony but in the whole there’s more than enough stand out tracks to keep you listening, and more importantly come back to listen to it again. Plus these guys and gals have recently toured with Blood on the Wall another band who deserve a lot more press for creating great records in an oversubscribed genre. Stand out track would have to be the heavily Velvet underground influenced eponymous track ‘Crystal Stilts’. It’s a fine example of the well written, dreary lyrics of Brad Hargett being carried on a wave of dark dreamy guitars.

Score: 8.2/10
For Fans of: Velvet Underground, Vivian Girls, Blank Dogs
Links: MySpace, Download


Gowns – Red State

Formed by ex members of Amps for Christ and The Mae Shi, you’d be shocked to find out that ‘Red State’ isn’t the spazzy art punk you’d expect, instead it’s a very much more of an experimental folk/noise affair. Think a tamer Silver Mt Zion or Lullaby Arkestra. Gowns music would best be described as unstable, flitting between electronic sparse sounds and whispered vocals to full band explosions. The vocals sound like injured souls gasping for air whilst trying to say their last rights. The music fits with it in an almost poet sense, souring around your head like the sound of the sea when you press a shell to your ear. The clattering percussion, especially on ‘White like Heaven’ is so sporadic that it’s hard to ever settle into the album. But this claustrophobic havoc is strategic making it interesting enough to keep you listening. Red State could easily have been a car wreck of an album but instead it more like organized chaos. On making Gowns most recent album Anderson one of the groups main contributors said “When you listen you can tell that it could have only been recorded in a shit-ass meat-packing city in the Midwest (of America) where the grocer checkers don’t even know what tofo is and all there is to do is get shit faced at the bar and ask everyone how their kids are doing” Showing that even in the worst areas art can still flourish through bad weather and boredom. Maybe there’s hope for me in Rugby yet.

Score: 7.7/10
For Fans Of: Silver Mt Zion, Evangalista, Do Make Say Think
Links: MySpace, Downloads


Olafur Arnalds: Eulogy For Evolution

“Breaking classical music out of the tweed jacket and loafers and putting it into a t-shirt and trainers…”
This quote says it all about Arnalds beautiful cinematic album. At only 21 it’s almost soul destroying how talented this new Icelandic export is. His fragile and emotional take on classical music combines the power and heartfelt feel of bands like Godspeed you…. And Explosions in the Sky with everything you’d expect from the genre. Reminding you of the most tear jerking arthouse films you’ve ever watched every track on this album is an emotion rollercoaster that almost leads you to tears. I can’t describe enough how much I’ve fallen in love with this album. Check it out, it’ll be your soundtrack for every heartbreak, new found love and fondly remembered memory from now on.

Score: 9.5/10
For Fans Of: Sigur Ros, Amiina, Explosions in the Sky
Links: Myspace, Download



Muslims – Muslims

Easily mistaken for another run of the mill garage band, this San Diego outfit are so much more. Now known as the Soft Pack, their wussy discussion to change their name is not apparent on this there first full length album. Its classic balls to the wall rock. It’s not just formulaic A-B garage rock though, there’s plenty of stand out tracks on offer here. Tracks like ‘American’ ‘Right and Wrong’ and ‘Extinction’ are strategically placed throughout the album making it seem like these three minute nuggets of music, perfect for singles are flying at you at a thousand tunes a second. Stripped down music never sounded so full, this is definitely a personal recommendation from me to you. Enjoy.

Score: 9.1/10
For Fans Of: Blood on the wall, Jay Retard, Cheap Time
Links: MySpace, Download