Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Calories, Jeremy Jay, Bachelorette, So Many Dynamos, Katie Stelmanis, TIny Vipers

Bachelorette – My Electric Family

“Dear Bachelorette, Please remove that horrible ‘funk’ sound from your track ‘mindwarp’ so I can give your album the higher score it deserves”
Annabel Alper is a New Zealander with an obvious love for kraut pop. Using an array of synths and laptops she has created an album full of beautiful melodies and kooky art folk. If pixies could make music then it would sound just like this. It’s awash with the sort of imaginative sounds that you expect to flow from a musically talented, hyper active, autistic child’s mind if they had the means to lay it all down. The perfect album for sitting and getting lost whilst literally shoe gazing.

Score: 8.5/10
For Fans Of: Bjork, St Vincent, Kathy Diamond, Fever Ray
Links: MySpace,

Calories – Adventuring

This midlands three piece all used to earn their keep in Birmingham’s underground heroes ‘Distophia’. The band split a few years back after years of ‘will they’ ‘won’t they’ ever release there album, after some label implications it finally got released, perhaps a little too late. Live they were a wonder to watch, full of energy and a lot of fun, however they never seemed to be able to transfer their incredible live sound onto record. In fairness it’s a hard thing to do, but the key to a great band is being able to recreate the ability you have live to your songwriting on tape and vice-versa. It’s a bit of the same case here, although all sounding very accomplished, just like ‘beat dyslexia’ by ‘Distophia’ you feel like it’s the sort of thing you’d love to watch in a small cramped bar, but would rather come home and listen to something with a little more to it. Still there’s plenty of disjointed noise rock to make this worth listening to, especially if your after something fun and fully of energy. Maybe the perfect tidying record? Or is it just me who gets excited about tidying my room to loud music full of obnoxious shouting whilst air drumming?

Score: 6.7/10
For Fans Of: Distophia, Sky Larkin, Tellison, Jet plane Landing
Links: MySpace, Download

Jeremy Jay – Slow Dance

“whimsical, tousle-haired troubadour” This description from ‘Vice’ magazing sums up Jeremy Jay wonderfully. Elsewhere he’s been described as a dream figure, the kind of person that if you reached out to touch him he’d vanish like a cloud of smoke. Unfortunately, to best of my knowledge this statement isn’t so true, however his music does give the impression he’s quite a mysterious man. Slow Dance, his first release for K Records if full of perfectly written lo-fi twee pop. It has a dark edge to it though, and this combination of cheerful tunes with deep thoughtful lyrics makes this the sort of album that you continue to discover new depths to every listen. At first it seems unimportant but persit with it and you’ll find one of the best albums of 2009.

Score: 8.9/10
For Fans Of: Ariel Pink, Fanfarlo, Jason Mauss
Links: MySpace, Love Everlasting Stream,

Katie Stelmanis – Join Us

An Italian/Latvian cross breed living in Canada. What sort of odd music would that conjure up do you think? Some kind of arty, orchestral, harpsichord driven sad disco perhaps? Sadly though no such luck, although a gap in the market maybe? What we have here is more experimental piano driven folk music. Recently signed to Vice records, you know that this isn’t going to be your usual run of the mill folk album. Stelmanis’s use of the piano to build tension in her tracks is a skill she uses throughout the album and deserves great applaud for as it really adds something to what normally is a very somber genre. She manages to make a powerful, room filling sound with limited resources, especially vocally. Her haunting tones are not too dissimilar to modern PJ Harvey equally as special whilst still remaining her own unique sound. Electronics are used sparingly enough to not distract from the heart of it all but adds a side that seperates it from the rest of the hum drum band wagon jumpers around at the moment. I couldn’t compare its sound to anything precisely but Katie Stelmanis does approach the genre with the same kind of interesting take as artists such as Final Fantasy and Chad Vangaalen. Another great find.

Score: 9.2/10
For Fans Of: PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom, Final Fantasy
Links: MySpace
Tour Dates:
Monday June 15th @ Lexington
Wednesday June 17th @ Monto Water Rats
Thursday June 18th @ Bardens Bourdoir

So Many Dynamos – The Loud Wars

Okay, let’s get this out the way quickly. Yes there signed to Vagrant and yes their Chris Walla from ‘Deathcab For Cuties’ favorite band. But this is an album that doesn’t need to be sold by famous recommendations because if anything it takes away from what’s on offer here. It’s nothing new or inventive, but what it is, is ‘jump on the dancefloor’ rock music designed for house parties and indie clubs. Imagine a child who grew up with his dad listening to ‘Talking heads’, his mum to ‘Spandau Ballet’ and his older brother to ‘Get Up Kids’ whilst he toiled in his room creating musical instruments using old battery operate computer games and toys. That child would inevitably end up writing something not to dissimilar to ‘The Loud Wars’. It’s safe and its fun, what more could you want from an album after listening to all that experimental folk music above.

Score: 7.2/10
For Fans Of: Dismemberment Plan, Q and Not U, Thunderbirds are now!
Links: MySpace, Download

Tiny Vipers – Time On Earth

Remember what I wrote up there somewhere about hum drum folk? Well this is it. I’m finding it hard to objectively review this after listening to both Katie Stelmanis and Bachelorettes albums on repeat. Haunting in the same way as ‘Mount Eerie’, atmospheric guitar plucking followed by souring vocals that drift along with you quite pleasantly but it’s like getting on a bus to a nowhere town to do something you’re not bothered about doing with someone you think you should spend more time with, but honestly there’s probably a reason you don’t. Sorry Tiny Vipers, I liked your previous album, but I moved on and I suggest you do the same. Harsh I know, but there’s nothing worse than buying an album that sounds just like the one you got last year.

Score: 6.1/10
For Fans Of: Meg Baird, Cave Singers, Espers
Links: MySpace

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