Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Low Album Out Soon But Download Live Set Here!

Low are going to be dropping their new Jeff Tweedy-produced album The Invisible Way in March on Sub Pop but you can play and download this live set now.

The band are lining up tour dates and you can prep for the Low live show by playing this live set featuring Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie.

Follow Low on the Sub Pop site:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Play Single From Scotland's North American War Here

I saw that a lot of new bands that I enjoy had clicked "liked" on this band so I checked them out.

North American War are a three-piece from Glasgow and they recall the noisier bits of Yatsura on "Ivory And" and the surging melodic crashes of (early) Delgados on "Geraniums On A Spit", the flip-side.

And I didn't just reference those two bands 'cause they were also Scottish acts. It's just a coincidence. Scotland has produced a lot of good bands.

Follow North American War on their Facebook page here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Where Did These New And Stunning Rose Elinor Dougall Tracks Come From?

Following on from her amazing free EP back in January, it seems as if ex-Pipette -- need to stop saying that -- Rose Elinor Dougall has been recording some new music.

I found these 5 tracks are on Soundcloud and they were posted by Tri-Tone Music, a publishing house, about 4 months ago.

The tracks are really just wonderful. They're expansive, lush, and a bit more produced and less direct than the wonderful songs on her debut album.

Play The New Rose Elinor Dougall Tracks Here!

Free MP3 From Dark Himaya!

Fresh from their gig at Lamma Fun Day 2012, Dark Himaya are here to share a free MP3 -- "Papercut In Your Heart" -- which you can download and play below.

The track will feature on the band's album Breaking The Spell which will drop early in 2013.

Ih the meantime, check out the band's Facebook page.

[Photo: Darren Hayward]

Friday, November 23, 2012

Citizens! Remix Paradise -- Play It Here

That hot new band U.K. Citizens! have remixed that other hot new U.K. band Paradise. The bleeping-and-blurping remodeling of "Endless Wave" is below.

Paradise are playing a single launch party on Tuesday for those of you in London. Details are here.

Follow Paradise on their Facebook page:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fake Club Drop Free Download And Vid Of Do What You Gotta Do!

Coming on like Kenickie trying to cover an L7 song, London's Fake Club bring the girl-rock glory on "Do What You Gotta Do" which you can watch below and which you can also download below.

This is a jam, pure and simple. Brash, silly, and with a hint of playful menace, "Do What You Gotta Do" is meant to be cranked loud and often.

You can follow the gals in Fake Club on their Facebook -- Fake-book? -- page:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The View Are Back: A Review Of Cheeky For A Reason

The View have set the knobs of the time machine for 1977, not so much to journey back to the birth of punk but to do a stitch-up job on two of the biggest acts of that Star Wars year. Intending to make a record that sounds like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours if it had been made by The Clash, Cheeky For A Reason rides in on a wave of indie riffs and classic harmonies. And I'm happy to report that The View, more or less, succeed in their odd goal.

"How Long" gets this 4th record off to a rollicking start. Drummer Steven Morrison drives the song forward like a herd of horses over a cliff. The harmonies are tight and the tune cruises by on a strong melodic wave.

"AB (We Need Treatment") and "Hold On Now" bring back The View sound from the first record. The ramshackle rambunctiousness is gone (a bit) but it's been replaced by swagger and confidence; the group sound like mid-period Supergrass here and that's surely something to be applauded.

"Anfield Road" is a bit close to Arctic Monkeys and "Bullet" does indeed have a Fleetwood Mac bit of business buried in the mix -- that Lindsey Buckingham-style guitar line.

"Bunker (Solid Ground)" is a nice surprise. Mixing the sort of melody heard on the 2nd View album with supple musicianship and nice production, the tune is a catchy little pick-me-up of a track.

"The Clock" is, for lack of a better description, the grab at the Top 40. It's a well-crafted tune, but certainly not my favorite on the record. Still, as a expertly-constructed single, it's pretty respectable.

After the "Piano Interlude", things are back to bouncy indie pop with the skanking "Hole in the Bed", all (well-produced) runs on templates laid down earlier by acts like Madness and The Specials.

"Sour Little Sweetie" is this year's "Wasted Little DJs". It is, easily, the highlight of this record. It's punchy, catchy, and an insanely infectious little hard riff-rocker. Quite simply, it's my favorite tune from The View's 2012 album and the equal of anything on the first album.

"Lean On My World" has a bit more of that Supergrass sound but it's mixed with polish and a sort of radio friendly vibe. It's a bit brash but it's still the sort of thing you'd expect to hear in heavy rotation on U.K. radio. And I mean that in the best possible way.

"Tacky Tattoo" brings back the Tom Waits-meets-Kurt Weill melody style we heard on the 2nd album. It's a haunting number that recalls Arctic Monkeys' mainman Alex Turner's songs for 2010's Submarine.

Cheeky For A Reason is a remarkably solid record. If it's not quite as spirited as the early View stuff, that's okay. The guys are a bit older now. The songs are constructed with care -- a rare thing these days -- and it's a consistent affair with no real dud in the mix. The View manage to take a few familiar elements and make something fresh out of them. The band now has a distinct sound and on Cheeky For A Reason that sound encompasses more influences and a few new styles.

Follow The View on their Facebook page:

Or on their official website:

Friday, November 16, 2012

L. Pierre: A New Project From Aidan Moffat (Arab Strab)

Aidan Moffat, from Arab Strap and that wonderful Bill Wells record, has got a new project coming up. It's called L. Pierre and you can play the first vaguely unsettling and lovely track below.

More details can be found on the Melodic Records website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Download Fantastic Track From Widowspeak Here!

Those cool kids at Captured Tracks have signed another great band.

Widowspeak come on all Mazzy Star-meets-Cardigans here and it's a lovely, lovely thing that results from that mash-up.

Download "Ballad of the Golden Hour" below.

Then head over to the band's Facebook page for more news:

Stream New EP From The 1975 Here!

It's not out for a few days but you can play the whole Sex EP from The 1975 here.

The band is heading out in support of this EP and they'll be playing some dates in the U.K. in the next few weeks.

Head over to their Facebook page for more details:

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Video From The View

Scotland's The View are about to go on the road again to promote their current album Cheeky For A Reason and they've now released a video for the delightful "Tacky Tattoo" single.

Follow The View on their Facebook page:

Or on their official website:

Free Music From bye! (Archie Moore of Velocity Girl, Black Tambourine) and Black Tambourine

Back in the day, as the kids say, I never saw a Velocity Girl video on the old MTV and said: "I know 2 of those guys!"

No, I pointed at the TV screen with my old man cane and said "Two of those guys were my favorite customers at The University of Maryland Record Co-Op!"

I'm not gonna get all misty-eyed about that basement shop in the student union except to say that my musical taste was -- more or less -- set by the time that that place closed.

With the exception of a very handful of bands (Manics, Luke Haines, SFA, Kenickie), nothing would ever thrill me as much as the bands from that era.

And in 1989 or 1990, I could count on nearly one hand the people that knew the Creation Records and Sarah Records acts that I loved so much. One of those guys formed a band and a label (Black Tambourine and Slumberland Records, respectively), one guy played bass in another (Velocity Girl), one girl joined a whole lot of good bands (early version of Velocity Girl, Unrest, Air Miami), and another guy was in even more (Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl, Lilys, Heartworms, The Saturday People, and so on).

Those were the cool(est) customers at the Co-Op in 1989 and 1990 (and The Record and Tape Exchange in 1988). I didn't really talk to Pam Berry until years later but I knew who she was back then as she came in to buy vinyl with Archie all the time -- great hair and great taste in tunes.

Anyway, on to Archie. Everyone knows the guy and everyone likes the guy and with good reason.

The success of Velocity Girl felt like a vindication that D.C. was not just Dischord. He and Slumberland's Mike Schulman really provided a chance for people to hear another sort of sound to come from the D.C./Maryland/NoVa area.

And they got kids into some great bands; anyone who looked up where Velocity Girl got their name probably quickly got hooked on Primal Scream and that whole C86 scene.

Anyway, Archie is a man of many talents but today I'm going to highlight a recent project, bye!, as well as some rarities from Black Tambourine.

You can play all the noise-pop your heart desires via the links below.

(And the wayback machine found that pic on the Facebook page of Black Tambourine -- not to be confused with the up-and-coming Brit band The Black Tambourines! -- and it's dated March 1990 which means it's roughly around the time of my 23rd birthday when I went to dinner with The Blue Nile thanks to the dude from Frontier Theory who worked at A&M Records.)

Play and download the excellent "Everything Is Okay" below!

Chemtrail Surfer from bye! (Archie Moore)

Black Tambourine Cassette from Black Tambourine

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crash Course In Dot Dash Prior To The Ash Gig In D.C. On Thursday!

Okay, I've posted about them a lot -- click on that Dot Dash tag below -- but now is the final reminder from me about the Dot Dash/Ash show at DC9 on November 15.

Details are here!

Or here on their Facebook page!

It's worth remembering that the 4 members of Dot Dash -- Terry Banks, Bill Crandall, Hunter Bennett, and Danny Ingram -- were in a lot of good bands prior to this project. Terry Banks was in Glo-Worm with Pam Berry from Black Tambourine and Danny Ingram was in...a shitload of bands!

The point is that these guys rock and you need to see them live.

So here's a crash course in the previous gigs of these Dot Dash boys.

(P.S. -- these guys rock!)

Youth Brigade - "Moral Majority" (Danny Ingram on drums)

Modest Propsoal - "I've Seen Your Face Before" (Bill Crandall on guitar and Danny Ingram on drums [for the reunion gig])

(Be sure to check out this link for a look back at this great mod/power-pop record!)

Julie Ocean - "Ten Lonely Words" (Terry Banks on lead vocals and guitar and Hunter Bennett on bass)

Dot Dash - "Tragedy/Destiny" (Terry Banks, Bill Crandall, Hunter Bennett, and Danny Ingram)

Ash - "A Life Less Ordinary"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some Thoughts On Captain America Issue 19 (2012)

I never much followed Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America; the word "gritty" was used once to describe his stuff and I just don't think that that word goes well with Captain America as a character.

But I'm open-minded and I readily admit that I need to run more of Ed's 10-year run on the title.

So I got my hands on issue 19 of Captain America and I have to say that I was quite impressed. The issue is -- to use an overused word -- meta, and downright literary.

By the time that Steve Rogers got around to addressing a rival Cap while holding a Captain America comic book and talking about Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as if they were real people, I was a fan. The whole sequence felt vaguely Nabokovian and that's a good thing.

Play New Tracks from Manchester's Neil Jarvis Here

Neil Jarvis is yet another talented Manchester musician. That city never ceases to amaze me!

His new record Weekends will be out on November 12 via Big Cartel.

And he opens up for Temple Songs on November 16 at The Tudor House in Wigan.

Weekends is a tuneful and introspective set of songs. Some bits reminded me of K Records and Beat Happening -- "Figure It Out" -- and other tracks reminded me of Felt in some small way.

"What's Done Is Done" bears a faint echo of The Pastels, or a Creation act like The Loft. "Don't Care" takes a hint of solo Alex Chilton and runs with it. And his guitar work is not too shabby either -- dig those wah-wah bits in "July".

Strong tunes and introspection make Neil Jarvis a voice to listen to and I look forward to hearing his future releases.

Follow Neil Jarvis on Bandcamp:

Or follow him on Twitter:

A New Pulco Album Is A Good Thing Indeed

A new album from Pulco is here and it's another set of lo-fi bits of cleverness sure to charm listeners.

28 years of solid lofi is a collection of recordings made by Ash Cooke with his children. Bits and pieces of sounds, samples, and spoken word segments turn something like "For my tea I'd like some ........ " into an infectious little riffer.

"Sumi Numi" is equal parts old Pink Floyd and Radiohead. It's pastoral but a bit...eerie. Beautiful but odd and it's nearly the template for how to mix folk music and lo-fi indie.

"Robot Arm" is the Cyborg Al Green rocking out on the mic -- a really great little bit of fuzzy pop.

Like on most of his records as Pulco, Ash Cooke uses found sounds, samples, and instrumental bits to create a little marvel of home recording. Tunefulness rules here and creativity -- as always -- abounds.

You can play tracks from 28 years of solid lofi below.

Follow Pulco on his Bandcamp page:

Or on his website:

Play New Track From The 1975 Here!

Yet another Manchester band!

The 1975 are plotting their takeover of the music world with the smartly named "Sex" EP which is out soon.

Recalling some of the better moments of both The Killers and Editors, The 1975 are here to share the closing track of the EP with you. Play "You" below.

Follow the band on their Facebook page:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Play Cheatahs Radio Session Track Here!

It seems like they've only got 8 songs but what a set of songs!

Cheatahs are making the kind of music I like -- it blurs the edges of a few different styles and it seems to be inspired by both Nirvana and Teenage Fanclub.

At least "Flake" sounds that way.

These guys have signed to Wichita Recordings so look for more music to be released from them in the (near?) future.

For now, follow along on their Facebook page:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Towns Hit The Switch Marked "Shoegaze Overdrive" And I Dig Them For That!

From out of Weston-super-Mare -- where? -- Towns are -- is? -- a new band proudly flying the shoegazer flag. The band is playing a bit gig on November 10 -- the Fear of Fiction Festival in Bristol -- and they just completed a tour in support of their latest EP.

I'd urge you to check out the tunes from these guys and you should start with "Sleepwalking" below.

Follow them on their Facebook page or on their label (Howling Owl), or on their website below.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Deluxe 3-CD Edition Of The First House Of Love Record Drops In 3 Weeks!

Cherry Red records are doing the world an enormous service on November 26. The label is putting out a 3-CD deluxe edition of the first House of Love record.

And the good news is that the set's rarities and assorted demos will not overlap very much with tracks on the earlier 1986 - 1988: Creation Recordings disc.

In fact, all of Disc 3 is previously unreleased stuff!

If you want to read the lowdown, check out the details from Cherry Red here.

I really can't stress enough how important that album was in 1988. The reviews in NME and Melody Maker got me hyped on the band before I even found the CD in an import bin in D.C. And the fact that the record actually did live up to the Brit press hype made me trust the Brit press again.

And I joyously spent the summer of 1988 looking for another band as good as The House of Love.

It was a fruitless search.

When I finally saw the band in D.C. in 1990, I was thrilled. The set turned out to be one of the best live gigs I'd ever seen. And to this day, it ranks as one of the best concerts I've ever attended.

So get this 3-CD set on 11/26/2012. Remember the thrills and discover some new shimmering delights in the rarities on this package.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Free MP3 From Dot Dash In Advance Of The Ash Gig On November 15

You know, I really want to come back to D.C. to see Dot Dash open for Ash on November 15 (Details here.)

I mean, I really want to come back for that gig. As it is, I probably won't get to but I'm going to try to see Danny Ingram's legendary Youth Brigade when they play a show with Government Issue and Scream on December 29 since I'll be home in D.C. for at least a week near Christmas.

Anyway, in anticipation of that Ash gig, here's another free MP3 from Dot Dash.

And, for those of you who somehow missed my ravings about this band, check out my review of the second album, Winter Garden Light.

Today's free MP3 is "Countdown" and it's quite possibly the most concise distillation of the band's strengths. Terry Banks' vocals here are right out of a classic 1970s power pop record -- echoing his stuff with Julie Ocean (which also featured Dot Dash bassist Hunter Bennett and Jim Spellman from Velocity Girl). "Countdown" has that solid and nearly angry beat from drummer Danny Ingram and the Buzzcocks-echoing guitar riffs from Bill Crandall -- I defy you not to think of "Airwaves Dream" when you crank this -- all those pieces come together and the band rockets forward to create something punky and tuneful.

Still, "Countdown" like the rest of the tunes from Dot Dash takes those influences and shapes them into something new -- this is the Dot Dash Sound.

And it rocks.

Download "Countdown" from Dot Dash here!

You can find details of the Dot Dash/Ash gig here:

You can buy Winter Garden Light on iTunes here.

And check out the band's label's website for even more details:

Temple Songs: A Whole Lotta Free Music And It's Just Great Stuff

The winner of the best new thing I've heard all week award this week goes to Manchester's Temple Songs.

I mean, seriously, what are they putting in the water in that city that the place produced -- and continues to produce -- so many great bands?

With sounds echoing classic US garage rock from the 1960s -- "I Could Kill You Anytime" -- to the unearthly and beautiful Barrett-like pop of "I'll Write You A Song", these guys are just making fantastic music.

Not only that, but they're a generous lot; there's at least 2 singles and 1 album up for free -- for now -- on their Bandcamp page:

I urge you to go get some stuff from these lads.

And check out their Facebook page as well.

First, play the Standells-meets-Chris Knox-meets-Pretty Things monster-hit "Magick with a 'K'".

Lo-fi? Yes, but wildly inventive and a cracking good tune.

How Did This Slip Past Me? Manchester's Patterns Bring The Goodness

Falling somewhere between O.M.D. and the shimmering, poppy guitar noise of a prime 4AD band, Manchester's Patterns are creating just lovely music.

Not only that, but Patterns are on the same label as Standard Fare.

Play "Blood" from Patterns below and then head over to their Facebook page:

Or check them out on the Melodic Records page:

Free Shoegaze-y Tunes From Beliefs

Sounding not quite like that first wave of shoegazing bands, Beliefs sound more like Medicine, or the Medicine spin-off Amnesia.

It's good stuff. The male-and-female vocals sound a bit like early Mazzy Star, or Opal.

But, the reality is, the band will probably get tagged with the shoegazer label due to those fuzzed-out guitars and that wall of noise.

Check out these two tracks and follow the band on their Facebook page.