Thursday, October 25, 2012

Playboy Spaceman: A New Project From Bridget Cross (Velocity Girl, Unrest, Air Miami, Maybe It's Reno)

Following on from her last project, the subdued and gently affecting Maybe It's Reno, Bridget Cross is back. Along with her husband, she is now making music as Playboy Spaceman and you can play some tracks below.

If you're in Alaska, they've got some gigs coming up in the near future so check out the band's Facebook page here.

There are some songs up on their ReverbNation page but I urge you to play the full-length video below.

Deliriously Good New Video From Childhood!

I'm still hyping these guys.

The gloriously tripped out video for Childhood's "Blue Velvet" is out and this coincides with the good news that the single is up on US iTunes.

(I bought it from Hong Kong but I'm using my US account so...)

Buy it here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Dot Dash Video! Play It Here!

The D.C.-area boys in Dot Dash are back with a new video for the track "The Past Is Another Country" from their wonderful second album Winter Garden Light -- see my review from when the album dropped.

The band is opening for Ash in D.C. on November 15. I am seriously thinking of flying home from Hong Kong just for that gig.

No kidding.

Anyway, get details on that gig and their other actitives in support of this great album on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/dotdashdc

The Thing You Need To Buy This Week Is This: A.R. Kane Singles Comp. Up On iTunes!

The best thing you didn't know you needed from the best band that you either forgot about or didn't ever know about is this.

Yes, the 33-track (!) Complete Singles Collection from A.R. Kane is up on US iTunes and here's a link.

For those of you on Amazon, it's also there.

Following on from this recent interview with half of the duo, it's about time that A.R. Kane got reassessed. I mean, jeez, the band covered every important genre of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.

Like me, maybe you got into these guys 'cause of the stuff produced by Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins, or because of their involvement with M/A/R/R/S and "Pump Up The Volume" or because of the press accolades?

I think I grabbed 69 (1988) first and sort of dug it -- it was not nearly as obvious in its charms as was that year's Isn't Anything from My Bloody Valentine. Still, over time, I began to see more clearly how innovative and forward-thinking these two guys were.

And if you can make a good case that they were not suited to the album format, you can just pour yourself into these singles and remember that glorious era in UK indie rock.

Dive into this sampler of tracks courtesy of the One Little Indian record label -- "A Love From Outer Space" (Album Version) is a jam and a half!

Monday, October 22, 2012

London's Paradise Follow (Successfully) The Examples Of Mazzy Star And Pale Saints

And I don't just mean in spirit, sound, and dreamy aesthetic.

No, more specifically, London band Paradise have covered Slapp Happy's "Blue Flower" which was previously covered to great effect by both Mazzy Star and Pale Saints.

And I'm happy to report that Paradise have done an exceptional job at interpreting this seminal cut. Expansive and haunting, this version owes more to Wild Beasts than Pale Saints. Add in a touch of Seefeel and you've got a winning cover.

After playing this cut about a dozen times like I did, please head over to Paradise's Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/weareparadise

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Free Music From Brisbane's Go Violets

Brisbane's Go Violets name-check both the Spice Girls and Bikini Kill and that's probably a reason I checked out tunes from this band.

First, listen to and download the poppy and perky "Teenager" via the link below.

Then, go to this page for 3 more free MP3s from Go Violets.

A hint of early Kenickie, a dash of C86, maybe a touch of the DIY spirit of the Flying Nun bands, and the attitude of riot grrl = Go Violets.

Follow the band on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/goviolets

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Interview With Victor Talking Machine

I'd say that I could narrow down the list of my favorite new bands -- at least new to me -- in 2012 to 4 bands: Standard Fare, Citizens!, Childhood, and Victor Talking Machine.

The London -- Hackney -- lads have been generating some buzz lately and I was thrilled when I was offered a chance to interview the guys recently.

So here's me chatting with Victor Talking Machine!

Kenixfan: Even though you can Google the meaning of the term, tell me how you came up with the band name?

Ricky: An old friend who used to spend way too much time on Wikipedia came up with it as a name and it just stuck with us for years until we finally got a full band of our own and were able to use it. I've personally never been good with coming up with names. I can only think of jokey ones like Vampire Tampon, or my first band ever which was called Spunk Bravo. But realising MTV is VTM backwards was the icing on the cake for us.

Stephen: Victor Talking Machines are those old vinyl players with gramophones, by the way.

Kenixfan: Can you give us a bit of background on the band members and where they come from -- influences and that?

Ricky: I come from Essex but didn't meet Ste until university in London. There weren't many guitarists at our halls so naturally we ended up hanging out together, sharing albums and getting excited about bands like Death From Above 1979 and Queens Of The Stone Age. When we started jamming together it was for a band years ago but we found that we were the only two on the same page; there were too many pilots or cooks or whatever and the songs just sounded like a jingly-jangly, muso mess. 

A friend of ours started dating this cool drummer and he came to see us play. He said his name was George and he grew up in South London. I think he must have liked the way we stumbled around on stage because when we asked him if he wanted to join he said yes! He's a better musician than both of us put together you see, but a modest one too which is lovely.

Stephen: I come from Warrington, a satellite town up north. I wrote with a few different people before Ricky, but things only started to make sense when we started fronting the band together. We've just got a very good understanding of one another musically and personally, which makes the whole writing process effortless.

I met Matt our bass player through an old friend from Warrington [and] we hit it off straight away. We were missing a bass player at the time and I’d seen him switching from bass to guitar in his old band Chapter Sweetheart -- the boy had skills! So I asked him if he wanted in and the rest is history really.

Kenixfan: What have been some of your successes so far?

Ricky: That's an odd question really because our upcoming EP (November) is only our second release so everything still feels pretty fresh. The first single we released got us in NME and we were mentioned in The Guardian too so we were all pretty psyched about that -- wasn't expecting it at all so we are very grateful. But when we did our first recording together earlier this year there was a cool vibe, everything felt natural, and even though me and Ste had been playing together for a while, it felt like we finally had our sound! Songwriting has been a fun breeze since then.

Stephen: Playing with Comanechi felt pretty good, we’d been wanting to play a show with them for ages!

Kenixfan: Does it bother you when reviewers and writers name-check other bands when describing your sound?  When I've done it, it's been meant as a compliment -- anyone that sounds even a tiny bit like Ride and The Telescopes is doing something right.

Ricky: It's weird because sometimes band names get pinned on us and we are like: "Who?" Most of the time reviewers get it spot on though, and just list all of our favourite childhood bands, so to be compared with the likes of Ride or The Telescopes is amazing.

Stephen: I think a name-check is inevitable, really. I personally take it as a compliment. Most of the best bands wear their influences on their sleeves.

Kenixfan: Play the downright amazing and very Telescopes-like "Sarah Laughs" below...

Kenixfan: What are your recording plans for the future? 

Stephen: We’ll hopefully be in the studio to record a couple of new tracks before Christmas -- we’re aiming to get another single out early 2013.

Kenixfan: Do you consider yourselves part of a "scene" or style?  Who would you say are your musical peers?

Ricky: We got called "goth-gaze" once which was very confusing. It was a long article about new upcoming music genres and they just wanted to lump a bunch of East London bands together for whatever reason. In London, you end up getting on with people who have similar musical tastes. We rehearse in the same studio as Fanzine, Yuck, and Comanechi so its inevitable that we're gonna make friends, but the term "scene" seems unfriendly and pretentious to us. We are all just mates making music in the same area, I guess.

Upcoming Victor Talking Machine gig for those of you in the London area...

Kenixfan: Would you say that you guys have a different sound in the studio than live?

Ricky: Not really. A good gig for us is one where we can hear the levels all nice on stage and it feels right, but we play what we play on the recordings, except we give it some and get into the songs and fall about quite a bit in the process. Occasionally we get carried away on stage too, and that's fun -- but it wouldn't feel right to alienate the audience.

Kenixfan: You've toured quite a bit.  How has that time on the road shaped the VTM sound?

Ricky: Well, we write stuff at home together a lot, mostly when we have run out of money and can't afford to go out (which is always) so the sound is more defined by our general mood together in the flat. To look at it a bit closer though, I guess our sound comes from the enthusiasm we get playing around with new instruments and effects or chords, and passing around records that we like. We live above a fast food chicken shop too and the food there makes us feel dirty and happy at the same time. Our sound is just like that really.

Kenixfan: When will a full length record be available?

Stephen: Next year would be a great time, I like the idea of releasing something in the spring -- new life and all that! But we still have a lot more live shows we wanna do first. That's why we have this EP as a little taster for your ears.

An enormous "Thank you" to the guys in Victor Talking Machine for taking the time to answer my questions.

Look for a new EP from these guys soon and keep track of their activities and upcoming gigs on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/vtmband

Official video for "Had Enough" from Victor Talking Machine...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Play 2 Tracks From London's Splashh Here!

London's Splashh are making bright, bouncy, bratty rock and that's a good thing.

One listen to "Vacation" had me sold on these guys. Was it the Nirvina-aping bubbling intro? Was it the yearning vocals on the verses? The Yatsura-meets-Johnny Rotten chorus?

I don't know but the song is a real delight. Play that track along with the newer "So Young" -- not the Suede song -- below.

Follow Splashh on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/splashh.band

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New La Sera Video Is A Delightful Bit Of Pop Business

It's been months since the album was released -- here's my review of the latest La Sera record -- but there's finally a video for the infectious "Break My Heart" from La Sera.

The former Vivian Girl turns up the Cute in this clip.

(And the song ain't half bad either!)

Follow La Sera on the web:

official site
Facebook page
Tumblr site
her label page

La Sera - Break My Heart from Hardly Art on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Accelerator: A Review Of Another Royal Trux Reissue From Drag City

Jennifer Herrema gave us one of this year's best records with that Black Bananas album, but now it's time to look back at her earlier band (along with Neil Hagerty), Royal Trux.

Drag City have once again done a great job with another Royal Trux reissue. This time it's 1998's semi-breakthrough Accelerator.

"I'm Ready" kicks things off with a barrage of noise and a vaguely "Layla"-esque guitar/keyboard whirring noise -- a clanging mess that sounds unlike anything else released in 1998.

"Yellow Kid" wheezes in like Neil Young's bad dream of a Beck record, while "The Banana Question" sounds like the Stones -- not surprisingly -- but an "Undercover of the Night"-era Stones morphed into something genuinely deranged and frightening.

"Another Year" is a relatively well-structured rocker with a synth-y undercurrent. It's a sinuous and sinister little rocker with Neil Hagerty snarling the lyrics over that insistent little riff.

"Juicy, Juicy, Juice" is a funky, sloppy, downright silly track that still charms some 14 years after this album was first released.

"Liar" sees Hagerty sounding like some neopsychedelic madman. The track is what those early Beck records tried to be. But this is the real deal.

"New Bones" is more space-y with Hagerty's vocals going in-and-out of the mix. A serious mind-fuck, this track is the sort of thing that plays in an old film when a character gets stoned for the first time.

"Follow the Winner" is more blues business with a messy mix of sounds and instruments threatening to engulf the nearly Soundgarden-like central riff.

"Stevie (For Steven S.)" may or may not be about Steven Seagal but it's a slinky number that serves as the near-high point of this record. If Accelerator is a noisy and unfocused record -- in spots, at least -- this is the smooth finale, full of emotion and melody.

I keep stressing the messiness of Accelerator but it's a glorious kind of messiness. No one is making records like this in 2012 -- Prince Rama come close with their layers of sound -- and, quite frankly, very few people in 1998 were making records like this.

Quite possibly Royal Trux's masterpiece -- or at least their most concise distillation of their sound -- Accelerator is an essential addition to any music fan's library.

If you have just one Royal Trux record in your library, it should probably be this one.

For more details on Accelerator and other Royal Trux reissues head on over to Drag City.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Download New MP3 From G R E A T W A V E S Here

Manchester's G R E A T W A V E S are back with the rather sublime and downright catchy "Feel The Love" and you can play or download it below.

The band are playing 2 gigs with Regal Safari next week, one in Salford and one in London. Details are on the band's Facebook page.

On "Feel The Love" you hear a percolating synth that recalls Talk Talk or even a New Order remix, while the vocals are warm and hazy like something off an A.R. Kane record circa 1988.

Still, this is the poppiest thing I've heard from G R E A T W A V E S and that's not an insult; the band have managed to craft a unique sound here -- it's space rock with coherence and focus.

Another lovely tune from Manchester's G R E A T W A V E S.

Follow G R E A T W A V E S on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/dropitfromtheheavens

Best Thing I've Heard All Week: Free MP3 From Young Fathers

There is only one suitable reaction to "Deadline" by Edinburgh's Young Fathers:

"What the fuck did I just hear and can you please play that again!?!"

If Public Image had produced Public Enemy, if the Pop Group did funk -- what the hell is that sound!?!

Young Fathers carry the vibes of their fathers (Liberian and Nigerian immigrants in Edinburgh) but there's something heavy and futuristic here.

If this is not rap, not funk, what is it?

I don't know but I have already played this about a dozen times today so now join me and do the same.

Download "Deadline" by Young Fathers here

Follow Young Fathers on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/youngfathers

Or on their official website:
www.young-fathers.com

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Download Epic MP3 From London's Victor Talking Machine Here

London's Victor Talking Machine are due to drop their "Had Enough" E.P. on November 12 and here's the spacious and space-y "Penny Arcade" to tide you over until then.

Recalling the glory days of early Verve, or the mellower moments on Loop and Swervedriver records, "Penny Arcade" unfurls like a genuine freakout from an earlier era. At their best, Victor Talking Machine make me think of The Telescopes and that's not a bad thing.

There was a brief moment when this sort of guitar-rock was gaining traction in the U.K., somewhere after the C86 jingle-jangle days and before "Supersonic" made everyone want to be a Gallagher.

Victor Talking Machine recall that moment. They are neither shoegazers, nor baggy Britpoppers, but they represent the sort of British guitar rock that a lot of of us miss.

Put away your vinyl of Nowhere and spin this instead.

Victor Talking Machine are on tour now and their E.P. will be out in a few weeks.

For now, follow them on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/vtmband

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Scenes From Tonight's Condolence Ceremony On Lamma Island



I've lived on Lamma Island for 8 months and I still feel like a newbie.

Maybe that's why I have not written about last week's tragic ferry accident here.

There's not much I can say other than to express thanks that I wasn't on that ferry. And neither was anyone else that I care about here.

I staggered off the 7:30 ferry tonight to find myself in the middle of this condolence ceremony.

In America, I know more about Taoism and Buddhism than a lot of people. Here, my knowledge is shallow indeed.

I can pick out elements of both religions here but I'll leave it to the experts out there to tell me what all of this means.

(And I wasn't the only person -- Asian or Caucasian -- to be taking photos at this otherwise solemn ceremony.)













Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Play New Babies Track Here

With their new record set to drop in November, and a string of shows lined up across the U.S., The Babies are on a roll.

Now the band are here to share their anthemic -- indie anthemic -- new track "Get Lost" and you can play the song below.

Follow the band on their Facebook page.

Their new album will be out on Woodsist in November.

Friday, October 5, 2012

New Single From Childhood Set To Drop Soon (Play It Here)

London-based Childhood are poised to drop their debut single in November. After playing everything the guys have put online, I'll now be able to buy an actual release.

You can play the splendid and swirling "Blue Velvet" below.

The single will be out on House Anxiety Records soon.

Follow the band on their Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/childhoodband

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Play Little Boots Cover of Bronski Beat Here!

Little Boots is on a DJ tour -- again -- and she's also producing fantastic new music.

Case in point: the thoroughly excellent cover of Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy" which you can play below.

I was never a huge fan of those guys so it's not unusual to say that I like this cover more than the original.

Follow Little Boots in her various endeavors via her Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/littleboots