Thursday, 26 November 2009


After months and months waiting for this release since having payed for it I finally received it yesterday through my door. I found out on the Art Fag website that they were having problems with the manufacturing but I have to say that they are not so attentive with the costumer service because I sent them a couple of emails to ask for what was wrong and I never heard anything from them. Anyway, the record's finally here and it's one of these records I'll be really proud of having got it in a couple of years. I have already commented stuff from the four bands here so a split release with new songs from them is good news for me. Everything according to this release have to do with dualities. Two American bands, Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls, who have toured together before and are friends, and two British bands, Graffiti Island and Pens, who have also played live together and this is even the third time they appear in the same release. It's also two male bands on the A side and two female bands on the B side.
They stopped the orders a while ago due to the pressing problems and it's not mentioned if they will carry out some more anytime soon so keep on checking regularly if you want to get yourself a copy before it's too late.

Dum Dum Girls - Brite Futures.mp3

Monday, 23 November 2009


The delay on the delivery of the latest Sub Pop singles club has made me feel it has last double. The last instalment, planned for July 09, just arrived last week at home. This time, Dutchess and the Duke are the protagonists which means that, taking into account their second album was released last month, this single should have appeared in between records. Dutchess and the Duke's first album was full of dark songs about hate and resentment while their last record is a bit more positive. So that makes me think these songs were recorded during the process of their new album as Side by Side is an optimistic love song, although the B side Daggers is on the edge of darkness. Musically, both songs are what you can expect from them, two acoustic folk songs that look back to the 60s but also to the 90s and the 00s folk revival, beautifully performed without any kind of extra arrangements; just their voices and guitars. Just another proof that Sub Pop is always aware and get varied and interesting acts for their singles club.
Let's hope that Sub Pop reconsider not to stop the Singles Club forever as they mentioned at the beginning of this last subscription and carry with it forever and ever or with some periodicity, at least. You know you can trust them and you don't mind paying in advance for 12 singles from 12 bands you don't know which are going to be, and this is not something you can say from many labels.

dutches and the Duke - Side By Side.mp3

Thursday, 19 November 2009


It took me too long to review these singles and now, their last one, is featured as best new music on Pitchfork today, which means that this post is kind of useless now, as you'll probably would have heard about this band by the point you read this post. Anyway, they are so damn good that extra praise is never enough. These three singles have been put out in the last months, actually the last two have just been released, and the myth is already created. Bethany story as Best Coast (with the help of Bob Bruno) is even shorter than the one from Fergus & Geronimo (check the previous post), and we can already see a bit of evolution in their sound. A former member of Pocahaunted she moved back to California to get influenced by the sea and the California boys. As you can imagine, the result is pretty close from the Beach Boys summery sound. Little by little they have been polishing the lo-fi and punkier sound of their first cassette Where the Boys Are, just slightly enough to sound a bit more 60s and 50s, something between a Spector girl band and a surf band but keeping the DIY spirit although a bit less rough. The first single Sun Was High (So Was I) in Art Fag is already sold out, so hurry up if you want to get Make You Mine, on Group Tightener and their about to be published, and the one who would definitely put them on the map, When I'm with You for Black Iris. None of them have a single song that doesn't make me want to pack my swimsuit, buy a surfboard and go to California to get a tan. Buy these records and put them on the shelf between the Dum Dum Girls and your scratchy copy of Pet Sounds. Surely, my new favourite band of the month.

Best Coast - When I'm With You.mp3

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


And yet another beautiful story to explain about a band that has gone from not existing to having a cue of labels that want them to release singles with them. Everything started just days after they posted their first songs on myspace at the beginning of this current year, just days after forming. Both Fergus (Andrew Savage) and Geronimo (JBoldason Kelly) have been members of many bands like Teenage Cool Kids, Wiccans, The Wax Museums and The Potential Johns, and this was supposed to be another of their projects although in just some months, after all the attention they got, it has become the one they spend more time with. As a matter of fact, they didn't Just some weeks ago we saw the release of their first single, Harder Than It's Ever Been on Woodsist and not much later their second on Tic Tac Totally, Blind Muslim Girl. And now, without having had enough time to enjoy the first two releases, we already have a third one, Tell it, in My Ears, this time for Transparent and only available through Pure Groove in Europe and Leftist Nautical Antiques in the USA. They count between their influences Southern soul, '60s pop, psychedelic, Motown and pop-punk music, everything noticeable in their recordings, although all the singles tend to go more to one side or another, making them pretty varied.
On their last effort, both songs are very soulful, like if they were recording from another time, but filtering a contemporary feeling that makes them sound fresh and new.

Released 16/11/09

Fergus & Geronimo - Tell it, in My ear.mp3


Back in June I reviewed Edsel & Ruby, the EP that included Cold Cave's most pop and radio friendly song: Love Comes Close. And thanks to that song and what has come afterwards, his first proper LP named after this song and the signed up to Matador, the status of this band has changed from hardly known to one of the most talked about discoveries of the year. And as they know this is so far their "Smells Like Teen Spirit" they released a limited 12" record called Death Comes Close that, for what the name implies, should work as a dark side reverse of the album. Nevertheless, this couldn't be more wrong. To start with, they include (again, and counting 3 times so far) their capital song in the very same version to squeeze a bit more its achievements now that they can be introduced to the larger amount of people that the Matador imprint can reach. Anyway, the interesting part of this EP comes with the other three songs here not included anywhere else and that should be the reason to get this new release. As a companion to the main track, the A side also includes Double Lives in Single Beds, another reason to think this is not the evil dark little brother of the album as it is one of the most accessible and less obscure sounding tracks. On the B side they deliver another hit track with Theme From Tomorrowland that, although the voice is kind of filtered and creepy, the melody and beats are sing-along friendly. With the last track Now That I'm in the Future they finally get a bit darker although far from the noisy tracks from the Cold Cave beginnings.
Imagine this EP as a complement to the record, a collection of extra tracks that could have make it to the album or formed part of one of those deluxe editions with bonus disc so common before Christmas. Anyway, you have them download free with the coupon they give you when you buy the vinyl version of the album.

Released 20/10/09

Cold Cave - Double Lives in Single Beds.mp3


In a year that everything is about girls and dogs, here we have the first single out of the second album from Wetdog, a band formed in London by three girls. Yes, they are three girls, the magic number for a girl band, and they play guitar, bass and drums, so imagine that you will soon hear stupid references as "the British answer to Vivian Girls" as it may be the easy thing to say, as they are also three girls. But apart from this fact I don't see much more in common. Their melodies are more based in post-punk riffs and attitude than in 60s girl bands and the changes of rhythm are frequent in most of their compositions, something you hardly see in the Vivian's songs. I would say they are closer to The Slits, who their recently toured the UK with, than to this new wave of American girl bands. Anyway, Lower Leg is a great way to introduce you to their music as it captures the spirit of their sound with the slow-fast-slow change of sequence and the vocal harmonies. And if you turn around the record you can enjoy two other good tracks you cannot listen anywhere else. Out in Angular Records.

Released 02/11/09

Wetdog - Lower Leg.mp3

Saturday, 14 November 2009


If we can use the term POP WITH GIRL VOCALS as a genre tag (like this, in capital letters)this is what suits best to Total Babe, a band which name has no cynicism at all. It's total pop and total girly, although they have two male members if we count the recent admission of their new drummer who joined the band after the recording of Heatwave, their first ever release. And it's total pop in a indie-pop sort of way: luminous, simple and unpretentious. Although they are just old enough to vote their composition and performance is bright and experienced, just on the border of being twee-pop but not sounding naive at all. They look back at the nineties, bands like Belle and Sebastian or even the less experimental Stereolab although more acoustic. Bearbones, the first track on this EP that sadly has not planned a vinyl release, is probably the most effective song in the record, thanks in part to the silky voice of Clara Salyer, but also to the beautiful arrangements and contagious melody. Anyway, any of the other 4 songs is also a proof that this band could get very far with their dreamy bedroom pop songs.

Total Babe - Bearbones.mp3


I'm reviewing this 7" because, although it's already 4 months old, if you don't know about Real Estate yet, you will probably hear about them in the next months as they are releasing an EP next Monday and their first LP in a couple of weeks, and they'll probably going to get a lot of attention from the press. So then, as this 7" is still available in the UK version, the one published by Half Machine records, it's time for you to but it before it sells out in some weeks.
They play classic American indie-pop-rock, the way Yo La Tengo do. Nothing new or special in their sound or songwriting but really good songs that are accessible and a bit nostalgic performed with prudence and immediacy, contended from any exaggeration or big arrangements but not particularly lo-fi. Both songs here, Fake Blues and Green River (The American version of the single has Poolswimmers as the B side) are quite summery and beach themed.
Although they hadn't published anything until this year's Suburban Beverage 7 inch, they've hung out together for a while and they even used to perform as a Wezeer and a Strokes tribute band. As an anecdote, they performed Is This It entirely at Cassie Ramone's from the Vivian Girls Sweet 16 birthday party.

Real Estate - Fake Blues.mp3

Friday, 13 November 2009


Lately I've been trying to avoid to write about anything Captured Tracks have or are going to release as this blog could soon become a tribute site to the label. So well, all my efforts keep on being frustrated as every time I find out about a new exciting band or record, then I realise that Mr. Blank Dogs' label is guilty of being involved. They've destroyed the myth of the equation "quantity differs quality", putting non-stop a great record after another out on the market and getting the notoriety and the attention other labels will to reach in years. So well, after saying all this I ask you to forget that Wild Nothing's first release, Summer Holiday, is going to be out soon through them. If you thought that more or less every single record on this label could be categorised by a similar tag you are going to be quite surprised when you hear the Wild Nothing's tunes. His songs are mostly quiet, melancholic, nostalgic and peaceful: shoegaze-inspired harmonies closer to the first Creation records or the 4AD bands back to the frontier of the change of decade from the 80s to the 90s. He even makes a fantastic cover of Kate Bush's Cloudbusting that sounds even more ethereal and dreamy than the original. Check this tune here and some other originals on their Myspace site:

Wild Nothing - Cloudbusting.mp3

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Most of the products we can buy on a daily basis are subjected to the possibility of a refund if we are not satisfied with the quality of the item and we are used to it and find it normal and a right. No doubt we would complain if after buying a lousy T-shirt at H&M we get home, realise we don't particularly like it anymore and when taking it back to the store they don't refund us. But there are some items that are not refundable and we would never expect them to be or complain about it. That's the case of a gig: if we go to a gig and we don't particularly enjoy it there's no way we would expect the people at the venue pay any kind of attention to a formal complain from a customer, even less the label of the band. Fair or not, anyway, until we don't invent a machine that measures enjoyment when applying it to someones brain or fingertip, there's not way to prove if we are saying the truth or we just want our money back for the sake of it. I actually remember a Cat Power gig, back at the days she was good on record but a disaster on stage, that I wouldn't have mind to have my money back and walk away.
But there's one guy in Brooklyn that doesn't think the same and wrote a letter not to the band but to the label explaining his disappointment and criticising the lack of professionalism Times New Viking showed at one of their gigs in the area where Lo-Fi has been reinvented. And the band, I suppose that astonished after reading the attack he does to the band and also to Matador, were happy enough to include the letter in their latest single, the noisy and fun Move To California, that comes with three more tracks, two of them not included in their latest record Born Again Revisited.
So, is this guy right to complain if the event was not up to his expectations? Whatever it is your opinion about it you can't do anything but laugh at the naivety of that guy who also complains to Matador about their recent choice when signing bands (really??, I thought Matador was really cool again?).
Anyway, to expect a band like Times New Viking sound "profesional" live after listening to one of their records is like expecting Kenny G not to be dull. And actually, I think that if there's one thing TNV don't want to sound is professional.

Released 08/09/09

Times New Viking - Move to California.mp3

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


And this is the second post of a split single in a row but this time no covers. This time Arthur Russell comes back to life for yet another time to serve as the perfect companion for Grizzly Bear's howler new project, Cant. Chris Taylor, apart from having a new band / project, is premiering his new label with this first single, the audaciously called Terrible Records. And taking into account he's partly guilty for this year's previously unreleased collection of Arthur's most conventional songs to date, Love Is Overtaking Me, it's not strange that he chose another of his songs in the same key, that could have done it to the collection, to complete his first single as Cant. And for the song, another beautiful Americana melody from the late 70s, this time chorused with a mysterious girl. On his side, Chris Taylor delivers a slow and atmospheric song not far from the stuff he does in his main project but maybe fails to project the same beauty and emotion they are used by their standards. Anyway, as a first attempt is not a bad try though he has to live at the shadow of comparisons to Grizzly Bear, and that is not an easy thing to put up with.

Released 02/11/09

Cant - Ghosts.mp3

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


If there's something more exciting than a split single is a split single of two bands you like and if there's something even more exciting is when they are both covering an artist you also like. And this project released in the always interesting Upset The Rhythm label are friends and before collaborators Xiu Xiu and Parenthetical Girls both covering a song sung before by Mr Morrissey. While Xiu Xiu go for a track from Morrissey's Vauxhall & I, I Am Hated For Loving, Parenthetical Girls chose the Smiths classic Handsome Devil. And they even cover the cover of the record parading Smiths' classic cover of the What Difference Does It Make single and Morrissey's Years Of Refusal. Only for this is worth to buy it.
Xiu Xiu's cover is what you can expect from them to do with somebody else's song: transform it to the point it sounds like a Xiu Xiu song, with overly dramatic vocals and weird unsynchronized synths and percussion only recognisable because of the lyrics.
On the other side, the Parenthetical Girls version is closer to the original as they escape a bit from the orchestral production of their last record and pick up guitars again, although the pianos are still very present. The vocal harmony follows from close the one of the original and mades you think about The Smiths being a close influence from them, something I haven't thought since now but looks quite obvious thinking back.

Released 02/11/09

Parenthetical Girls - Handsome Devil.mp3

Sunday, 1 November 2009


For those who don't already know Sic Alps, they are a garage-pop-folk duo, with Ty Segall's occasional collaboration, who released two albums last year, both of them mixing long atmospheric songs with others that are shorter and more psychedelic and both recorded with few resources. And then, two months ago, they announced a single for Slumberland, released it and it is kind of produced, poppy and catchy. But good catchy.
Sometimes catchy can be good but sometimes really bad. We have catchy songs that are sticky to death, that you don't like at all but you cannot get them out of your head and you don't know why. They normally use terrifying techniques like repetition (womanizer oh, womanizer, you're a womanizer baby), onomatopoeias (boom, boom, pow!) and generally, the only reason for them to exist is to sell loads in months and be a disposable product as valuable as a napkin but less recyclable.
And then we have the good catchy, the one that looks for the perfect harmony in the simplest of ways and does it for the sake of it, the way The Beatles did it long ago or later Beat Happening. And L. Mansion is close to this second type; it's Sic Alps as you never heard them before and it sounds good.

Sic Alps - L Mansion.mp3