Monday, 28 December 2009


Presents For Sally's first single, Catch Your Fall, travels in time to 1990 from the title to the sound. Before listening to Catch Your Fall and its B side Smooch, for the way the title sounds, you think this could be a Slowdive, Ride or Telescopes song that was never published and then, after listening to it, you actually can continue thinking the same. It's Creation / 4AD sound circa 1990/1991. And then you can even go further and investigate the band's influences, if they were not obvious enough, on their Myspace website and it's like a shoegaze memorandum. And even more, Presents for Sally's first contact with the public was in the compilation The Secret Garden vol.1: Nu-gaze, The new wave of shoegaze. Having said that and taking into account revisionism of genres is massively abused these days, we could either reject them for not handing in anything new or embrace their songs for what they are without taking into account the year they've been out, because Catch Your Fall would be there together with Catch The Breeze or Unfamiliar if it had been out 20 years ago. On Laser Ghost Recordings.

Presents For Sally - Catch Your Fall.mp3

Sunday, 27 December 2009


Not long ago I made a post about Aidan Moffat's last single and traveled in time to remember the virtues of the first days of Arab Strap. Now it's the time to talk about Malcolm Middleton's last single. I particularly still consider his first solo album as his best effort and have not enjoyed so much all the other releases that followed that record. Anyway, this last EP is worth to review and listen as it's a strange creature on its own as Malcolm performs some covers we could have never imagined he would dare to play even less record and publish. Or could we after he included a Madonna cover on the album he released a couple of years ago?

Anyway, Arab Strap always showed a strange taste on the covers they used to perform live (AC/DC's You Shook me All Night Long or Bonnie Tyler's Heartache) but Malcolm tightens the strings and puts out a 4 song EP of girl bands / performers covers choosing The Saturdays' Issues, Girls Aloud's Call the Shots, Ladyhawk's My Delirium and Joan Osborne's One of Us, all sung with his characteristic Glaswegian accent and perform with his acoustic guitar to end up sounding as a Malcolm Middleton classic song.

I know that the fact of a serious artist covering a mainstream hit is not something new as many people has done it before, but it's always something interesting and fun to listen to.

Malcolm Middleton - Call the Shots.mp3


I've been following this Brighton duo (now a trio) since the release of their first single Television a couple of years ago. Their vocal combination is one of the most perfect and beautiful we've heard during the last years and the simplicity of their arrangement mixing folk, punk and soul, although is not something new, it sounds fresh and imaginative on their hands. After a bunch of singles, double singles and CDRs they put out last month what's going to be the official first single of their debut album to be out on Wichita on spring 2010, but released through Ches Club Records under the name of Yo Mama. Nothing new on their sound, the same acoustic simplicity and the same type of arrangements, but not everything is about evolution when they final product and the composition is as good as their first songs. Maybe the quality of the recordings of Yo Mama and Hatstand Blues is what stands out these songs from their previous catalogue, but luckily they have not made any concession in order to achieve radio success.

Peggy Sue - Yo Mama.mp3

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Let's start this post with Toby Ridley'sBold, the only member of this British project, thoughts about his own project: he doesn't consider this a band or even a project or his own alter ego, existing separated from himself and transcending reality. Alright, whatever, but the music here is the important thing. The record's four tracks (Ghost Step, Get Hype, Orient and Congratulations Planet Earth) are not of easy listening, transpiring dubstep, hip hop, breaks and soul. The type of music you may like if you enjoyed this year's Joy Orbison and Gold Panda, but also if you like the dissonant sounds of Xiu Xiu, Salem and the label Merok. Yes, it sounds pretty weird on paper, but very good when you actually listen to it. And be ready because after this limited to 100 12" on Tough Love Records just released, lost of new things for next year including two 7" singles. And check for his cover of Teardrops here:

On the evil side of what The XX did earlier this year.

Becoming Real - Get Hype.mp3


The Sandwitches, a band whose two out of three members were formerly part of The Fresh & OnlBoldys, appeared like a blow of fresh air a couple of months ago with their eclectic and fun debut album How To Make Ambient Sadcake and rapidly got the attention of people and blogs all around. Their mix of 60s pop bands, folk, and shining melodies made this album a timeless record that could have been published any time since the 60s, although their naive DIY sound makes it quite contemporary as well. And this week just arrived their first 7 single release out of this album, the perfect and most upbeat track Back to the Sea, a tune stolen from Spector girl bands and surf boy bands as if it was played by a high school band on their first take. This should be Calvin Johnson's favourite new tune if it's not yet. And on the B side, the new track Beatle Scream with its simple arrangement is another reason to get this single

This single, out of all the publicity they're getting, it's been sold out from pre-release, but available from some suppliers such as Rough Trade and Juno so hurry up to get your copy.

The Sandwiches - Back to the Sea.mp3

Monday, 21 December 2009


Fader Magazine in collaboration with Southern Comfort have been given out a series of installments of singles, digitally for everybody and on vinyl for some lucky ones. Some previous singles include Wavves, Telepathe or Wild Yaks and in this occasion they approached Salem, the band of eternal 7 singles releases, and Tanlines, known for the New Flowers EP and several remixes they made this year. There's nothing better than receiving a present like this from a total stranger. In fact, my father used to work for Southern Comfort and I already have a set of towels, bottle openers, cocktail trays, and random merchandising so the single, still waiting to know if I'm one of the chosen ones, would match perfectly with all these things.
Salem, who recently uploaded a free mix that is scary as hell (still available for download at the Wemakeitgood website), hand out a track, Babydaddy, that is kind of sweeter in the key of their Japanese single Ohk, thanks in part to the vocals of Heather that is less terrifying than John's highly processed chants.
Tanlines, who are currently working in new material to be out soon, give us their first song with lyrics (they used vocals before, but only kind of humming). Saw, which is close to the calipso-reggeton of Bejan, the track they put out on the Kitsune Maison 7 compilation, opens new doors to their sound thanks to the use of vocals and the final result is closer to the idea of a band playing rather than two guys pressing keys in a computer.
Taking into consideration that the limited free single has a release of 500 copies and they just have down to 300 people requesting the item online I feel pretty confident to get one, although I've never been so lucky with chance.

Tanlines - Saw.mp3


Memoryhouse are a Canadian duo that, although they just started writing their own compositions last summer, they got the attention of Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear after they sent him a copy of their cover of Foreground and he played it to all the band and they loved it. You can still listen to this stripped cover on their myspace page. Not sure if this fact helped them a bit to be spread over the internet though as the most visited blogs still have to mention them although I hope this is going to change after they will give a free download only version of their first EP The Years on January 5th, containing four melancholic-shoegaze-bedroom-dream-pop songs, including my personal favourite To The Lighthouse, that should be one of the recommended tracks all around in a couple of weeks if there's still justice. Evan Abeele, one half of the project, explains in a detailed interview on Neu Magazine how the sound of his solo work has influenced the simplicity and atmospheric aesthetic of his project with Denise Nouvion and how the state of the music industry nowadays has made them take the decision of giving for free their first release in order to connect with as many people as possible in a current era where is really easy to get lost into shuffle. They also released To the Lighthouse as a download single in the uber-cool free weekly download singles label Beko of compulsory checking.
A truly deserved "one-to-watch" for next year.

Memoryhouse - To the Lighthouse.mp3


The Fresh & Onlys are definitely one of the protagonist bands of this year, having released three singles, one split single a tape album and two LPs in less than 12 months: this is hard work taking into consideration that some members of the band have other "pay the bills" jobs. And to say goodbye to this year they do it releasing a new single on Woodsist with two previously released songs both on the long deleted Bomb Wombs Cs and now on vinyl for the first time. The band that gave us one of the best tracks of the year, the garage-pop gem Black Coffin, rescue these two tracks that have the same garage-pop feeling of all their releases, although with a more Lo-Fi sound than their latest LP, where they approached a more "professional" sound (although not sure if these are going to be the same versions of the tape as I haven't got the single yet). Having already recorded what will be their third LP it doesn't look like they will slow down next year so I hope they will get more media attention as they deserve it. Check the rest of their records if you haven't done it yet as they all deserve it.

The Fresh & Onlys - Second One to Know.mp3


Weekend is an amazing young Californian band that is just about to physically release their debut (already available for download) at Mexican Summer. The two tracks 10" single All American / Youth Haunts sounds like a ferocious shoegaze incarnation of that late 80s British sound some American bands like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Crystal Stilts have gracefully updated lately, if we want to give a current point of reference. Travelling way back to the past we should mention bands like My Bloody Valentine, JAMC, Ride or Sciencepheric as influences. While All American is a bit more candid and conventional the distortion explosions and epic of Youth Haunts makes this track the reason to follow them, to get this item and to look forward to seeing them live. As far as I know, both tracks are live takes and have recently gone to the studio for the first time to record some new tracks for future releases, mentioning on their website a still unnamed / unknown split 7" to be out at some point next year. Here you have Youth Haunts that I highly recommend to listen to at high volume.

Weekend - Youth Haunts.mp3

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I've had this record for more than 2 months but constantly kept on forgetting to post about it so not sure if there are still copies available of this limited to 500 copies 7 inch record to buy. The Great Pop Supplement, a small record label specialized in beautifully packaged vinyl and paying a lot of attention to folk music, has reached its 50th release and to celebrate it they offer us an amazing gift: a split single with one of the best bands of all time, Spacemen 3, and a devoted cover of one of their songs by Wooden Shjips on the B side. Spacemen 3 is one of the most influential bands of the 80s, although sometimes forgotten about, but should always be put up they are there together with the classics as it's impossible to conceive the story of modern music without taking them into consideration. Here, we can hear another version of their last single, the one that divided the two running forces of the band and defined their future careers apart, being Pierce's a logical progression of the classic space-rock sound of the band and Kember moving into electronic psychedelia. On the demo version of Big City the surprising move into electronics is not as obvious as in the final mix and is interesting to finally hear how it evolved into what we've heard thousands of times.
Wooden Shjips' rendition of Playing with Fire's I Believe It moves its sound slightly into space-blues and although it's very respectful with the original song, it's a good cover that gets closer to Wooden Shjips latest work.

Wooden Shjips - I Believe it.mp3

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


The Smith Westerns have been one of the most talked about bands in bloggerland this year. Their first album is already sold out in the USA, thanks in part to the coverage of the extremely influencial blog Gorilla vs Bear, who has already placed their record between the 20 best ones released this year.
Some months ago they released through Transparent in the UK a limited edition single of one of the best tracks of the record, Be My Girl, although it's not been available in Pure Groove, the shop where you can get all the Transparent releases exclusively, since some weeks ago; and now, as a sesonal offer, you can get all their 7 inch singles (Fergus & Geronimo, Small Black...), apart from the long sold out Washed Out's Feel It All Around, for a really good deal as a whole package.
They must be another garage-pop band in a year garage-pop bands have been all around but they are definetely one that stands out thanks to the freshness and passion they put in their songs, probably a result of the fact none of their members is more than 21 years old. And if you were lucky enough to get yourself a copy of the first edition of the album you probably realised they used Nirvana's Nevermind cover mixed with a picture of a virgin to ilustrate their record, fact that changed in the second edition for fear of being sued by Courtney Love, but I think she will be busy now trying to get her daughter back and misspelling stuff in her own blog to lose her time being interested in searching for music online. Kurt would be proud though.

The Smith Westerns - Be My Girl.mp3


Some months ago I talked about Deep Sht, naming him a British answer to American bands like Little Girls and praying that somebody would bother to re-release his first group of songs originally out on tape, Weird You, as a 7 inch vinyl record. A comment some weeks ago on my post about him, announced us that this was about to happen through No Pain In Pop and this moment arrived last week. I'm happy that my prayers were listened, although I don't think my comments had anything to do with that decision. Anyway, all the songs that were in the tape have appeared here, 5 songs in a single!, product of a recording session on a hungover Sunday back in January this year by 21 year old Londoner Tom Watson and have been performing them live since then with a little help from his friends Jack Gillis on drums and Richard Phillips on guitar. Limited to not so sure how many copies, but limited anyway so hurry up as it was Norman Records' recommended single of last week's.

Released 07/12/09

Deep Sht - Hector.mp3

Friday, 11 December 2009


The end of the year is getting closer and together with the Best of 2009 and Best of the Noughties lists are the Ones to watch lists. And Small Black have and will appear in many of them for a lot of reasons: they are from Brooklyn and everybody is looking at Brooklyn at the moment; they are friends of Washed Out and are planning a release together for January, a 7 inch split single remixing each other's project; they appeared three months ago with the title track of this single in the Best new music section of Pitchfork and we all know what it means; they are a duo who use synths, samples and have a bedroom dreamy (lack of)production so constant in many acts these days. Apart from all these things that could land them an overrated hype they have really good melodies and songs so any hype that comes with it is totally deserved. They released last month their first EP and this week, through Transparent in the UK, as it couldn't be another way, they published their first single, the song that created all the buzz: dreamy melody, beautiful vocals that remind the first Stone Roses and a cover and video performing Josh's uncle with his majestic mullet. Only 300 copies available only through Pure Groove so hurry up to get a copy.

Small Black - Despicable Dogs.mp3

Sunday, 6 December 2009


It was at the end of nineties that mainly thanks to Constellation Records and bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor, Do Make Say Think or Silver Mt Zion that Canada was put on the map of contemporary music. The attention boom faded out relatively at the same time the language and resources of these bands wereover exploded and overexposed and people returned to more basic forms of pop music. But then Arcade Fire and other pop and rock bands arrived and little by little Canada has regained attention again. And this year we've seen some new bands coming from there and some of them through Fixture Records, a small Canadian label that mainly issues CDRs.
Cresting is one of them, having released last summer their first EP and promising to release more stuff anytime soon. He plays instrumental music that could be gathered as a reflection of that golden Canadian period but he skips improvisation, long landscape music or cathartic noise to condensate the songs in a more classic pop format although never too obvious and with a lack of classic song structure and with a high DIY spirit. It's more an experiment with sounds and the emotions you can get with them than a collection of songs. Anyway, it's maybe too soon to know how his sound is going to develop so we'll just keep an eye to see what's coming next.

Cresting - Sashes.mp3

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Dirty Beaches is Alex Zhang Hungtai, originally from Taiwan, but spending most of his life in Canada, moving from Montreal to Vancouver recently. He's released some records, most of them on Fixture Records and most of them still available for download, combining melodica, guitars, drones, percussion and voice and the recurrent system of using the Lo-Fi DIY as if it was another instrument on his recordings separates this project from other obscure dark ambient bands. The songs are pretty cinematic, if you can imagine a movie using this music as background. Although sometimes it's really dark it's never too dark to be intimidating or uncomfortable. He plays with dub sounds, drones, repetition and textures mixing them to get an hypnotic, floating and original result difficult to tag. On his last release, the unnamed cassette for the prolific and interesting label Night People, Dirty Beaches has moved a huge step forward. Now percussion and rhythm are at the center of the compositions making them slightly more hypnotic and a bit less dark although the essence of his sound is still there and it's even his most Lo-Fi recording yet, and I would say he uses samples and voice in a more present way. It's definitely his best released yet and he's putting out a 7" split single with US Girls anytime soon on Sibling Sex Records, a label that according to their still not launched website it's not on the works yet.

Dirty beaches - White Sand.mp3