Friday, 29 January 2010


Next to nothing is the information you can find online about this project, Boneless, a one man band, Isaac Knight from Nevada, who has released a digital single for Beko, sent some songs to some blogs around, released a free digital collaborative single with I Am The Dot, and have a soon to be released tape for Little Furry Things (home of previously blogged here U.S.F.) and also supposedly a self released EP called Friends.
Repetition, samples, cold sounds, loops, occasional voices and random noises...yes, we could say it's Chillwave if you want to use this tag and are not afraid of blushing or sounding too self-conscious. But anyway, it sounds as cold as it sounds warm, so at least it shares this characteristic with other bands linked to this made up genre. Here you have a song I don't know where it's going to (or it's been) released although I have the suspicion it'll be on the tape and wait for a future post about his collaborative EP with I Am The Dot.

Boneless - Better.mp3

Thursday, 28 January 2010


When I started looking for information about USF (formerly known as Universal Studios Florida) I found out they are being linked to a supposedly new tag for some bands playing in Seattle called Chillwave. All right. Well, people love to create new genres and scenes as fast as bands try to get excluded from these genres and scenes. Some of them are internationally known and accepted but some of them are ridiculously baptised by publications in order to sell more magazines (remember nu-rave?). Anyway, I quite like how Chillwave sounds, although not sure is so representative of the bands they try to put together in. I have to say that The Wire's version of this supposedly new genre, hypnagogic pop, is even cooler, but so are they (to name experimental advance to new album Broadcast long EP best record of the year is out of the expectations anyone can have). And as the more popular a tag becomes, the more bands are linked to it, now we have articles online that also link bands like Washed Out, Neon Indian, Active Child or Memory Tapes to this genre, so basically any current band that uses synths.
Anyway, this post is about U.S.F., and how their first EP and first album published last year have been growing in popularity recently thanks to their mix of organic sounds and electronica. Think of a combination of shoegaze, IDM, dream-pop, ambient, drone and space music, mostly instrumental but sometimes with guest vocals from the likes of Alaskas or Blind Man's Colour. They prefer to call it Tropical-electronic music, which is another great tag anyway; I prefer to call it Post-Animal Collective music. You can call it whatever you want.
Here you have New Cub, maybe the song they are most famous for, from their first EP.

U.S.F. - New Cub.mp3

Saturday, 23 January 2010


There's no way that I'm going to introduce you to Washed Out. Last year's Life Of Leisure EP, High Times tape and Feel It All Around single were commented all over the place, even months before their release.
On the other side, Small Black, after putting out their first single Despicable Dogs and their first untitled EP, are starting to get their own cult now, even more taking into consideration that two of their live members are Pitchfork contributors.
That's why the release of this split single next Tuesday 26th where each band remixes a track of the other is a must have. It's been on pre-order for weeks at Lovepump United and, although they don't mention how many copies are available, they still accept orders. Anyway, if you live in the UK, they will soon have some copies at Pure Groove. The Washed Out remix of Despicable Dogs transforms the song into a melancholic spacey italo-influenced track, that's to say, into a Washed Out song. Haven't heard the Small Black take on Washed Out's You'll See It yet, so waiting impatiently to receive my copy.

Small Black - Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix.mp3

Friday, 22 January 2010


His Clancyness jumped into blog fame last year thanks to his pseudo-acoustic and slowgazed tender version of Wavves' So Bored. From Canada, Jonathan Clancy put out his first release (now sold out) as a tape on Secret Furry Hole back in February. There, he combined acoustic guitars, mandolin, glock, synth, loops and organs and fuzz in 8 short and beautiful songs.
Lately, he's been sending some new songs to different blogs that share the same beauty but are further developed and arranged, sounding more like a band. No news if he has any new releases coming soon but the amount of new stuff appearing points at it, and we definitely hope it.
He's a friend of Banjo and Freak Out's Alessio and, although his music is much defined and less atmospheric, they kind of share the bedroom dreamy feeling and the DIY attitude. Mystify the Ocean is his last song to appear online and my favourite so far.

His Clancyness - Mistify The Ocean.mp3


After the dark and post-gothic-punk first EP, These Sins, the long and weirdly named An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump return with their second EP and second 7 inch. With a strange formation of three girls with two bass guitars and a standing up drum kit (and sometimes a guitar)they have performed with some other dark-noise London bands like Factory Floor.
In this new EP, their sound has mellowed slightly, maybe thanks to the Tim Burgess (The Charlatans) production and although the fury and the tension is still there, a rougher sound would suit them better, in my opinion. Anyway, they just returned from the USA where they have recorded their first album with no-one else than Mr Steve Albini, who would probably fix this for sure. This is also the first reference of their new label, also called Buy a Life. No idea if they are planning to put out just their records or also other bands' releases. Let's wait and see.

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump - Smear.mp3


I was very happy to find out that an American band I've been listening to non-stop for the last weeks were about to publish a new 7" exclusively for the UK. The Seasons EP will be released next Friday 29th on Meal Deal Records, limited to 300 copies, including 5 great songs and for only £3.99. Although only one song here is new, the title track Seasons, it includes two of the best songs of their self-released CDR, soon to be re-released as a 10" on Chimney Sweep Records , Fall Straight Back and Able To, and the two tracks from the Split EP with Reading Rainbow, Secret Language and Electric Blue. The duo from Virginia, Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff, practice a kind of guitar pop that can remind you of Heavenly or The Pastels, simple and perfect pop melodies that never pass the 3 minutes of duration. Check as well the beautiful digital single for Beko and wait for the already recorded 14 songs first LP that they describe as a collection of longer and shorter songs and still doesn't have a release date or a label assigned. Here you have Secret Language which has a video from yesterday at the Eternal Summers blog:

Eternal Summers - Secret Language.mp3

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Next month we'll see the first Dum Dum Girls release under her new label, Sub Pop, the mythic label that is still as current and interesting as on its first days, if not even more. This fact has made increase her popularity in the last months, although she hasn't released anything new since the Captured Tracks 12" (and a track on the Art Fag split). at Pitchfork they have been talking about her non-stop for the last couple of weeks so you'll probably know about this coming release, the first single to be taken out from her first LP I Will Be. Jail La La, the main track on this single, takes even further the 50s and 60s influences she's been developing on her previous songs. This is a re-recorded version of the track that has been available on her Myspace for a long time. It's a slightly cleaned less lo-fi version and so are going to be the rest of the songs on the album but don't expect her to go all hi-fi anytime soon as she's still comfortable experimenting with 4 track and analogue sound recorders. The B side will be a cover of Rolling Stones' Playing With Fire I can't wait to hear.

Dum Dum Girls - Jail La La.mp3

Friday, 15 January 2010


Bridezilla released their first album last year, The First Dance, that was massively ignored although their inclusion at Nick Cave's curated ATP festival put them on the map. and they released this split 7" together with half Dirty Three project, Tren Brothers. The thing is that this single is already one year old but it looks like it came up swimming from Australia as it just arrived to Europe this month. Anyway, it's worth to comment as Bridezilla's song it's kind of a more atmospheric Blue Roses or a less atmospheric Grouper and you can see why people like The Dirty Three have paid them some attention as they use strings in a very similar way.
Tren Brother's Sometimes is more upbeat than what you can expect if you are familiar with the Dirty Three catalogue and has vocals from Caroline Kennedy-McCracken, a Melbourne multi-skilled artist. The song kind of reminds me of the later sounds of the sadly forgotten Movietone.
Out on Inertia Recordings and now available at Rough Trade.

Bridezilla - Forth & Fine.mp3


If you didn't have enough with the great three singles Best Coast put out at the end of last year, here we have another one coming out next Monday. In this case is a split single together with Jeans Wilder on the French / Canadian label Atelier Ciseaux, a label that puts a lot of effort in beautiful handmade packaging (check previous releases by Lucky Dragons or Francois Virot) this time made by Jeremy Perrodeau who reflects the beach and tropical sounds of the tracks on his artwork.
Jeans Wilder, who has (and will) put out some really interesting stuff in labels such as the previously commented on here La Station Radar, delivers a looped lo-fi tropical falsetto track, Tough Guy, that makes you wanna dance and smoke under the palm trees. Best Coast's Up All Night is a fuzzed up 60s style ballad in the key of Make You Mine.
The 7" limited to 350 copies is already not available on pre-sale but you can check early on Monday 18th for the possibility of a few copies left.
And check out as well the other forthcoming Best Coast single, Something in the Way, out in February on PPM.

Best Coast - Up All Night.mp3

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


It's been out on the news this week that 2009 was the year that more singles have been sold in the UK ever. Album sales have been down again though. And when they refer to singles they obviously include digital downloads, as well. Taking into account that nowadays there are websites where you can get a song for as little as 29 pence, this probably doesn't translate to money. Anyway, the purchase and release of vinyl single has gone up considerably as well and many people like to get both formats of the release, the digital for the I-Pod and the physical for home.
All these news reflect the change of consumption by the society and we could even contextualize this fact with the idea of fast consuming and wasting, with no time for the details, with the overexposing of information. Although I still love the album format and consider it the best form of recorded musical expression but always thought the single had more registers; it works as a presentation, it condenses ideas and it can even work as a dichotomy of genres between the two tracks that normally are included.
And as another celebration of this format, a really interesting website was born some weeks ago. Beko, a new online only single label, puts out every Monday a free download single. They specialized on new bands, specially the ones oriented to shoegaze and dream pop, but also covering many other genres. They are already on their 23rd release (they put out more than one a week during the Christmas weeks) and some of the bands who have put out free singles there are Memoryhouse, Moscow Olympics, Sore Eros, Tan Dollar, Million Young or Nude Beach and future releases from Idiot Glee, Sundae or Weird Era are confirmed. Mondays are always hard but thanks to Beko they are becoming a bit more pleasant as it always nice receiving things for free.
I particularly consider this initiative a great way for bands to be discovered and stand out from all the possibilities you have on the web and can sometimes get you lost between link and link.
Check them out here:

The Bilinda Butchers - Tulips.mp3

Friday, 8 January 2010


After a very solid contribution in last year's split tape with the as well very promising Butchers, James or what is the same, Idiot Glee, from Lexington, Kentucky, is going to release his first proper EP, an untitled 7 on the new label Hop Hop. If the amateur recordings on the tape already pointed at beautiful vocal arrangements, 50s doo woop bands and minimal instrumentation, this single improves everything that could be suspected in his previous recordings thanks to a polished and cleaner production that works better with his music. Expect comparisons with Grizzly Bear (for the way he builds melodies around the vocals arrangements) and Beach House (for the way he adapts the music around the vocals) but Idiot Glee (not to confuse with that terrible series Glee, which is actually made by and for idiots anyway) is going to have a name of his own very soon as the four songs of this EP are already hardly shared and commented online.
I also look forward to see him live and see how he makes three or four layers of vocals just by himself or how he substitutes them with other arrangements.
Sorry, not original cover picture yet.

Idiot Glee - All Packed Up.mp3


Back in November I made a generic post about Wild Nothing before they released anything on record and talked about this then future single in Captured Tracks that is finally here. Summer Holiday is an original song by Jack Tatum's Wild Nothing that will make every single reviewer compare them to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart if they are less than 20 years old or don't have long term memory or name C86 and British bands from the change of century 80s / 90s if their background is richer. Anyway, we were expecting a bunch of bands with this sound to appear this year, was it for analogy or just because it had to happen, and we expect them to be as good as Wild Nothing that, if the album to be out soon on Captured Tracks as well is up to the expectations, we have here a band that is going to make it in all "best of 2010" end of year lists. Both songs here, Summer Holiday and Vultures Like Lovers, have the sound of a full band playing and although it's supposedly a one-man project, he's preparing with a full band to tour live his songs and have plans of coming to Europe.

Wild Nothing - Summer Holiday.mp3

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


The fact that this single, to be released next Monday, is going to be out through Transparent should be enough for you to get it and if I say you will like it if you did like previous Transparent singles by Small Black and Washed Out, you have the clue to pre-order it so, as it's been common for this label, it will only come out as a limited to 300 copies 7 inch single only available through one of the most exquisite record shops in the world, that's to say Pure Groove.
Active Child
, another icy pseudo-electronic one man band with atmospheric arrangements that remind of summer hot days as much as it does of winter cold ones, sings with his quite angelical voice as if he was waiting for puberty yet to arrive but with the knowledge and experience of a grown up man. She Was a Vision, his first single, has strings arrangements, 80s synths and power ballad drums and has the power of an hymn and the B side Voice of an Old Friend is in the same key. You can listen to a couple of remixes of these songs on his Myspace site that are pretty interesting as well (well, one is more a cover) not included in the single and more releases for this year are being prepared.

Active Child - She was a Vision.mp3


Esben and the Witch is a Danish fairytale in the old tradition of the Grimm Brothers, when children books were dark, scary, full of monsters, witches, death and cruelty to children. Before political correctness when mad and children's minds overprotected and irrigated with neo-puritanism and Hannah Montana. At least Tim Burton is still trying to pervert them the old way from time to time.
So well, from this dark fairytale is where these three young guys from Brighton take their name and part of their inspiration. Expect mysterious sounds, atmospheres, some background noise, dark lyrics and eerie vocals from Rachael who impregnates the songs with her ethereal voice. The easiest reference to name is that of fellow Brighton settled musician Bat for Lashes although the use of guitars and abstract melodies sometimes get closer to Siouxsie & the Banshees and some other British post punk legends like Bauhaus but incorporating some electronic elements or medieval arrangements sending their songs close to Piano Magic. They released a 5 songs EP called 33 that you can download for free at their website
or buy on CD at one of their gigs. They also handed out a song in the 4 split compilation 12" Dance to the Radio 4x12" volume 3, although the other 3 bands appearing are far less interesting than them. And if you are interested in the fairytale itself you can read it on their Myspace site.

Esben and the Witch - Marching Song.mp3

Friday, 1 January 2010


After the overexposure of end of the year (and decade) best of lists, this year for the first time in ages, I've decided not to do one myself. Whoever has spent a bit of time checking this blog during its nearly one year of existence will already know some of the singles I considered worth of checking and buying so you can do the review yourself going through the old posts. Anyway, after checking some of those lists you can just see some are just repetitive and some have nothing in common, looking as if they were from different planets taking into account the source they've been brewing in.
Anyway, If I don't do any kind of review about the last 12 months, it doesn't seem end of the year so I thought I would just comment what's been about in general 2009. And this year, more than the previous years and as it used to be in the nineties, everything's been about the record labels so i thought I would resume 2009 through them.
If there's been a label that has been the protagonist of the year this is Captured Tracks: managed by Blank Dogs, it has brought us not only his own releases but also great singles and EPs by Dum Dum Girls, Woods, Ganglians or Christmas Island. Together with them, the Brooklyn label Woodsist has worked as a parallel label to Captured Tracks. Managed by Woods, every single release they've put out has got the attention of the media, from Fergus and Geronimo, Real Estate or The Mayfair Set to Fresh & Onlys, Ganglians or Woods themselves.
We've seen as well the resurrection of a mythic label which was 20 this year; Slumberland Records, mainly thanks to Pains of Being Pure at Heart, has also brought us great records from Crystal Stilts, Brilliant Colors, Lichtenstein or Frankie Rose.
In the UK, Transparent Records has brought us great limited singles from Washed Out, Small Black or The Smith Westerns, Young Turks discovered us The XX and released singles by Wavves and Tanlines and No Pain in Pop brought us A Grave with No Name, Deep Sht or Trailer Trash Tracy's. Other great labels of the year were Mexican Summer (Washed Out, Weekend, Pearl Harbour), Art Fag (Crocodiles, Best Coast) , Black Iris (Foreign Born, Fool's Gold), Upset the Rhythm (Xiu Xiu, Future Islands) or Moshi Moshi (Kindness, Thecocknbullkid).
We also see how stablished record labels were as good as ever (Sub Pop and its singles Club) or got back on track (Matador releasing Girls, Cold Cave or getting Sonic Youth).
According to sounds this has definitely been the year when Lo-Fi was back in track and popularised again, folk overlooked and electronic music mainly resting. And yes, it was the year when Animal Collective got full coverage in the mainstream world, something that, looking way back, looks like it could never happen so maybe not everything's lost in popular music.