Sunday, 27 March 2011


Although Golden Grrrls have existed for a while it's not been until this month they actually published their first non-tape and non- extremely lo-fi release. In the form of a beautifully presented 7 inch single, Beaches / Date It clarifies what was quite obvious in their previous recordings but was mainly hidden under a mountain of fuzz and reverb: they have good songs and good melodies for the lovers of C-86 bands and its current revival. They put them in a bunch of new bands from Glasgow, a city that has always been very musical but has not had many new bands breaking through since the beginning of the noughties, together with Divorce, Plaaydoh or We Are Wolves. You can get their first release from the new label Night School directly here. It's a limited to 300 Silk Screened record and they are starting to have a consistent group of followers so you better hurry up before is too late.

Beaches by Golden Grrrls


Sometimes a band influences are so obvious it is impossible to read a review without some names popping out at some point. Also sometimes those influences are more than obvious and can even make you think that you are actually listening to a song of the band they are inspired by in that song. And when the influence is just a single band and, not only they copy the sound step by step and detail by detail but also the image, the covers, the videos and everything that made that band special, it can actually made you blush of shame. Pink Playground is one of those and, although many people have copied before the sound of My Bloody Valentine before (probably the band that has been more plagiarized lately together with Joy Division) I don't think that anyone has gone that far without any shame. Pink Playground is to MBV what Bjorn Again is to Abba. Pink Playground could pass for a tribute band to someone (if there's anyone there) who hasn't heard MBV songs a thousand times and is able to recognize Soon from Only Shallow. The cover of their tape Pink Dream is more than a rendition to the one from Feed Me with your Kiss.
The question is: Are Pink Playground any good though? Yes, they are. Their first physical single Sunny Skies is a proof of this. Both songs could actually be part of the MBV back catalog if better recorded.
Are they worth a listen? Yes they are if you can separate yourself from the fact you are listening to some songs without trying to contextualize them.
Can we try to make the exercise of enjoying their songs after having been 20 years looking forward listening to some new MBV tracks and never having been able? Yes, we can
Is it easy though? No, it's not. It's hardly impossible.

Pink Playground: Shame on you but thank you very much.

01 sunny skies (cs version) by pink playground
Saturday, 26 March 2011


In the era of Bandcamp, Garageband and MyItalicspace there's not only many possibilities of showing your music to the world but also of creating music without any music skills. Sometimes, and punk said it load and clear, music skills are not necessary at all but we shouldn't confuse music skills with music talent, aptitude or something to say with originality. In the modern era when everybody can pretend to be a musician or an artist and show it immediately to the world is also very difficult to be able to find something worth online while just browsing with no help from a trustful source. Many of these bedroom projects shouldn't cross the bedroom frontiers but, from time to time, there's one that takes advantage of the new technologies to create something special that is worth to be listened to and should be more spread out. Mutual Benefit is one of these projects and, although his previous EPs like Drifting were already good enough to separate him from the rest, his last EP posted online this month, I Saw The Sea, should definitely put him in the map of artists to pay attention to. The attention to detail, the melodies and the recording exceeds even his previous compositions getting a distinctive sound that is not easy to point out with comparisons.
You can download it here

Mutual Benefit - Birdwatcher

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Powerdove is the project of Annie Lewandowski although she frequently performs with Jason Hoopes and Alex Vittum according to her label's website. Although originally from the U.S they are now settled in the UK and I happened to see them live last week without knowing anything about them. In that occasion, they were just two on stage: She was playing a small guitar while the other guy, who I think it was Alex, was making background noises, ambient sounds and beautifully crafted percussions with a strange tool connected to a laptop. Although it was the first band out of three (everybody was there to see Former Ghosts) and we know the attention that guest bands receive in general, the audience remained quiet for the whole set, hypnotized by the haunting voice and the delicate melodies coming out from the stage. Then, after the show I found out they already have a self-titled EP and their first album, recorded by Deerhoof's John Dieterich, has just been released on the same label, the Portland based Circle Into Square. Both records are a delicate collection of folk-pop songs, most of the times as slow as Low's first records used to be, and as delicate as Picastro or Piano Magic's ballads. But,although the recording is really good, I really recommend to see them live to get the whole idea of their current sound as the recording of the album is a year old and more organic and I think that, thanks to that weird machine that captivated me, they're slightly evolving and mutating the songs with loops and other electronic details not as evident in the album as they are live, or that's just maybe because as they just were two, they tried to fill the songs with what had available. We'll have to wait to anther recording to find out.

Monday, 14 March 2011


John Maus, who you might know for his own work or his collaborations with Ariel Pink or Panda Bear at some point, is finally dropping out some new material after a silence period. Next Summer will see the release of his new album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves on always interesting Upset the Rhythm (in the UK) but we can already enjoy the lead single Quantum Leap which has been offered as a free download in some blogs but will sadly probably not see a physical release. The bass and synth based song is loyal to his sound but is probably his most catchy tune yet. The rhythm is contagious and would probably be a favorite tune for fans of Gary War (whose sound is pretty close but his vocals more conventional) or Blank Dogs.

John Maus - Quantum Leap

Friday, 4 March 2011


And yes we are already reviewing the first of the coming releases prepared for Record Store Day 2011, and even that it's become one of the most important days of the year (music related speaking) in just three editions (this year's, on April 16th, will be the forth). And the first release I'll talk about is actually a reissue of one of the most stupidly forgotten and overlooked bands that really should need more recognition. The Scottish band The Wake who started by the edge of post-punk meets new pop could be put under the same entourage as The Associates, Orange Juice or Josef K and other Postcard bands (or later The Pastels) because of sharing, not only a Geographic but also a sound in common (if we obvious the highly Joy Division influenced first Factory LP), but also commonly compared to New Order through their mid 80s records. And Captured Tracks are proud to announced they will re-release their first single (and only pre-Factory release) and their last 80's single (and also their first post-Factory record, which was actually released on the also mythical Sarah Records label and helped to design and define what would be the very recognizable sound of the label.
But that's not the only good news coming from Captured Tracks regarding their Record Store Day releases. To celebrate these two records, they'll also put out a single with two of their most emblematic bands, Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils, covering two tracks from The Wake, called Gruesome Flowers (as they will cover Plastic Flowers and Gruesome Castle, both from the 1987 Something That No One Else Could Bring EP).
I can't be more excited about these news.


Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Last year I posted about Computer's Magic first digital single, the melancholic and beautiful On VHS. Since then, she's released three free to download EPS (still available for download on her website) I couldn't recommend enough. So it was just a question of time a recognized label, this time White Iris (formerly known as Black Iris and guilty of putting out Best Coast's When I'm with You 7 inch), paid attention to her music and gave her the opportunity of having a proper physical release. The tracks on this first 12' are selected songs that previously formed part of those homemade EPs that have been re-recorded more professionally for the occasion. The 12" record has been announced for the 15th of March and no final tracklist has been named yet. If I had to choose between all the tracks I would like to be there, the list would be so long it had to be an LP.
Here you have the final version of Found Out, which originally appeared on her first EP Hiding From Our Time, and will close the 12'.

Computer Magic - Found Out


A couple of months ago, with the release of Boy Friend's first EP containing two members out of the three from Sleep ∞ Over, we thought that meant the end of the band. We just were slightly sad as there were not many differences in sound between the original project and it's son and, actually, the four songs in that E.P were amongst its best. This week though, our suspects were dis-confirmed as a new release from the now one girl band, the remaining original founding member Stefanie Franciotti, has been announced for next month Hippos in Tanks followed by the release of a whole album on the same label in Summer with the help from Christine Aprile among others. Meanwhile we can enjoy the A side of the single, Casual Diamond, that will have a remix of the same track by Laurel Halo as the B side. The funny thing of the whole story is that, while Boy Friend, the two thirds that left the band, followed from close the same sound of the band they quited, the remaining member has slightly mutated Sleep ∞ Over into something that, although as mysterious as before, is less atmospheric and full of light.
Sometimes, if the results of a split can divide talents into two having then double good results, we welcome the splits with joy.