Archive for June, 2010

25
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – PARLOVR

PARLOVR

We want to touch on why we listen to music on this post today, because upon discovering Parlovr (pronounced Parlour) we were distinctly reminded of this consideration.  We guess that everyone has varying reasons for listening to music and all of them are valid, as the experience is always for the ear of the beholder, but we believe there’s some underlying commonalities.  Ever since Neanderthal Man first hit a beat with a dinosaur bone onto the taut hind of a Sabertooth Tiger we’ve enjoyed rhythm and melody.  There’s always something tribal involved, isn’t there?  Something that penetrates deeper within you, often creating a sort of involuntary reaction, or dancing as some people call it.  OK, so the likes of Aqua and Fergie might not get your neurons firing, but Parlovr head straight for your cerebral cortex and jerk around masterfully.  They sit in your soul and set about stirring a little thunder and lightning inside you.  It’s almost a religious reaction, as you find yourself utterly wrapped up in it, losing yourself for three or four minutes.  This is what all the REALLY good music does, right?  It’s on this particular point that the similarities to fellow Canadians, Arcade Fire, surface.  Big, cacophonous drums, that sound recorded in a room far too large, alongside loose guitar strings, with lyrics of ambition, hope and love that are externalised through vocals that break into the occasional shout.  “I held the hand of an angel, many nights ago“, is hailed out as the track Pen To The Paper rattles along to a confident climax.  We almost want to throw our heads back and our arms aloft, as we sing along.  There’s bits of Pixies, Modest Mouse and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah found here, suggesting that North Americans really do create this kind of euphoric music better than anyone else.  Montreal’s Parlovr release their self-titled debut, on Dine Alone Records, on July 5th in the UK.  We found it a confident, consistent, epic album that dips to a lo-fi pulse, before rising to throbbing peaks on an enjoyable, energetic, melodic rollercoaster.  Discover Parlovr and we think that you’ll indirectly re-discover one or two of the reasons why you adore listening to music.   (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        PARLOVR – ALL THE WORLD IS ALL THAT IS THE CASE

Hear them here:        PARLOVR – PEN TO THE PAPER

22
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 100 – FELIX AND VOLCANO!

FELIX AND VOLCANO!

We think we can confidently state that most of the emails music bloggers receive are utter rubbish.  We’ve often considered the easy way out – to cull them all in big batches.  On many occasions our fingers have hovered over the delete button, but what stops us is that one faith-restoring email out of a hundred, with a bounty contained within it, that reminds you precisely why you got into blogging in the first place.  In truth, emails aren’t actually a music bloggers best source for discovering music, it’s actually by busily interacting online, or by reading other blogs/sites, and obviously by being active in the real world.  Like any other business, referrals are much more successful.  However, there we were, panning for email gold, and up came Felix And Volcano.  To our pleasure they didn’t roll into the usual PR fluff about how amazing they are – they did what we always prefer bands to do – namely to just give us one line and a link to listen to an mp3.  Upon clicking through to their Bandcamp and listening to their track, Shaadows, our faith in the process was immediately reinforced.  This track’s rather simplified breakbeat start is swiftly overlaid with a keyboard refrain not out of place in an ice hockey match, but the playfulness is quickly matured, as Sam Ueda’s vocals begin.  His spoken words, reminiscent of James Murphy or Lou Reed, engage you before they raise the pitch to a sublime treble.  The song then wanders down a path previously trodden by the likes of TV On The Radio, or Beck at his most sexually experimental.  It’s a minimalist piece of tidy electronic pop, before it bravely shifts gear and climaxes at an entirely different pace.  Sam from the band informed us that Aian Constantineau, who plays the keys and beats, used vintage equipment for this recording, choosing the Casio DG-20 Digital Guitar.  He also pointed out that this is a tool of choice for the Flight Of The Conchords team, with whom they share a sense of youthful abandonment.  That’s no surprise, considering this two piece met at the University Of New Hampshire and are still only 19 years old.  Having started in 2008 and previously released only a first draft EP, they’ve now put out a more polished EP, Grow Rich, this May.  Fans of Naive New Beaters, Yes Giantess, or My Awesome Mixtape will smile along to this.  Emails aside, perhaps you too will find them just as re-assuring as we did.     (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:        FELIX AND VOLCANO! – SHAADOWS

Hear them here:        FELIX AND VOLCANO! – FRDM

19
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 99 – GALLOPS

GALLOPS

Following our recent post about We/Are/Animals, we are pleased to be able to bring you yet another Welsh band that churn out some of the most interesting, exciting, powerful music around.  Gallops are a four piece from Wrexham whose courageous music first marched into view with their song, Lasers, last summer.  Since then the NME and even the BBC have taken note of their incredible, sharply-dressed music.  Comparisons to the likes of Foals and Battles have bounced around like naval mines, which is a fair and accurate description, but there’s also waves of variety bobbing away, which broadens their soundscape.  Tracks such as The Fangs take the kind of synthetic leap into the space age that Jean Michel Jarre plunged into years ago.  This is a particularly useful comparison when it comes to the vocals too, as there simply aren’t any!  This is entirely instrumental music, played with a masterful touch and a captivating, hypnotic magnetism.  Tunes such as Window FX start like a soundtrack to some computer game from the 1980s before building into the kind of theatrical guitar riffing that Led Zeppelin would feel proud of.  More often than not though, the field where they’re most often found grazing is the math rock of 2007.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that this means their sound is dated, as with most of the music from this genre, it’s actually very intelligent and well crafted, thus becoming somewhat timeless.  To be fair, if we re-visit Foals’ album Antidotes now it’s just as enjoyable as it was upon it’s release three years ago.  These comparisons are brightly shown off on tracks such as Werewolves and the pounding Miami Spider, where rock riffs that are as sharp as a banker’s pinstripe jam out, before stuttering as if they were being played by the super-computer, Deep Thought, over jerking beats.  It’s this dissonant jazz tempo that is especially interesting in all of their songs, with the instruments playing just as big a part in the rhythm as the drums themselves, flicking like a set of faulty Taser guns.  It’s very attractive, as the music follows precisely the same pattern that thoughts do inside the brain, firing electricity around in staccato bursts.  Get ready to plug yourselves in with a collection of music that gracefully manages to reflect on the recent past, whilst simultaneously sounding like it’s from the future.  (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       GALLOPS – MIAMI SPIDER

Hear them here:        GALLOPS – LASERS

15
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 98 – WILD NOTHING

WILD NOTHING

We have been big fans of the Chillwave genre ever since we first caught wind of Toro Y Moi‘s 2007 demos.  Since then it’s also blown the likes of Million Young, Washed Out, Neon Indian and many others across the Atlantic on it’s sonic drift.  Not everything has worked out perfectly for the genre however, for some of its spin-off artists hang in the air like stagnant smoke, but thankfully this relatively new movement is often an attractive, perfumed charm.  We’ve covered most of our favourites on this blog, but the one missing piece was Wild Nothing, also known as the solo artist, Jack Tatum, from Virgina.  Why most of this music hails from America’s East coast, when it actually has such a sun-bleached, Californian feel burnt into it, is quite remarkable.  The genre occasionally suffocates in it’s own heavy use of processed, dreamy samples and echoing synths, but Wild Nothing manages to lift each song by creating melodies that swing and flow like a musical Thurible.  The idea of Hauntology is ingrained into Chillwave, with its use of sounds that seem to be the ghost of genres past, revisiting influences and re-introducing them as if perpetrating some kind of musical séance of shoegaze artists from the 80s.  As other-worldly and ethereal as Wild Nothing is, it still has enough strength to stand up.  You can hear a track like Chinatown and reflect on it’s clear influences, such as The Smiths or The Stone Roses at their most Smiths-like best, but it’s also strikingly beautiful and you find yourself humming it for hours after it’s gone.  It’s almost as if it channels that part of your brain you abused as a stoned teenager and, very much like the strongest spliffs, it subsequently leaves the effects ticking over your mind for long periods.  The dope analogy continues when looking at the lyrics, as songs of paranoia and pessimism suggest an element of claustrophobia in the thick mist.  His debut album, Gemini, was released towards the end of last month on the Captured Tracks label and we found it to be a wonderful, undulating wave of collected songs.  Get on board with this talented artist as soon as you can and we’re confident that it will soundtrack your summer.  (MB)

Find him here:        Myspace

Hear him here:        WILD NOTHING – CHINATOWN

Hear him here:       WILD NOTHING – SUMMER HOLIDAY

Hear him here:         WILD NOTHING – CLOUDBUSTING (Kate Bush Cover)

11
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 97 – CHICO FELLINI

CHICO FELLINI

It’s no secret that we are massive fans of LCD Soundsystem – anyone with working ears and feet that are able to move is surely just as hooked!  Therefore any comparisons to LCD that arrive with a band’s press release consistently have our metaphorical door, better known as the delete button, slammed in their faces.  You will initially spot the LCD familiarity with Chico Fellini’s vocals, provided by Christopher Denison, who yelps and hops like Mr Murphy at his most yelpy and hoppy, dancing over the jerked rattle that builds in layers behind him.  This is particularly evidenced on tracks such as No Strata and even more so with Hot.  If it wasn’t done so well it would likely be dismissed as shameful and unoriginal, but there’s enough edge and style to actually like it.  Sadly the lyrics are a let down, selecting to start nowhere and then wander down an empty street, but it undeniably oozes horn out of every orifice.  When they slow it down to tunes such as Electrolyte and Down Up The Ladder they come across like Beck during a midnight drive, circa Nicotine & Gravy, but they’ve somewhat missed Beck’s point when they removed the magical hip hop and funk.  Move your listening onwards to such tracks as Despite The Mixup and it glams up, falling somewhere between the wailing that’s familiar to us with Muse, The Darkness, or that god-awful Britpop outfit Manson, (remember them? – we hope not).  What is collected together with Chico Fellini is a jumble of some of the most interesting pop artists around, but like a pile of dirty washing it always seems to fall through your arms, losing a lot of the interesting bits on the floor behind.  They plan a year long single release campaign, consisting of twelve singles over twelve months, they attempt to cancel out the need for a an album, somewhat re-writing the method in which bands bring music out.  This is a bold move from the Kentucky four piece and it pairs up well with the attitude of their music, even if it’s bravery is mostly about front than real guts or purpose.  If they manage to focus on their craft long enough and tone down the irrepressible sexual lyrics, then they may just unlock something other than their zippers.  (MB)

Find them here:        Myspace

Hear them here:       CHICO FELLINI – HOT

Hear them here:        CHICO FELLINI – GIVE IT TO ME

08
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 96 – PINK NIGHTS

PINK NIGHTS

The first tune that wafted past our ears from this Swedish duo was It Takes Long, which initially threw up sounds that only pushed buttons can generate, launching with a tweak here and a bleep there, laid over a rather dull rush of tapped cymbals.  It sounds like it was made in the bedroom, but not in that kind of authentic, creative way that charms with it’s basic feel, but more the kind of empty, rather casual, unprofessional way that lacks true quality.  There can’t be more than two people in this band, right?  One to hit some buttons, one to sing?  OK, well that last line might be accurate, but as their songs get flowing, particularly when the vocals are utilised, they begin to uncover their sophistication and any initial negative impressions you had are rapidly washed away.  This is arpeggiated, melancholic pop, following a similar path wearily trodden by the elegant HURTS, but this is a diced up, minimal version and it’s delicacy is all the more crisp and glassy for it.  Once you get to the more recent track, Drunk As Two Punks, their speedy maturity is shown to have leapt like a teen on hormone treatments.  Sweeping drifts of misty samples layer up like sediment, over lyrics that describe the underdog, always using the vocals to broaden it, as the song flips and breaks between racing melodies.  The tracks often build to a plump roundedness, produced with the kind of (bedroom-) wall of sound that The Big Pink achieved so well.  They are a group born out of the Stockholm duo, Swedish Shoes, who used to play with a similar tone, but with the power very much cut off.  Quite literally an unplugged version of Pink Nights.  With the electrics now fizzing they attempt the kind of shimmering, moody pop that, at it’s best, reaches deep into your emotional core.  It’s a genre that peaked back in the early 80s, with classics such as Love Will Tear Us Apart, or Here Comes The Rain Again.  It’s no bad thing if this style of structured pop, with it’s intelligent architects behind it, is seemingly on the rise again.  Pink Nights still have a seriously long path to walk, once the bedroom door is opened, to reach this genre’s historical heights, but with their latest reincarnation there are serious signs of hope among the cloudy moods.     (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        PINK NIGHTS – IT TAKES LONG

Hear them here:        PINK NIGHTS – DRUNK AS TWO PUNKS

05
Jun
10

THE RECOMMENDER – NUMBER 95 – GRAFFITI 6

GRAFFITI 6

This three piece should have Skint Records clambering all over them, so familiar is their wonderful 90s, big beat, sunny disposition.  Like Kidda, and before him Fatboy Slim, there will at the very least be a career getting paid for soundtracking Vauxhaul and Bacardi adverts, so accessible, uplifting and instantly enjoyable is every one of their tracks.  Each one has ‘charting single’ written on the cover like one of those black adult warning signs.  It’s wonderfully planless music that rushes straight for your inner child, utterly fearless and carelessly happy.  The three piece are actually songwriter Jamie Scott and producer Tommy D, who join forces with a third member, who was seemingly brought on board to mainly work on their artwork (!).  Live they expand to a six piece and with the multitude of layers, vocals and clever production, it’s no wonder.  They’ve also cultivated a regular night at Brick Lane’s Vibe Bar, so perhaps head down there to soak up the courtyard’s summer nights, with them as your evening’s jukebox.  Indeed, they’ll probably have drinks deals on from the inevitable sponsors (ooh you cynic – ed).  They self-produce and are self-releasing their first EPs throughout 2010, following their initial 209 single, Stare Into The Sun.  Expect songs you will instantly adore, even though your inner-hipster will fight against it.  Inevitably your feet will give in and start to tap along and your mood will lift skywards. Resistance is indeed useless.  Burnt vocals fuzz over bouncing thumps and tambourine beats, with as many catchy hooks as a barbed wire, albeit with pink marshmallow barbs.  This is music that achieves something rather smart – a perfect design that seems effortless at every turn, so for this it has to be respected.  It walks you through the same inflatable theme park as Lemon Jelly, in both its clever, colourful construction and its childlike design, which is definitely no bad thing.  Plus your girlfriend will love it and those mates who just enjoy music, without knowing why, will also be unwittingly charmed.   (MB)

Find them here:         Myspace

Hear them here:        GRAFFITI 6 – STARE INTO THE SUN

Hear them here:         GRAFFITI 6 – STONE IN MY HEART




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