Archive | September, 2009

Surfer Blood and Glo-fi

27 Sep

There seems to be a real movement developing in lo-fi pop over in America right now. Of course the shoegaze revival (nu-gaze as it’s sometimes called) has been in full swing all year and over the summer ‘glo-fi’ bands (sometimes called ‘warm-fi) have been building momentum.

The best records that could possibly be squeezed into this category thus far are probably ‘Wavvves’ by Wavves and ‘OCD go go go girls’ by Lovvers. Tommorow, Girls release their highly anticipated debut and new releases by The Drums, Best Coast and Washed Out are all eagerly being awaited.

Now add to that list Surfer Blood, another highly melodic but severely messed up rock n roll group who are currently touring America. Their single ‘Swim (to reach the end) is surely one of the best summer songs not to be released in the summer. On the surface the song is shinny and bright but there is definitely an element of darkness under the cover, something that can be said of many of their songs. Like The Drums this band seem to be equally influenced by 60’s surf pop and factory records late output which results in quite a heavy but fun sound. Can’t wait to hear more…

Joy Orbison

25 Sep

I like listening to Dubstep from time to time – mainly at night or when I’m in a reflective mood – but I’m certainly no expert on the genre. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy it and I think the vast majority of it is too repetitive and bland to make a big impression on me. However every now and then an artist will pop up that some how finds their way into my ears, more often than not because I’ve read comparisons to ‘burial’, an artist who I think is amazing.

The latest dubstep producer to catch my attention is Joy Orbison who instantly attracted me with that brilliant name. I also read a brilliant description of his stuff that made a comparison to shoegaze and The Beach boys. Hmm I thought – dubstep meets shoegaze meets The Beach Boys? Sounds like the future of music. Well obviously nothing could be as good as that sounds, but his track ‘Hyph Mngo’ still ranks as one of the freshest songs I’ve heard all year. As all good dubstep should be the track is claustrophobic, dark, simple and stirring. It makes the most of a basic voice sample and a classic beat.

I’m really excited about hearing more from this very young producer who should hopefully have more substantial stuff out soon. It is n’t a perfect track (it does go on for too long and gets slightly repetitive by the end) but It certainly made me eager to hear more.

Best Coast

24 Sep

Best Coast are the fuzzy surf pop band from Bethany Consentino of Pocahaunted, and they are seriously fun. It’s hard to say much more about the group as seriously little information is available and their debut ep appears to be sold out 😦 . What I do know, is that they are a great little pop group with some seriously catchy melodies and a charming aesthetic.

Their myspace has some great songs including the delightful beach boys sounding ‘Over the Ocean’ and the lo fi joy of ‘Sun Was High’. Most of the songs have a relaxed summer vibe which makes it slightly annoying that I’ve only just found out about them. They have a 7 inch out now which may or may not be sold out (more confusion!) but here is the info and a music video.

The Big Pink ‘A Brief History Of Love’ – Review

20 Sep

I REALLY want to hate ‘A Brief History Of Love’. The Big Pink are the most obnoxious, arrogant, ‘cool’ scenesters this country has produced in a long time. Every time I see them interviewed they seem stoned and self important, they run through a list of whose who in 2009 indie pop – Florence, Klaxons, Crystal Castles – and declare them all to be mere followers of their own cult. They own one of the most influential record labels in the country and their DJ nights are notorious. Throughout it all they maintain an impossible cool and ‘so what’ attitude. On top of this they have declared how great they are and how overrated The Beatles were – the cheek of them!

So it really pains me to say that this is not a record to hate, although it’s pretty hard to love. It is a cute, shambolic, forward thinking pop album that goes a tiny way to justifying the hype. The title is apt as this really is a brief history of love. Each track reveals a little insight into a relationship – ‘If this is love why can’t I just leave it’, ‘These tears are real’ and ‘Do you dream of me as much as I do of you?’ are just some of the lyrical highlights from one track. Cliched it may be but there is no denying the power of a love song, especially when the lyrics are accompanied by interesting music; and the music is intresting if completely mental.

It is a shambolic, up and down record that is only consistent lyrically. It begins sounding like an early 90’s shoegaze record, a theme that runs throughout the album but never defines it. Meanwhile The singer sounds hopelessly ‘Britpop’ and his voice certainly grates at times, even sounding out of tune. In fact the best moment is when Joanne Robertson takes over lead vocals on the title track which sounds very ‘Jesus and Mary Chain’. There is a very post new rave feel to many of the songs, not dissimilar to their former protages Crystal Castles, especially on ‘Tonight’ which also suffers from horrible singing and tuneless melodies.

When this album gets it right it really gets it right. The Title track, ‘Dominos’, ‘Crystal Visions’ and ‘Velvet’ are amazing and sound like 2009 encapsulated in song. But despite the cohesive theme of love and longing this is a record that doesn’t really feel like a stand alone piece of work, almost exactly like Klaxons and Crystal Castles debut’s. It is infuriating at times that the band choose to skip between their brilliant Shoegaze moments and the distasteful lad rock and dance aspects so readily as it ruins the flow and momentum of the album. At it’s best this is a brilliant album that justifies their own hype. At its worst it feels like a horrible throwback to a time taste forgot. And whilst they’re still arogant scenesters, they’re clearly pretty talented ones.


Cat Stevens (AKA Yusuf) Returns!

20 Sep

I was hugely excited to find out that the artist formally known as Cat Stevens will be touring for the first time in over 35 years this November, when he comes to four cities to play the classics and premiere his new musical ‘MoonShadow’. Tickets are expensive (cheapest being £50 right up to £100) but they shall no doubt be a worthwhile price to see the return of one of the all time music greats. His latest album (only his second in 3 decades) was released earlier this year so I expect him to play songs from that along with hits like ‘Father and Son’ and ‘Wild World’. Tickets go on sale this Monday.