Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flashback Thursday: Helium "XXX"

Unlike other bands of their era, Helium really does not get their due. They fall somewhere between slacker indie and spaced-out shoegaze, made all the more alluring, but the equally hot/mysterious Mary Timony. It's not that the band was better than their peers, but they were a lot more compelling. Pavement just didn't care, Guided By Voices were drunks, and Polvo were pain in the ass artists.

This video is off of the band's '94 debut EP Pirate Prude, and some may remember it being made fun of on Beavis and Butthead. The band would go on to release two more EPs and two albums before disbanding in 1998. Lead singer Mary Timony continues a successful solo career.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


[Photo Credit: Lee Hooper]

Myspace // "On Probation" [Audio]

Formerly known as Mirror! Mirror!, this Nuneaton band apparently had to change their name after an American group with the same name had a shitfit. Soon all of the words in the English language will be taken and each band will simply go by ID numbers, like "Band 528462." Let's hope that doesn't happen anytime soon. These guys might be a little crazy, but I think we need that in musicians. The boring guys never succeed, and Youves are anything but. This is Foals for people that find them pedestrian. The band's debut EP is out this spring.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Myspace // "A Bear A Bison" [Audio]

This March will see the release of the debut album, Adventuring, from Calories (ex-Distophia) on Smalltown America, a small record label based in Northern Ireland and London. Despite just playing their first gigs last summer, the band already has a powerful arsenal of math pop-influenced songs. Over the next couple of months, they'll be sharing the stage with Women, Favours for Sailors, and The Thermals. Yet another quality band to add to the growing math rock movement in England.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Good Natured

Myspace // "Warriors" (demo) [Audio]

Berkshire act The Good Natured (aka Sarah McIntosh) is one I've been sitting on since August. She released her debut EP, Warriors, late last year to a surprising amount of excellent reviews. Her is music is straight-up electro-pop, filled with hooks that the Postal Service wish they had written and lyrics that show more depth than all of the Kate Nashes in the world. While sometimes the music may veer into the melancholy, each tune is equally memorable and shows that there is quite a bit of potential here.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Jamie T "Fire Fire"

Myspace // "Fire Fire" [Audio]

Jamie T will be back with his follow-up to Panic Prevention later this year. More details will follow, but the first track from the disc, "Fire Fire," is now up for free download on his Myspace page. Many of you will be taken by surprise with this track, but give it time. Like most of his music, it doesn't hit you at first, but a few listens later, you'll be hooked.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flashback Thursday: Manic Street Preachers "Faster"


Later this spring, the Manic Street Preachers will release their ninth studio album, tentatively titled Journal for Plague Lovers. Billed as sort of a follow-up to The Holy Bible, the album will only feature lyrics written by Richey Edwards, whose whereabouts are still unknown. The album is produced by Steve Albini.

To look back on The Holy Bible, the album most often cited by fans as the band's best, this is the video for the album's first single, "Faster." Famously, when the band performed the song on BBC's Top of the Pops, they were decked out in army/navy uniforms with James Dean Bradfield wearing a terrorist-style balaclava. They were told by the BBC that they had received the most complaints ever, especially because some thought they were supporting Irish paramilitary groups.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Skins: Series 3


Tomorrow night on E4 (in the UK), the third season of Skins premieres at 10 pm (GMT). Outside of Effy (Tony's younger sister), the entire cast is new, as the whole lot is starting fresh at Roundview College. Although the second season may have been very dark, it was also some of the best television this decade, and I am glad that BBC America finally brought the show to these shores late last year, albeit edited and with subtitles. Like with the other seasons, I'll most likely be trolling torrent sites for the episodes, but it will be worth it as the word is that the premiere episode is one of the best yet.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Joy Formidable "Cradle"

Myspace // "Cradle" [Audio]

Hailing from North Wales, The Joy Formidable now reside in London and have been gaining quite a buzz lately, with The Guardian citing them as "one to watch" and NME describing their music as "Epic, melodic, hand-shandy pop from a band who understand the true joys of life."

The band's second single, "Cradle," will be released next month in the UK, while an 8 track mini album, A Balloon Called Moaning, is slated to be released in Japan shortly as well. Pre-order here from Pure Groove. It is limited to 500 special edition copies with a screen-printed cover.

01 The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
02 Cradle
03 Austere
04 While The flies
05 Whirring
06 9669
07 The Last Drop
08 Ostrich

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Pulled Apart By Horses "Meat Balloon"

Myspace // "The Lighthouse" [Audio]

Brand new, first video ever from Leeds's finest, Pulled Apart By Horses. This is not their fan site.

It's awesome, radical, totally bodacious.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flashback Thursday: Radiohead "Just"

There was a time when Radiohead made music that really mattered and when they could really hold my interested, but that hasn't been for more than ten years. I know people swear by Kid A and their later output, but really, I don't get it. I like my fair share of weird music, but you can't be weird just for the sake of it. I'll start paying attention again when the guitars come back.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Myspace // "Onwards and Upwards" [Audio]

While many bands I like cite Q and Not U and the Dismemberment Plan as influences, more of them should start listing Abba. This Sheffield group has mad love for the world famous Swedish quartet, and while they may not wear that influence on their sleeves, their knack for writing a good hook shines through on their latest EP (out now on Tough Love), Onwards and Upwards. The four songs contained within are amazingly precise pop nuggets, easy to appreciate, yet with enough depth to stay fresh over time.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wintermute: Debut Album

[Photo Credit: Gianna Goulding]

Myspace // "Spanish Girls" [Audio]

After the tentative EP release of '08, Wintermute will finally get an official release this April with their debut album on Big Scary Monsters. Robot Works will contain twelve songs, including the entirety of the aborted EP. The album will be preceded by the single "Dead Or Not He Was Wearing Sunglasses," which will be a free download on the BSM site, backed with the b-side "I Abandoned My Boy."

Before tours further afield, the band will be doing a handful of dates on their home soil to promote the releases.

29th Jan - London, The Fly
30th Jan - Leeds, Upstairs @ the Library - SINGLE LAUNCH!
31st Jan - Newcastle, The End
7th Feb - Middlesborough, Uncle Albert's
12th Feb - York, Fibbers

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Monday, January 12, 2009


Myspace // "Hinges" [Audio]

Finnish group Rubik effectively channel their surroundings, much like Mew, in creating a bombastic indie sound that teeters between aggressive and fragile. While they may be guitar-driven, they use all of the tools are their disposal, including a great mix of electronic tones.

Formed in 2002, the band released their debut album Bad Conscience Patrol in 2007, drawing comparisons to Radiohead and Sigur Ros. The album debuted at #7 in their home country and even gave them their first hit single "City & the Streets." The band has toured the US, Germany, and the UK, and this April will see the release of their new album, Dada Bandits, is out on April 1st in Finland.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pulled Apart By Horses: New Single and Tour

Myspace // "The Lighthouse" [Audio]

Last February was the first (and only) time we posted about a band before we heard their music. It's not something we like to do because we don't want to get saddled with covering shit bands (although, rather ironically, we've covered our fair share of them WITH hearing the music), but we rolled the dice with this Leeds quartet because we were convinced that they were up to something very special.

Three days later we were rewarded with an absolutely wonderful digital gem called "High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive." The song made our cold winter days go by a little faster with its stunning bouts of musical tomfoolery. It was the sound of 100 bodies smashing against one another at the sweatiest house party ever.

The band's next single, a double A side featuring "I Punched a Lion in the Throat" and "The Crapsons," will be out on Monday, January 26th on Too Pure. There will be a nifty little tour (supporting Sky Larkin) going on later this month as well, but don't worry if you can't make it -- the band will be back on the road in March. All dates are on their Myspace.

Jan, 2009 UK Tour!
22nd Bristol, Louisiana
23rd Cardiff, Barfly
24th Nottingham, The Bodega
26th Glasgow, King Tuts
27th Manchester, Night & Day
28th Oxford, The Bullingdon
29th London, ICA
30th Brighton, Audio
31st Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009: Bands to Watch

Before we look back at 2008, we're going to look forward to those bands who are bubbling just under the surface and are poised to make '09 their breakout year. Last year we called a few winners, including Johnny Flynn, Late of the Pier, Chairlift, and Foals. I started to jot down a list today while at work, but I stopped at ten, so it looks like this is going to be an exciting year. Here are five of my favorites, and Beth will follow later this week with hers.

[Photo Credit: Jacob Perlmutter]
The More Assured: If you search this London band on Youtube, you will find countless videos, from fan shot live clips to one of their three professionally shot promo videos. Look for "I Want Your Despair," which is excellently directed by Jacob Perlmutter, because it perfectly encapsulates this band. There is a certain style that you can't put your finger on, matched up with their take on post-Libertines jangle. According to the band, we can expect a debut album sometime this year which will no doubt increase the size of their cult across the capital and beyond.
"I Want Your Despair" [Audio]

Grammatics: If Cursive were from West Yorkshire, this is very well what they might sound like. These guys aren't all cellos and emotions though -- they have a musical depth that combines cosmopolitan pop music with the ebb and flow of big rock. They are the results of well laid plans and a band whose stock should increase considerably with the release of their debut album.
"New Franchise" [Audio]

[Photo Credit: Nick Pomeroy]
Pull in Emergency: The best bands are those that force you to forget about the hype or any of the details to just focus on the music. With two singles under their belts, this five-piece outfit do just that by creating music that is better that the rubbish produced by bands ten years their senior, and what's even better, they add to their arsenal with each new song.
"Follow" (demo) [Audio]

[Photo Credit: Danny North]
Wintermute: Bloc Party may not have been the band to signal England's seachange into dance rock, but Silent Alarm is arguably not just the scene's best album, but one of this decade's best. In the months leading up to that record, I could sense something pretty special was around the corner, and now I get that same feeling with Leeds' Wintermute. The band's debut album is tentatively scheduled for late April and it will include tracks from their shelved EP Fun With Wizard Stencils. They can really take the city and the whole country.
"Spanish Girls" [Audio]

Simon Says No!: I was already a fan of these guys when I saw them at Rehab during CMJ, but by the end of that set, I was sold for life. This was a band that combined the psychedelia of My Bloody Valentine with the unpredictable energy of Refused, but more importantly, they had instantly memorable songs. Their debut EP Ahoi de Angst hits shops on February 2nd through Spoon Train Audio in Norway, as well as iTunes worldwide. Look for them at this year's SXSW.
"Sleeping Heart" [Audio]

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Pull in Emergency "In Silence"

Myspace // "Follow" [Audio]

Breaks are good, we all need them. Even workaholics like me who take breaks by doing other work, but after two weeks of not thinking about anything besides lying under the Florida sun, we are back in working order here. Beth and I should have our top albums of '08 lists up this week and if there's time, an '09 preview as well. If you need another reason to look at that, let me just say that we had an excellent success rate from last year.

One band that will be on that list is London outfit Pull in Emergency, who just posted the video for their latest single, "In Silence," which was directed by Jacob Perlmutter, who seems to be the go-to guy for photography and videos of England's new indie elite. Like most young bands, there's always the difficulty of being accepted as more than just teenagers knocking about in the garage, and one of the things we first noticed back in '07 is that this quintet has the chops to play next to bands ten years their senior. If you're in London, the band is playing at Islington Bar Academy on January 16th.

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