First up are Mysterious purveyors of head wrecking alien electro-pop-hardcore-punk whateverrr Godzilla Black. The group’s earliest origins can be traced to early 2006 when two drummers met and colluded to create a fresh and unique sonic experience. The percussive commonality would become a key aspect of their sound. They spent the next couple of years honing their craft, recording several E.P.s and playing shows around the UK. They record and rehearse in an old Evil Dead style shack, somewhere in Sidcup. A bit like Gorillaz they are fiercely anti pop that we don’t even know their names, all we know is that they had some chart hits back in the day. However we know that their self-recorded first album, out now via free Internet download is an absolute behemoth ready to chew up and spit out everything in its path. Listen to the crushing rhythms and ripping samples of opening track ‘Fear Of A Flat Planet’ that’s sprawling stomping beats clump through a desolate post-apocalypse, whilst the schizo electro beats and sexual, suggestive vox draw favourable comparisons with everything from Beck, Alec Empire, a more deranged Late of the Pier, and the filthiness of The Faint’s ‘Wet from Birth’ album. Monstrous!
Dag för Dag
Dag för Dag are American born, Swedish based brother sister duo Sarah Parthemore Snavely and Jacob Donald Snavely. Their initial releases on Saddle Creek showed off thier a icy new wave, and expansive gaze-pop that drew on the works of the Cure, P J Harvey and Joy Division typified by the more sedate but wonderful new single http://t.ymlp8.com/muuaxaewqaiahqsatamwb/click.phpHands and Knees. While other tracks veer into Glam rock/Arcade Fire territory. Their forthcoming album ‘Boo’ (out March 2010) produced by Richard Swift and Johannes Berglund will hopefully show these two impressive sides of their sonic personality and present them in a coherent whole. This will be accompanied by a UK tour, ones to watch indeed. I present their recent free download ‘Animal’ an unstoppable glitter flecked, boy/girl pop song:
Manchester has recently been showing that its not totally obsessed with emulating its lad rock past, with the likes of Delphic leading the way. Morecambe, born, Manchester based teenagers The Heartbreaks have clearly been listening to plenty of Smiths records, but they also have under rated Northern acts like Pureessence and Haven sitting in their record collections. They recently won the Manchester City life best new band of 2009, whilst their other songs are quite as strong yet, on the strength of the quite wonderful, tune ‘Jealous Don’t You Know’ shows off their rolling rhythms, chiming guitar figures that are redolent of early Stone Roses, and singer Matthew’s splendid vocal tone that quivers in reverb between Morrissey and Elvis Costello, their postcard fizz pop tales of loss and love could yet develop into something quite special, time will tell. The Heartbreaks release their debut single ‘Liar, My Dear’ on Pure Groove records through the Sevensevens label on the 8th of March.
A Place to Bury Strangers
You’ve probably already heard a lot about air splitting experimenters A Place to Bury Strangers they are a New York–based Noise rock band composed of Oliver Ackermann (guitar/vocals), Jono MOFO (bass) and Jay Space (drums). Producing thje kind of aggressive, experimental fuzz noise that harks back to the best works of My Bloody Valentine, and the ominous blues infused gaze of Jesus and Mary Chain, they are perfecting and modernising the gaze sound, noise rock sound and selling it back to us in the UK. Their rather fine second album ‘Exploding Head’ released late last year is well worthy of your investigation. Here I present the first single that swirls and spits and snarls, stinging guitars denting the sidewalk like a jackhammer, while the weary, snarling vocals bring to mind the sound of early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Superb.
Manchester’s Lonelady is a new signing to the Warp imprint usually more known for its experimental electronic acts like Aphex twin ect, but since they signed Maximo Park they have begun to spread their wings further. Julie Campbell, AKA LoneLady, is already marked out as one to watch by Paul Morely, she is harking back to the new wave intellect of Patti Smith, Nico Case, Grace Jones early P J Harvey and the electro/post punk minimalism of PiL and early Theoretical Girl recordings, Lonelady knows how to do sparse, new wave, thus guitars drill like dentist drills, beats twitch, keyboards stab, and her voice is simultaneously funky and effortlessly detached employing a lyrical economy, her aesthetic is pared back, and topped by her knowing Ballard-esque lyrics. She has has the tunes, and unlike many of the girls tipped for success this year is clearly driving her own vision from her artwork, style and sound everything is carefully produced. And is thus her post-industrial minimal post-pop is more of a reflection of the harsh grey architecture of the recession-era Manchester that surrounds her. She even built a secluded ramshackle studio in the belly of one of Manchester’s crumbling mills and created her debut album ‘Nerve Up’ in the span of four weeks. Check out the quite wonderful self reflexive icy pop melodies and wonky sea-saw synths of free download ‘Intuition’ that’s reminiscent of a more stripped back Gossip, it’s her new single taken from her forthcoming debut album ‘Nerve Up’, which is out 22 February on WARP.
Aberystwyth’s Racehorses used to be called Radio Luxembourg they were prodigeously talented but criminally ignored. Now revived and regrouped under a new banner and finding a new home in Cardiff, they are bring a bit of obscurity and absurdity back to an indie pop market obsessed with reality, with playful melodies that take you on tripped out journeys through their headspaces, to the 60s and back to again. Gaining massive attention of late for their rollickingly good pop songs that hark back to the early works of Super Furry Animals, The Kinks, Suicide and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci(ironically enough given that Eros Childs is behind the controls on their new album)
The wonderful Beatles-esque Cake from earlier in the year was a big huge bite of the sweetness to follow from this Welsh four piece. Their new album ‘Goodbye Falkenburg’ out now is Welsh-psych at its best, a varied and ambitious debut a melting pot of indie, surf, folk, psychedelic, oompah all on their to create something truly special. I present their recent single ‘Man in My mind’ its twisting, turning, prog-pop that owes much to the Monkees. Delightful.
A new name to me, Belfast based trio Not Squares have been carving out a niche for themselves on the live circuit and now release their rather splendid new single “Asylum” is like the missing link between Battles ‘Atlas’ and Hot Chip’s ‘Over and Over’ leaping around with glee abandon on the dance floor, hitting percussive things, embracing your friends and screaming out falscettos at the top of your lungs. Using dirty synths, distorted bass and tribal chants as their weapons to inspire mass dance-offs. The greatly anticipated release of their debut album is expected to drop in May 2010 on Dublin-based label Richter Collective.
In early 2009, two girls three boys from Brighton otherwise known as Shrag released their self titled debut a wonderful mess of intelligent DIY punka pop replete with references to the Fall and The Long Blones. It was criminally and explicably ignored by GIITTV(ok we didn’t get a copy OK?!) I present you with their rather splendid previous single ‘Talk to the Left’ a riot of chopping riffs, and feisty, finger wagging bed talk, like Shampoo being passed lyrics by Ian Dury. Their last single ‘Rabbit Kids shows a real melodic progression, complete with brass, sighing melodies and trademark witty lyrical put downs its like the missing link between Bearsuit and Kenickie . I hope for more good things from Shrag in 2010!
Alcoholic Faith Mission
Copenhagen five piece Alcoholic Faith Mission released “421 Wythe Avenue” in April last year since then they have sold out shows all across Europe garnering positive attention. Creating a wonderful sound that balances between the understated nu gaze of early M83, the work of Mazzy Star, and the tender post rock synphonies of Sigur Ros. Currently touring across Germany, Alcoholic Faith Mission will be making their way back to the States in the new year to tour and release a new album in the Spring via Paper Garden Records. I present the simple gorgeous, gradually building tenderness of free MP3 “We All Have Our Shortcomings” taken from last year’s “421 Wythe Avenue” album:
There Will Be Fireworks
Last year I heard a fantastic reeling, beautifully poignant, explosively heartfelt track ‘We were Roman Candle’ on Tom Robinson’s six music show, by a new Scottish act called There will be Fireworks. Later in the year I received a self released album from young Glaswegian’s there will be fireworks, it was undoubtedly the most accomplished, heartbreakingly beautiful and cleverly executed self released/unsigned album of my 2009. ‘s tumbling out of his mouth, heart on his sleeve vocals bared resemblance to early Bright Eyes, and the work of fellow Scot’s Frightened Rabbit. But elsewhere they showed a musical accomplishment that matched acts like Mogwai, and The Twilght Sad, knowing when to utilise serrated guitars and cascading post-rock rhythms and when to shift down to reveal tenderly strummed heartbreak. I present the video for their stunning track’ ‘Midfield Maestro’ that’s burning crescendo details the burning of a relationship from subtle sonic beginnings to impassioned hoarse throated roar. Here’s to 2010 a year when There Will Be Fireworks will hopefully get signed up forthwith and release their eagerly awaited long playing follow up.
Elephant & Soldier
I first came into contact with the music of Cardiff-based singer Sam Goudie and his fellow collaborators known as Elephant & Soldier with their track on the Full Fat Mix Tape (CD) of local artists. Further investigation revealed a hugely accomplished whole free download EP called First Shots. Superlative opener and title track (yes First Shots) sets the tone: a fire crackles, guitars are plucked, Olivia Smith’s mournful cello notes sigh, Sam’s voice aches, as he almost unbearably meditates upon a first love that’s crumbling in front of his eyes(‘you look like a angel/with a devil on your face’), to utter cracked pain in the outro, at times he echoes the melancholy of Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma…’, at others the work of Ray LaMontagne. He’s an artist that deserves wider acclaim, hopefully 2010 will bring him a record deal because he has the potential to reach for the kind of shadowy corners inhabited by the late great Eliot Smith.. You could imagine this EP being released as it is and doing very well now, but you lucky people can get it for free on the link below, I urge you to check out his brilliant reworking of All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem too.