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singles/eps - march 2013


 

Chin of Britain – Nothing Changes/So Good to Be Here Again (Waltztime)

That’s a weird name isn’t it? I’m instantly intrigued by that and also the heady mix of shoegazy psychedelics and pop, especially on ‘So Good To Be Here Again’ with it’s great swathes of reverby guitar. And there’s an ancient photo of a lady on a donkey included with the disc – what’s not to like? 7/10
www.waltztimerecords.com

SB


Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams

Having received perhaps more than their fair share of critical flak for their rationally refracted or reductively recycled (depending on who you asked) Americana and folk-inflected sound on their debut, the title-track ‘Lonesome Dreams’ provides as much evidence necessary for agreement or rebuttal. Undoubtedly, wherever your ears turn their influences and peers can be encountered (there some My Morning Jacket, here some Fleet Foxes…), certain melodies and harmonies, certainly some lyrical themes: “But I don’t really know this place / And it’s lonesome here in the wide-open space” are shared. However, where the thin-line between stylistic correspondence and outright theft is drawn, and why Lord Huron find themselves on the right side of it, is summed up in the language of dreams in which these recognisable refrains are expressed. Such a manner reflects the extent to which these ideas and sounds are tied up with the American cultural fabric: and evidently, as long as life is long, people are young and the world is wide, musicians, American or otherwise, will be getting lost and writing songs about it. The overriding note is one of proficiency rather than progression, but the music itself is robust, harmless, heartfelt and eminently appealing.
https://soundcloud.com/lord-huron

Christopher Sharpe


Die! Die! Die! – Trinity (Small Town America)

Like a more abrasive Sugar or a de-feedbacked Dinosaur Jr., Die! Die! Die! specialise here with the type of simple yet energy laden garage sound that can have you heading for the ear plugs and the mosh pit in equal measure. There’s an awesome squally guitar outro to. Nice work. 8/10
www.diediedieband.com

SB


Low – So Blue (sub Pop)

One half of everyone’s favourite musical Mormon couple, guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk, recently spoke of his trepidation at the introduction of piano into Low’s song-writing on the upcoming The Invisible Way, but any sign of second-guessing their choice is initially undetectable, the piano-line first kicking the door of the track down with a burst of intensity, and then proceeding to constitute the structural spine of the entire track. It’s not a flourish but instead a vital mechanism, working in conjunction with the pound of the drums and Mimi Parker’s hymnal vocals throughout, in order to heighten the dramatic edge of the repeated rise and fall.

I say ‘initially’ though, because frustratingly it becomes clear that whilst the drama is potent and the build powerful, neither ultimately leads anywhere, the catharsis promised never quite being attained, instead being restrained, just at the peak of the crescendo. The essence of this frustration, this atrophied catharsis is perhaps represented lyrically by the chorus: ‘‘So blue / with you”. For a simple line it’s immensely tonally complex, expressing deep melancholy and heartache but held up against and undercut the ultimate sense of holding-on despite the sadness. With the delivery not being particularly inclined to either, this sense of being stuck in a rut reflects the inability of the track to completely rise out of the gloom, instead slipping in the ascent. Which is all very clever and admirable, but in praxis leaves the track steeped in flawed, slightly monotonous, majesty.

Christopher Sharpe


Mighty Mouse – Love is Gonna Lift You Up (Cheap Thrills)

A re-working of the Bobby Womack track, this track feels remarkably soulless but also lacks any real kind of dancey hook or beat either – it just continues to roll forward at you in annoyingly unrelenting way. Love might lift you up but this track won’t. 4/10
www.mightmousemusic.com

SB


The Lightwings – The Cheap Riches/Revolutions (Beatnik Geek)

Another band with more tags than talents – the multitude of references (Britpop, indie, British Invasion, Beatpop, Merseybeat, Motown, rock n roll) within a 10 line press release indicates either a multifarious approach or an amalgamation of ideas. Or maybe more simply, Jack of all trades, master of none. It’s essentially jangly guitar sound with vocal melodies heavily to the fore. The vocals are pretty weak – leaning towards the shouty most of the time. On the positive side, one of the band members looks a bit like my mate Neil. 5/10

SB


The Creaking Chair – Noise Body EP (Bouffant)

The term ‘pastoral’ seems to keep cropping up in reference to The Creaking Chair. Not sure what relevance shepherding has to their music, maybe it’s just a hang on from when they original formed as an alt-folk trio. But what they do is create some very pretty soundscapes by combining folk staples with rather odd electronic interspersions (‘Magnets’) and occasional discordant key changes (‘Spun’). Either way, the effect is lovely – it’s deep, rich sound is easy to listen to but equally rewarding when investigated in depth. 8/10

SB


Yeah and She Has Red Lips Too – (Get Down and) Disconnect / We Don’t Want to Have To Fight You

Quite a mouthful all that title but worth ploughing through to get to the music. Spritely, synthy, new wavey all at once ‘Get Down...’ is a sinewy prelude to the slightly more tender (though not a lot) ‘We Don’t Want to Have to Fight You.’ All is well. 7/10
http://www.yeahandshehasredlipstoo.com

SB

 

Pjaro – Why Is No One Here I Can Make You Alt (Tye Die Tapes)

Part of the excellent Tye Die Tapes excellent cassette only release series, this one sees Pjaro in excellent 90s garage form, with more than a whiff of Sebadoh about it. It’s raw and visceral (helped by the lo fi production and probably even more so by the cassette format) but it retains that distinct warmth and vitality that really exudes from the best of the genre. 7/10
http://tyedietapes.com/

SB

 

We Cut Corners – Go Easy (Delphi)

‘Go Easy’ is the single which precedes the new album from the Irish duo We Cut Corners and eventually bursts into its noisy life after a couple of minutes as John and Conall get their guitars, drums and harmonies together very nicely. 7/10
http://www.wecutcorners.net

SB

 

Snasen – Failing Upwards

For fans of Bonobo and others from the Brainfeeder/Ninja Tunes stable, ‘Failing Upwards’ charts the unlikely diversion of Oslo-based graphic designer and punk band bass player Robin Snasen Rengård . The deeply hypnotic title track sets the stall out early, combining sparse instrumentation with some deranged airwave interference samples to great effect. This theme of marrying a simple underpinning melody or beat with a jarring counter sample repeats over and again throughout the 5 tracks top the point where it no longer surprises, it just seems right.
http://soundcloud.com/snasen

SB

 

Hookworms – In Our Time (Gringo)

Some bands just refuse to be stirred and moulded by the trends of the day and happily Hookworms are one of those type. ‘In Our Time’ is another epically brooding psyche drenched affairs which sounds like a jam session recorded far too late at night after one or two substances too many. Very cool though. 7/10
gringorecords.com

SB

 

The Ghosts – Everything Will Do

Led Zeppelike drum patterns meet bizarre but pleasingly off kilter falsetto interludes in epic soundtrack to the stars style track. No really, the tune has been picked up for some ABC network drama. And so it should as ‘Kashmir’, err I mean ‘Everything Will Do’, sparkles from start to finish. 8/10

SB

 

King Kartel – Stone Cold Killer

Shouty indie guitar rock music with more than a nod back to the 90s. They’ve also done their own animation for the video and it seems to feature a who’s who of the whole Manc scene, including Frank Gallagher disappearing in a taxi with Gail from Corry – how unsavoury. 7/10

SB