Friday, 24 June 2011

Caravage – Don't Be Yourself * Single of the day * release date 21/6/2011

Yep, gimme a real guitar led pop track and I'm happy. Don't Be Yourself opens with a great lead guitar line that catches your attention and fortunately the rest of the song manages to live up to it.

Caravage are a four piece from Grenoble, France and apart from that fact I've got precious little information about them. I daren't even hazard a guess at the line up since ReverbNation and MySpace have different rhythm sections listed.

Best then to just let the music speak for itself on this one, it does a good job.

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Jonny Cola & The A-Grades – Postcode Wars * Single of the day * release date 20/6/2011

I've listened to Postcode Wars probably a dozen times now and the first verse still makes me wonder what the hell I'm listening to. As soon as Jonny Cola & The A-Grades get into their stride it becomes obvious that they have absorbed and understood pretty much everything that is best about British music and are using it to great effect.

There are hints of Pulp and flickers of Blur, both of whom built on some great British pop traditions, however Jonny Cola & The A-Grades have evolved it a bit further to really produce a sound of their own.

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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Dan Mangan – Sold * Single of the day * release date 20/6/2011

Sold is fine skiffling guitar song from Dan Mangan who carries you along with him over building vocal bridges and through contrasting changes in tempo and feel.

Especially pleasing is the use of a lagging harmony which conveys a real sense of weariness before the line 'tired of sleeping with the light on'.

If you're making the trip to Glastonbury this year Dan will be playing the Other Stage between 11:00-11:35 on Sunday morning, so no long lay in if you want to catch him. Don't worry though if you haven't got a ticket, he'll be back for a few more UK dates in September.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

About Group – Don't Worry * Single of the day * release date 20/6/2011

If the vocals on Don't Worry sound familiar don't worry because the singer of About Group is Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip. Now given that One Life Stand by Hot Chip was in my top 3 favourite singles of 2009 Alexis has an unfair advantage because as soon as I heard his distinctive tones my ears pricked up like a dog hearing a tin being opened at dinner time.

Don’t Worry is a completely different style, but still a fantastic song, that really does take me to a different place where I'm more relaxed, yet resigned to the fact that what is - is. As such About Group have rewarded me for my canine hearing by delivering exactly what they say on the tin.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Miserable Rich – Anything's Possible * Single of the day * release date 19/6/2011

The Miserable Rich are a chamber pop band based in Brighton. There is no denying the influence of the chamber orchestra on their sound, going one step further than just the odd violin or cello in the band, The Miserable Rich are using classical instrumentation as the central pillar of Anything's Possible and this gives the track a really lush rich sound which underpins a great song.

The real trick is that this is undeniably a pop song and that's what makes the track sound out of the ordinary. Had this not been the case the feel would be retro, which Anything's Possible certainly is not and The Miserable Rich would have missed the target. As it is they have hit the bullseye.

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Friday, 17 June 2011

Alex Hulme – There Was A Boy * Single of the day * Release date 13/6/2011

It is one of the hazards of listening to so much music every week that occasionally I get so blinkered into looking for something with an edge that I can ignore a good song that's well performed. Fortunately because I keep listening to my short list throughout the week I frequently relent.

There Was A Boy is one such case in point. Alex Hulme has produced a very pleasing and memorable track by putting across a good song in a very straight forward manner. The more I've listened to it the more I've enjoyed it and really that is the essence of good music.

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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Satellite Stories – Family * Single of the day * release date 14/6/2011

Family is bouncy indie pop from Finnish foursome Satellite Stories. Built over a jangly guitar base, which they do very well, the lyrics are basically life plans. I'm guessing that vocalist Esa will be incommunicado on the 15th of April 2023 (assuming it was he who set this date).

Where Satellite Stories make great capital from their sound groundwork and catchy chorus is in the arrangement. Just when you get used to where the song is going they start exploring it from slightly different angles. Thus ensuring it retains interest through to a satisfying conclusion.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Raveonettes – Apparitions * Single of the day * release date 13/6/2011

There's a couple of things that I'm a real sucker for; moody, melancholic guitar (a particular favorite example is I'm In Love With A German Film Star by The Passions) and also a female vocal used as relief against a track with a predominantly male vocal. Apparitions contains both of these elements and so plays somewhat to my weaknesses. Add to that a really ominous atmosphere created by some clever production and this song really was a shoe in.

Overall The Raveonettes have produced what I would call an experience track with Apparitions, it's not about just listening, it's about being absorbed into a feeling. Really clever stuff.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Burlap To Cashmere – Build A Wall * Single of the day * release date 12/6/2011

The first words I thought of when I heard Build A Wall was that it was an honest song. It took me a little while to work out why that was the feeling I got. Certainly the pace of the track and the sense of urgency with which the lyrics are delivered created the feeling that I was listening to free flowing thought rather than a collection of words contrived to fit the music.

Of course I then went to Burlap To Cashmere's website to find out some more background and found that their new self-titled album, including Build A Wall, was recorded 'organically' with not even a click track being used. Perhaps it is this approach to recording that has resulted in an inferred honesty to the song when compared to music produced with auto tune and other technologies.

The album Burlap To Cashmere is released on the 19th of July.

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Monday, 13 June 2011

Annah Mac – Celia * Single of the day * release date 12/6/2011

Celia is a sweet, bouncy pop track with a sing along chorus from New Zealand songstress Annah Mac. Definitely a song you can enjoy like a cool breeze on a hot summers day.

Falling in the something you don't see often category, Annah actually has the chords and lyrics to some of her songs on her facebook page. In my opinion that's a great way to keep control of her music. Let's face it, if the artist doesn't do it themselves then someone else will, at least this way Annah's fans get to feel like it's a gift from her. I've attached a link if you fancy strumming along.

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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Miss Jacobs – Lisa Williams release date * Single of the day * 7/6/2011

To give you a grasp of the lyrics, if you don't know who she is (I didn't), Lisa Williams is an American psychic medium. Miss Jacobs on the other hand is a talented Norwegian singer and songwriter addressing those really important questions about life after death, like are spirits lurking around us all the time having a laugh at our personal habits or instigating bizarre practical jokes.

Lisa Williams (the song obviously, because I don't know about the person) is intelligent, witty, great fun, memorable and enjoyable to listen to. Miss Jacobs shows how good pop can be when it's clever without being pretentious, we could do with more of it.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Gentle Mystics – Spiralling Breeze * Single of the day * release date 6/6/2011

I like ambition in a track, especially when it's a début single. Gentle Mystics somehow manage to make a journey in Spiralling Breeze from Tango to slow Ska, with a few other styles thrown in along the way. Definitely a different sound and at over 6 minutes long they're not afraid to explore it, which I guess shows the benefit of being able to fully utilise a 9 piece band.

Given that they list as many genres as members on their facebook page when Gentle Mystics release they're album later this year I suspect it may be a spotters guide to musical styles. If they interweave them as successfully as they have on Spiralling Breeze it should be fun.

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Fatty Gets A Stylist – Are You Ready ? Release date 5/6/2011

Fatty Gets A Stylist and wins the New York Lottery. Not quite accurate but Are You Ready ? is being used for adverts for the New York Lottery giving some welcome publicity to the Aussie duo ahead of their self-titled album due for release on the 1st of July.

Are You Ready ? has all the hallmarks of a great commercial song, instantly accessible, catchy but at the same time stands up to repeated listening. It could also, with slightly different production values, fit into any decade since the sixties, giving it a universal appeal. Fatty Gets A Stylist even manage to make the name Gary sound enigmatic, which ticks a box I wasn't previously aware of in popular music.

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Friday, 10 June 2011

ALB (feat. The Shoes) – Golden Chains * Single of the day * release date 6/6/2011

Golden Chains has some very interesting elements to it's production, in parts it's almost an advert for recycling old electronics. Certainly a hook that sounds like it's played on an eighties cassio keyboard with run down batteries is a new one on me. The worn down blipping does sound a bit odd but interestingly after the second or third listen you look forward to it, which let's face it, is the job of a good hook.

That's not to take away from the song which, once it gets nicely into stride, carries you along to a quite uplifting chorus. Golden Chains is the lead track on ALB's new four track E.P. I Beg For A Summer and as a fan of Tennis and Cricket I really can understand that sentiment at this time of year. 

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Silver Street – Millionaire (You Make Me Feel) release date 6/6/2011

I'm reviewing Millionaire(You Make Me Feel) because it shows the egalitarian nature of the digital platform for releasing singles. I've quite enjoyed the track this week and as such it made my shortlist but it wasn't in my first choices to review. Then I noticed it had 5 views (11 at time of writing) on YouTube and Silver Street are pretty much invisible to Google. No facebook, no twitter they've just recorded and released it.

The one nod to any marketing is a the video done by their friends Naz, Paz and Aaz. Because of that I listened to it and can tell you what a pleasant experience it was. That's the great equalizer of the digital marketplace, release a single, stick it on You Tube and there's half a chance some saddo like me will listen and review it. Just a black screen with the track playing over it will do, as long as it's titled and tagged I'll find it.

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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Rock In Your Pocket – Doubtbox * Single of the day * release date 6/6/2011

Doubtbox is a nice little rocker from Bristol trio Rock In Your Pocket. Lead singer Charlie Beddoes starts off sounding soft and inviting but there was a clue in the opening few rasping bass notes where Doubtbox were going to go. That's right, hit 'em all with the big power riff, that's the sort of counter punching good rock music needs.

Sorry, but from that point onwards I was hooked and the way that Rock In Your Pocket go from all out playing to quietly menacing just added to my glee (not Glee, for there is quite enough of that). Perfect late night driving music, dark, but it'll keep you awake.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Thomas Tantrum – Hot Hot Summer * Single of the day * release date 5/6/2011

Hot Hot Summer is a great song with an amazingly catchy chorus and that is reason enough to make it a single of the day. However there is one important element that really makes Thomas Tantrum sound unique and that is the vocals of Megan Thomas. Not only is her voice distinctive but she also manages to create a frisson with the music that builds a real air of electricity into the track.

Hot Hot Summer is the latest single to be release from Thomas Tantrum's imminent second album Mad By Moonlight which is due for release on Sunday (12th of June) and also includes the equally brilliant single Sleep. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

GoGoBot – Do You Remember ? * Single of the day * release date 5/6/2011

GoGoBot are the first band to have a second single of the day and they thoroughly deserve it because Do You Remember ? is a genuine anthemic footstomper. The most impressive attribute that GoGoBot have, apart from producing memorable hooks and choruses, is that you can tell they're the same band that recorded First Class Fool but Do You Remember? has a distinctly different vibe and feel.

GoGoBot are confirmed for at least 5 festivals this summer (link to their gig page below), they definitely have a big enough sound to fill outdoor arenas, so they should be in their element. Then there are still another three singles to come this year, can't wait!

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Monday, 6 June 2011

Found – Anti Climb Paint * Single of the day * release date 5/6/2011

Anti Climb Paint is a tremendous lyric led song with a straight forward guitar backing, excepting a bit of electronic in the last third, in the build up towards the end. The use of anti climb paint as a romantic allegory is genius in itself and Found have managed to keep that idea central to the overall frustrated feel of the track.

I've also added a link to the Ziggy bloopers video, showing how easy it is to miss the intro when you're miming, similar to a few famous Top Of The Pops examples. Anti Climb Paint is taken from Found's album factorycraft which was released in March.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Mini Mansions – Monk * Single of the day * release date 30/5/2011

Mini Mansions are Zach Dawes, Tyler Parkford and Michael Shuman, who plays bass for Queens Of The Stone Age, as did Alain Johannes, who was single of the day with Return To You a couple of weeks ago. I like to make connections, which is why I like Monk, a track so seamless that it's impossible to see the joins.

Each element arises as if it has been there forever, perfectly formed and waiting to be played. There's so much subtlety in the production and writing that pointing out any individual aspect is to miss the point of why Monk sounds so good,, it is whole, complete and entirely satisfying.

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Saturday, 4 June 2011

Noemi – Ça Brûle * Single of the day * release date 30/5/2011

The first single of the day that doesn't have English lyrics Ça Brûle has an overall feel that made it impossible to ignore. Of course French is possibly the most lyrical language so that's not particularly a barrier and the way Noemi presents the song lessens my requirement to know the meaning of the words.

I'm sure Noemi won't mind a comparison to Kate Bush in her vocal style and sound. In fact there is a rather good clip of her covering Army Dreamers, a link is attached, together with a link to the acoustic version of Ça Brûle, which if anything is even more gorgeous.

Ça Brûle is the lead track of the Noemi E.P.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Lovely Eggs – Fuck It * Single of the day * release date 30/5/2011

When looking up the new releases for the week there are occasionally song titles or artists names that you really hope won't make a connection with you. The reason is simply that you are unsure how printing them will be perceived.

Even more rarely, at least I think this is the first time, the track turns out to be really good and you just have to say Fuck It because The Lovely Eggs have produced a song that is just too good to ignore. That sums up the song really. There comes a point when you are so busy trying to calculate every variable or worrying about things that ultimately you can do nothing about that you just have to say Fuck It and get on.

Thanks To The Lovely Eggs I feel just a little bit more liberated than I did 5 minutes ago.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

To Kill A King – Fictional State * Single of the day * release date 29/5/2011

Fictional State is the impressive début single of London band To Kill A King. Starting off as a folk rock ramble it quickly introduces harmonies and a fuller backing to establish the fact that it's going to be a bit richer than that.

From there the sound builds to a mid-song crescendo before moving back to basics, always keeping the lyrics and sentiment as the focus of the track. One more surprise is left for the end though which leaves you feeling a sense of completion.

Great video too, which took me a couple of viewings to get but well worth the effort. So to sum up - all round brilliance.

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Gomez – Options release date 29/5/2011

Options starts simply but there is a temendous amount of instrumentation and production on this track. The basic song is absolutely terriffic and eminantly hummable with the layered sound and horns enhancing it rather than getting in the way.

Gomez wrote the album Whatever's On Your Mind, for which Options is the precursor, by the band members individually submitting ideas via internet to a central hub for each other to modify. It sounds like a completely horrendous method of doing things but it has certainly worked on Options.

The rest of the album is released on the 6th of June in the UK and the 21st of June in the U.S. 

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cosmo Jarvis – Sure As Hell Not Jesus * Single of the day * release date 29/5/2011

Sure As Hell Not Jesus is one of those absolutely complete songs that is perfectly pitched, there is nothing more that could be added or taken away to enhance the listening experience. Cosmo Jarvis has a remarkable precision about his work.

Clever and intriguing lyrics, with a melody line that keeps you hooked until the rousing chorus lifts off, followed up by some fantastic guitar licks. Every time I hear the track there are new nuances to discover.

Throwing in the video, also a Cosmo creation, completes a package that's satirical and intelligent enough to be compared with early 10cc and I don't throw that compliment around lightly. 

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Funeral Suits – Colour Fade release date 29/5/2011

Colour Fade could best be described as a reflective rock track and Funeral Suits have created a piece of music that is undoubtedly pleasurable to listen to.

The vocals are perfectly matched to the mood of the track but I have absolutely no idea what they mean. This isn't particularly a criticism, the snippets of lyric that do penetrate the higher regions of the brain enhance the feeling of the song and are therefore performing the exact function they are meant to.

Add to that the structure of the song, which contains verses but no repeated chorus, and it becomes obvious that Funeral Suits are producing music with a bit of thought and without too much regard to convention. That much I do understand and I like it. 

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Ava Takes A Walk – Loose Lips Sink Ships release date 27/5/2011

Loose Lips Sink Ships is an interesting electro swing single by Ava Takes A Walk and is a great illustration of how crossover genres can seduce a listener.

For starters the form of the swing and jazz style is instantly accessible, simply because it's so established in the psyche, therefore any tune with those structues as a base will always resonate. Add the techno elements to freshen the sound up and it becomes familiar yet new.

What Ava does really well though is to drape a lyric on this framework that is modern and a bit more risqué than a song from the 30's or 40's and that gives the track the bit of bite it needs.

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