If all U.K. guitar-pop bands were as good as Animals Talking, N.M.E. would be a 500-page weekly and music blogs would have a pretty tough time keeping up with the times. Fortunately, the London quartet is a rare gem, so for now, we'll just cherish them.
While the below two demos are pretty rough and sound crummier than they ought to, the beauty of Animals Talking's lo-fi indie-pop is undeniable and clearly juts out amongst the fuzz and scuzzy recordings that most likely were recorded in one take or minimally mixed. Or something. Keep an eye on these four as they're bound to churn out some phenomenal stuff ...
Remember Motocade? If you don't, shame on you since we wrote them up a while back. But that's aside the point: the Auckland, New Zealand garage-rock quartet is back with a new look, a new song, and an overall better style and aesthetic. That's not to say that we weren't digging them before -- of course we liked 'em! -- but when we turned the new track, "Soap Opera," on, we were a little shocked! The brisk three-minute tune sounds like Oasis and the Strokes circa First Impressions of Earth having a baby with the Futureheads. You'll understand what we mean by that once you download the thing!
The music video for "Soap Opera" is also a lot of fun. Tune into it ... looks sort of like what would happen if Cornelius directed a so-hot-right-now Brit-pop band's debut music video.
BBBD has yet to attend any Fabric club night in London, but from what we hear and from what we've got on compact disc, we know that the parties are not to be missed. Someday ... someday.
Friday, May 2 is going to be -- as usual -- a killer at Fabriclive. Switch and Sinden will be presenting Get Familiar, and boy do they have one hell of a lineup planned. Room One will feature Joe Goddard (Hot Chip), Sinden, A-Trak, and J33; Room Two will hold Surkin, Para One, Curses!, Orgasmic, Bobmo, Das Glow, and Jean Nipon; Room Three will feature DJ Fresh and Rusko. Wow. It's like a mini-festival crammed into a gigantic warehouse. But what else would you expect? Really ...
If you're in London, you can pick up tickets right over here. If you're not, here's the consolation prize: a 90-minute Fabriclive mix by Rusko. It's a banger, so get ready to have a few neurons destroyed while listening to this one.
BBBD's favorite Bergen record label, Powerblytt (MySpace) has a new CD coming out called Powerblytt Myths Volume 1 with "tracks by the Work remixed by Njaal, Oslo-based electro-poppers Frost remixed by Skatebård, Swedish avant-soul poster boy Juvelen remixed by Krazy Fiesta, and one by Bergen's new-kid-on-the-block, Njaal." Sounds good, good, good to us!
The Work -- the owners and operators of Powerblytt and its affiliated club -- were kind enough to send a mini-mix of the compilation our way, so check it out below and be sure to grab the thing when it's out! From the stellar mini-mix, the 12" is bound to be packed with disco-infused ragers, techno-y bangers, Daft Punk-esque guitar jams, and a bit of everything in between.
As this blog has noted before, the Swedish pop sound has been overtly seeping into other Scandinavian and European countries in a pretty massive way. No longer is the world's best guitar-pop and light Euro-pop originating in Stockholm or Gothenburg. No ... now Finland, Denmark, Norway, and every other nation in that vicinity is duly pumping out stellar pop fodder.
BBBD's most recent find? Real Ones (MySpace), a Bergen-based quintet. The group sounds sort of like Talking Heads circa 1983 with an extra large dose of banjo-driven hillbilly twiddling about. They claim to be a "genuine band," whatever the heck that means.
Apparently these Wilco-esque rockers have gained some pretty substantial notoriety and fame in their homeland, making this post seem all the more futile. So behind, right!? Anyway, just listen to the below two tracks and enjoy them for what they are. BBBD might be a tad slow in this case, but Real Ones are timeless! Enjoy!
Ahh, it feels good to be back. Sorry to leave you all hanging like that! (I know you've just been dying for a BBBD post, right? Nearly killed you!)
BBBD readers -- or at least the loyal ones -- have heard of Tokyo, Japan's Avalon before since we (ahem)wrotethem up already! Seemingly, the quartet's been in the studio nonstop for a year or so since they are prepping a new mini-LP, Avals Variations, for release on the immaculate Escalator Records on May 28.
The six-track release is a lot of fun. Unlike previous EPs and one-offs, the disc is heavy on the instrumentals and light on the vocals. Nothing wrong with that -- just making an observation. The tunes sound sort of like a more subdued or perhaps more complex and layered rendition of something Kavinsky could've conceivable produced.
Damn this stuff is good! All the jams remind me of Cornelius' "2010"; they arrangements are all at once semi-baroque and classical in construction and NES-addled. Love it love it!
Pick the CD up here or, perhaps, here (once it's out, of course). Escalator Records is never wrong.
A solid press release is a rare thing and Portland-by-way-of-Alaska's the Old Believers have one heck of a one-sheet.
But I assure you, I'm not posting merely because of the awesome newsprint blurb concerning their forthcoming Eight Golden Greats LP I received. The Old Believers are young but sound old. Very old. Their songs endearingly slink by ... a sublime merging of old folk/"good" country circa 1971 and the lyricism of say, Bob Dylan. Well, maybe not Dylan, but certainly in that vein. There's a cutesy component to the duo's stuff, too ... something childish and naive yet wise and aged.
I'm confused yet allured by the contradictions invested in the pair and that's enough for me. Listen to the below tracks and be sure to pick up the full-length when it's out on July 10.
Outside of Mando Diao or the Ceasars, Sweden doesn't see much in the way of garage bands. Most stray towards the softer guitar-rock side of the spectrum, which while perfectly fine by BBBD, does lend itself to monotony and blandness eventually. We need some punky, garagey, rocky punch every once in a while to get going!
Gothenburg's Alibi Tom (MySpace) comes as a relief, then. The quintet sounds sort of like the Kinks during their most rambunctious days or Mando Diao during a less loopy and scatterbrained episode. Great vocals, solid drumming, fun lead guitar riffs a la old Libertines, and plenty of tambourine to spice everything up more!
The five-piece has an album, Scrapbook, coming out on the U.K. label, LEON, on May 4. Be sure to pick it up when it's out ... we can hardly imagine it sucking based on the strength of these two tracks.
It's always the most mysterious and oblique bands that insight the most wonderment and curiosity, and Salem is certainly a band shrouded behind veil upon veil of obscure meaning, darkness, and opacity.
The samples of their material I've heard (you can listen to loads of tunes here and here) don't disappoint, either (you can't be all smoke and mirrors with!) The Chicago/New York City trio is "inspired by black metal, Southern rap, early goth, screw, and juke" -- sounds a little like Crystal Castles, yeah? -- and while they don't necessarily channel any of those styles in particular, it's easy to see how they're inspired by such genres.
The songs are gritty and at times robotic with chaotic beats and warbley synth bass lines. Somehow, the ethereal and absently cold aesthetic conveys tremendous emotion, though ... the tracks sound like bedroom folk recordings from an alternate reality of utter depression and misery. Listen to the songs and you're feel bare; your heart will be exposed and shredded; tears will stream down your face. Be prepared for some brutally expressive songs of utter sadness and alienation. It's all in the empty spaces ...
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club Remixed by Nite Cells
BBBD can be disgustingly choosy when it comes to remixes. We want solid edits, uniques mixes, and boss original cuts to fuel each and every one of them, so a cruddy, lazy MSTRKRFT "fix" of some wannabe disco-rock track (making this all up) doesn't fly.
Be assured, then, that Nite Cells is pretty darn good ... and it's not just became they're based out of BBBD's HQ of Los Angeles, too.
The Hollywood DJ duo just remixed "La Mer" by the Welsh agit-pop outfit the Victorian English Gentleman's Club (MySpace). The trio's angular, bombastic, yet soothingly melodious cut was a jaw dropper when we first heard it, and after dozens of spins, it's relentlessly stayed fresh and appealing. The Nite Cells reinterpretation acts as a complete 180, though, integrating heavy, glitchy bass lines where spastic, noodling hooks used to reside and practically eliminating all vocals for a double dose of disco-infused glistens and swirls. To draw a cutesy conclusion, both jams are unique in their own way and we love them the same.
Any band that receives the thumbs up from Peter Morén is worth looking into, and that's how BBBD came upon Park Hotell (MySpace), a Swedish guitar-pop four-piece.
Okay, before you think, "Great, another so-called guitar-pop band that BBBD loves ... I can guess what this'll be like," hear me out (and listen to the below tunes)! While these guys have the late-80s/early-90s indie-pop aesthetic of the Clean or the Pastels or the Go-Between, they're different and unique in their own way, I assure you! They're more antsy, pumping out noodling, dynamic melodies and bass hooks that seem all at once independent of each other and completely cohesive. Its as though the Park Hotell lads have appropriated Gang of Four's angular, punctuating guitar riffs to a more harmonious and less angry pop format. At times, the quartet sounds on the verge of lashing out and going full-out punk, but they restrain themselves and wind up being reminiscent of a C86 compilation band rather than a Buzzcocks tribute ensemble.
Also, describing them simply as a guitar-pop outfit does them little justice; there're Psychedelic Furs nods, Undertones props, and New Order similarities abound. Listen to the below tracks two, three, four, five times in a row and you'll discover the complexity. Keep an eye on these guys. BBBD highly recommends their The Guest Who Stayed Forever LP. (As an aside, the full-length in interesting in that its contained in two CDs, even though with eight songs, you could hardly call it a double album.)
As a perpetual trend-setter (ahem), BBBD has decided to put together a Muxtape. Please enjoy it! The tunes included are favorites that won't be found on the blog itself as they're too "mainstream" or overly covered elsewhere.
Music Related's Internet imprint label, Creation Centre had a new EP out by the Tokyo unit, Hula Hooper. The free EP (available for download here) is an uplifting yet contemplative and delicately constructed effort that reminds me a little of something that a collaboration between Pizzicato Five, Tujiko Noriko, and Cornelius would have yielded.
Indeed, the duo admit to making "experimental music using max/msp and multiple recordings of voices and just intonation electric gutars. They are influenced by impressionism especially Debussy, contemporary music, jazz, and bossanova." The Good Morning Good Evening EP is a delightful collection of four songs that softly and serenely washes wave upon wave of gentle synth experiments and vocal sketches upon you ... that dazes you with relaxed forays into a sort of math-rock/jazz hybrid ... that puts you to sleep with beautiful Latin-twinged, extra-melodious acoustic tunes.
A lovely release by a fantastic record label. Stream BBBD's favorite tune below and be sure to grab the entire release right here.
Apparently, the cold Toronto climes yield some pretty solid dance tunes, or at least in the case of TMDP (MySpace), an electronic duo hailing from the home of the Blue Jays.
TMDP takes pride in creating club tunes primarily with synths ... a refreshing 180 from the laptop-dominated world of dance music.
"Sex Drive" is a slower, sleazier jam that lays glistening yet distorted digital washes atop heavy-on-the-vocoder vocal melodies. It's a solid "starter," so to speak, and only leaves me wanting more from the Canadian pair. Grab the cut below and be prepared to hear this in everyone's set over the next couple of months!
The Oakland, California trio is far from placeable; they defy classification, although a few things can be safely said about the organ-guitar-vocals group's aesthetic and sonic style. Imagine a more scatterbrained Deerhoof or sharper, higher contrast second-coming of Captain Beefheart. Whatever it is, Experimental Dental School is definitely an art-rock outfit that has somehow slyly released three full-length albums internationally without my knowledge! I feel so left out, so not on top of what's pushing pop music forward.
Experimental Dental School is a group intimately focused on constructing music from the bottom up. There's no predetermined tone or genre that they apply to their songs (I can't imagine these three saying anything like, "I just came up with this great hook -- let's make a song out of it!"), but rather a desire to explore, simultaneously, noise-rock, experimental guitar noodlings, jazzy and spazzy explosions, heavy garage rock (turned upside down, flipped inside out), and percussive foot stompers that all make you want to bounce around a concert venue, bedroom, subway stop, whatever. There's a life and energy behind their work that's rare and jaw-dropping ... but not too severe or unpalatable to turn you off, close your ears.
Buy the older LPs and grab the new full-length, Jane Doe Loves Me, from Cochon Records. Highly, highly recommended. I want this to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner for months to come.
XL Records' underling label, Merok, has scooped up another hip artist [supposedly] on the rise right now: Esser.
The young London-based singer is really quite appealing, though. Hokey, weirdly catchy synth lines (usually in the key of E!) underline Esser's heavily-accented singing voice to make for an awesome, sort of glitchy, lo-fi pop extravaganza. Depeche Mode turned on its head and brightened up, perhaps.
Check out the new single, "I Love You," below and pick the release up when it's out on April 21! Exciting.
Dead Leaf Echo is a new NYC shoegaze band that, instead of first and foremost listing musical influences on their MySpace page, cites "Nabokov, Camus, and Huxley" as idols. Think of them as a heavy, massively-layered literary version of shoegaze a la Slow Dive.
The trio released an EP in 2006 and just recently came out with a follow-up called Pale Fire (Nabokov alert!) The six-tracks contained are painstakingly dense, meticulously constructed, and mindbendingly ... hypnotic. Washes of guitar eclipse the tracks in noise, only to reemerge as oceanic echoes and swirling, throbbing bass lines. The vocals aren't unlike a super mellow Raveonettes. Oh, and there's a special guest featured on the LP! Ulrich Schnauss! The experimental classicist mixed "Pale Fire." Download it below. Submerge. This is good.
Now this is a treat! DFA DJ'd a dance party at the MoMA in NYC a while back in conjunction with the opening night of Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today. The event was supposed to be really fun (the four DJ sets featured were by Juan Maclean, T&T [Tim Goldsworthy & Tim Sweeney], Holy Ghost!, and Justin Miller & Jacques Renault, after all!), and those of us who didn't attend felt hopelessly left out.
Fortunately, DFA and MoMA has the wherewithal and foresight to record the entire event (about four hours in total), and you can now grab the mixes right here for no charge! Quite a deal. The sets are really good ... exciting doses of funk, soul, disco -- the usual DFA madness -- prolonged for a stunning four hours. Be sure to download the MP3 files.
Mad For It Inc. has finally released the much-anticipated Parker Lewis Written and Directed By Parker Lewis EP. You can download the whole thing right over here.
Parker Lewis had us dropping our jaws (and tapping our toes!) with "Dirty Dancing," and while the other songs he's released don't quite match up to that spectacularly heartfelt lo-fi pop tune, the Swedish singer/songwriter is definitely one talented and mega-appealing dude.
Check out "Disappear Here" below ... if that doesn't suck you in, then I've no idea what will. Love this guy. 2008 is going to be his year. And 2009 ... and 2010 ... and 2011 ... and I'll stop so as not to jinx it.
A new wave of success has swept up Sweden's Tough Alliance. After some major, major thumbs up from American music journalists, a triumphant tour through North America, and a killer set at SXSW, the Gothenburg duo is more unstoppable than ever. Ambitions rising higher and higher ...
While there's no new album or EP on the horizon, the pair just released "Neo Violence" as a 7" single in their homeland on their own Sincerely Yours label. Pick the wax up here or high-quality digital files here.
Obviously, the a-side is "Neo Violence," but it's the b-side that BBBD is most interested in. For the flip side, Eric Berglund and Henning Fürst covered the 2006 Swedish chart-topper, "Lucky" by Lucky Twice. Check the music video out here. The original is pretty damn good -- sort of a techno-/Euro-pop equivalent of a Gwen Stefani banger -- but the cover is even better ... an acoustic reinterpretation that incorporates TTA's usual dose of echoey bird calls, reverberant synth beats, vocal samples, and beachy hooks. Get the MP3 below. Be stunned. Again.
Berlin, long the capital of minimalism and techno-leaning dance music, has, over the past few years, become a more rock-oriented city. That's not to say that there've never been bands in Ellen Allien's base of operations, but they've never been very visible ...
One of my favorite finds from the German metropolis is Litmus (MySpace), a lo-fi outfit with an "elctro pop-infused ... distorted bass, rolling drums and rhythms of rhyming guitars" style. Imagine a super-dry and sparse version of the Postal Service or Styrofoam. For some reason, I keep wanting to call these guys Stereolab without the loungey swing and an extra sharp edge, but that may be total bogus.
Anyway, they're pretty darn good. Over their four-year career, the quartet has released a few EPs; the below tracks are from the most recent one, Maybe It's Time. Tune into these guys if you're looking for songs to chill out to. They wobble along in this lovely, uber-clean manner; an enchantingly atmospheric pop outfit.
One of NYC's best independent record labels, Music Related, has been offering some fantastic mixes through Mr. No Music since March of this year, and judging by the series' third installment, they'll only get better!
April's eleven-track episode was mixed live by Pandatone (AKA Music Related's dedicated founder) and it shines through. The thing's fifty-minutes long and has a smooth, organic quality to it that you can't get without (a) being pretty damn talented and (b) using good DJ equipment. This is no hack job!
Featured artists include the Glimmers, Glass Candy, Lindstrøm, OOIOO (the BBBD favorites), and a few others. Overall, this is a great mix and most definitely worth listening to. Get it! Get it!
Max Barbaria & DJ Vibe, "Love Your Family" Mixtape
BBBD isn't the place for mixtapes, so consider this a bizarre exception to that unofficial rule.
Max Barbaria is one cool dude. As one of the members of the LOLA New York fashion label collective, he dabbles in his fair share of that world while also working with DJ Vibe on a series of mixtapes that they distribute and sell to various boutiques in and around New York City. The latest mixtape, Love Your Family, is ... eighty minutes of blissed-out glitchy funk, bass-heavy ghetto-tech, Italo-disco, space electro (God, I could bullshit genres all day long), and everything else under the sun. It's a jammer, it's a rager, it's one hell of a ride. I wish I wasn't confined to this stupid work chair, as I would be boogieing all up and down the street. Or something. I'll save it for tonight; this is as good as reason as any to rock out on a Tuesday!
The mix is unique in that it incorporates a whole bunch of original material that Max and DJ Vibe produced on their own. Below is one of those tunes hoested by me and a few zShare lines (my favorite!) Don't kill my bandwidth folks ... only one download per person (grin).
The mixtape is being offered as a super cool package, too ... if you're sick of 256 kbps encoded audio, pick up the special box-set containing the disc, a LOLA T-shirt, and Max & DJ Vibe Wayfayer shades at the LOLA shop (?) -- good deal!
The Chap Prep New LP, Sign to Ghostly International
I hate lengthy headlines, damn it!
The Chap's (MySpace) confoundingly appealing and unorthodox second LP, Ham, is one of those albums that I'll go back to every couple of months in an effort to figure out what the heck is going on. The Chap is undeniably catchy and appealing -- a sort of combination of psych-pop, Stereolab-esque lounge licks, and jazzy, experimental sound experiments -- but also a band that isn't immediately gratifying. They're dense. They take time. You need to listen to their stuff many times, over and over ... and even once they've gotten under your skin, the fact that they're way over your head hasn't been negated.
The London quartet has signed to Ghostly International for its third long-player, Mega Breakfast (another wacky name!) BBBD couldn't be more psyched (about the release first, label signing second). Mega Breakfast is the most sprawling and befuddling release yet ... more genres are touched upon (uh ... do I hear an inkling of metal? A hint of industrial?), lyrics are even hazier, and meanings even more obscure. So ... friggin' ... awesome. Get very pumped for this one. The Chap will not disappoint you.
L.A.'s Acid Girls just sent over a special new remix they recently completed for "Sirens" by U.K. grimy garage artist, Dizzee Rascal. The remix is being considered for the U.S. single release, and I honestly can't see why it won't be selected. But hush -- we can't jinx it! (For some bizarre reason, Maths + English hasn't been released in the States yet -- Def Jux is finally bringing it across the pond on April 29, though.)
It's really strong. A clatter of minimalist, reverberant beats start the rager off; a glitchy, heavy bass line drops in with Dizzee's angsty vocals; an abrasive synth ditty congeals all the turbocharged elements; a siren enters at the climax of the cut and the music recedes. Acid Girls' interpretation of "Sirens" is unique in that it doesn't too openly reject the original material, instead springboarding off it and finding something simultaneously new, unique, and fitting in relation to the first version. How many DJ's can claim such an achievement? The Acid Girls Hear It Too Remix is distinctly their own and perfect for any club ... and most definitely something that Dizzee would be happy to put his name behind. Jam to it, folks!