Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The music will save us, again and again

Not fancying, or being able to afford, Primavera didn't mean I missed much I wanted to see, but I'd have killed to have seen Comet Gain over there. 'Howl of the Lonely Crowd' has managed to worm its way back onto heavy rotation at work, and 'Thee Ecstatic Library' - one of the finest loveletters to pop music I've heard - is one my favourite tracks.

Still, at least we can enjoy it third hand via the powers of the young peoples' youtube. Thanks to Helen from Shrag for catching this two minutes nine seconds' worth of brilliance.

I live with my mum in a chalet bungalow and I've read half of Ecce homo

Scumbag Philosopher's 'God is Dead So I Listen to Radiohead' seems to have been around for ages, and in a move designed to make Horowitz seem even more prolific than they actually, secretly are, Words on Music finally have a release date for the single.

Synchronise watches, please, for 6th June when you can buy this ace single from the label.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's pretty obvious that Scumbag Philsopher are heavily influenced by the Fall, but then there's nothing wrong with that at all. And - get this - the two bands are touring together. Expect mass fallings out and many punches thrown on the following dates:

Wed 1st June - KOKO, London (with The Fall)
Fri 3rd June - MOHO Live, Manchester (with The Fall)
Sat 11th June - Glade Festival
Sat 2nd July - Manchester Roadhouse

Apparently, some of the band even like Radiohead. Democratic centralism in action, right there. Sepp Blatter should take a leaf out of Scumbag Philosopher's book. Or maybe he is. You decide.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

More? You want more?

The internet means that any news more than two hours old is tomorrow's chip wrapping (hmm, that needs more work...), so I suppose everyone knows now that Crystal Stilts and Herman Dune have been added as the last headliners at Indietracks. I've just not been near a computer, y'see.

Anyway, the main headliners for this year’s Indietracks festival are:
Friday 29 July:           Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Jonny
Saturday 30 July:       Edwyn Collins, The Hidden Cameras
Sunday 31 July:          Herman Dune, Jeffrey Lewis, Crystal Stilts 
I've been looking forward to seeing Crystal Stilts ever since I turned up, and then walked away from (too many hispters in a very small room), a show they played in Nottingham a couple of years back, and their new album is supposed to be a thing of great majesty. So, ta once more to Team Indietracks for asking them along. And if you don't think this year's line up is the best thing ever, then there's something wrong between your ears. And probably your legs, too.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Preston pop

You wouldn't normally associate Preston, Lancashire, with the world of indiepop gigs, but hold on right there, comrades, because the mysterious Rico is set to change that. He's putting on some ace shows up there this summer, including:

28th June. 9pm Darren Hayman/Mick Travis

16th July. 8pm. The Monochrome Set and Factory Star

24rh July. The Middle Ones and Best Friends Forever

7th August. The Loft and a screening of The Upside Down Creation Records documentary.

All the gigs are at The Continental Pub in Preston. Gig-starved Prestonians (is that right?) can start rejoicing now.

More people should do this kind of thing in unglamorous locations. Not that I'm saying Preston doesn't have its glamour, you understand

Monday, 16 May 2011

Sparkles in motion

Le Man Avec Lunettes I might have written about before (I forget), but I'm writing about them now because their new ep "Sparkles" has just brightened a pretty awful Monday up.

Imagine being lowered into the most comfortable bed in the world, with the sun pouring through an open window, and a dozen kitten butlers attending to your every need. Well, that's the sort of feeling I get when I hear Le Man Avec Lunettes. Nostalgia is a dirty, cruel bastard, but it's that feeling of childhood security you get when you're listening to '4 Notes (are filling you with kindness)'. Your Mum and Dad are downstairs, you're not going to be made redundant from your worthless job at the end of the month, there are no bills to pay, and Le Man Avec Lunettes are playing on your stereo. It's a pretty gorgeous thought for a few minutes at a time.

You can listen to Le Man Avec Lunettes do their own version of Air playing a Galaxie 500 song here. Me, I'm, off to lay on the grass and stare at the clouds for a while.

'Sparkles' is out now, but I'm not entirely sure where or how you can get it. I'm sure you can find out...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The north will rise again

Like most of the people in the tiny room at The Chameleon on Saturday night, I’m still recovering slowly from the complete majesty of Help Stamp Out Loneliness’s set. Their album is still on constant repeat around these parts...

Still, I did take a break to listen to the new set of songs from The Whatevers, which is as pleasing as usual. Funny, ramshackle, world-weary and romantic - these songs have been through the mill all right.

It’s particularly pleasing to see The Whatevers getting a bit of attention. They’re playing an Which Way is Up show on 20 May at The Wilmington, and you really should go and see them, if only to catch the sublime pop thrill that is ‘Violence For Northern Independence’. After that they’re playing on the train at Indietracks, and, of course at the Nottingham indiepop all-dayer on 1 October. Now, go and have a listen.

Lastly, before I naff off on holiday for a few days, those Indietracks types have run a little interview with me and that Andy from a fog of ideas. If you really must, you can read it here.

Friday, 6 May 2011

The strange case of Dorset pop

Remember a few years back when all those corporate indie bands were trying to sound like Joy Division? They were pretty much all shite, weren't they? Well, Bos Angles (one for the terrible bands name file, there) might be five years late, but they've at least they've written one great song, which is more than can be said of Interpol.

Sure, 'Beach Slalom' might completely rip off 'Digital', but what the heck? It's a great song.

Why aren't there more bands from Bournemouth?, he asks in a moment of genuine curiousity. Answers on a deckchair.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Towards the three-day week

These are the longest weekends; days spent in the sun trying not to spend too much money on bottles of wine which end up in the park bins. And of nights spent sat in beer gardens, or in the backrooms of tiny venues watching mediocre bands try and win your favour with some carefully-placed soul-baring.

And then these are the weekends when you find yourself stood, open-mouthed, at the majesty of bands like Haiku Salut, who are playing two maybe twenty people in the bar of The Chameleon in Nottingham on a Sunday afternoon. There are those of us in the audience for who this is personal. Gemma, Sophie and Louise used to be in The Deirdres - and band a handful of us here loved perhaps a little too much for a year or so. But then perhaps we didn't love them enough, come to think of it.

Haiku Salut playing instrumentals. Wait! Come back! There's something magical at work here. There's a hint of Ukranian folk music courtesy of that accordian, and then there's some duelling glockenspiels, some brushed drums, and a song where all three of these clever Haiku Salut types play the keyboard at the same time. Don't ask me for the names of these tiny masterpieces, because - frankly - it doesn't matter. For half an hour most of us in this room forget about being sunburned and hungover and let simple, beautiful pop music make us feel better again.

The longest weekends are often the best weekends, it turns out.