A Right RRP Round-Up #6

Azwel – Out on a Limb

Azwel is the recording name of Jason Perrillo; From Now On is the prolific song-writer’s fifteenth album. Currently available from Bandcamp on that sweet name your price deal, it’s an album with a gentle heart that beats to the rhythm of classic pop/rock stylings.

Listen to the album’s highlight “Out on a Limb”.

http://www.azwel.com/
https://twitter.com/azwel
https://www.facebook.com/Azwel

IX – Breaking Faith

And now for something that most definitely does not beat to the easy rhythm of classic pop/rock…

If you’re in the market for brooding electronica that could be the future soundtrack to as yet unmade films, particularly ones that will see reviewers dig out synonyms for “dystopian”, stop here a while and have a listen to “Breaking Faith”, taken from the album System VII.

www.ixband.co.uk

Moving Parts – The Free People

Moving Parts are a beach rock band from Minneapolis. They have released 2 EPs – Go By Feel and Music From the Monastery – with a third on the way in January 2015. “The Free People” is taken from Music From the Monastery. Gentle washes of sound and wise words from Alan Watts lead into a shuffling melody; it all sounds pretty laid back and idyllic, but stick around long enough and it all gets satisfyingly crunchy.

https://www.facebook.com/MovingPartsBand

Phosphene – Phosphene

Phosphene are an indie rock quartet based in Oakland, CA. What began as a low-key project between Rachel Frankel and Matt Hemmerich in 2010 has morphed into a rich mix of folk, shoegaze, and indie rock, showcased on the superb “Metric”, taken from their self-titled debut album.

facebook.com/phospheneband
twitter.com/phospheneSF

Valerio Lysander – The Prince

Valerio Lysander is a singer/songwriter based in London. The Prince is taken from his first EP, Tidal Mental Head, and I hope he won’t mind me suggesting that it’s like Beirut meets Regina Spektor, but with a charm that is entirely its own.

https://www.facebook.com/ValerioLysander
https://twitter.com/valeriolys

Y’all – There’s Nothing Here With Me

“There’s Nothing Here With Me” is a slice of psychedelic excellence from Charlotesville, VA (America’s happiest city, I’m told) band Y’all. It’s the opening track from I’m Here Right Now, which you can download or purchase in a brand new and exciting physical format that some people are calling “cassette”. You can get the magnetic tape version from Funny / Not Funny Records, or get your ones and zeroes from Bandcamp.

http://yallsuck.com/
https://twitter.com/yallband
https://www.facebook.com/yallsuck

A Right RRP Round-Up #5

Attic Fowler – Attic Fowler

Time for some Southern-rock inflected indie-pop, or, as Attic Fowler’s Chris Rutledge describes his band’s self-titled debut: “terrestrial river-soul”. “City Escape”, “The W Road” and album-closer “Oak” exude a particularly lovely chiming guitar sound.

The Cold Start – Chrysalis

You probably think Basingstoke’s all just roundabouts and ring roads. And you’d not be far off, to be fair. The Cold Start, though, are evidence that epic indie rock can be born in such an environment, even if they’ve taken the unfathomable decision to swap Festival Place and dodgy pubs at the top end of town for the theme park capital of the world and move out to Orlando. That said, the video for Chrysalis might not have come out as well if they’d had to film in and around Kempshott and Hatch Warren.

http://www.facebook.com/thecoldstart
http://www.twitter.com/thecoldstart
http://www.youtube.com/thecoldstart1

The Duskwhales – Harvest

North Virginia’s The Duskwhales are Seth Flynn (vocals, guitar), Chris Baker (drums, vocals, guitar), and Brian Majewski (keyboards, drums, vocals). If you like indie-pop plus organ feistiness and sharp, shifting melodies, I highly recommend you check out their self-titled album, released in August 2014.

http://theduskwhales.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheDuskwhales
https://twitter.com/TheDuskwhales
http://instagram.com/theduskwhales

Macatier – Swimming to Canada

Macatier is 23-year-old Surrey musician Dan Brown. “Swimming to Canada” is the lead single from his forthcoming EP This Boat is Definitely Sinking, out on Monday 8th December.

https://www.facebook.com/macatier
https://twitter.com/Macatier
http://www.youtube.com/user/macatiertv/videos
http://macatier.com/
http://macatier.tumblr.com/

Moonrags & Hoost – Addiction

There isn’t always obvious rhyme nor reason to explain why some tracks grab the attention when others just don’t. But anyway, here I am including a funky slice of electro-soul in this round-up. And why not?

https://www.facebook.com/moonragsmusic
https://twitter.com/moonragsmusic

Slight – Spirit School / Tasting

Hailing from Montreal, Slight are “as satisfying as taking a messy bite of fruit on a summer day”. Judging by Spirit School, I think that fruit might be laced with something designed to induce the sensation of slipping out beyond the Earth’s gravitational pull and looking down on this rock from the darkness of space.

http://twitter.com/slightsound
http://facebook.com/slightsound

A Right RRP Round-Up #4

Arbo – Soulscape

Arbo is the solo project of Josh Arbo. Sometimes spacey, sometimes twitchy, constantly atmospheric and intriguing, Soulscape is available from his Bandcamp page on a name your price deal. Listen to “Houses” for an example of his impressively broad sound.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arbo/345697995550656

Blak Lyons – “Upper State”

Shades of that good old rock music and some satisfyingly raucous guitar textures in “Upper State”, from Bygones – the debut LP by Blak Lyons. The band was formed in 2009 by cousins Ezequiel de Lima (guitar) and Diego Antonelli (bass), along with Tomás Giambruni (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Francisco Bianchi (drums) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

https://twitter.com/blak_lyons

Elephant Memoirs – “Aim For The Faith”

Elephant Memoirs were formed in Gateshead in 2013 by John Aspinall (ex-Dead Miles), Barry Drew and Carl Aspinall. On “Aim For The Faith” the trio capture that chiming guitar sound that always seems to work for me.

http://www.elephantmemoirs.co.uk
http://www.soundcloud.com/elephantmemoirs
http://www.twitter.com/elephantmemoirs
http://www.facebook.com/elephantmemoirs

Slopes – “Daydream”

Slopes is the one-man project of multi-instrumentalist and producer Aansh Kapadia. “Daydream” is his latest release, and a really cool slice of electronic indie pop it is too.

https://www.facebook.com/officialAanshKapadia
https://slopesofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/AanshKapadia

Velcro Mary – “Whatever Helps You Sleep at Night”

Laid-back slackering from Velcro Mary. According to “ANONYMOUS INTERNET LISTENERS WHO SUCK AT GRAMMAR AND SPELLING”:

The lyrics are a minutely drowning in the hipster vibe, but apart from that it is very good. I like the song as a general party/rock song. I think it is a song ill listen to when dirinking half a bottle of whiskey.

“Whatever Helps You Sleep at Night” is taken from the forthcoming album Static Canyon Echoes, due out early 2015.

http://www.twitter.com/velcromary
http://www.facebook.com/velcromary
http://www.youtube.com/velcromary

Voda-i-Ryba – Skip It

Voda-i-Ryba (Fish-and-water) are an indie/avant-rock experimental outfit from St Petersberg, Russia. Not afraid to mix synths with jazz with pretty much any sounds they feel like making, “Skip It” is from the more straightforward rock side of their recording personality.

https://soundcloud.com/user6716580

The Divine Comedy – Love What You Do

Despite being well into my twenties, by 2001 I had still not yet learned to drive. This meant that when I decided sometime in March that it would be a good idea to buy a new hi-fi from somewhere along Tottenham Court Road, it would need to be one I could comfortably get into a taxi with, then a train, and then another taxi before getting home for that all-important unboxing ceremony.

It also meant relying on my housemate for a lift to work. Now, as it happened, my housemate and I did not have a lot in common musically speaking. He was more Slinky, I was more Club X. Badly lacking common ground, and often too miserable to contemplate early morning small-talk, we’d sit with the radio providing a source of background distraction. For six months, on and off, he’d drive and I’d demist and check for traffic through any areas of windscreen that offered a tantalising view of the road ahead if it was still winter, or sit in silent anticipation of the joy of the day ahead when the weather was more clement. After six months our landlord said he was selling up, kicked us out, then changed his mind and let the property to someone else. I wouldn’t have minded so much if he hadn’t tried to also charge us for the gardening that he’d sent his wife over to do, under discreet cover.

In all this time, through all these journeys to work, to home, back to work again, into town… I can only remember two songs that played on the radio. There must have been others – Sara Cox can’t have talked us in to the mothership every morning, and I’m fairly certain we weren’t listening to the Today programme – but only two seemed to prompt any combined response. One was “Love What You Do” by The Divine Comedy; the other was, um, “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy.

Curiously, both were released on the same day. Could it be that we never actually spoke to each other except on this one occasion when Neil Hannon followed Shaggy? Did we sing like idiots to Shaggy before a great divide opened up between us when the man behind the wheel expressed his dislike of “Love What You Do” and then return to bored silence?

“It Wasn’t Me” went straight in at number one, displacing Atomic Kitten in the process, while “Love What You Do” perched down at #26, looking up in jealousy at the likes of Limp Bizkit. It might have seemed a disappointing position for the lead single to the appropriately titled Regeneration but then “Bad Ambassador” and “Perfect Lovesong” trumped it, only managing #34 and #42 respectively. As regenerations go, it felt less David Tennant, more Sylvester McCoy.

Except really it was Christopher Eccleston. Regeneration was The Divine Comedy jettisoning The Brunel Ensemble, and casting aside the baroque, ornate pop plus strings that had threatened to tip into self-parody on Fin de Siecle. It was a new, lean, mean Neil Hannon. He wore Jeans and a jacket and that sort of thing. His hair was a bit long in some of the press shots. There were some almost loud guitars at times, even if they were still deployed in the pursuit of melody. Doubtless there was a decent budget thrown at it, too. A CD called Re:Regeneration was given away free with The Independent on Sunday newspaper, featuring versions of songs from the album together with a few earlier songs that people might know a bit.

The week Love What You Do was released, Dido was number one in the album charts with No Angel, which went on to become the year’s biggest selling album, at just under 2 million sales. The biggest selling single of the year? That would be “It Wasn’t Me”, by Shaggy.

“Love What You Do” sounded bloody good on my new hi-fi, though.

Coldplay – Yellow

I already know what you’re thinking, and you can just stop right there, and unthink it. I haven’t gone crazy, I haven’t sold out, and I haven’t just lost a drunken bet.

It’s the summer of the year 2000, and I’m walking down a quiet street in a small town in the South of England. As I pass by a hairdresser’s I can hear, in the tinny shop-radio style, what I know to be a new single by a potentially exciting band. Not that I can really tell from this distance and with this sound quality, but there’s a vulnerability to the singer’s voice, and some lovely interplay with the lead guitar when they both move high in the register on the line “your skin, oh yeah your skin and bones”. It doesn’t feel like an obviously big hit; the dissonance in guitar right from the start of the track ought to put some people off. At the same time, I’m kind of hoping it does well.

On 2th July 2000, “Yellow” by Coldplay enters the singles chart at #4. It’s the second single from their debut album Parachutes, and their first Top 5 hit. Quirkily, it’s only the third highest new entry of the week, behind Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady”, which was straight in at #1, and “Gotta Tell You” by Samantha Mumba, in at two. The previous week’s number one, “Spinning Around” by Kylie Minogue, drops to number three. In all the top 20 features nine new entries, including “Good Thing Going” by Eastenders actor Sid Own at #14. What times we lived in.

Looking back through the prism of Coldplay hatred and anger that greets their every move these days it’s hard to separate the casual abuse from actually considering that they might not be completely without merit. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that, bought the “I hate Coldplay t-shirt” and wanted to hit people for daring to suggest that the indie I’ve been telling them I’m into all these years is the indie they think they hear when they listen to A Rush of Blood to the Head. Protesting the difference, it’s hard not to sometimes feel like Basil Fawlty explaining to the assembled guests that they’ll have the fire drill when he rings the fire bell.

Well, how were we supposed to know that wasn’t the fire bell?
Because it doesn’t sound like the fire bell!
It did!
It didn’t!
It did!
No, it didn’t!
The fire bell’s a different…it’s a semi-tone higher!
A semi-tone?
At least!

In other words, totally different. Not that same at all. AT ALL.

Particularly memorable is the aftermath of a BBC 6 Music vote to find the 100 Greatest Hits of the channel’s lifetime. Someone – an outrage! – allowed a Coldplay song into the shortlist, someone else – a gleeful representative of the band – noticed, and a global army of Coldplay fans was mobilised until the world’s least surprising poll-winner was announced:

Cue the outrage: “Indie for ABBA fans”, “Let’s never talk of this again”, “Hang your heads in shame, 6Music listeners”, “6music listeners did not vote Coldplay no.1. can we all be clear on that? *switches radio off*”.

And, referencing the important role that Coldplay-haters played in saving the station when it was threatened with closure in 2010:

I no more need to justify to Mr Fifty Quid my dislike for all the humdrum Coldplay singles in the world any more than I have to justify to my music snob friends and acquaintances why I think “Where’s The Love” by Hanson is a giddy delight. There are no guilty pleasures: only pleasures.

And “Yellow” is one of them.

Blur – Tender

Blur’s discography is full of more diverse riches than you might expect from the band that won the Britpop race to the bottom when their execrable “Country House” sold more copies than the even more execrable “Roll With It” by Oasis. From the design-by-committee debut Leisure and Modern Life is Rubbish with its Kinksian view of the world, through to the career-closing trio of Blur, 13 and Think Tank, they’ve exhibited a broad sweep of styles and attitudes.

Don’t judge them too harshly by that little Britpop period in the middle when Damon Albarn was tossing out characters left right and center, and Phil Daniels and Keith Allen were bringing the comedy. Even in those times, the deeper, darker, more introspective cuts were always the most revealing and the most rewarding: “This is a Low” from Parklife allowed Albarn to indulge his cracked world-worn protagonist idiom while giving Graham Coxon room to unleash the awesome storm of a guitar solo; “The Universal” from The Great Escape used brass for melodrama where other tracks on the same album had more of the big top circus entertainment feel. In 2014 it’s hard to remember a time when “The Universal” didn’t give you a pavlovian response involving little planets and British Gas, but once it was just a beautiful song.

No band could produce three Parklifes. No band that contained real, thinking, considered musicians and Alex James, anyway. Somehow, though, Blur managed to consciously reject the notion and still return with a self-titled album that gave them another number one single with “Beetlebum”, and, in “Song 2”, the anti-anthem anthem that would come to be their true defining moment. They followed Blur with 13 and retreated even further from the larky notions of the mid-90s. “No Distance Left to Run” was the ballad of a broken man, distortion, lo-fi and feedback dominated, and only the semi-jaunty “Coffee and TV” acknowledged those happy-go-lucky days of yore. But its vocal was delivered by Coxon, who also wrote the song, so even this one was keen to sever ties with its past.

“Tender” was the album’s lead single and opening track. Co-written and co-sung by Coxon and Albarn with backing vocals from the London Community Gospel Choir, it couldn’t have felt much less Blur. It was a sort of anti-“Song 2”, which makes it an anti-anti-anthem, and is exactly as beautiful and precious as that doesn’t sound.

Come on come on come on
Get through it
Come on come on come on
Love’s the greatest thing
That we have.

A Right RRP Round-Up #3

Braver Than Fiction – Your Little Fantasy

Braver Than Fiction are an Alternative/Indie/Folk/Blues Rock outfit from Sheffield, UK. They are: Mel (vocals), Adam (bass), Jason (keyboards), Paul (drums), Martin (guitar). “Your Little Fantasy” was their debut track, released in October 2013.

The band have recently released their first EP, the limited edition King of Crows.

https://www.facebook.com/braverthanfiction
http://www.braverthanfiction.com/

The Halfways – Exit

Exit is an album of short but sweet, often psychedelic tracks from Austin, Texas quartet The Halfways. Check out the swirly organ-driven “The Carousel”, then buy the album from their Bandcamp page.

https://twitter.com/thehlfwys

Jennie Vee – Die Alone

Jennie Vee is a musician and songwriter from Toronto, Canada now based in NYC. She fronted punk darlings Tuuli and electro pop duo The Vicious Guns, and has recently completed her first solo album “inspired by love, heartbreak, NYC life and finding the light in the dark”.

Lovely dream pop guitar sounds flowing right through this.

https://soundcloud.com/jennieveenyc
https://www.facebook.com/jennieveemusic?fref=ts

Magic Bronson – Fences

Taken from the new album Wildlife, released on War Cry Records on 4th November, available from Bandcamp.

https://www.facebook.com/MagicBronsonMusic

Tour dates:

11.14 San Francisco, CA – Neck of the Woods w/ Goldboot
11.15 Humboldt, CA – Hempfest
11.16 Sacramento, CA – Witch Room

The Mercy Alliance – Washington

Melodic indie rock taken from the album Some Kind of Beautiful Story, out now on Beverly Martel Music.

https://www.facebook.com/themercyalliance

The Shivers – Charades

And finally for today a special 2 for 1 offer. Or 2 for none, if you like, since these two tracks from The Shivers are available as free downloads. The tracks have been made available to celebrate the tenth anniversary release of their remastered album Charades. The limited edition pressing, which has come about off the back of growing press interest and a little bit of celebrity fandom from the likes of Patricia Arquette, Aaron Paul, and Daniel Radcliffe, is available from Keeled Scales.

Air – La Femme D’Argent

Maybe it’s to do with the cosmopolitan hi-falutin’ city lifestyle I was enjoying at the time, but the late 1990s seem to be a time of endless balsamic vinegar drizzles, piles of badly cooked polenta, and Gary Rhodes’ unbeatable bread and butter pudding. And if you got tired of dining out on expense accounts you could bring the experience home by hosting a dinner party: simply invite your most tolerable acquaintances over, pray they bring a bottle of something decent, and curate an evening’s listening from the most inoffensive new albums in your carousel.

But what to select to impress in 1998? Something cool, yet sophisticated, of course. Something recognisable, but not too populist. A year later and you could walk any given North London street and expect to hear the sounds of Moby‘s Play doing for Alan Lomax’s field recordings what Paul Simon had done for African musicians, but back in 1998 your go-to artists could have been French duo Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel, otherwise known as Air.

In 1997, Air released their debut EP Premiers Symptômes. A year later they followed it with Moon Safari, and for a brief while there was nothing cooler than this electronic space-pop. It was at once mystical and European, the way Kraftwerk appeared to be, but also universal – not to mention Universal. Predating and probably partly responsible for the subsequent chill-out years of the new millennium, Moon Safari brought insouciance and exuded a kind of coolness that it somehow drew from a sonic template that would normally be enjoyed with a knowing arch of the eyebrows. It features a song called “Sexy Boy” that ought to be laughable, but which is magnificent.

The first track on Moon Safari, though, is the seven-minute instrumental La Femme D’Argent. You can’t love me ironically, it seems to say, with its funky disco basslines and thoroughly un-modern synthesiser sounds, because I am already too ironic.

A Right RRP Round-Up #2

Here’s the second round-up of submissions and found sounds. Give them all a listen: you never know, you might discover something new and wonderful.

OSKAR – OSKAR EP

When I was younger, so much younger than today, folks not much older than I am now would despair at the sound of carpet fitters from Essex launching a pop career with distinctly generic American-sounding vocals. It was – not to be dramatic about it – a mark of the inevitable decline of British society. And yet here we still are, and what’s more we have the likes of OSKAR, King Creosote, We Were Promised Jetpacks and The Twilight Sad to thank for their regionally appropriate vocals.

Hailing from Fife, OSKAR create dramatic, anthemic, and sweeping indie rock. They’ve supported Embrace and Catfish and The Bottlemen, and their self-titled debut EP was recorded on the back of a competition win. They hope to be back in the studio before the end of the year to record a follow-up single.

https://soundcloud.com/oskarband
https://twitter.com/OSKAR_BAND
https://www.facebook.com/bandcalledoskar

Owlle – Fog

It’s been a good year for fans of sexy synths and electronica. “Fog” is taken from Owlle’s debut album France, which is out next Monday (November 17th). Her first London gig takes place on Nov 19th, at Notting Hill Arts Club.

https://www.facebook.com/owllemusic
https://twitter.com/Owlle

Something in the Trees – For Papaw

Something in the Trees is a Seattle based band consisting of Josh Snider (vocals), Adam Sarton (guitar), Larry Hopper (guitar), Matt Hopper (bass), and Eric Hopper (drums). For Papaw is the opening track from the self-titled debut album Something in the Trees. The album was engineered, co-produced and mixed by Ben Jenkins, owner of The Kill Room and guitar player in The Bend.

This is one that fans of cinema-scope indie guitar bands (think Doves, Verve) will definitely want to check out.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Something-In-The-Trees/210251579054772

Spirals – Reborn

Look out for a first album sometime in December from this solo producer of spacey, ambient, indie, electronic beats.

https://twitter.com/Spiralssss
http://spiralsmusic.wordpress.com/

Telepopmusik – Sound EP

Features beeps and beats. Also features vocals from Mark Gardener, who used to be in a band called Ride who I am confident will not be reforming any time soon no matter what the optimistic shoegaze fans wish for.

VYD – Tank Tops

In the “go hard or go home” spirit, “Tank Tops” is a total soft-rock overdose laid out on top of a summer pop beat. And why not? VYD are Brooklyn-based pair Justin Howard (Singer/Songwriter) and Nick Wisse (Guitarist/Beatmaker). Subtle they ain’t.

https://soundcloud.com/vydmusic
https://www.facebook.com/vydmusic

BC Camplight – Just Because I Love You

Looks like I somehow managed to miss the fact that BC Camplight had not only signed to Bella Union, but that he also had an album on the way in 2015. After two fine albums and what looked like a missed opportunity, Brian Christinzio (“the guy who lost it”) will get another shot with the release How to Die in the North on January 19th.

Bella Union have put “Just Because I Love You” up on Soundcloud for streaming, and if it’s anything to go by, the album looks set to continue where Blink of a Nihilist left off: timeless melodies with swift and smart changes of direction and occasionally opaque lyrics delivered with crystal clarity.

The Unthanks – Mount The Air

Now here’s a beautiful thing to brighten up an Autumn or Winter’s evening. “Mount The Air” is the first single from the new album of the same name by The Unthanks.

“Mount The Air” is based on a traditional Dorset song, found by Becky Unthank, and written by her and pianist and producer Adrian McNally. Together they have created a combination of jazz and folk that demands to be savoured. The video to the track is made by acclaimed animator Nick Murray Willis.

Mount The Air is released on their own label, RabbleRouser Music, on 9th Feb 2015; the single is out on 8th Dec 2014.

You can pre-order both the album and the single from The Unthanks’ website, here.

The Unthanks will put Mount The Air on tour with a 10-piece ensemble in Feb/March 2015:

21 Feb Southampton Turner Sims
22 Feb Exeter Corn Exchange
24 Feb Yeovil Octagon Theatre
25 Feb Bristol Colston Hall
26 Feb Cardiff St George’s Hall
27 Feb Nottingham Albert Hall
28 Feb Sheffield City Hall
01 Mar Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
03 Mar Bury St Edmunds The Apex
04 Mar Brighton Dome
05 Mar Ashford Revelation St Mary’s
06 Mar Norwich Open
07 Mar London The Roundhouse
08 Mar Warwick Arts Centre
10 Mar Leeds Irish Centre
11 Mar Manchester The Ritz
12 Mar Dublin National Concert Hall
13 Mar Belfast Empire
14 Mar Newcastle City Hall
19 Mar Middlesbrough Town Hall
20 Mar Edinburgh Queens Hall

The House of Love – Plans

To celebrate the release of Live At The Lexington 13.11.13, The House of Love are offering an exclusive free download of “Plans”. “Plans” appeared as a bonus track on the vinyl edition of She Paints Words In Red, but has never been released digitally before.

It’s available for the vague and non-specific “limited time only”. Click and do the necessary right here for your free download.

https://www.facebook.com/TheHouseOfLoveOFFICIAL?fref=ts