Staz and Blake are Bitches. They are two people from Oxford who like swimming and Nintendo and live in an old hotel in East London. They make battering, brutal fuck 'n' roll with two arched eyebrows and four swirling eyes. It is exciting and solid, which makes it sound like something rude. It probably is like something rude.
New Warp Records signing Nice Nice have released a video for "Everything Falling Apart" from their forthcoming debut album "Extra Wow". If you're reading this on the Facebook feed, the video won't be visible so click here to see. It's great stuff. Swirling psychedelic noise, at times reminiscent of No Age, Lightning Bolt or Boredoms. The new single, "See Waves" is out Feb 8th.
Young God Records instigator Michael Gira is to work again under the Swans monicker. He sent out a stement today.
I have decided to focus my energy on Swans once again. I'm reactivating that project. A new album is in the works, and touring will follow in fall of 2010. In order to help raise funds / help defray the considerable costs of recording and promoting the new album, I have made a special CD/DVD limited edition handmade package called "I Am Not Insane" available exclusively at the YGR website. You can read about the CD/DVD, and my decision to reactivate Swans at this link:
We gave the hysterically contested BBC new bands list a spin in the office on Friday to see what everyone is getting so worked up about. For those who don't know: a bunch of pundits and industry types each pick out 3 bands they think are gonna do well this year, and the votes are aggregated to a shortlist of 15, then narrowed down to 5 Next Big Things. The five winners each get a resoundingly crap short film made about them. Even the allegedly easy going and profoundly easy-on-the-eye Ellie Goulding (the eventual winner, incidentally) is somehow made to look like a special needs jogger.
So: the list. There' s a lot of stuff that sounds precisely like it belongs in the pop mainstream, which is maybe the point. Marina & The Diamonds for example - nice looking and dynamic sounding but basically entirely unchallenging, soulless and tuneless, a bit like the vacuous braying of Florence & The Machine, who probably topped the list last year. There's some half arsed 80's style pop from the seriously average Hurts, who apparently made their video for £20 (at the time of writing we don't know what the £20 was spent on - catering, maybe). Delphic are achingly dull. There's an execrable MC on there who's name I forget. And a bunch of other Actually Really Not At All Good stuff. Daisy Dares You I mention only in case it brings people to this blog via Google searches. If so: Shizer Minelli bruv, can you not search for something better?
But anyway, enough bitching. The list contains some exciting bands, and a few good prospects.
Painfully hip NYC-based guitar pop band The Drums apparently played at Airwaves, so I'm bummed out to have missed them. Let's Go Surfing is a good natured little pop song that had me whistling along before the end of the first bar - a new record for catchiness. It's blank and repetitive, in a good way. Harmless, simple, sweet Americana. I went and bought a 7" on eBay after three listens. Two thumbs fresh!
Also pretty uplifting: Mancunian indie band Everything Everything's exciting, happy pop songs. Really quite lovely. They remind me slightly of Super Furry Animals high points. They don't sound like them really, but Photoshop Handsome shares the sense of abandon found in songs like The Man Don't Give A Fuck. I defy you not to fall in love with the chorus.
Gold Panda is a producer and electronica guy from LDN. His stuff reminds me a bit of Alexandroid, Cursor Miner and the Lo Recordings sound of a few years ago, but a bit faster and a bit more catchy and dancefloor friendly. Back Home particularly features a pounding rhythm, choppy bassline and some expertly cut up violin and guitar samples. Compelling stuff.
Of the rest, folky-songbird-gone-electro Ellie Goulding stands out for her post-Frankmuzik production values, and Joy Orbison's populist take on garage/dubstep is okay. But not as good as a bunch of other good bands. This has made me want to write an alternative list. So, I will.
Yeasayer have unveiled their New Exciting Electronic Direction. The forthcoming album "Odd Blood" touches on the naffly retro at times, looking back as it does to the electro/dance/indie crossover explored in the long-gone noughties by bands like The Rapture and Radio 4. But/but/but it's good stuff, on first listen. The jury: it's out...
Brainlove's own Stairs To Korea (aka William Vaughan) releases his second single on Monday January 11th, 2010. It's a soaring, impassioned indie-pop anthem called "All Of Your Friends". The Sweeping The Nation blog describe it thus: "a fiercely intelligent chronicle of the human condition by means of dialled down anthemics, DIY electronics and a smart guitar line.... Vaughan has already demonstrated he has enough ideas to make an extended go of bringing fresh life to man-with-guitar ideals."
The home-made video, above, was premiered over at The Line Of Best Fit this week, and features Will cavorting around Iceland, Primrose Hill and London Zoo with his twin brother Magnus.
The cover and artwork feature a photograph by Internet Forever's Heartbeeps.
The single is out January 11th via iTunes, eMusic, 7digital etc. You can keep up with all things S2K via his Twitter or Facebook, or by following Brainlove.
"Your New Favourite Band Is Here" - BBC Introducing
"Still hanker after the glorious days of Postcard Records? We might have just found you your new Edwyn Collins. Sunshine filled ramshackle indie-pop at its very best" - The Line Of Best Fit
"Equipped with a tender voice and pure talent in creating so many sounds with only one pair of hands, this man is the latest in our eternal hunt for shonky heartfelt interesting pop music."- Muso's Guide
Final Fantasy has changed his monicker to his given name Owen Pallett ahead of the worldwide release of his new album Heartland, his first on the Domino label. The album sees Pallett emerge entirely from the self-imposed restriction of his one-man show, employing arrangements for an orchestra to offer an altogether more ambitious synthesis of his songwriting.
He says of the name change:
I began playing solo violin shows in 2004. Although it was essentially a solo project, I named the band Final Fantasy, as the experience--and the tone of the material--was reminiscent of the hours and hours I had spent as an adolescent playing those epic JRPGs.
But the laws of trademark infringement exist for good reason, and so I am voluntarily retiring my band name. In the new year, my record Heartland is coming out, and it is my first to be released in many territories, including Japan. With this in mind, I feel it is in my own best interests to definitively distinguish my music from Square/Enix's games.
So, I am no longer playing shows as Final Fantasy. Subsequent releases, including Heartland, will be issued under my own name, Owen Pallett. Prior releases will sometime soon be re-packaged and re-issued.
I thank Square/Enix their kindness and support, and I thank you all for your understanding.