The fabulous debut album from airport girl marries their love of americana (Pavement, Sonic Youth) to with a dose of scottish pop (Pastels, Belle and Sebastian).
As played by John Peel and John Kennedy (XFM). Album of the month, scootering ”The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian all come to mind… a cool album from the genuinely and fiercely independent underground.”
“Airport Girl est à prendre beaucoup plus au sérieux, point de jonction idéal entre les go-betweens et hefner - autrement dit un ersatz complétement affriolant de l'icone Jonathan Richman.” (Les Inrockuptibles)
1. This Could Be The Start Of Something Small
2. Power Yr Trip
3. I'm Wrong, You're Right
4. Home On The Range
6. Hey! Crayola
7. Love Runs Clean
8. Between Delta And Delaware
9. The Foolishness That We Create Through Love Is The Closest We Come To Greatness
10. You Fill Me Up (I Lose)
11. Surf #7 Wave
12. Shine Like Stars
On sale £9.99 £7.99
The darlings of the UK’s indiepop scene, Allo Darlin’ 2nd album Europe follows on from their critically acclaimed and hugely successful self-titled debut. The London-based four-piece – led by Australian songbird Elizabeth Morris, with guitarist Paul Rains, Bill Botting on the bass and Michael Collins on drums – create perfect, sophisticated pop gems and know how to put on a joyous, effervescent, fun-filled live show.
Having built up an intensely loyal and ever-increasing fanbase, Allo Darlin’s reputation has developed at its own pace, from just one girl strumming a ukulele to headlining London’s Scala and touring all over the world. In their brief lifetime they have toured the USA four times, sold out tours across the UK, embarked on an epic five-week European tour and played shows across the United States. The band have been strongly supported by BBC 6music, recording several sessions including one at the BBC’s prestigious Maida Vale Studios as Steve Lamacq’s personal choice for BBC Introducing.
Their self-titled debut was released to universal acclaim with plaudits including being named No. 2 record of the year by online retailer eMusic and a glowing 1,200 word essay by legendary Go-Between Mr. Robert Forster in the Australian critical magazine The Monthly. Achingly personal, incredibly poignant and familiar all at once, Elizabeth Morris’ songwriting has deepened and developed since their debut, although they’ve lost none of their ability to create sophisticated, intelligent pop music with an uplifting, joyous feel. There’s a sense though that the feel of the new record, Europe, reflects the changes in the world since their debut in 2009 – with riots and protests across the globe and a deepening feeling of gloom, a carefree album didn’t seem appropriate.
Singer Elizabeth Morris explains: “I wanted to make beautiful songs and end up with a beautiful album, not necessarily an album full of three minute pop songs… the songs have an awareness of a darker place but end up coming out the other side.” Already confirmed as Rough Trade's Album of the Month for May, Europe is chock full of memorable songs including the first single "Capricornia", which conjures up the bleached sunlight of summer in the area from which Elizabeth hails in Australia.
Then there’s the title track and next single "Europe", a celebration of the togetherness that pulled the band through a disastrous tour of the continent last year, when noxious fumes in their tour van nearly put paid to them altogether. There’s the epic “Still Young”, the song that their friends The Wave Pictures refer to as their “Born To Run”, the wonderful "Northern Lights" about spending New Year's Eve in Sweden and “Wonderland“, the last song written for the album and one of the band’s favourites. Perhaps the two best songs on the album are the ballads.
If Elizabeth describes the extraordinary "Tallulah" as "probably the best song I've written", then “Some People Say” runs it close for sheer, heartfelt emotion. Gloriously catchy, brilliantly uplifting and charmingly intelligent, Europe promises to be one of the most exciting albums of the year, with Allo Darlin’ pleasing their existing loyal fanbase as well as winning over hoards of new admirers. The album is proof that Allo Darlin’ will be one of THE bands to watch out for in 2012.
1. Neil Armstrong
4. Some People Say
5. Northern Lights
8. The Letter
9. Still Young
10. My Sweet Friend
Dancepunk five-piece Bearsuit's album The Phantom Forest heralds a fierce new sound for the band, who have swapped violins, flutes and horns for dirty synths, urgent guitars and infectious beats in the light of a dramatic line-up change.
With a sprinkling of sonic dust from big-time producer Gareth Parton (The Go Team, Breeders, Foals) the band have created a perfectly off-the-wall pop masterpiece.The Phantom Forest is laden with dance-floor fillers, killer beats and brazen melodies.
It will keep you dancing until all the booze is drunk, with a birdsong finale to serenade your dawn-walk home. But lurking beneath, a more sinister and melancholy thread weaves the 12 tracks together.
1. Princess, You're A Test
2. Please Don't Take Him Back
3. A Train Wreck
4. When Will I Be Queen?
5. Albino Tiger Rescue Squad
6. Jim Henson's Creature Workshop
7. Cut Loose
8. Ghosts Of The Black Hole
10. Giant Archaeopteryx
12. Dawn Of The Golden Oriole
Vinyl LP (Limited to 500).
Second album from Cocoanut Groove.. Fronted by Olov Antonsson, it's their first as a full band, the debut album Madeleine Street (2008) having essentially been a solo project. Hailing from the North of Sweden, Antonsson wears his1960s baroque pop influences on his sleeve, along with traces of latter day guitar pop like The Smiths and The Clientele, and folk acts like Vashti Bunyan and Nick Drake.
The songs for How to Build a Maze were written and recorded over quite a long period of time. Bleaker and less naive than their debut it's still no great departure, with Olov continuing to strive for 60s pop perfection, attempting to write something as beautiful as "Beechwood Park" by The Zombies or "World Of You" by The Aerovons. As well, there are quite a few traditional Swedish folk melodies hidden on the album, like the ones you find on the album "Jazz på svenska" by Swedish pianist Jan Johansson.
Recorded in various places around Olov’s hometown Umeå, with no professional recording studios involved whatsoever, the album is about getting lost in different ways – losing your way in city streets, losing friends and watching summers pass. The theme can be summed up by this simple definition from Wikipedia: "A maze is a tour puzzle in the form of a complex branching passage through which the solver must find a route." Having taken their name from a Lovin' Spoonful/Roger Nichols song, Cocoanut Groove formed in 2007 with Olov writing and recording the song "The End Of The Summer On Bookbinder Road", which became their debut single.
Olov writes all the songs and plays guitar, as well as bass, piano and whatever else is needed. Over the years (and on this record) he has been joined by Calle Thoor, Anton Runesson and William Andersson (drums), Josef Ringqvist (bass), Mattias Malm (guitar, keys, vocals, arrangements, percussion and whatnot), Ivar and Gunnar Lantz (strings) and Frida Danielsson (trumpet).
Cocoanut Groove follow in a grand tradition of Swedish indiepop, with a focus on melody and beauty, tinged with melancholy. From the long, dark winters to the respite of the dreamy summers, the songs talk of escaping the city and pining for the countryside, about unemployment and having nothing to do but drink coffee and watch the birds fly.
2. How To Build A Maze
3. On A Monday Morning
4. The High Coast
5. Fair-Weather Friend
7. North Country Summer
9. A Secret Tune
10. Night Walk
11. Seven Flowers
Howl of the Lonely Crowd represents the fruition of the affection with which Comet Gain are held: recorded and produced variously by British musical icon Edwyn Collins, Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, Brian O’Shaughnessy (My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream) and Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele, who also contributed guitar. With added input from Matthew Sawyer (The Ghosts), Helen King (Shrag), and a blast of Terry Edwards’ (Spiritualized, Gallon Drunk, The Tindersticks) legendary trumpet on the rousing mod anthem “The Weekend Dreams”, the record captures a band fully in their stride and able to realise their full potential.
As Feck remarked on being given access to the full range of Edwyn Collin’s studio with its vast collection of guitars: “they (the guitars) look great and were played on great records, which I tried to channel in that way a tribesman would eat the brain of his smartest enemy – though I didn’t eat any part of Edwyn.”
1. Clang Of The Concrete Swans
2. The Weekend Dreams
3. An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls
4. She Had Daydreams
5. Working Circle Explosive!
6. Yoona Baines
7. Herbert Huncke Pt 2
8. After Midnight, After Its All Gone Wrong
9. A Memorial For Nobody I Know
10. Ballad Of Frankie Machine
11. Some Of Us Don't Want To Be Saved
12. Thee Ecstatic Library
13. In A Lonely Place
Converging in the quiet of South Florida, Brad Hargett and JB Townsend dreamt a perfect pop group and then set about recreating the dream. Along the way to New York, they collected members, record labels, a cultish fanbase, raves from the likes of Dean Wareham and Stephen Pastel, and (from across the seas, at least) the kind of mystique even the 'know-everything' glaze of the modern 'net-age couldn't debase.
I still listen to their records and wonder about the people behind the songs - and this does not happen very often nowadays. Their record covers are mysterious two-tone ciphers. They know the importance of a good font. In short, they sound and look like a group you want to be in.
1. Sycamore Tree
2. Through the Floor
3. Silver Sun
4. Alien Rivers
5. Half a Moon
6. Flying Into The Sun
7. Shake the Shackles
8. Precarious Stair
9. Invisible City
10. Blood Barons
11. Prometheus At Large
The Ship's Piano is an album of subtle, drifting piano ballads written by Darren Hayman while he was recuperating from a fractured skull.
1. I Taught You How To Dance
2. Old House
4. It’s Easy To Hang With You
5. Know Your Place
6. Take A Breather
7. Clown Sky
8. No Children
9. Oh Josephine
10. Think It Through
11. The Ship’s Piano
Gatefold CD With Booklet / Heavyweight 2LP Vinyl with Poster & MP3 Download.
Over the past four years, ex-Hefner man Darren Hayman has been releasing records about lidos, dogging and Russian space dogs. He has played gigs in libraries, observatories and remote Hebridean Islands. In all that time, however, Hayman’s real focus has been on this, a 20-song, double LP chronicling the 17th century Essex Witch Trials during the English Civil Wars. The record constitutes the third part of Darren’s Essex trilogy, the previous two albums, Pram Town and Essex Arms, dealing with the new towns and suburbs and the lawless countryside. “I have been drawn to my birthplace because it is both familiar and alien to me,” says Hayman.
“Essex is so close to London yet so remote from it in many ways. I want to be both brutal and tender about the place in my songs.” “It’s easy to become trapped by your own tropes. I write easily about modernity and pepper my lyrics with slang, brand names and colloquialisms. I wanted to write about something in Essex’s past that spoke of its strangeness and also forced me to write in a language suitable for another period.” Between 1644 and 1646, approximately 300 women were executed for witchcraft in the eastern counties of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.
Matthew Hopkins was the self appointed Witch Finder General who travelled East Anglia and helped small communities to rid themselves of these lonely, widowed women. The album deals with fear and isolation, the way we use our own terror in times of trouble to lash out at the weak, and how societies persecute otherness and outsiders.
The album also concerns itself with the wider context of the English Civil Wars. Hayman sings about King Charles I’s doomed love for his French bride; Parliamentarian spies; Puritan ideals and the comfort of animals. The album is epic in both concept and sound. The landscape of the Dedham Vale is bought alive by beautiful intricate woodwind scores, trembling strings and destroyed church organs.
The Violence is an outstanding creative achievement, a truly unique and unprecedented album. “It’s about how violence frightens us and how fear just leads to greater violence,” says Hayman.
1. The Violence
2. Impossible Times
3. How Long Have You Been Frightened For?
4. We Are Not Evil
5. The She-Cavaliers
6. Elizabeth Clarke
7. Vinegar Tom
8. Parliament Joan
9. The Word And The Word Alone
10. I Will Hide Away
11. When The King Enjoys His Own Again
12. Henrietta Maria
13. A Dogge Called Boye
15. Arthur Wilson's Reverie
16. Rebecca West
17. Desire Lines
18. Kill The King
19. A Coffin For King Charles, A Crown For Cromwell And A Pit For The People
20. The Laughing Tree
Essex Arms is the new album by Darren Hayman And The Secondary Modern. Darren, of course, is best known as the singer-songwriter of the phenomenally successful and much-loved Hefner, although it’s worth noting that he has now made six albums to Hefner’s four.
In the latest incarnation of the constantly morphing Secondary Modern he has gathered together a set of musicians with the chops to do justice to his increasingly complex and mature songs; a tight, tough, but soulful folk-rock orchestra reminiscent of a more urban Incredible String Band or an Anglicized Lambchop.
1. Be Lonely
2. Calling Out Your Name Again
3. Two Tree Island
4. Winter Makes You Want Me More
5. Super Kings
6. Cocoa Butter
7. Dagenham Ford
8. I'll Be Your Alibi
9. Spiderman Beats Ironman
10. Drive Too Fast
11. Plastic And Steel
12. Nothing You Can Do About It
Evans the Death self-titled debut album. Filled with twelve blistering tracks they weave a distinctive magic, coupling main songwriter Dan Moss’ gift for melody with Katherine Whitaker’s unique vocal mannerisms.
The songs both document and channel the exuberance of youth via the prism of five pop music obsessives and were recorded late Summer 2011 with producer Ex-Test Icicle and current Warm Brains man Rory Atwell (Veronica Falls, Male Bonding, The Vaccines). Dan describes what the band were aiming for:
"We wanted to make the best sounding record that we possibly could as we're bored of bands just settling for a half-arsed sound. There were no real fixed reference points when we made it; we just borrowed stuff from any of the pop music that we've grown up with. I think it's also a very economical album. There's no dilly-dallying around when there should instead be a hook there. We're very proud of it and glad we paid little or no attention to what is currently fashionable in music."
1. Bo Diddley
2. Catch Your Cold
3. Sleeping Song / So Long
4. Letter Of Complaint
5. Telling Lies
6. Morning Voice
8. A Small Child
9. I'm So Unclean
10. What's In Your Pocket?
11. Wet Blanket
12. You're Joking
London five-piece Evans the Death return with Vanilla, their most ambitious and experimental album to date, eschewing the more traditional pop structures and hooks of their first two albums, 2012’s self-titled debut and 2015’s critically acclaimed Expect Delays. While Expect Delays was a step towards something more interesting, more collaborative, experimental and abrasive - a bleak, introspective kind of album that still retained a pop sensibility - Vanilla sees the band veer in an ever more adventurous direction: more aggressive, extroverted and raw.
Named after the undertaker in Dylan Thomas’ radio play, Under Milk Wood, the band was formed by brothers Dan and Olly Moss after meeting singer Katherine Whitaker at a Let’s Wrestle show. After numerous line-ups, the band is now completed by James Burkitt on drums and Daniel Raphael on bass. The new album was recorded at Lightship95 in London with producer Rory Attwell, who worked on both of their previous records. Highly variegated in style and mood, brimming with extreme contrasts, from noisy to funky to melodic, energetic to dejected, full of chaos and restlessness, the album was the result of a carefully planned recording strategy, as Dan Moss explains:
“We deliberately booked very little time in the studio, and we pretty much did everything live, together in the room – there was no trying to fix any mistakes. What you hear is very close to what we did in that moment – so technically, while it isn’t overly polished or slick, it’s a very high fidelity recording – an accurate reproduction of the original source. I think that gives it more of an urgency and honesty than the first two. We decided to limit ourselves to 8 tracks and this meant we were restricted in how much we could alter things after recording, and the amount of overdubs we could do – which is what we wanted.”
With no specific musical reference point, the songs on Vanilla veer wildly in style, lending a real energy and vitality to the flow of the album. There’s the psychedelic snarl of “Haunted Wheelchair” built around dissonant, ominous, jazz-like chords, which build a sense of dread and paranoia but also a strange excitement. Dan explains: “I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Then before recording the song, while on my way to a party I got assaulted out of the blue, and I had to have surgery for a broken jaw. I used that incident to hang the lyrics on, but really it’s about that strange feeling I was already having anyway.”
There’s also the no-wave party vibe of “Suitcase Jimmy”, a semi-improvised portrait of a fictional down-at-heel actor built around a Wilko Johnson-ish guitar part. “Hey! Buddy” is an “unintentionally mean-spirited” askew pop tune from the point of view of a cloying and over-zealous fan of the band. While the wartime dancehall of “Cable St. Blues” is an odd duet between two parts of the psyche, representing “an argument you have with yourself, about depression and extreme self-criticism and self-doubt, struggling to function”, and named after the site of the 1936 riots where the band wrote the album. “I wanted the end to sound like a New Orleans jazz funeral”, says Dan.
Newest member Daniel Raphael’s present to the band, “Hot Sauce” is led by a groovy, capacious bassline, while Olly’s “Armchair Theatre”, the quietest, prettiest song on the record, starts out like a soft rock classic and turns in to a gorgeously mournful song with the lyric “I took you to the park / kickin’ through used Johnnies and dry leaves”. And “Welcome to Usk” drews on Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks and parts of Vivian Kubrick’s score for Full Metal Jacket, with a banging disco section thrown in for good measure. “When we first got this song right I got so excited I threw up my dinner”, says Dan. “It has three different time signatures!”
A dark, howling, ragged storm of an album, impossible to categorise, Vanilla is anything but – a far cry from the bland, unimaginative music that pervades the airwaves. It is a brittle, brilliant new chapter in the story of a band who never fail to surprise.
1. Haunted Wheelchair
2. Suitcase Jimmy
3. No Imitations
4. Hey! Buddy
5. Cable St. Blues
7. Hot Sauce
8. Armchair Theatre
9. Welcome to Usk
10. European Bison
500 only LP.
Nearly 20 years since releasing their first cassette album, Milky Wimpshake unveil their fifth 'proper' album Heart And Soul In The Milky Way, due out on Fortuna POP! in February 2013. Recorded in a single day, it consists of 15 more songs from the pop/punk chocolate assortment box which the band have raided for so many years: love songs, silly songs, songs about obsolete items of stationary and such like, all set to a basic guitar buzz and kick drum combo.
The album bristles with spontaneous excitement due to the success of the live recording with no overdubs, giving Heart And Soul In The Milky Way a much rawer, yet fresher feel than their previous albums, with the likes of "Worthless Person" veering towards Billy Childish garage rock territory.
Milky Wimpshake have produced the strongest set of songs of their career from the subterranean homesick opener 'Chemical Spray', with its arbitrary rhymes and taking-the-piss guitar break, the innuendo-laden 'On Top', full of maudlin indie-pop melodicism and the closing duet 'Without You' which covers the same theme as six million other songs and yet still manages to raise a smile.
While the majority of the album features compositions by frontman Pete Dale (also head of the legendary indie label Slampt), there are two covers, including a punked-up version of 'Lah-Di-Dah', a song by Jake Thackray, a singer-songwriter who had some success in the 1960s and 70s with often-lewd lyrics which he used to croon with wonderfully tired eyes.
There is also a version of 'Omnia Mea Mecum Porto' by North East underground group Les Cox (Sportifs). The song’s title means 'everything I own goes where I go' and contains hilarious lyrics about the anxiety of an impending day's work. Milky Wimpshake isn't the kind of band which expects to sell out big venues, top the charts or get chased by screaming fans: it's simple music, with simple sentiments for folk smart enough to see that sometimes simplicity works like a charm.
1. Chemical Spray
2. On Top
3. You Are The Bomb
5. La Di Da
6. (I'll Be Your) Subject/Object
8. Uncool Jerk
9. Omnia Mea Mecum Porto
10. The Mirror Stage
11. (I'm A) Worthless Person
12. Letraset Angle
13. Without You
“Brighton's boy-girl scuzzpoppers Shrag flash back to the heyday of such personages as Prolapse or Delta 5, bringing analytical attitude to the debased trade of pop and serving it up with bulldozing portions of raw guitar noise.” Uncut
Shrag will be releasing their hotly anticipated third album Canines via WIAIWYA and Fortuna POP! in July. Recorded at Gargleblast Studios with producer Andy Miller (Life Without Buildings, Mogwai, Sons and Daughters), Canines is a visceral pop record bristling with urgency, melody, and danger, and is the sound of a band fully in their stride.
Canines is a fiercely idiosyncratic record which stalks new territory for Shrag; in its counter-intuitive journey from the feedback-drenched fury of album opener ‘Tears of a Landlord’ to the bittersweet lushness of closing paean ‘Jane with Dumbbells’, Canines interrogates structures, of the body, the mind, and the city. Suffused with bones, skin, and inappropriate desires, the album’s first single ‘Tendons in the Night’ is a voyeuristic ode to the estimable pursuit of gymnastic perfection, whilst the second, ‘Show us your Canines’, is a blood-heavy exhortation against martyrdom and for movement, distilling the urgency and compulsion which lends the tone to the record as a whole.
The glam-rock nonchalance of sun-soaked stomper ‘Devastating Bones’ gives way to the claustrophobia and menace of the family curse threading its way through ‘That’s Static!’, and the heady impulsivity and rush of ‘On the Spines of Old Cathedrals’ and ‘You’re the Shout’ are offset against the elegant defiance of ‘Chasing Consummations’ and ‘Flinching at Forever’, where the band insist on a potent celebration of their own sense of awkwardness and fear. Canines follows up 2009’s self-titled debut album, and 2010’s Life! Death! Prizes!, both of which were mixed by legendary producer (and Morrissey drummer) Woodie Taylor, fresh from his success with Love Is All and Veronica Falls.
Shrag’s first album was met with critical acclaim from, amongst others, Uncut, Pitchfork, the Sunday Times, and Artrocker. Life! Death! Prizes! was equally as acclaimed as its predecessor, garnering wide-spread praise from many including Pitchfork (again), Drowned in Sound, The Quietus, and All Music Guide, who praised "... the kind of songs you want to hear playing loud all day and then quietly at night, a thrillingly romantic, bleedingly emotional album for people who want some bite in their pop.
1. Tears Of A Landlord
2. Show Us Your Canines
3. Chasing Consummations
4. Tendons in the Night
5. On the Spines of Old Cathedrals
6. Devastating Bones
7. You're the Shout
8. That's Static
9. No More Memories
10. Flinching at Forever
11. Jane with Dumbbells
Tender Trap are now a proper girl-group! In contrast with earlier Tender Trap, which had a more electronic bent, the newly revitalized 'Trap has stronger links to the pop lineage of its founder members; Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey were in influential indiepop originals and John Peel favorites Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, who released records on such indiepop labels as Sarah Records, K and Stephen Pastel’s 53rd and 3rd.
Neither Talulah Gosh nor Heavenly (Amelia's previous bands) had this much vocal harmony going on. With two extra girl voices (from new guitarist Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin' and new drummer Katrina Dixon) the band now combines the harmonies, oohs, ahs and sha-la-las of classic girl-pop with the stripped down beats and dirty guitars of the Shop Assistants and The Vaselines.Following their albums Film Molecules (2002) and 6 Billion People (2006), we’re very excited to bring you Dansette Dansette, the band's excellent third album. Bristling with crunchy guitars and effortlessly catchy tunes, Dansette Dansette is ample proof of why Amelia and Rob's bands have been such a huge influence on today's generation of pop bands.
Revered by today's revitalized indie-pop scene, their records are floor-fillers at indie dance clubs and their influence can be heard in bands such as Los Campesinos! (who namecheck Fletcher in their song "International Tweexcore Underground"), The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Dum Dum Girls. Even US rockers The Hold Steady reference Heavenly in the title track of their new album Heaven is Whenever."Dansette Dansette" kicks of the record in fine fashion, morse feedback bleeps leading into a melodic ode to the bedroom record player.
Being the first single from the album, "Do You Want A Boyfriend?" is a perfect chunk of pop, but it's not as innocent as it seems - it celebrates the girl-pop phenomenon, but deconstructs it too. "Girls With Guns" and "2 To The N" are more punk-inspired, hearkening back to Amelia's Talulah Gosh roots. Slower tunes like "Suddenly" and "Counting The Hours" give plenty of room for Amelia's vocal interplay with Elizabeth and Katrina, and "Capital L" wraps up the album in epic fashion, a tambourine-driven slow-dance which builds to a glorious crescendo.
1. Dansette Dansette
3. Do You Want A Boyfriend?
5. Girls With Guns
6. Danger Overboard
7. 2 To The N
8. Counting The Hours
9. Grand National
10. Capital L
Tender Trap is lead by indie legend and feminist icon Amelia Fletcher (formerly of Talulah Gosh and Heavenly), the band now also includes Emily Bennett from Betty and the Werewolves, replacing Elizabeth Morris from Allo Darlin'.
Emily brings another dimension to the band with her ebullient rock guitar playing, fantastic singing, and endless enthusiasm, joining existing members drummer and vocalist Katrina Dixon, John Stanley on guitar and original Heavenly bass player, Robert Pursey.
Ten Songs About Girls is Amelia & Co’s most complete-sounding effort yet, filled to the brim with resounding backing vocals and glorious fuzz.
The album’s artwork comes in green, purple and white ¬– the suffragette colours, sharing the original feminists’ concern for aesthetics as well as politics. With three strong female voices on the record, sometimes harmonizing, sometimes calling and responding, sometimes singing alone, Tender Trap draw on the dynamics of the original girl group songs, but aim to show what happens when those girls aren’t in thrall to the male Svengali.
1. King's Cross Station
3. Could This Be The Last Time?
4. Leaving Christmas Day
5. Step One
9. Broken Doll
10. Love Is Hard Enough
180g Heavyweight Vinyl LP (Limited to 500)….
I Blame Society is the third album from New York trio The Ballet and their first for new label Fortuna POP! Unashamedly “sissy” and explicitly queer, The Ballet marry the DIY queer ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of The Magnetic Fields to create literate, infectious pop gems. The band will be playing the Indietracks Festival 26-28 July, followed by a UK tour culminating with a London show at The Lexington on 1 August.
I Blame Society is a continuation of the lyrical themes and songwriting style found in the band’s two previous self-released albums (Mattachine!  and Bear Life! ), though with slightly pared down arrangements and a nuanced production, which highlights songwriter Greg Goldberg’s strengths. Inspired by Stephin Merritt’s body of work, Goldberg draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60’s bubblegum to 80’s synthpop and 90’s indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways which rewards repeat listening.
Avoiding autobiographical or confessional modes, Goldberg nonetheless mines his own psychological constitution and intellectual interests to craft songs whose overt musical prettiness is often contrasted by a dark and complex subtext. I Blame Society addresses a number of queer themes, offering a nuanced and refreshing perspective on contemporary queer issues, subtly balancing queer melancholy with self-deprecating humour and stubborn utopianism.
While some queer musicians shy away from articulating a connection between their sexuality and musicianship, The Ballet have often contended the opposite: that they are “a bunch of queers who just happen to be in a band.” Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse (who are both professors and met whilst at graduate school) with Marina Miranda (who they met at a party), The Ballet are still going strong after eight years of pop magic, retaining their original line-up.
That’s not to say they haven’t gone through some line-up changes over the years. Acquired bandmates Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill left in 2007 to join JD Sampson in MEN. Indiepop luminaries such as Linton from The Aislers Set and Ramesh from Voxtrot have also made guest appearances on previous albums, as have Kaki King and Scott Matthew.
"Recalling Holiday-era Magnetic Fields, these songs bop with heady buoyancy, yet are underpinned by complicated but universal themes: self-deception, infidelity without shame, war fatigue and finding love in a world of online hookups." Time Out New York
2. Cruel Path
3. Difficult Situations
6. Too Much Time
7. Is Anybody Out There?
8. Turn You
10. All The Way
12 sparkling and emotive songs that stand alongside anything in America's guitar-rock canon.
Received glowing reviews in the NME, Careless talk costs lives, Mojo, Uncut, The Times, The Guardian and many more, and earned comparisons to the likes of Galaxie 500, Pavement, The Velvets, REM and the Go-betweens. Includes the singles ‘rob a bank’ and ‘wild’. on heavyweight vinyl.
“dark, intoxicating music that joins the dots between REM, The Velvets and Phil Spector” (Mojo).
“special” 4/5 (The Guardian).
“Belong to a guitar rock heritage of REM, Galaxie 500 and Miracle legion. One of the last leaves clinging to the wintry tree of the American singer-songwriter tradition.” 8/10 (The Times).
“They simply transcend their influences” 4/5 (Uncut).
“They expose smalltown USA in the same way as Sparklehorse and Elliott Smith. To know them is to love them” 7/10 and one of on sections top 20 of the year (NME)
1. Mt Everest
6. Love May Be Possible
7. Rob A Bank
11. Swollen Eyes
12. Leaving When I'm Done Drinking
Over the course of some sixteen years and six remarkable albums, The Ladybug Transistor have confirmed their standing as the preeminent exponents of lush, formalist pop music.
With a superlative new record, Clutching Stems, at the ready, their pursuit of a singular musical vision remains as true as ever.
1. Clutching Stems
2. Light On The Narrow Gauge
3. Fallen & Falling
4. Ignore The Bell
5. Oh Cristina!
6. Caught Don't Walk
7. Breaking Up On The Beat
8. Into The Strait
9. Hey Jack I'm On Fire
10. Life Less True