Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Promises, Promises

Pocketbooks have already started teasing us. Though their new album Carousel isn't officially due out until September (you can currently grab a copy from the lovely Oddbox Records), the first single "Promises, Promises" was made available yesterday.

The bittersweet lyrics about empty promises are almost poetic in their earnest, and the backing girly harmonies and sweeping strings just make an already great song greater. Basically, it's another Pocketbooks insta-classic.

Promises, Promises .mp3

Also, here's Don't Stop just because I like it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Everyone's Cup of Tea

You know that wonderful moment when you get a new album and just have to sit down and listen to it? When your only distraction is the occasional sip of tea or nibble of cake and the ever-so-slight grit and warble isn't an imperfection but a reminder that music is personal and hand-crafted? It's not an everyday occurrence, but Fika Recordings would sure like it to be. To make every Fika release a special treat, a hand-selected bag of tea and recipe for something yummy accompany every order. A very neat concept if you ask me.

A good concept doesn't mean much if the goods don't back it up, and fortunately Fika delivers in spades. Red Shoe Diaries' new 10" EP When I Find My Heart is brimming with eloquent pop songs for "messed up grown ups," complete with all the cynicism that entails. Each track on When I Find My Heart does a great job of taking the band's astounding number of influences to bring some variety to the five tracks without making them sound disparate in any way. A little surf here, some folk there, and some good old fashioned jangly-guitar-pop everywhere.

Red Shoe Diaries launch party is tonight at 7:30 in London (that's the gig flyer up there)! You can purchase tickets here! They're also playing a free show in Nottingham tomorrow at Spanky Van Dyke's.

You can listen to the entire EP below.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life Size Maps

I wrote about Life Size Maps a little while ago, but they almost sound like a different band on their new EP, so a second post is warranted. Their pop-sensibilities and and orchestral elements remain, but they've been amped up and distorted in the very best of ways. Magnifier is probably the only time prepared piano and harpsichord have been used on a pop album, and along with the more familiar cello and strings they add a really unique aspect to a guitar-driven rocking. The controlled chaos and sort of punk anthem-ed choruses are great when you're on-the-move, or if you want to listen to something a little different.

Magnifier releases on July 7th, but if you're in New York, you can probably grab a copy at their July 1st release party at Monster Island Basement.

Have a taste of two of the tracks on their Soundcloud.
This Same House by Life Size Maps

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

You Don't Listen

Or maybe you can't hear, because that new(ish) Ringo Deathstarr album fucking rocks. Sure, Colour Trip came out two months ago, but I forgot to post about it, and their headlining Shea Stadium next month seemed like a good enough excuse.

Anyways, if you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's a little more MBV than JAMC and that's okay with me. I'm a sucker for fuzz, boy/girl vocals, reverse reverb, and gliding, so I can't take a single issue with the entire album. Plus, tracks like "Tambourine Girl" are straight up sing-along-with poppy and help shift gears, so even those "it all sounds the same" naysayers can't complain.

Head over to their bandcamp to stream the whole thing, and Club AC30's got them for sale.

And of course, they're on tour, so New Yorkers should keep July 3rd free. Everyone else, look it up.

Here's the video for the opening track "Imagine Hearts"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Big Rig Will Run the Distance

If you feel your indie-folk-pop library is looking a little lackluster, just start going through Big Rig Records' roster. While Big Rig has artists from all over the world, it just so happens that both groups on today's double-billing hail from Adelaide, Australia.

The Sea Thieves are a sort of collective project based around Zac Coligan and have a knack for taking instruments like the uke, singing saw, and bellows, and making something new, yet familiar and comforting with them. They Will Run is the type of record that sounds like it should be pressed on a phonograph cylinder, so you can play it late at night while relaxing in a big, dusty armchair. Or at least that's the setting I'd imagine would compliment the dusty atmosphere that permeates the album.

Focus The Stars.mp3

Cheer Advisory Council sound like The Lucksmiths covering Wilco being mixed by Phil Spectre. Distance's sparse finger-picked guitars are almost guaranteed to climax in an epic orchestral crescendo, and on the rare occasion they don't, they serve as the foundation for a slow and steady layering of an eclectic mix of instruments.

Coach .mp3

Friday, May 6, 2011

Do you need more fuzz in your fuckin sound?

Transfusao Noise Records has the perfect 7" comp for anyone with an insatiable appetite for fuzz and pop. With bands like Lê Almeida and Top Surprise, Coração Transfusionado is the perfect 7" comp for popkids who want the who want their noise served six ways to Sunday (including not very noisy at all), and in bite-sized little pop morsels no less. By bite-sized I mean all the tracks are well under three minutes. Scrumptious. Anyways, it's 6 different a-side-worthy singles crammed onto one piece of wax, so obviously if you've ever wished someone would put their foot on a fuzzbox, this will be one of the best purchases you make all year.

And you know what the best part is? Try before you buy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

There's Something About Mary

Great movie, or greater cat? The Hit Parade seem to think the cat takes it, so we're spared a tribute to the Ben Stiller film. What we do get from "There's Something About Mary" is a three minute pop corker, just the way you remember the Hit Parade: jangly and filled with harmonies about kitty love. What else would you expect from London's number one pop group?

The b-side gave me a chuckle, especially with the blurb in the press release: it's "a tribute to the 1989 Sarah Records indie band Brighter who were famous for being melancholy and playing all their songs in the key of D." Remember that awesome song about the Japanese girl with a broken heart? How about the English boy version? No? Oh that's right, it's not out yet because it's "The Boy Who Loves Brighter" (and maybe one or two tracks from the back-catalogue, but who's keeping count of melancholy Hit Parade love songs?).

JSH Records is putting out the There's Something About Mary single on 7" vinyl today, and for digital download on May 2nd.

Hey, this is pretty neat!
There's Something About Mary by the-hit-parade