Friday, 30 October 2009

Event : Ash A to Z UK Tour

Crisscrossing the nation from A to Z, evergreen rock stars ASH promote their mould breaking A-Z Singles Collection with a 26-date UK tour. Visiting some of the country’s live music back waters…

Working alphabetically through the towns and cities of the British Isles from Aldershot to Zennor, Ash will be dropping in on the UK’s lesser-visited concert venues. Exotic locations like Ventnor (that’s on the Isle of Wight), The Havana Club (in Jersey), Upper Norwood (South London of course…) and the Devonshire seaside town of ‘eXmouth’, will be among those experiencing a rare visit from a major touring act; and who better to ‘bring the rock’ than the acclaimed live act and hit factory that is Ash?

The tour provides the launch pad for the bands unique A-Z Series, kicking off with the electro-ballad True Love 1980 on October 12th. The A-Z series will see a collection of 26 limited edition 7” and digital download singles, released fortnightly over the coming year.

ED: I'll be checking them out next week so check back then for a gig review!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Album Review : The Pony Collaboration - If These Are The Good Times

Little known The Pony Collaboration release their second album this November and at the moment, I feel like it’s a little gem that only I know about and I don’t want to share. It’s fantastic; a cosy security blanket of melancholic and understated pop that has a charm all of its own.

With the emotive depth of Tindersticks, the poppy sentiment of Camera Obscura and the modesty of Pavement, ‘If These Are The Good Times’ comprises of ten warming folk tunes that are instantly accessible without the need for try-hard hooks and repetitive choruses. In fact like all great artists, The Pony Collaboration sound effortless in their delivery, as if their music was the result of a fortuitous jam during one long and lethargic afternoon.

A hefty eight members make up this band but you wouldn’t know it; the music is delicate and unbloated, every instrument perfectly applied to tug at your emotions. As inconspicuous as this album might seem, it’s a heavyweight when it comes to connecting with the listener. Take opener ‘Until It’s Gone’; the idiosyncratic male-female vocals set the tone for the album, yearning as they sing whilst violins soar along in the choruses. Title track ‘If These Are The Good Times’ is full of regret and an impassioned plea to a loved is one carried through the song by a swell of strings, piano and guitar.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom, as the upbeat ‘I Never Knew’ testifies and ‘Monopoly On Sound’ showcases the bands ability to craft perfect instrumentals. But whatever the feel, every song is bound together by a quiet bitter-sweet sentiment that runs through the recording.

It’s not often that quiet bands like this are able to evoke such strong feeling, but The Pony Collaboration do just this. The whole record is an introspective journey that is a sad as it is uplifting. It was once said that John Peel’s success was down to the fact that it sounded like he was talking to you alone, rather than an army of listeners and perhaps the same could be said for this very personal album. Let’s just hope the well deserved success comes with it.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Event : Gallows take CTRL over Topman + Win exclusive tshirt

To celebrate Gallows taking over the Topman myspace page, we are giving away an exclusive tshirt designed by Lags from the band. Only 50 of these super cool tshirts have been made so this is pretty specialas we have 1 to give away.

For those who don't know CTRL is a new venture whereby a different band each month takes over the Topman myspace, having license to do pretty much whatever they like from exclusive interviews, news, blogs, photo's and a rather special end of month gig. Gallows gig is taking place in Birmingham at the Flapper on October 29th, with support coming from their personal favourites Invasion, Shapes, and Soni-Quella. It's all rather exciting.

So go check out the website, and whilst you're there you can be pondering this question to win the exclusive tshirt.

What is the title of the debut album from Gallows?

Answers via email to by midnight on Monday 26th October. The winner will be randomly selected from all the entries. Good luck!


Sunday, 18 October 2009

New Music : Photomachine / Crash Overdrive / Pilotpriest

Photomachine is back with a new track "Burn Up", which takes up where his previous material left off with bouncy, jerky, synths intertwined with a standard slow house beat. There is a clear rhythm to this track, with clear nods to artists such as Basement Jaxx and Buraka Som Siesta when it comes to beat making at slightly slower beats per minute. There are lots of weird samples thrown in for good measure such as sirens, bleeps, and vocal cuts, but they certainly don't distract from a feel good party tune. *DOWNLOAD - MP3: Photomachine - Burn Up / More Photomachine

Based out of California comes Vince Fierro, aka Crash Overdrive with his feel good house tunes. There's nothing fancy here, just a straightforward standard house beat with some euphoric synths, but I think its the simplicity that actually makes this track stand out. There are plenty of hands in the air moments which for me always signals a good house track. Look out for his forthcoming EP "Retake The Streets" out through Briefcase Rockers. *DOWNLOAD - MP3: Crash Overdrive - ArchitectureVI / More Crash Overdrive

Straight out of the Toronto tech scene comes Pilotpriest with his debut track "Zipper". This particular cut is his own "1994 Remix" which gives the track a darker and harder edge perfect for dirty, sweaty clubs. This is a strong debut track which bodes well for future releases for a man who is held in high esteem for the various remixes he has done across the board for the blogosphere. It is being released by Calamity Jane Recordings. *DOWNLOAD - MP3: Pilotpriest - Zipper / Buy on Beatport (High Quality) / More Pilotpriest

Friday, 16 October 2009

Video : Fenech Soler - Lies

Seeing these guys next week at the Meze Festival in Newport, super excited!! "Lies" will be released November 2nd through Moda Music.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Single Review : Gospel Gossip - Sippy Cup

Noisy, shoegaze garage rock is on offer here from Minnesota guitar-janglers Gospel Gossip. The excellently titled single ‘Sippy Cup’ bursts in with fuzzy guitars, wailing feedback and propulsive drums. The whole tune has a warm drunken slur to it and an emotional weight to boot. Mumbling vocalist Sarah Nienaber delivers a fantastic performance where you can identify with her struggles and hear her pain even if you can’t understand what she’s saying. The point is you don’t need to. This powerful song would be equally at home to the beer soaked indie club as it would to the party of one in a bedroom; it ingeniously upbeat and noisy but oddly comforting.

It’s no surprise that Gospel Gossip sound like they do; after all fellow Minnesotans Husker Du and The Replacements created the mould for this trademark shambolic garage rock that Sippy Cup sounds so much like. Too much like in fact. The intro sounds exactly like ‘Bastards of Young’ and the comparisons don’t stop there. This could be any number of Replacements’ songs and Nienaber’s vocals are near identical to Paul Westerberg’s inebriated howl – even if she is female.

This is a brilliant, exciting and chaotic song that effortlessly connects to its listeners, it’s just a shame the band haven’t put their own twist on Minnesota rock. They’ve obviously subscribed to the “if it ain’t broke don’t’ fix it” ideology which, on listening to Sippy Cup for the twentieth time, is more than fine by me.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Event : Meze Festival October 2009

If you live anywhere near Newport in South Wales, then please check out and support the excellent Meze Festival. I'll be doing a review of the festival at the end of the month!

Here's the blurb -

"100+ Bands & DJ’s, 2 venues, 1 whole month (and we don’t like Mondays)

Newport’s Meze Lounge & The Joy Collective are proud to announce the inaugural Meze : Festival, a month-long celebration of new music and good times.

Initially conceived as a welcome party for Newport’s incoming student population, Meze : Festival has swelled to become a riot of noise, beats and invention, with acts plucked from all decent corners of the music making world. Every night in October, (except Mondays) a vast array of genres will colour & shape the sound of Market Street, courtesy of bands from the U.S, Canada, France, Japan, Australia plus a huge array of nationwide UK touring acts and some hand-picked local cherries. They will be bashing their way through dubstep, electro, hip-hop, math-rock, amongst others, in a quest for sleeplessness.

There are too many highlights to pin-point, so find out for yourself. Search through the line-up. Stream the music online or download the mp3 compilation zip!"

ED: I saw The Muscle Club on Friday - Brilliant! MP3: The Muscle Club - Damn Your Circumstances

Thursday, 8 October 2009

New Music : Stagecoach / The Sweet Serenades [POP SPECIAL!]

Stagecoach are a UK based indie pop act from the Surrey area, who are currently on a UK tour, and have an EP available titled "We Got Tazers!". Pop music for me is all about the melodies, you can have rock music or dance music behind it, but if the vocals are uplifting and there is a high percentage of rhyming lyrics, then i'd call Pop. Stagecoach have their feet in the rock camp, with Weezer being a clear comparison. Basically I like their tunes because they are fun and with no strings. The EP is out now on Alcopop Records. MP3: Stagecoach - Break / Stagecoach

We had The Sweet Serenades in one of our early podcasts, way back in April 2008. Well since then the Swedish duo have now released their album "Balcony Cigarettes", which I'm reliably informed received 5 out 6 in Nöjesguiden (Big music magazine in Sweden). We have "On My Way" which has a harder driving sound to their previous material , but still maintains their pop sensibilities with memorable harmonies and guitar licks. The album is set to be released here and stateside in 2010. MP3: The Sweet Serenades - On My Way / The Sweet Serenades

Monday, 5 October 2009

New Music : Red Cortez / Penfold Gate / Bang Bang Eche

It is quite remarkable that Los Angeles rockers Red Cortez are unsigned, in fact it makes me want to start a record label and sign them up, I think they are really that good. The band are currently supporting The Airborne Toxic Event on their US tour, so if they don't get signed from that things are seriously wrong. They have a digital EP currently available titled "Hands To The Wall", which showcases their high energy but melodic rock tunes. I expect rather large things from this band in 2010. MP3: Red Cortez - Fell On The Floor / Red Cortez

Hailing from Loughborough in the UK, Penfold Gate are set to release their debut single "Pirates" on November 30th. The easiest way for me to describe this band is to imagine a less dancey but more folky Late Of The Pier. "Pirates" changes tempo constantly, meaning you are never quite sure where the band are going to take you next, which is quite exciting for any discerning music fan. They played an impromptu gig at this years Glastonbury, well they could well have an invite in 2010. MP3 Penfold Gate - Pirates / Penfold Gate

Checking in from New Zealand come Bang Bang Eche, who will be releasing their delightfully named "Sonic Death C**TTTT" EP on November 2nd. With all members under the age of 21 and having been together for just over a year, you'd expect the band to sound somewhat chaotic. Except Bang Bang Eche have created a sound that they want to be chaotic, that's the point. Fusing dance beats with punk rock guitars and vocals, they are not just an Enter Shikari rip off, they mean serious business! MP3: Bang Bang Eche - Fist Full Of Dollars / Bang Bang Eche

Thursday, 1 October 2009

New Music : Everything Everything / Simian Mobile Disco (Dada Life Remix / El Paso Hot Button (John Bourke Remix)

Everything Everything are one of those bands that emerge out of nowhere and take centre stage across the board without you realising it. The true test of course is whether they can remain around long enough for people to take major notice. "My Keys, Your Boyfriend" their latest single has been remixed here by Portmanteau into a floaty piece of electronica that takes your mind away. MP3: Everything Everything - My Keys Your Boyfriend (Portmanteau Remix) / Everything Everything

This is a wicked remix from Dada Life of Simian Mobile Disco's "Audacity Of Huge". Dada Life in their own words say "Destroy dance music and have fun. Don’t look back in the past. Always go forward. Don’t think too much. Always follow the money. Do the Dada. The result? Big tunes, no frills". Basically they remix everything! This track stands out for the huge synth half way through the track which really cuts through you, but in a brilliant way. MP3 Simian Mobile Disco - Audacity Of Huge (Dada Life Remix) / Dada Life

We've featured Oklahoma favourites Trash Yourself a few times on this blog, well this time we're highlighting just one half of the group, John Bourke. He recently remixed "Karli K" by El Paso Hot Button. Now I'm not in the know about beats per minute and all that jazz, but I can tell you that this track is super chilled out, with a really slow beat that oozes power and attitude. Trash Yourself have recently gone out on a European tour so make sure you try and catch them! MP3: El Paso Hot Button - Karli K (John Bourke Remix) / Trash Yourself