acb: (passionate subscriber)
Just writing to say: Machine Translations' "Wolf on a String" EP/album is a work of great beauty. It has everything from glitchy beats to hauntingly melancholy melodies, from lush string arrangements to understated vocals. It'll probably be one of my records of the year.
acb: (passionate subscriber)
A parcel just arrived from Australia, containing four CDs:
  • Francis Plagne - "Idle Bones" (rather quirky multi-instrumental art-pop, interspersed with lots of environmental recordings; it's a bit like something from a Montréal post-rock collective only with the moroseness replaced by a jaunty playfulness. Well, actually, it's a set of enviromnental recordings and drones with three or so jaunty songs scattered between them, though, given that it's from Synæsthesia, that is hardly surprising)
  • Machine Translations - "Wolf on a String"
  • The Winter Ship - "Teardrops" (rather nice Melbourne shoegazer/post-rock, with more than a passing resemblance to Mogwai)
  • and the Australian edition of Camera Obscura's "Underachievers Please Try Harder", with its bonus tracks ("San Francisco Song" and "Amigo Mio", for what it's worth); that came out in 2004, but I was too busy packing to move to London to buy it at the time.
Thanks to my sister for doing the rounds of Melbourne's record shops to pick those up for me.
acb: (fey indie boy)
A copy of Den Baron's The Soundtrack Of My Life arrived in the post last night. I ordered it on the strength of various tracks I had heard around the place (the Airpop Terminal 2 compilation that was everywhere for a while, and the Seven Summers: International Pop Vol. 2 compilation).

It's quite decent summery jangly bossa-pop; a bit like the Sounds of Leamington Spa compilations or various Sarah bands, with a few 60s soul influences, some synth strings and the odd thrift-shop keyboard. It's not too far from Spearmint (who are also on Apricot outside of the UK). It has its ups and downs, and the vocals sound a bit awkward in places, though that's all C86, innit? The singer's German accent (think thin indie-boy vocals, not sternly Teutonic goth-metal) adds to the C86-ish shambolicity of the package.

When I get back into DJing at indie-pop nights (possibly when Tigermilking gets back off the ground), I'll probably spin some tracks from this; alternatively, I could see about sneaking a run of twee jangle-pop into a Lounge AC30 set (once that gets out of hiatus); late in the set, when people have had a bit to drink, one could probably get away with a lot worse.
acb: (buttons)
I recently picked up the new Broadcast album, Tender Buttons. It's really good.

Their early stuff was a mixture of Warp glitch noise and swinging-60s psychedelic pop. Their last album was a bit boring, with one electroclash-bandwagon-jumping track and the rest sounding like a cut-rate Music Inspired By The Sound Of Music cash-in or something. Tender Buttons is a return to form; it sounds like early Stereolab only made with a GameBoy. there's a tight krautrock-esque angularity there.
acb: (fey indie boy)
The first My Favorite album, Love at Absolute Zero, arrived in the mail today. It's similar to The Happiest Days Of Our Lives/the Joan of Arc trilogy: a combination of synthpop keyboards, live drums, gloriously jangly guitars, the odd dub influence, upbeat pop tunes and beautifully heartbreakingly poetic lyrics, like some combination of OMD, New Order and The Smiths, only with better songwriting than most, if not all, of those. (IMHO, as a songwriter, Michael Grace Jr. holds his own alongside 1980s Morrissey quite comfortably.)

My Favorite are increasingly living up to their name in my book. There are bands you like, and then there are bands you feel passionately about, see whenever they play (assuming they still exist), whose CDs you end up buying in large quantities to give to people and whose tracks end up on mix tapes; the bands which are transcendently brilliant because their music says something profound (whether with words or otherwise). For me, there have been a handful of the latter: The Paradise Motel, Slowdive, The Field Mice and ninetynine. And it looks like there is now another one.

September 2015

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