Author Archives: Laurence

Introducing:
Brett Netson

Brett Netson is a name that should be familiar to anyone who grew up during and survived the alternative nation explosion of the ’90s. The Boise, Idaho native has, since 1993, played guitar with the long-running rock dynamo that is Built To Spill and has spent time backing up folks like Mark Lanegan and former Dinosaur Jr. bassist Mike Johnson. As well, Netson crafted over a half dozen amazing albums with his own art damaged, high desert blues/metal outfit, Caustic Resin.

For someone as prolific and creative as Netson, it’s amazing to think that he’s never released any material under his own name before. But that is all about to change with the buzz starting to build around his new album Simple Work, released via The New Black Records.

Simple Work is the culmination of Netson spending the past 15 years or so absorbing the varying styles and sounds that he has been involved with and having them finally bearing fruit in one urgent explosion of original material.

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The Pack a.d. new video, “Sirens”

Canadian garage punk duo, The Pack a.d. (Becky Black guitar/vocals; Maya Miller/drums) unleashed their fourth full release Unpersons in the Autumn of 2011. Leaving behind some of their earlier, more bluesy sound, their new record is much faster and murkier than their previous material.

Changing tack on this album, the previous three had been self produced, the Vancouver pair decided to bring in famed Detroit producer Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs, Paul Collins Beat, The White Stripes) to helm the controls. The result is a more gutsy, defined, and focused sound. A sound that is more to be copied and less a copy of…

With this powerful record tucked tightly under arm, The Pack a.d. are hitting the road in the US and Canada, playing alongside Elliott Brood. Here’s hoping they can get some time soon to skip over the pond and play the UK.

In the meantime, check out their hard-hitting new video for last year’s riff, “Sirens”:

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Introducing:
Alialujah Choir

The Alialujah Choir is Adam Shearer and Alia Farah of Weinland, and Adam Selzer of Norfolk & Western and M. Ward. The Portland, Oregon outfit have delivered a delicious album that radiates sincerity and poignancy, without resorting to the type of earnest claptrap which has blighted the scene these past few years.

If you’re a fan of well crafted folk/pop with gorgeous harmonies, this band is for you! Check out this clip, the first song from their first ever live show, in their hometown:

 

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Brown Brogues’ new
7″ “Anyone But You”
and Live Dates

In 2011 Brown Brogues toured with The Kills and played SXSW and now the lo-fi garage twosome from Wigan return with their new 7″ via London label Italian Beach Babes.

The video for the lead track, ‘Anyone But You‘ was directed by Manchester’s Plastic Zoo and was shot as an homage to long forgotten family holidays on an ancient VHS Camera.

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Who The Hell Is:
Phone Joan

Why Phone Joan?

There are many reasons why we think you should, but mostly because you could. Just dial +47 917 99466.

Can you tell us a bit about where you are from and how you got together?

Most of the band members rose from the cold and wet basements of Oslo, Norway’s indie-rock scene during the financial crisis that took place around 2008-2009. All of us were starved for anything with substance. The superficial and tiring Norwegian music scene needed someone to shake things up a bit. So we all decided to call her. She’s the one bringing us together. This, and the fact that we were promised lots and lots of beer (and if you think about it…. who the hell could say no to that?) made us form Phone Joan in 2009.

You’re video for ‘Damned’ is pretty powerful stuff, tell us more.

You know, information is so shock oriented. More and more of it is aimed to produce an emotional rather than rational response to what is presented. And most of the propaganda gladly vomited on us is only aimed to create fear. From one day to another, it seems the only question is how to top it. Everyone’s ending up screaming at each other, but none of us ever get the time to sit down and listen.

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Introducing: Little Racer

Hailing from oh-so-fashionable Brooklyn, Little Racer’s debut double A-side single, “Split For The Coast” / “The Town” was released in December, and has remained on our turntable ever since.

In the fine, longstanding tradition of quality maintained by the Young And Lost Club label, the band, formed in late 2009, consists of Elliot Michaud (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Ish Nazmi  (bass, backing vocals) and Mike Seay (drums, backing vocals) and look destined for great things in 2012.

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Introducing:
Gabriel & the Hounds

Brooklyn’s Gabriel and the Hounds, brainchild of Takka Takka founder and vocalist Gabriel Levine, release their debut album next month. A Valentine’s Day launch at New York’s famed Mercury Lounge will be followed by a European tour.

Whilst looking for a name for this project, Gabriel turned to one of his favourite albums for inspiration, Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love providing the necessary latter part of the name.



The album was recorded in living rooms, garages, and in proper studios all over Brooklyn, including Seaside Lounge and The National’s garage studio. It features performers who are in or have recorded with The National, Beirut, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Sufjan Stevens, Tune-Yards, Bjork, Jonsi, and St. Vincent. The result is an intimate record that conveys warmth and sincerity with an occasional buoyancy and punch.

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New Zulu Winter, “We Should Be Swimming”

February 27th sees the release of “We Should Be Swimming,” the second single from Zulu Winter on the venerable Double Denim label. Formed last year, Zulu Winter (Will Daunt – vocals & guitar; Iain Lock – bass; Dom Millard – keyboards; Henry Walton – guitar, and Guy Henderson – drums) have already picked up radio support from Zane Lowe, Steve Lamacq, and Huw Stephens.

Inevitably, when listening to this London five-piece’s sound, there’ll be shouts of Coldplay, but maybe, just maybe, they can develop into what Coldplay could have been and not limp into major label tedium as Chris Martin and Co. have. This track and the band’s forthcoming album are produced by the excellent Tom Morris, so there is some hope.

Zulu Winter will be playing a handful of London shows early this year as well as supporting The Horrors in SE Asia and Japan before heading to Texas for SXSW.

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The Good The Bad and the Power of Rock & Roll

Despite the rather daft name (have they never heard of The Good, The Bad & The Queen???) Danish rockers The Good The Bad justify the claims and hyperbole staked on their behalf.

Following their last blast of sonic devilry, the wonderful “030,” comes their latest video for the numerically inferior yet artistic equal of its successor, the glorious “023.”

The Good The Bad have already clocked up several million plays on Youtube, so they are clearly on their way. This time the buzz is justified, these boys are going places!

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Pinemarten announces new EP and free download, “Here It Is”

Following the recent release of his debut album, Pinemarten kicks off 2012 in generous style by making a track from his fab new EP Here It Is available free from Bandcamp.

Emphasizing the mysterious Derbyshire-based producer’s prolific nature, “Here It Is” picks straight back up from the instrumental remains of his debut album. Slowing things right down from the title track of this new EP, the same infectious, romantically-imbibed synth tones are present throughout but find Pinemarten in a far more introspective and pensive mood.

Pinemarten is also due to have a remix of Casiokids’ “Golden Years” for the Moshi Moshi band’s upcoming single.

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Diggin’ In The Crates:
Syl Johnson, Phil Cordell

‘Diggin’ In The Crates’ is brought to you by Ben Lewis, designer and record obsessive from Brighton. Ben can usually be found in a dusty corner of one of the country’s many second-hand record emporiums, rooting around in search of rarities and hidden gems.

Syl Johnson – Different Strokes

I’ve only just found out recently that it’s Minnie Riperton laughing at the start of this soul classic, and hallowed breakbeat favourite. Syl was a prolific Chicago music scene mainstay, never really breaking out – and this track is from Syl’s purple period, taken from the album Is It Because I’m Black? Breakface!

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Regal Safari: “Lake” (Egyptian Hip Hop Remix)

Following the release of their debut EP last summer, and hot on the heels of their end of year remix of Crystal Fighters’ “Champion Sound,” Brighton’s Regal Safari have just released a brand new free download in the form of a reworked “Lake,” as fashioned by Manchester alt-poppers Egyptian Hip Hop.

The duo have built a name for themselves with their post-modernist electronica, and the R G L S F R EP saw Guy Etienne and Sean Galt, alongside visual compatriot Jozef, expanding their fanbase, coupling their own work with remixes for the aforementioned Crystal Fighters, hotly tipped Mozart Parties and others.



Regal Safari will be performing live on 27th January at The Old Blue Last, London and 29th January at Green Door Store, Brighton in support of Teengirl Fantasy.

 

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Holiday Music: The Christmas Quandary

By E.C. McCarthy

Why are the pop singers suicidal, daddy?”

Admittedly, my eight-year-old self wasn’t quite that articulate, but I still remember the first time I heard David Bowie sing “Little Drummer Boy” with Bing Crosby on the radio. Someone had obviously corralled my precious Ziggy Stardust into a studio, put a gun to his head, and forced him to sing “pah-rum-puh-pum-pum.”

It was unnatural, as is virtually every Christmas song put out by rock bands. Perhaps if I smoked whatever Sir Paul was smoking when he recorded “Wonderful Christmastime” then I’d enjoy it the way he clearly did. (I envision him skipping about the living room with headphones on like Santa’s Nimble Elf-Beatle. Not a bit rock’n’roll.)

The holiday does need music, however, and finding the right soundtrack for winter has been something of a forever-mission, an earnest search for the songs that won’t make my eyes roll into the back of my head. There are so few of them out there that I experience an alarming slippage in standards as the weeks progress toward C-Day. I’m especially vulnerable in the nostalgia department – George Michael’s “Last Christmas” often escapes my radar and I find myself tapping a toe, swaying my head and woefully joining in, “…and the very next day, you gave it away…” then realise my error, scream “NO, GOD, NO!” and pummel my iPod with the nearest blunt instrument.

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Diggin’ In The Crates: Mike Sammes Singers
and The Ted Taylor Organsound, Miss Abrams

‘Diggin’ In The Crates’ is brought to you by Ben Lewis, designer and record obsessive from Brighton. Ben can usually be found in a dusty corner of one of the country’s many second-hand record emporiums, rooting around in search of rarities and hidden gems.

Mike Sammes Singers & The Ted Taylor Organsound – He Who Would Valiant Be

Easy supremos The Mike Sammes Singers get funky with Brit jazz legend Tubby Hayes, in this unlikely “let’s make hymns hip” project. So good. One of those nice charity shop pick ups, that’ll do me!

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Phantom Limb usher
in 2012 with groovy modern Gospel album

Phantom Limb’s sophomore album “The Pines” will be released on February 13th. Former Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford handles production duties on a record that effortlessly melds southern twang onto an Americana gospel sound.

The band have really come of age, eschewing the tentative feel of their eponymous 2008 debut and hitting cruise control with an assured batch of songs.

Here is the excellent video for the title track, which was issued this week:

 

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