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Monday, February 24, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Young Romance

Awww, what a crush I have on our next interviewed band. You know there are groups you like, others you simply adore and then there’s a special category when a group’s song can hit somewhere very very deep inside of you? Young Romance is one of these bands for me. So happy to feature indiepop’s most adorable duo... These Go to 11!

Paolo Ruiu and Claire Heywood, Young Romance

The indiepop's romance.
This inseparable London couple has been making delicate and stunningly gorgeous indiepop tunes since 2011, with an intensity that reveals real emotion and sensitivity in what they do. Initial tunes like "Swollen Hearts, Bitter Tongues", "She, Me, Him and You", "Six Sides" gave me the alert they were a band to watch out closely, but after summer of 2012, with the release of their stunning EP ePop022, with our dear EardrumsPop's friends, including the sublime "Follow on Your Own" (personal favourite) I became a devoted fan. More tunes arrived on 2013, like the great “Lines”, but 2014 is going to be Young Romance’s year as “Twenty Five”, track included on the Candy Twist Fanzine compilation’s “ Nobody’s Business” or “Pale” their first official single that will arrive this March courtesy of Banquet Records proves. Pure pop perfection, as immediate as lasting. Here we go!

Manchester City Rollers
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
PAOLO: Oasis, “Roll With It”
CLAIRE: 911, “Bodyshakin'”

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
PAOLO: The Counterfeit Beatles / Veronica Falls
CLAIRE: 911 / Bombay Bicycle Club

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
PAOLO: Kanye West, “Bound 2”
CLAIRE: East 17, “It's Alright”

No, not alright
4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
PAOLO: Original copy of The Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers”
CLAIRE: Lou Reed’s “Transformer” vinyl.

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
PAOLO: The Strokes, “Someday”: "Alone we stand, together we fall apart, I think I'll be alright. I'm working so I won't have to try so hard, tables they turn sometimes".
CLAIRE: Mystery Jets, “Flakes”: "The trouble with dreams, they're not what they seem, cause when you awake they fall through your fingers in flakes".

Phil Spector, aka "The Hair"
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
PAOLO: Phil Spector, David Bowie, Keith Richards, Kate Bush
CLAIRE: Elvis, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Tina Turner

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
PAOLO: The Madcap Laughs– “Syd Barret”
CLAIRE: The Ramones– “S/T”

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
PAOLO: Films - "The Godfather 2"
CLAIRE: Books - Oscar Wilde - "The Picture of Dorian Gray" / Daphne Du Maurier - "My Cousin Rachel"

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
PAOLO: "Follow On Your Own"
CLAIRE: "Pale"

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
BOTH: Not compromising personal ideas for a commercial purpose, therefore having complete creative control.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
BOTH: With a few records out and playing shows to the people who love those records in the way that we do with other bands.
Zillion thanks Claire & Paolo!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Indie Anthology 37: essential songs

Sometimes the songs you want to hear are there waiting for you. Our next chapter at the Indie Anthology  is one of the finest examples Spanish music has given us in the latest years (ok, decade). The singer-songwriter's tradition honoured and reinvigorated thanks to a man of many talents (Mr. Ramón Rodríguez composes, sings, writes and draws extremely well), with an unmatched ability to find the perfect line.

Song: Por Tradición
Artist: The New Raemon
Year: 2009

The end is always closer than you imagine. Or better said, what we, silly humans do, is try to negate the truth until it explodes right in front of our faces. The New Raemon really knew (should I write on past tense? I'm unsure he'll perform again under that nickname, hope he does) how to pen a tune about that. It has to hurt, has to be poignant and, for a while, merciless. But it has to be wise too. "Por Tradición" puts the listener right in the middle of a scene he/she also knows (pretty well) while the song, and the story slowly builds up. Characters share the blame, which goes along the tune's crescendo. The point of no return arrives at the explosive chorus, making you eager for the resolution in the epic's finale. But as the good writers are capable of doing, there's no final answer. You'll have to find it by yourself. A piece of our daily miseries, our personal demons and weakness, encapsulated in 3:30 minutes. There are few things mighty pop can do... when a talented man is on command. Thanks Mr. Rodríguez, for putting music to real life.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Discoverer 87: new indie findings

Courtesy of three infallible labels, here's another Sunday full of great discoveries, enjoy!

Soft Science. We move to Sacramento, CA, to introduce you the latest release from our dear label Test Pattern Records. The band, a quartet of well-known musicians from the local scene got together in 2010, releasing debut album "High and Lows" a year later, receiving consistent praise from critics. Now they are back with sophomore LP, "Detour", out now. Pretty unique, Soft Science infuses a pop sensibility to a shoegaze soul, with the sweet vocals of Katie Haley riding high among the waves of shimmering guitars, and propels the immediate catchiness of power pop vibes to dream pop territory with the inviting textures and sonic lushness. Engaging and rich, knock-out record!  
She Sir. Without leaving the States, now is time to check the first 2014's release from one of the best labels on Earth, Shelflife Records. Coming from Austin, Texas, this quartet came together after the initial project of Russell Karloff and Matthew Grusha, who met in college as music composition students, expanded into a full guitar-driven band. They debuted in 2006 with the self-released mini-album "Who Can't Say Yes", followed with the EP "Yens" in 2010. Critic recognition arrived and, that same year, Japanese label Happy Prince compiled all their material in the album "Ev'rything in Paris". After a digital single in 2012, She Sir are back with their proper debut LP "Go Guitars", out February 25th. Coined by press as “shimmer-pop”, they sound as Real Estate doing shoegaze, eternal pop drenched in reverb. Go guitars go, and never stop, what a blast!
The Pretty Greens. We end our trip in Philadelphia, thanks to our beloved February Records, to meet Carly, Julia, and Kool Schmool, a female trio that first came together in October of 2010, as Lust2Love, a tribute to one of their favorite bands, The Go-Go's. But in a matter of months, the band was already playing originals as The Pretty Greens. After some line-up changes, self-relesed debut EP  "Ghost World" came in August 2013, followed by single "When Krampus Calls" in December. And just out now on February Records arrives "Jealous Waves", a limited three tunes single on which the band offers an irresistible new dose of their very diverse and genuine pop-punk music. Feminist-grrrl attitude with many addictive pop faces.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Indie Anthology 36: essential songs

The Indie Anthology makes another mandatory stop to pay tribute to one of my all-time favourite artists, Natalie Merchant, who has just announced her comeback with a forthcoming album of new tunes. Her voice, lyrics, her talents as composer, performer, her attitude & commitment, her role as an activist... Oh, this is going to get emotional.

Song: Poison in the Well
Artist: 10.000 Maniacs
Year: 1989

Do you have a band/artist that can bring you to your knees? Make you cry each time you hear them? Break your heart in pieces? I do. R.E.M. have several songs that can be emotionally devastating for me, but the most infallible one will always be 10.000 Maniacs/Natalie Merchant. With the Maniacs, her most exciting period imo, the jangling guitars mixed with the power of her voice, and what she sang about, her records have always been very special for me. Yeah, she moved on and became a more mainstream artist in the 90s, although I don't think she ever compromised a single bit of her integrity and talents, before she shifted her career again, towards traditional music (I won't waste my time arguing, "Motherland" is a precious album). I owe you so many discoveries, readings, thoughts, even trips. A millions thanks Natalie, for being such an inspiration. So happy to have you back. You are the most welcomed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Premiere: Alpaca Sports remixed by The Very Most!

And a wonderful premiere to end the Alpaca Sports day at the blog!!!

In a 1-10 scale of awesomeness a collaboration between Alpaca Sports & The Very Most (yes, a match made in heaven) is, at least, an 11, so imagine how happy I am to be writing this. Both bands met at the last New York Popfest, where Andreas Jonsson asked Jeremy Jensen to remix one of his songs. Now that the Swedish duo is about to release their highly anticipated debut album, “Sealed with a Kiss”, this February 24th via Dufflecoat/Luxury Records, it’s time to unveil what the talent of our indiepop hero from Boise have done with the already adorable tuneJust for Fun” (available on the special CD if you pre-order the record, something you should be doing ipso facto). For once, a remix name does justice to the song. Judge yourself below, but this "Mandolin Magic" is a 10 in my book...

These Go to 11: interviewing Alpaca Sports

Next musician to respond our questionnaire is Andreas Jonsson, the young man behind Alpaca Sports. What can I say? He is an indiepop genius, has been proving his talents since 2012 with each new tune offered... and now he is ready to conquer the world. So, when I'm very very old I'll remember one day I interviewed this music legend to be... These Go to 11!

Andreas meets his band name
Andreas Jonsson, Alpaca Sports
Andreas started his pluperfect twee/indiepop project in early 2012, and with the help of Amanda Akerman and Carl Jirestedt, plus a bunch of rotating musicians, he has been offering us, relentlessly, pop gem after pop gem in gorgeous 7" format singles. "Just for Fun" and "I Was Running" came out via Dufflecoat Records/ Luxury Records that same year, while in 2013, on the same labels, arrived the irresistible "He Doesn't Even Like You" and "Telephone", the latest being a split single with another seminal Swedish band, Acid House Kings. More recently it was the turn of "As Long as I have You", out on Cloudberry Records, making forthcoming February 24th a highlighted date on any indiepop lover's agenda. That's the day when debut album "Sealed with a Kiss", again on Dufflecoat/Luxury comes out. Pop world beware, Alpaca Sports and their delicate, lush, catchy and memorable music is here to stay!

Music aside, one of most famous
Swedish exports
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
My first LP was a compilation with all the songs from the Pippi Longstocking-movie. First cd is embarrassing! Melodie MC – Northland Wonderland (here’s the big hit "Dum da Dum"). I’m pretty sure I still know the whole rap-part.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)  
My first concert must have been when I went to see the Swedish band “Mora Träsk” as a kid. The last concert I attended ( not playing ourselves) was probably to see labelmates Katakomb play at Jazzhuset in December.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
This New Years Eve I ended up dancing like a maniac to “Lucky” by Britney Spears. I was in chock and screamed to my friend Sophie, “why do I like this song so much?!” I think she has it all on camera, so I’m in big trouble haha.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Must be my LPs and singles with The Hit Parade. My favorites are “More Pop Songs” and “With Love from The Hit Parade”. I also got the “Emma’s house” 7” by The Field Mice as a gift from Gary from Dufflecoat Records, that one is very precious to me.

Underrated indiepop 
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
The first one that came to my mind was “I want the one I can't have, and it's driving me mad, it's written all over my face” by The Smiths. Then I thought of  “the best looking boys are taken, the best looking girls are staying inside” from “Judy and the Dream of Horses” by Belle and Sebastian. But I don’t know if they’re my favorites.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Even though it scares me a bit to meet musicians I admire, I think it could be fun to have a cup of tea with Julian Henry from The Hit Parade.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Orange Juice “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”. But oh, difficult question! I already regret my answer…

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
Movies. I’m addicted to drama/romance and I just saw the Chinese movie “The Road Home”, which I can highly recommend. One of my favorite movies is Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso”.

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
She’ll Come Back for Indian Summer”. I always love playing that one live.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Heart, soul and bap bap ba’s.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I finally won the lottery and I’m now living on the French riviera. With a glass of wine in my hand I’m enjoying life in the sun with my wife and kids.
Zillion thanks Andreas!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Discoverer 86: new indie findings

Here comes another round of exciting discoveries for your ears only, enjoy!

Tripping the Light Fantastic. We begin our trip in Hamburg, Germany with this seven-piece group whose origins technically dates back to 2001, although the existing version of the group didn't form until 2008. With a S/T mini-album in 2009 and three 7" singles between 2010 and 2013 (the latest pair out on Dufflecoat and Cloudberry Records), their debut full LP, ...Is Tripping the Light Fantastic, just came out now on Jigsaw Records. An indiepop kaleidoscope, vital, joyous, full of arresting melodies and playful vocals. Orange Juice? Check. The Pastels? Check. Twee? Check. Fun? Check, check, check, check, check...
Astral Pattern. We move to London to meet this trio formed early last year, after the split of their previous band S.C.U.M., and following a crucial trip to Dusseldorf to see Kraftwerk, their favourite band live. With only one release to date, the EP "Light Poems", out since July via 37 Adventures label it might be to early to analyse the influence's extent of the seminal German band. But judging by their five tunes, a subtle, lush, elegant and evocative blend of ethereal dreampop with motorik structures, what we can guarantee is that here's a promising combo to follow from now on.  
Violet Hours. Three weeks ago I introduced you the exciting post-punk band Desperate Journalist, which have me completely haunted. But the addiction is going to get even worse because I just found Jo Bevan, their amazing singer and leader, has another project going on. A quintet (initially a trio) formed on February last year & poised to make "pop that's going to be remembered". Indeed, judging by the three songs available to date. Timeless, epic pop daunting between baroque ballads and indiepop 80s classics, with Bevan's voice crooning among the delicate melodies. Oh my, what a music crush! Can't wait for more!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Indie Anthology 35: essential songs

And if  our latest Indie Anthology tune was a Spanish classic, what about a jangle masterpiece from the UK golden age? Let's vindicate The June Brides, who luckily are still offering us great songs (yes, I'm going to write about them in the very near future).

Song: Just the Same
Artist: The June Brides
Year: 1986

As I guess every Spaniard, I discovered The June Brides very late. You know. Fall in love with Belle and Sebastian (the other option might be falling for The Smiths). Dig into the sound, then you find Felt and The Field Mice. Then one realises jangle pop is "larger than life", and becomes obsessed. The haunt keeps going and pretty soon, a peculiar combo that mixes the trademark guitars of the genre with violas and trumpets, appears in front of your eyes (and ears). What a mind-blowing band. Here's pulse, the joyous pop beat, perfection arriving at the minute mark, subtle and crystalline, and the wonder flourishes with an infinite chorus, where the trumpet dialogues with vocals. Four minutes of pure joy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

The best actor of his generation is gone. A terrible finale for an immense talent. I have never been so sad about an artist passing away, but Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't your average actor. Here’s my modest tribute, a brief countdown through his best 10 perfomances imo, to an incredible career that has ended too soon.

10. Punch-Drunk Love- Dean Trumbell
For many, Hoffman will be remembered as an infallible secondary actor. While that consideration is unfair and utterly reductionist, it's true he has given us so many unforgettable non-leading roles, like the raging "Mattress Man".

9. Boogie Nights- Scotty J.
Speaking of secondary roles, the ridiculously shy, fatty, gay member of the impossible porn filming crew that has a crush on Dirk Diggler is hard to forget. Paul Thomas Anderson and Philip Seymour Hoffman are going to repeat on this list, if you were asking...

8. Almost Famous- Lester Bangs
I mean, Hoffman becoming Lester Bangs? What else a music fanatic would ask for? Unfortunately the film wasn’t as remarkable (despite its undeniable charms) as Lester's, sorry, Philip's, performance.

7. The Master- Lancaster Dodd
Bad joke warning. Hoffman gave a masterful (sorry about that) performance here, one so immense and powerful (alongside Joaquim Phoenix) they made this imo failed movie a must watch and celebrate.

6. Magnolia- Phil Parma
If Paul Thomas Anderson was capable of making Tom Cruise look like a great actor here, imagine what he did with one of the best. The desperation, loneliness and torment of his performance as the personal nurse to the dying host of a children’s game show was heartbreaking.

5. Happiness- Allen
And if we talk about loneliness, what about the pervert looking for happiness in his obsession over neighbor Helen? Todd Solonz made an incredible fierce, brave movie, one that itches and irks, bursts and suffocates the viewer. And he found an infallible actor in Hoffman to give a face to one of his most striking characters.

4. Love, Liza- Wilson Joel
Oblivion and utter sadness. Hoffman IS the movie.

3. The 25th Hour- Jacob Elinsky
One of Monty Brogan's childhood friends, and Hoffman most striking secondary role. As the introverted, restrained teacher he incarnates self-repression, suffering because of his inability to interact with real world. What should we say to him?

2. Synecdoche, New York- Caden Cotard
The face of torture, a monstrous performance for a monstrous film. Hoffman is compelling, painful to watch, depressing, terribly empathic, nonsensical, all at the same time. As complex and imperfect as this exaggerated (meaning that in a good way) look of what it means to be human and live life.

1. The Savages- Jon Savage
It's an excellent, flawless little indie movie (with the great Laura Linney), but the reason it tops this list is because I do believe (or I want to believe) that's the closest Hoffman, the actor, showed who was Hoffman, the human being. Fragile, good natured but terribly pessimistic. This dialogue on the film summarises it. Jon Savage: [about his girlfriend] She's moving back to Poland. Wendy Savage: What, you and Kasia broke up? Jon Savage: No, her visa expired. Wendy Savage: So that's it? Her visa expires, and it's over. Jon Savage: It's either that or we get married and no one's ready for that. Weren't you ready to keep living, Philip? We'll miss you.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Go Violets

For our next interview we go back to the bands/musicians. This time with Alice Rezende, guitarist and 1/4 of the band that, imo, released the best EP of 2013, the amazing Australian band Go Violets. These Go to 11!

Alice Rezende, Go Violets
Go Violets, hyper-addictive quartet.
Formed in 2011, this all-female quartet hailing from Brisbane debuted with the digital EP "^​-​.​-​^" in March 2012. Terrific tunes "Teenager" in August 2012, "Josie" in May 2013, and "Wanted" in August 2013 followed, anticipating their proper first release, the irresistible EP "Heart Slice", out past October on label Create Control. Six extremely infectious, killer tunes, armed with enough infallible hooks & harmonic vocals to win any war, melting garage with sweetest pop. Please keep Going Violets!

Surreal writers: Mmm bop, ba duba dop x3 
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Hanson’s “Middle of Nowhere”, on CD (it was the ‘90s). But the first record I actually bought was for my boyfriend, and it was Brisbane’s No Anchor LP “Real Pain Supernova”, which is solid.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)  
First – Hanson (duh). Last concert was Future of the Left’s show in Brisbane, but I only went to see the opener band Damn Terran from Melbourne, whom we’re friends with.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)

The man... and  the glasses.
4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
I WISH I had the Eddy Current discography on vinyl. That would be precious.

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Any song by Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Patti Smith, Bono.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Kind of love Day Ravies’ cover for their new album “Tussle”.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
Well up in my list of must watch is the original “Clerks” black and white movie, and must read, I dunno, currently I’m reading Nietzche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. So yeah.

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
All of them. Specially the first ones.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
I guess it means staying true to your independent format and to not letting outside influences dictate what you release or how you release it and when, although that can sometimes be pretty unrealistic. I guess having your own vision is important, though, so we strive for that.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Making music, still being friends, having rad jobs, travelling the world.
Zillion thanks Alice!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Discoverer 85: new indie findings

Looking for new music? Here's a trio of amazing discoveries, enjoy!

Watoo Watoo. Fated to love this band. Hailing from Bordeaux, Pascale & Michaël Korchia began offering their majestic indiepop in 1997, with first EP "Un Peu de Moi". Since then, the duo have released 3 albums, "Le Fumalin" & "Curiosites?" in 2001, latest being a covers record, and "Le Fuite" in 2007, plus 2 more EPs, "Picture of a Lost Friend" in 1999 & "Le Tourbillon" in 2011, released on Dufflecoat Records. Luckily, this 2014 is going to be a Watoo Watoo year with the release of 4th album "Une Si Longue Attente", out now in Jigsaw Records. A delight from start to finish, their music is lush, warmly textured, a reincarnation of Stereolab willing to pen the perfect pop song... once and again!
Major Leagues. Back to Australia to meet this Brisbane quartet, formed in 2012, offering wonderful tastes of their pop talent in digital format since that September, until past December arrived their debut EP "Weird Season". Five tunes infused by the sun, armed with an arsenal of irresistible hooks and bigger-than-life melodies, fuelled by fuzzed-out guitar and a carefree, youth spirit. Best Coast, the poppier side of Bleached, I'll let the comparisons to you. Me, I prefer to focus just on the immediate joy and promise of this first batch of tunes. More soon, please!

Caténine. Another one thanks to the great February Records, folks. Caténine is the Massachusetts-based recording project of Dylan Connor, who began his career with a self titled (and self-released) EP in December 2012. Live shows (where he expands the project into a quartet) and a split release with Funeral Advantage on Disposable America Records followed in September 2013. And with the mind-blowing (oh, these guitar lines!) single "In Your Ruin" surfacing now courtesy of February Records we can certify Connor is an artist to follow closely. Classy jangle pop meeting hazy dreampop, with slight touches of synths and icy 80's post-punk. A mixture of wonders.