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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Discoverer 101: new indie findings

Our 101 post in our discoverer series is a special one: another trip "down under", but this time to Melbourne, Australia, where three exciting bands are ready to blow you away!

The Zebras. Pop veterans that started their career in Brisbane in 2001 when Jeremy Cole, Edwina Ewins, Matt Jones and Leon Dufficy made the move from Cairns and shoegaze, quickly supporting bands like Lambchop and The Shins, a most promising fact fuelled by the airwaves love of first single 'Car of Idiots'. In 2004 arrived their eponymous debut album on Lost and Lonesome, with sophomore LP 'Worry a Lot' coming in 2007, to much of acclaim from fans and critics. But then came frustration with Brisbane's pop scene, which provoked the group's disband. Although there was an EP in 2008, 'New Ways of Risking Our Lives' with Cole and Ewins introduced assembling a new line-up, The Zebras got in some sort of hibernation... until now, with the arrival of flamboyant new album 'Siesta', out since June on Jigsaw Records and Lost and Lonesome. POP in big capital letters, sumptuous, jangling, endearing, sun-soaked, with Edwina Ewins melting hearts vocals. Serious contender for the best-of-the-year albums lists...

Twerps. Formed in late 2008, this quartet were already supporting big names like Deerhunter, The Bats, Black Lips, Yo La Tengo and Thee Oh Sees within a few months of their first show. Their debut EP, 'Good Advice', arrived on Chapter Music a year later in late 2009 (also released on cassette at US by Night People label). Hype became a fact when Uncut magazine called them “best new band in Australia”, fostered in 2011 when they released single 'She Didn't Know' and 'Black Eyes', followed by self-titled debut album co-released by Chapter Music and Underwater Peoples. A new single, 'Work It Out/He's In Stock', and a tour with Real Estate came in 2012. Now, after a line-up change on drums, Twerps return to action with eight song EP 'Underlay', out this August on Chapter Music and Merge Records. Immediate pop, playful and unaffected. Lazy voices, crystalline guitars, killer melodies, lo-fi scent... Honouring their own tradition (hard not to hear echoes from The Bats or The Clean) while giving us an irresistible dose of immaculate guitar-pop.

Lowtide. Although technically, they began in 2008 as Three Month Sunset, built around the solo workings of Gabriel Lewis, the band's rebirth as Lowtide in 2010 was more than just a name change, becoming a full and expansive sounding quartet. That same year the group released debut EP 'You Are My Good Light'. Shows with A Place To Bury Strangers and Festivals with names like Caribou, My Disco and Toro Y Moi followed. 2011 seem the band releasing a two-track single entitled 'Underneath Tonight' on Departed Sounds, with more shows alongside bands such as Royal Baths, The Laurels or Beaches. On 2012 and 2013 Lowtide focused on playing and preparing their self-titled first album, which was anticipated this May by the mind-blowing single 'Blue Movie', and its out since middle July on Lost and Lonesome. Somewhere in between the lovely Ride and celestial Slowdive (yes, talking big here), Lowtide have created and extraordinary record, full of reverb and dreamy layered guitars, air-suspended vocals and lush textures. A dreampop classic in 2014.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 21

Almost ending summer holidays and, in a few days, most of the people returning to their daily routines. So, what a better way to confront the holiday depression than enjoy our TOP TEN playlist? This week we bring you some consecrated bands as Real Estate, The June Brides or Robert Scott from The Bats,as well as, our beloved Honeyblood, and some fresh songs by The History of Apple Pie or Beach Day. As latest weeks, it's also available at the Blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15 
Week 2      Week 9        Week 16
Week 3      Week 10      Week 17   
Week 4      Week 11      Week 18  
Week 5      Week 12      Week 19 
Week 6      Week 13      Week 20 
Week 7      Week 14

Welcome to the Jukebox! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"The Grand Budapest Hotel", Wes Anderson's Republic

The Grand Budapest Hotel

In my book, that's entertainment. Entertainment within an inviting, personal, mesmerizing world, where an author, in this case, a film director, goes way further in his imagination, being able to show it to a captivated audience. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' might not be as touching as 'Bottle Rocket' or 'The Royal Tennenbaums', but easily qualifies as Wes Anderson's most rounded adventure of his filmography to date, and can compete to 'Life Aquatic' (which can't explain why but absolutely adore) in what regards to visual wonders.

Can a film be absurd, funny, exciting, violent and colourful at the same time? Yes. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' combines all those elements. And again, it's visually wonderful and exciting. Anderson creates his own universe (loosely and freely based on Stefan Zweig's books), which is exuberant and somehow decadent, with cartooning but real characters, old-world charms and witty one-liners. It simply haunts the viewer with puzzling shots full of details.It's Anderson's fantasy, his improbable Republic, and we are invited to watch it. And foremost, enjoy it.

Although it can be argued the story in itself plays a secondary role compared with the care put on the flamboyant and flawless sets and visuals that's not to mean is not important or lacks substance. It's an adventure with a twisted humour, taking place at a vertigo pace and with killing, rapid-fire dialogues. But behind there's something else, something darker, more nostalgic and evocative. The world we are seeing in the film is not real, but it's even worse: it looks familiar, historically real, but out of time. It's a parallel reality looking condemned, already past, already gone. Forced to disappear too?

No one reflects that sense of an ancient world on the verge of being forgotten than the Budapest Hotel's concierge, Gustave H., played gracefully by Ralph Fiennes, the absolute star of the show. Relentless, old fashioned, sophisticated to the extreme, mannerist, picky and absolutely devoted to his job... and the glamour it concedes... at least in his head. He's the epitome of a vanishing present, quickly becoming past.

The film is a basically an adventure, involving an impossible chasing after Gustave puts himself in an extremely dangerous situation when he's inherits a precious painting which confronts himself with very dangerous people. But even more important, all this hide and seek tale is set against a very particular backdrop: the Nazis (although they are called that in the film) invading Central Europe. There are some scenes of imploding violence and the threat of war is always present. So the funny, offbeat and quirky humour, one of Anderson's trademarks, is sometimes poisoned by what looks like reality getting through fantasy. A cornerstone scene that happens twice during the movie says it all.

Anderson surrounds Gustave between two generational worlds. In a stellar cast of well-known faces (Anderson's growing family of actors) in supporting spots, including Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Jeff Goldblum or the charicaturesque, terrible villains played by Willem Dafoe and Adrien Brody. In a key, hilarious and unforgettable scene which includes our dear Bill Murray, the troubled Gustave seeks for the help of his colleagues: we are referring to concierges of several hotels, similar in their old fashioned and surreal style to The Grand Budapest, all over Europe. Each of them stop their flawless and impeccably executed duties to attend Gustave's call, putting in charge their respective assistants. A younger generation taking the lead. Which is exactly the case with lovely Saoirse Ronan as Agatha and Tony Revolori as Zero, the other leading roles, becoming Gustave's partners in the adventure and their offbeat counterpoints on the dialogues.

At times, with 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' I had the feeling aesthetics and visuals were winning the battle instead of the story. You know when after watching a movie there's not a lot to talk about outside the theater? That's not exactly true in this case, but the majority of comments were focused on a particularly impressive scenario, a beyond cool imagery, or a stunning look. Would the movie be a masterpiece with a more profound insight on the characters & story? Maybe. But it would have been a different movie for sure. And who knows, maybe Anderson's wild, bustling imagination, would have been constrained with a more conventional plot development. So, for once, I'll just enjoy this masterful entertainment without caring that much about how long it will endure...

SCORE: 7,5/10

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Indie Anthology 50: essential songs

Back blogging with a great tune for our Indie Anthology. If the last one was about Lambchop, this time I to pay tribute to a very close band to them, one I've been reading about for Indienauta recently. A seminal but always underrated trio!

Song: Tom Courtenay
Artist: Yo La Tengo
Year: 1995

Never been a Yo La Tengo fan, one of the most perfect examples of a "band of songs", not albums, for me. But hey, when the amount of tunes reaches what it could make a lovely and diverse double/triple record, that's not exactly what you would call a bad thing, right? 'Tom Courtenay' might be one of their most straightforward, catchier songs, and the first that made "click" with me. Love the contrast between its sound exuberance, an unbeatable piece of indie rock without reservations (who can't deny the attraction power of the simple “ba-ba-ba” backing vocals), with the nostalgic lyrics of Ira Kaplan, full of childhood pop culture memories. Honestly, they are ages away from mine, but you can't help, just fall disarmed by the joy the tune transmits.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Discoverer 100: new indie findings

Who made the 100 post in our discoverer series? The last three bands to reach the landmark of 300 music proposals for your ears only!

The Luxembourg Signal. LA-based, this fantastic new project means the birth of a super-band, featuring members from the great Aberdeen or, most recently, Fonda and Trembling Blue Stars. The origins of the group can be traced almost ten years before, but only after several reunions Johnny Joyner, Beth Arzy and Brian Espinosa started The Luxembourg Signal with Betsy Moyer and Ginny Pitchford, recording the tunes each time Beth visited the States. After the 7" single 'Distant Drive' released in April 2014 by our dear friends of Shelflife Records, on September 30th their debut, self-titled album, will arrive. 10 rich tunes combining dreampop, glimmering pop with a darker twist, shoegazing textures and a talent to knack unbeatable melodies within the noise and guitar drones. Spectacular.
Minipop. Hailing from San Francisco, this group formed a decade ago, when Matthew Swanson joined forces with Tricia Kanne the duo began composing music with a clear '90s vibe like Slowdive or Lush, completing the band shortly afterwards with the addition of Lauren Grubb and Nick Forte. They self-produced debut EP, 'Precious', in late 2005, signing with Take Root Records and releasing their only album to date, 'A New Hope', a year later. Despite the great press and successful tours along with bands like Stellastarr, Film School or Cursive, Minipop has always taken their own path and rhythm to do things. Another EP, 'Automatic Love' arrived in 2010. With the band becoming a trio, now they are back with another EP, 'Chances' out since July. Starry-eyed dreampop, always fuelled with Kanne's irresistible voice. Melodic, spacey and ethereal sounds. The band's name is ironic, for sure. This is huge pop, not mini at all.

WORKING. Hailing from Rhode Island, here's an extremely exciting new group, with a quartet formed by John and Catherine Kolodij, whose previous projects include Aura'd and The Best Wishes, joined by friends Matthew Derby and Mary-Kim Arnold. They just released a debut, digital single on Shelflife Records entitled 'More Weight', announcing they are currently preparing a full length album scheduled for 2015. Three promising tunes of noise pop, C-86 style, recalling Black Tambourine or Velocity Girl, as addictive as the summer season. Great, huge expectations, keep WORKING that good!  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 20

August, summer time, holidays...but here's our TOP TEN playlist, with several exciting tunes we are enjoying the most lately. This week we bring you some bands that have already captivated us as The Death of Pop, Tape Waves or Ex Hex (second or third song for them in our Jukebox) and also indispensable bands as our beloved Allo Darlin'. As always we introduce you new discoveries as Trust Fund, Cancers or Lily & Madeleine. It's also available at the Blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15 
Week 2      Week 9        Week 16
Week 3      Week 10      Week 17   
Week 4      Week 11      Week 18  
Week 5      Week 12      Week 19
Week 6      Week 13
Week 7      Week 14

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Discoverer 99: new indie findings

We are very close to reach a milestone in our 'Discoverer' series. But before that special moment arrives, here are three unmissable proposals for your ears only!

Tape Waves. Let me introduce you to the Weldin's music, one of the nicest surprises reaching my inbox since this Blog was created. Jarod and Kim Hart Weldin hail from Charleston, South Carolina, and their first tunes surfaced just last year, with a self-titled summer EP, announcing more wonders about to come. After a 7" single featuring Stay All Night /Looking at the Sun' this May, since the end of July we can enjoy their debut album 'Let You Go', out via Bleeding Gold Records. Delicate, whispered dream-pop that looks, smells, feels, (I'm sure you can taste and touch it too) and sounds like the most peaceful sunny afternoon. Think on Real Estate jangling guitars fronted by an ethereal, echoing female voice (sometimes Kim vocals seem to be floating in the breeze). This is what sunshine pop should mean. This is a no-brainer: among the records of the year.
Thee AHs. Another discovery thanks to Indietracks. Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, the band started around high school 2011, when guitarist-composer Davinia Shell joined singer and illustrator Sarah Lowenbot and drummer Mareesa Holmes. Completed with bassist Ridley Bishop, they self-released their two first albums, 'Thee AHs Nation' in September 2011 and “Future Without Her” in February 2013. Their prolific career so far includes tours across their country, the States and, their recent first UK tour, a change in their line-up, with Dan On replacing Bishop on bass, and the arrival of third LP, 'Corey’s Coathangers', out since March via Jigsaw Records and Birdtapes. Self-defining their sound as black bubblegum pop, Thee AHs do intriguing, adventurous in-your-face pop, one in which the sugar often masks twisted subjects and sinuous, frantic structural shifts, fuelled with Lowenbot's malleable honey vocals. Pretty unique.
The Artisans. Hailing from North East England, between Newcastle and the (their definition, not mine) thick smog of Hartlepool, this quartet formed at the end of 2013, but they are not newcomers into this "business": frontman Kevin 'The Nearly Man' McGrother has a very extensive career in bands like Just Like Alice, Tickety Boo or solo, releasing via several indiepop labels, while the rest of the band played in Pale Man Made and Uncle Monty. The buzz around the combo has just begun in the form of radio airplay and the support from Frankie & The Heartstrings. Something logic considering the four tunes (considered demos despite their unstoppable strength) we can enjoy to date. Jangly, with that timeless 80s feel, and immediately catchy songs honouring the best of traditions and its more than apt name. We just want more!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 19

Better late than never (you never know when a wedding is going to end) here's our TOP TEN playlist, with several exciting tunes we are enjoying the most lately. This week "illustrious veterans" and Blog "beloved bands" make most of the playlist, completed with new discoveries. And of course, it's also available at the blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15 
Week 2      Week 9        Week 16
Week 3      Week 10      Week 17   
Week 4      Week 11      Week 18 
Week 5      Week 12
Week 6      Week 13
Week 7      Week 14

Welcome to the Jukebox!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing The Swapsies

This day had to arrive! After meeting them at Indietracks (one of the highlights of the Festival without a doubt), Huw & Andrew, main composers of The Swapsies, one of the Blog favourite bands, take part in our questionnaire series. As expected, here's one of the funniest and charming These Go to 11 we ever had!

Huw Spink & Andrew Warhurst, The Swapsies
Best spoonball squad ever. Period
Hailing from Liverpool, the band started around 2011, releasing debut single 'You’re My Maillot Jaune/ Hey There You' that summer. But 2013 was the real "Swapsies year". First, with the August release, in conjunction with our dear friends from February Records, of their sophomore single 'Another Game on Saturday/ A Fleeting Summer' that, aside from its glorious two pop gems, got a lovely soccer-obsessed physical release. And before closing the year, it was followed by their first EP, 'Sparrows', four irresistible tunes, again preciously packed with a mini-fanzine and an illustration. While we await for new songs, and after enjoying them live for the first time, we can assure you this: your small & shy indiepop heart will be forever grateful if you hear The Swapsies. Music full of charm, harmonies, handclapping and genuine passion. Graceful, joyful, everlasting pop. Here we go!

1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Andy and Ned Flanders' choice
Huw: Almost definitely 'Any Dream Will Do’ by Jason Donovan. I still really like that song. I tried to persuade The Swapsies to perform it. Alas to no avail!
Andy: Ha! My Mum and Dad had the Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat LP so after I went to see the musical I asked them to put it on a tape for me. I'm pretty sure I could sing it now but I'm not convinced it'd suit us! I remember when I knew I was getting my first CD player I went out and bought two singles. 'Free Me' by Cast and 'Blackbird on the Wire' by The Beautiful South. The first cassette I remember getting is 'Things Can Only Get Better' by D:Ream when I was about 7. The first record I remember feeling any sort of ownership of was a 7” of 'We Didn’t Start The Fire' by Billy Joel which I used to ask my Mum to put on for me to dance around to.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Huw: First was Paul McCartney in Earls Court in London in 1993. It was mind-blowingly exciting! Even if I was sat about a million miles away from him. Last was The Hidden Cameras at Indietracks. Life-affirmingly wonderful.
Andy: First: Idlewild at the Students’ Union in Liverpool in 2002. It set me off on a lifelong love affair with Scottish music! Last: Indietracks!

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Huw: Very hard to answer! Apart from the aforementioned ‘Any Dream Will Do’? Ok then - 'Asajere' by Las Ketchup then. Love that song! Tremendous. No idea what they are singing about, which might help my enjoyment somewhat! [Blogger's note, it's 'Aserejé', and easily ranks among the worst songs ever, but we love The Swapsies too much to take it against them...]
Proof that genius pop composers
chat to each other
Andy: It’s definitely not a very cool answer but I really like the hymns of John Bell. I don’t go to church a lot anymore but my Mum’s a vicar and I grew up singing songs in church. I think a lot of my love for a catchy tune comes from that! A few years ago I went with my Mum to see him sing some songs and talk about songwriting and during the interval he came and had a chat with me. We talked about Glasgow and Belle and Sebastian and he drew me a little map showing me how to find the record shops when I was going to visit. (As a coda to this, I messaged Stuart Murdoch about our conversation through the B&S website and he replied saying that he’s a fan too)

Mount Beatles!
4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Huw: Very hard to choose just one! Probably a model of Mount Rushmore but with The Beatles instead of Presidents. It’s quite classy in its own way.
Andy: My original vinyl soundtracks of the first three Muppet Movies! (should that be the guilty pleasure?)

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Huw: “The temptation to take the precious things we have apart to see how they work must be resisted for they never fit together again”, from ‘Must I Paint You A Picture’ by Billy Bragg. Or maybe “I know it’s kinda hard but I’m glad that it is” from ‘Desperation Made A Fool Of Me’ by Belle and Sebastian.
Andy: I love so many of the lines in Belle and Sebastian’s 'Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying'. “Nobody writes them like they used to so it might as well be me” is such a wonderful philosophy for a song writer to live by.
Think of it this way/ You could either be successful or be us/ With our winning smiles, and us/ With our catchy tunes, and us/ Now we're photogenic/ You know, we don't stand a chance

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Henson & family
Broadside balladeer
Huw: Phil Ochs. He is my hero. A great lost songwriter of the 1960s. I’d love to have had the chance to tell him how much his songs mean to me (having already made a fool of myself telling Billy Bragg & Stuart Murdoch)
Andy: Would Jim Henson count? He had a lovely singing voice and an ear for a harmony but didn’t write any of the songs. I’d love to have met him. I'd also like to sit round a cafe table with Stuart Murdoch and Lee Mavers.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Huw: The Beatles’ ‘For Sale’ LP. A lovely photo of four lovely men. What more do you need?
Andy: Kraftwerk’s Tour De France artwork takes some beating for me

'Motherless Brooklyn'
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Huw: My favourite film is ‘Bridesmaids’. It has genuinely cheers me up everytime I have watched it. I really like the novels of Jim Thompson – though they are not terribly cheerful. They are all great (they are also all rather similar – which is fine by me!).
Andy: I wouldn’t want to choose one over the other! Our friend Kristin (co-runner of February Records) recommended reading 'Motherless Brooklyn' by Jonathan Lethem so I did and it was great. I’m reading another of his books now so I’ll pass on Kristin’s recommendation! For a film to recommend, I recently watched a documentary called ‘Just Like Being There’ which is about screen printing gig posters. It’s super-inspiring! Since I’ve watched it I’ve been recommending it to everyone!

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Huw: Andy wrote it but our song ‘I Won’t Stand Idly By’ is the one I enjoy singing most. It’s a bit of a protest song, but it’s also about being a bit shy. In my mind it’s our nod to great protest singers like Phil Ochs without forgetting that we are not gregarious, rabble-rousing kind of people either.
Andy: I’m really proud of how 'Another Game on Saturday' turned out and it’s a lot of fun to play.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Huw: Indie to me just means doing it. Not waiting for perfection or hoping for fortune and glory but the act of creating music being in itself its own reward.
Andy: Yeah, it's the freedom if you think you’ve got something worthwhile to share to just do it yourself and get it out there. If we like the music we make then maybe someone else will too? There’s also a great community spirit where everyone helps each other out where they can without expecting anything much in return. I think blogs like Bloodbuzzed sum up that spirit and enthusiasm and are just as much a part of ‘indie’ as the people who make the music.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Huw : Celebrating the ten year anniversary of filling in this questionnaire (thanks Mitch Hedberg!)
Andy: Living in the West End of Glasgow in an independent Scotland (wishful thinking)

Zillion thanks Andy and Huw! Zillion thanks Swapsies!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Indie Anthology 49: essential songs

And quickly following the latest one, another tune for our Indie Anthology. This time thanks to my bosses at Indienauta and a recent music read, who made me think, then go back listening, them. Welcome back my dear Nashville underdogs!

Song: Up With People
Artist: Lambchop
Year: 2000

"Countrypolitan" was the extreme weird definition some critics coined for Lambchop's music when their fifth album 'Nixon' surprisingly got praised everywhere in 2000 (if I'm not mistaken, it was proclaimed album of the year here and there). Luckily for me, I jumped on the band's bandwagon with this record, so I didn't know a thing about the alternative country / Americana debate surrounding them. No, to me, they were soul, pure and opulent soul blending with chamber pop, baroque arrangements and retro vibes. Lush, witty and in a singular way, uplifting. All fuelled by 'Up With People' and its eternal charms, which became one of my staple songs at university. The handclaps, the irrepressible backbeat, the relentless Motown bassline, the gospel surrounding Kurt Wagner's dry and deliberate monologue... “Come on, progeny” the songs unfolds in all its glory before slowly fading... and you can't help but keep smiling and whistling the melody. Yes, its a song about ordinary, failing acts & people “We’ll most certainly leave the doing, the doing undone”. But is more a comforting lesson: just laugh at it and keep doing while you try to enjoy the ride. A wonderful advice in less than five glorious minutes.

The Indie Anthology 48: essential songs

After Indietracks Festival, it was bound to happen. The next tune included in our Indie Anthology is one of the most haunting songs ever made, 30 years after its release, I was finally able to see it live. Folks, we are going down under once again... to the mysterious and bewitching Dunedin Sound...

Song: Pink Frost
Artist: The Chills
Year: 1984

Where does it comes from? What stars aligned when Martin Phillipps (a genius so criminally underrated, at least in Spain-Europe) composed this captivating song? Well, it's not just one song. It's an assemble of atmospheres resulting in something so much bigger than the sum of its parts. First, we have a sort of upbeat but intriguing 23 seconds intro, where a chiming guitar seems to salute you. But as promising as this start was, the listener is never prepared for what comes next. A haunting shift towards wilderness, to darkness and a moody, nightmarish atmosphere where dreams are scary. 32 seconds (sorry if it looks it seems I dissected each section of the tune... I did) of dour, gloomy jangle before Phillips throws its vulnerable, desperate vocals into the obscure. It goes even better, when, at the mark of the 2.29 minutes 'Pink Frost' shows its last transformation, with the spooky, echoing "She's lost, she's lost" before the songs advances into its final part, although you have the feeling the song could last forever. Flying Nun's finest hour. Period. And watching/listening The Chills playing it live, in expansive, full form at Indietracks, now has completed the circle for me.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Discoverer 98: new indie findings

First Sunday of August and many bands to introduce you to! Three special proposals you shouldn't miss!

Luluc. Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett's story is a slow-burnt one. Hailing from Melbourne but Brooklyn-based, they first met in Scotland. The music chemistry was undeniable but not the timing. Life got in their way. Back to Australia, got jobs & studies to follow and separately played in other bands. But the death of Randell's father impelled her to focus on music and, eventually, she reunited with Hassett, recording 'Dear Hamlyn' in 2008. Opening slots for Lucinda Williams, Fleet Foxes, and José Gonzàlez followed, as well as praise from Nick Drake's legendary producer Joe Boyd and No Depression co-founder Peter Blackstock. The latest put Luluc in contact with Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman, who signed them. After a 2010 failed attempt to make second record in Australia, they met The National's Aaron Dessner, who became not just the LP producer in his Brooklyn studio, but a de facto third, unofficial band member. The result of their collaboration is 'Passerby', out since July. A gorgeous, delicate, subtly arranged affair. Dreamy and melancholic indie-folk. Haunting.

Space Daze. This is the new, flamboyant and ethereal indiepop solo project of Danny Rowland, the lead guitarist & songwriter of our beloved Seattle band Seapony. Few months ago, in March 2014, he challenged himself to a songwriting experiment: to write & record a new song every day for an entire month. The process only lasted twelve days, enough to came out with a complete album, entitled 'Follow My Light Back Home' and released in June on always reliable label Beautiful Strange Records as a limited cassette edition. Quite immediate but genuinely warm, full of twangy guitars & spacious instrumentals, its jangle-pop meeting surf-rock. 'You're in love with the sun', sings our dear Jeremy Jensen's in one of his perfect tunes. That's the exact feeling Space Daze music evokes into the listener. A delicious, sunny pop collection of songs.

Teen Canteen. Indietracks' live discovery, where they opened the Festival and won me over. Split between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Carla Easton, Sita Pieracinni, Amanda Williams and Deborah Smith formed in 2012 and released their debut single 'Honey', mixed by Bill Ryder-Jones, via Edinburgh Arts Collective Neu! Reekie! at the end of 2013. The buzz began, fostered with their engaging shows at festivals and supporting established names like The Pastels, Evan Dando & Juliana Hatfield and Stealing Sheep. Now, after the June release of their irresistible second 7" single 'You're Still Mine / Vagabond' it's about time you'll add Teen Canteen to your "bands to fall in love with" list. Glimmering, bright indiepop tunes, high on sugar but not short of sharpness, and with huge breathtaking harmonies to stop the Planet's rotation for a while.   

Saturday, August 2, 2014

These Go to 11: interviewing Shelflife Records

Back to our regular posts after the Indietracks experience, and our next guests to answer our questionnaire we have a very special couple. What would have been of this Blog without them? Matthew Bice & Ed Mazzuco, the Shelflife Records' bosses, one of our favourite independent labels. Mankind needs them. These Go to 11!

Ed Mazzuco & Matthew Bice, Shelflife Records

Ed & Matthew, making your ears
happy since 1995
Shelflife Records began in 1995, when Ed Mazzuco, a fan of 80's English pop and with mythic labels as Factory and Sarah Records as reference, launched the label in a southern California suburb bedroom, in conjunction with a mail order and distribution service. The goal: introducing foreign indie pop groups to the US. Shelflife's first release arrived in August 1996, the compilation 'Whirl-Wheels' which included tracks by Club 8, Boyracer, La Buena Vida, and Ed’s own band The Autocollants. A year later, Ed & the label moved to New York, and although the mail order and distribution service were discontinued, the artist roster continued to grow: Shelflife was a hobby no more. Recognition keep increasing, and the label's scope expanded, hosting the annual showcase The September Set, and in 2007, with Ed and Matthew Bice relaunching Shelflife blending art with music. To put it simply: one of the best indie labels out there, almost infallible. Here we go!
1. First record that you bought (be honest)
Ed: I think it was OMD's 'Crush'. Or maybe LL Cool J 'Bigger and Deffer'
Matthew: 'Me and You and a Dog Named Boo' by Lobo

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Ed: First concert was New Order in 1988. The last, Toy
Matthew: The first was Chet Atkins. The last, Primavera Sound 2014

Motown in the 90s? Ummm....
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Ed: 'Send The Pain Below' by Chevelle
Matthew: 'Motownphilly', Boyz II Men

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)

Ed: Hard one… maybe Buba and the Shop Assistants 7"
Matthew: Signed copy of 'Blue Monday' 7”

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Ed: Sometimes these words just don't have to be said
I know how you both feel the heart can rule the head
Jealousy is an essential part of love
The hurting here below and the emptiness above- The Wedding Present, 'My Favourite Dress'
Matthew: I think, yes. I’m doing a fine job Cocteau Twins, 'Summer Blink'

They want you (but don't dress like them)
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Ed: All of the Shelflife bands I have never met
Matthew: ABBA

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Ed: OMD, 'Dazzle Ships'
Matthew: 'Satan is Real' by The Louvin Brothers

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Ed: Movie, 'Ski School'
Matthew: Movie, 'Toto the Hero'

Days 'Downhill'
9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Ed: Days, 'Downhill' 7”
Matthew: Days,'Downhill' 7”

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Ed: Doing it your own way and not falling into industry traps
Matthew: Not letting “that’s not how you do it” get in your way

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Ed: Living where I can work less and enjoy life more
Matthew: Under a tree, petting my sheepdog

Zillion thanks Ed and Matthew!

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox 18

Still under Indietracks's influence as you'll easily see in our weekly TOP TEN playlist, with several exciting tunes we are enjoying the most lately. And of course, it's also available at the blog's soundcloud, so please Join Us!

Direct links to the previous Jukebox weeks
Week 1      Week 8        Week 15 
Week 2      Week 9        Week 16
Week 3      Week 10      Week 17   
Week 4      Week 11 
Week 5      Week 12
Week 6      Week 13
Week 7      Week 14

Welcome to the Jukebox!