on Saturday, 29 December 2007
Shady Bard - From The Ground Up (Static Caravan)
There's something undeniably beautiful about the work of Lawrence Becko's baritone vocals, bound to put some people off, others will just find it that bit more loveable, that bit more human, especially when you hear the wonderful lyrics set to such lovely piano based post rock, never going full on Explosions in the Sky but certainly heading that way towards the finale of the wonderous Penguins. Tracks such as Summer Came When We Were Falling Out and Fires are organic and frail almost amateur in appearance with milk bottle melodies and whistled refrains, acoustic post rock, and much lovelier for it.
The sound is wintry and beautiful yet is as warm as it is cold with enchanting lyrics such as "I think i'll take a walk in the park/ it's a cure for a broken heart" perhaps evoking slight comparisons to bands such as Low or The Tindersticks, maybe even The Twilight Sad in four albums time, less frantic and more experienced in life.
Bobby is reflective and not afraid to take & admit responsibility for past errors, humble and delightful and really nothing less than the quality you would expect from the superb Static Caravan label. These Quiet Times is angelic "I'll catch you falling, I'll catch you falling, I'll catch you falling , when you least expect" full to the brim of the kind of reassurance we all need in this paranoid world we have to cope with, Eluvium style piano's enter as the song peaks and the moment is just wonderful as the final chorus breaks in "won't you feed the birds in the winter time?"

Windmill - Puddle City Racing Lights (Melodic)
At the other end of the spectrum we have Windmill, for once an artist who can justify comparisons to the Flaming Lips, Neil Young and Mercury Rev, comparisons so relentlessly handed out to anyone with a remotley falsetto vocal.
The songs again are wonderful, upbeat and also resemblent of the much missed Homescience, mixing beats with classic piano chords this album is again nothing short of brilliant. The songs are heart wrenching yet wonderfully honest.
Interestingly Static Caravan have previously released one of the album highlights, opener Tokyo Moon, do you really need any more evidence that this label is genius?



on Friday, 28 December 2007
Gui Boratto - Chromophobia (Kompakt)

Following on nicely from yestedays piece on Pantha Du Prince comes the superb Gui Boratto. Despite the meaning behind its title, Chromophobia, literally fear of colours, the album is one of the most colourful offerings of the year. Bright, shiny, fun minimal techno, not a million miles from Pantha Du Prince with an extra dash of Vitalic energy thrown in.

Gui Boratto - Terminal mp3
Gui Boratto - Gate 7 mp3


Minimal Land

Motel De Moka

Takagi Masakatsu - Girls - Lumines II
If you need something beatiful and inspiring in your life, you could do worse than start here:

on Thursday, 27 December 2007
Pantha Du Prince - This Bliss (Dial)

In a year when the phrase dubstep has been used to death, a year when Burial have been hyped to death, if not in the media at least in the "forum" scene, and both Burial & The Field have released so called "contenders" for album of the year, I've found myself a little more than disappointed with their output, I will admit to perhaps not giving them the attention they clearly do deserve, after all these are recommendations from people I trust, however when you stumble across an album as instantly great as Pantha Du Princes This Bliss it makes me wonder whether i'll even bother to take the time out to give them albums another chance.

I'm sure some will argue over the genres, one is dubstep the others minimal techno but ultimately they all fit into the same bracket and for I Pantha Du Prince comes in clear winner.

Soundwise I can't really argue with Last.Fm but let the music do the talking.

"Pantha du Prince, also known as Henrik Weber, is a minimal artist producing music in affiliation with Hamburg's Dial Records. His music is often characterised by a hypnotic, intricate combination of melodic chimes and dark, heavy techno beats, but does not confine itself to a single sound or strain of minimal techno. Arrangements are lush and textural, energising yet melancholy; a plethora of sounds and ideas unified by a consistent underlying tech-house beat."

Sources -
on Monday, 24 December 2007
Kashiwa Daisuke - Program Music I (noble)

I was stupid enough to make the mistake of mixing up Kashiwa Daisuke & Daisuke Miyatani both releasing albums this year and both with similar artwork & names to the untrained English man, so i was rather suprised to see the normally reliable Silent Ballet raving over this release and more suprised still to see it awarded number 6 in their end of year top 50 instrumental albums of 2007 as i'd been less than impressed by Daisuke Miyatani's work.

Hence why i'm sat here giving Program Music 1 the attention it deserves. Two tracks, the first Stella is stella by name and stella by nature, clocking in at almost 36 minutes its an awe inspiring trip through a fragile and beautiful outlook of the world. This again shares an affiliation with World's End Girlfriend, snow blowing in your eyes, cold and harsh yet ultimately turning the tired landscape you see day in day out into a winter wonderland of enchantment. Kashiwa has the ability much like Godspeed to write a song that clocks in well above the average length and yet never outstays its welcome. Within a loosely knit genre that often relies on repitition and indelibly written formulas never once does Stella sound like its treading familiar ground or running short of ideas.

Track 2, Write Once, Run Melos clocks in at a mere 26 minutes and again is nothing short of astounding, seemingly more electronic, this will thrill anyone who was even half as consumed as i was by this years Motoro Faam or Cloaks albums, a lovely melding of classical piano and electronic decay for a world weary, politically tired generation. This could well turn into this years favourite mistake.

on Sunday, 23 December 2007
Yasushi Yoshida - Secret Figure (Noble)

Much in the vein of World's End Girlfriend the work of Yasushi Yoshida is equally as stunning though perhaps not quite as ambitious. Lonely footsteps and gently picked out piano notes compliment and grace the achingly lovely violins, the ones that we're familiar with from the quieter bits of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and maybe more appropriately Max Richter.

Dance Piece is simply gorgeous, a text book demonstration in how to make the most of the bits between the notes, each one leaving you hanging on, yet not so long that you lose interest, instead you are always rewarded and then just as you reach the four minute mark it all comes together, slow like the sunrise over the distant mountains, but just as with each passing span something new is revealed, something comes that bit clearer and as such that little bit more beautiful.

Octave Leaves is all footsteps in snow & eerie pianos that remind us of the first A Silver Mt. Zion album, yet here the sound is less steeped in politics, rather focusing on extracting the best of what we have.


on Saturday, 22 December 2007

World's End Girlfriend - Hurtbreak Wonderland (Human Highway)

Where this time last year I was being seriously blown away by Johann Johansson’s delightful Ibm 1401 - a User’s Manual this year there is a new album in my life that touches on every beautiful note given to man, a musical vision steeped both in classical and electronic music yet never sounding (despite its brilliance) as harsh as Venetian Snares Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett, instead in bathes itself with lush sweeps of field noises, birds singing and ever so occasionally blasts of jazz like discordance.

The echoes of piano that pass through Birthday Resistance are sublime but these are soon forgotten as Katsuhiko Maeda begins the 13 minute trip through 100 Years of Choke, a song as life affirming as the video for We Are The Massacre is brutal. This is truly something special, a gentle comedown for the fans of Mono whose interest in World's End Girlfriend must have been triggered by his recent Palmless Prayer collaboration. That was good, this is ten times better. If you need some inspiration in your life then you couldn't do much better than this.

World's End Girlfriend - 100 Years of Choke mp3
World's End Girlfriend - Ghost Of A Horse Under The Chandelier mp3


Sparky's Magic Piano - Feel The Beat and Do It Anyway (MelodyFactory)
An album of sweet and naive pop songs, the opening four of which would've made for a fantastic EP. Yet this is not to say that the rest is throwaway, far from it. Instead simply that the openers Like Falling in L*ve, Mend, the staccato robo pop of Coffee Song & Something Somewhere are near perfect pop much in the vein of all things Amelia Fletcher, i.e. Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, Tender Trap etc, perhaps Tender Trap particularly as the sound is more electronic than you'd expect from the aforementioned.

Sparky and You Like Her are more sparse, losing the electronics and falling somewhere between Whistler and the Englishness of Black Box Recorders Sarah Nixey or The Pines Pam Berry.

Kaliedoscope is lovely in the way that Kenickie's Acetone was lovely, in the way that sometimes when you really want to say something you just can't get those exact thoughts out and so some of the notes strived for aren't quite reached but you know exactly what she means and respect it more for not being afraid to show she's not perfect.

A lovely sweet album of synth pop that worth your attention if initially only for those four great opening tracks.

on Monday, 3 December 2007

Lacrosse - This New Year Will Be For You and Me (Tapete)

I have a thing for Deers, well not a thing, just that I think in animated form they have a real elegance and pull, my favourite t-shirt being the deer covered Bat for Lashes tshirt, my favourite character in Willy Fog, Brigadier Corn. As such it’s no real surprise how easily i was led to the excellent front cover of the new album from Lacrosse,

I can't really argue with the Last.Fm description as follows:

"...above all, Lacrosse is five boys and one girl making fantastic pop music. From a basement in Stockholm, Lacrosse brings you love and happiness in songs so catchy that you can't help singing along! With a lot of energy, two intense lead vocalists, incredibly sweet guitar melodies and blazing drum beats, Lacrosse is the musical equivalent of endless summer nights when the world is young and beautiful and everything seems possible."

Lovely and instantly loveable, this pales last month’s Tullycraft love affair into insignificance, I know I fall in love with a new band on a weekly basis, it was Lavender Diamond prior to Tullycraft, the Aislers Set and the Blow before that but here we have something truly special, this is the album Architecture in Helsinki have always threatened to make, this is how good In Case We Die could have been had each and every song been as good as It's 5! and Frenchy I'm Faking. Canadian summers, roller skates and good times abound, I’ve had this album on constant repeat since I got it and can't see that changing any time soon, a potential late entry for album of the year I propose, certainly more fun than the pundits choice of Burial, a discovery and a half.


Lacrosse - This New Year Will Be For You And Me Play MP3
Lacrosse - Who Will Bring Us Together MP3
Lacrosse - You Can't Say No Forever MP3
Lacrosse - Sunshiner MP3

Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream Blog
Fingertips Blog
Lets Pretend we're Bunny Rabbits Blog
on Sunday, 2 December 2007

Bogdan Raczynski - Alright (Rephlex)
For those recently finding themselves suitably satisfied by Venetian Snares latest album My Downfall but a little disapointed at the sparing use of ridiculously fast beats, for those who prefer more breakneck offering such as his Infolespsy EP and Cavalcade of Glee and Dadaist Happy Hardcore Pom Poms LP the brand new album from Bogdan Raczynski will be a blessing. Coming from interesting roots, born in the US, schooled in Japan and eventually becoming homeless and living on the streets of Tokyo, he now finds himself sitting comfortably on Richard D James Rephlex label and releasing techno-electro-8bit-breakcore to the delight of my ears on the recently emerged album simply entitled Alright, taking a leaf not only from Aaron Funks tree but also that of Aphex and recent discovery to me, the excellent Ceephax.

Darren Hayman - Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern (Track & Field)
I've long since championed the genius of Darren Hayman, stood by him in each and every outfit, from Hefner, arguably one of my favourite bands ever, The French and finally Darren Hayman as a solo outfit (no doubt the completist will add that I’ve missed some more and you'd be right) what i hadn't realised was that he hasn't been performing to the high standards we were once so used to, I’ve enjoyed each and every album but i do remember when We Love the City and Dead Media came out being disappointed, yes they grew on me but ultimately in comparison they weren't really a patch on the exceptional The Fidelity Wars and Boxing Hefner, good but not as good.
And so here we find Darren firing on all cylinders churning out the kind of tracks that seem plucked from our everyday lives, our broken hearts and our deepest sentiments. Elizabeth Duke is wondrous "I bought you a ring form Elizabeth Duke/ I took my own sweet time before proposing to you/ Because all those night when you looked so beautiful/ i forgot to tell you how much I loved you". Art and Design sketches its way about complicated love scenarios, Straight Faced Tracy again is lyrically magnificent as we always expect, "I checked out the barometer/ I read the weather vane. I’ve got sensible walking shoes/ I've got my walking Cane...Tra----cy, I’ve been looking down the M11 link road"
A national treasure and one right on top of his game.

Album Preview
Tullycraft - Every Scene Needs A Center (MagikMarker)

I've fallen further and further away from the world of indie pop, however after recently acquiring the Aislers Set The Last Match in digital format for the first time my thirst has been somewhat renewed. And it would seem that this happened at just the right time, coinciding nicely with the release of the new Tullycraft album, a band I had heard lots of but never really heard anything by and oh how I wish I’d made the effort with them earlier. From the opening seconds it’s clear that this band are even more likeable than Vince Noir, the kind of music it would be seemingly impossible not to like. The Punks are Writing Love Songs will have you singing along to its o-weee-o's before you've even reached the second chorus. Twee as can be and proud of it, pretty much every song grabs you and pulls you from your seat, Georgette Plays a Goth, If You Take Away the Make-Up (Then the Vampires They Will Die) and A Cursed Miss Maybellene, with its first album Looper-esque keys, naive and lovely, being my favourites. Songs like Dracula Screams of Tiger Style (Parts 1&2) clocking in at 7:25 shows another side to Tullycraft proving they are not just one trick ponies, though to be fair it would bother me one bit if all they did was churn out pop song after pop song.
on Sunday, 4 November 2007
Let the music do the talking

Ólafur Arnalds - Eulogy for Evolution

on Thursday, 25 October 2007
It only seems like yesterday when i found myself slowly picking up my own musical identity, straying away from what amazingly when i was at school where thought of as unknown, weird bands, bands like Kenickie, Hefner, Sparklehorse and even to some extent The Smashing Pumpkins. Distributors such as Norman Records and Gayle Brogans Boa Melody Bar opened me up to a whole new world of underground music, the latter especially, it was here i believe that i heard of the excellent and now quite possibly my favourite band the Aislers Set a band so wonderful its hard to put into words how they make me feel. Fuzzy guitars, fairground keys, festive twinkles, handclaps and ba-ba-bas to die for. Songs that make you want to unashamedly dance in that way that long fringed indie pop boys do, songs to sing your heart out to, songs to drive to and songs you will never tire of.

Lately I’ve been going through a bit of a revival, particularly enjoying what i had felt was a disappointing third album, How I Learned to Write Backwards, a more sombre affair than the classic and possibly along with Amy Linton’s former bands, Henry's Dress sole album Bust ‘Em Green, favourite album in my collection, The Last Match, two albums that are currently racing up my Last FM charts. I hadn't really appreciated what a great album it was, how different it was and that really i shouldn't have been expecting another Last Match, instead a more sombre affair, a tired album, one full of melancholy, the downer than almost always any prolonged period of happiness. This is the Aislers Set come down album. Unfinished Paintings is barely there, all drowned in reverb and delicate strokes of guitar, sparingly picked, not too dissimilar to the route Dear Nora took following her early upbeat EPs. Was Either Easier likewise is bare in sound compared to The Last Matches garage band racket, the vocals sublime, the bass taking the lead for the first time and doing a fine job off it, complimenting the horns quite beautifully.
Catherine Says, Action Attraction Reaction, Languor in the Balcony and Mission Bells are more classic girl group yet again minimal in depth, but deep in reverb. These are lovely songs that given chance will become something special to you, only not in the same way that The Way to Market Station, Been Hiding, Balloon Song, The Red Door and We Give Up Did. This is the sound of the Aislers Set after they've been in love, after they've had their hearts broken, an all the more cynical Aislers but an utterly lovable Aislers all the same.
I often wish that the Aislers Set would grace us with another album and yet at the same time the three that they've given us are a little more than special. I'd hate them to come up with something half hearted, go fall in love!
on Sunday, 14 October 2007
Lavender Diamond - Imagine Our Love (Rough Trade)
Following much in the footsteps of what is already one of my favourite releases of this year, The Finches "Human Like A House" comes Lavender Diamond with what i believe is their debut album, Imagine our love, a collection of honey sweet country pop songs that stay just the right side of pop, instead of veering off into full on country. The vocals are a joy, taking on the almost yodled chorus of the very country Garden Rose, like Joanna Newsoms This Side of the Blue played at 10rpm, as glorious as you'd imagine. "i love how the garden grows/ and i love love the garden rose" soaring over sweeping violins and occasionally over excitable pianos. Open Your Heart is the albums obvious pop songs, pianos bashing out and hooks so instantly loveable you'd swear this was the work of the New Pornographers, the almost wordless chorus of "oh, oh oh" 's will instantly store itself in your subconscious mind, popping out at every possible opportunity.
Here Comes One carries the same instantaneous hooks, immediate and direct, near perfect pop. Side of the Lord and My Shadow is A Monday similarly are worthy of mention with their lovely Carpenters pop feel.
A worthy contender to the New Pornographers, Neko Case and Rilo Kiley.


Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart MP3
Lavender Diamond - Oh No MP3
Lavender Diamond - You Broke My Heart MP3

Charalambides - Likeness (Kranky)
I first stumbled over the Charalambides in the late summer of 2002 care of an article in what i can only assume no longer printed Ptolemaic Terrascope, an amazing magazine, all psychadelic in appearance and in tiny print, so keen was it to stack as much information about all these amazing bands it knew of. In fact sitting here with the one copy that I had chance to get hold of, it is little more than a fanzine with a colour cover, much like the also missed Bees Knees, yet all the better for its simple appearance.
They described them Charalambides, pronounced Shar-a-lam-ba-deez as follows:
"Throughout the last decade, Tom and Christina Carter (occasionally augmented by Jason Bill) have created some of the most harrowing, mournful, sophisticated, soul-searching, and brutally honest music in the comfort of their home" the ensuing interview revealed a long history of albums released by obscure labels and featuring lengthy songs rotating around Christina's haunting vocal solo's whereby her voice became more of an instrument than a "voice" in the most traditional sense of the term.
However it was only last year that i began to seriously pay attention to them with the release of the excellent A Vintage Burden and now they're back with another fine release on the much revered Kranky label. They are clearly an acquired taste but certainly a rewarding one given the chance.


Charalambides - Do You See MP3
on Thursday, 11 October 2007
The Loves – One-Two-Three EP (Fortuna Pop!)
Mixing T Rex and Johnny B Goode, the Loves have cooked up the feel good song of the year. A chorus so good that you’ll be singing before you’ve even heard the song “I love you/ You love me/ we’ll be together/ One-Two-Three ugh-huh-huh!!”
The release also sees another reworking of a song from their debut Track and Field album, the simply titled “Love”. It’s Chelsea Girl this time that gets the make over, whereas last time the lovely aching, slow She’ll Break Your Heart was sped up into a French Pop cover of the Velvet Underground, here they do the opposite, dragging it out, almost like Low if they were hippies with flowers in their hair, one to sing along to broken hearted and sat in the rain.

MySpace (four songs for FREE download)

Fortuna Pop!

Some other tracks by The Loves

The Loves – X’s and O’s MP3

The Loves – I My She Love You MP3
on Tuesday, 9 October 2007
Venetian Snares – My Downfall (Original Soundtrack) (Planet Mu)
I've have for several years been a huge fan of Aaron Funks work as Venetian Snares and yet again i find myself in total awe of this prolific and immensley talented artist, it doesn't seem that long since i had my first Venetian Snares album closely held to my chest, the wonderfully titled Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett, an album inspired by a trip to Budapest that had him return, learn the electric violin and trumpet and then make a near perfect album of classical experimental techno, whereby the well known violin sat alongside breakneck techno, rapid and erratic rhythms that only Mr Funk can pull off. On My Downfall (Original Soundtrack) we see a return to this classical sound, perhaps delving deeper still into the world of contemporary music, a sound that both Mozart and Godspeed would be proud of, sorrowful violins and angelic choirs mix with one another expressing both beauty and at time uneasiness, for instance the chilling Holló Utca 3.
This seems like a step forward for an already accomplished musician, whereas previous album, the clumsily titled yet still excellent Cavalcade of Glee and Dadaist Happy Hardcore Pom Poms relied heavily on his trademark drums, it seems that only four of the tracks here feature percussion at all, as always when it appears the results are astonishing but like all things good most are best in small doses and when saved for special occasions.
A landmark album and certainly an artist that deserves your attention and lives to up to any hype that surrounds him.

Sadly none of the below links are from the current album, you'll need to check MySpace for a taster, however the below are a fairly good introduction to the genius of Venetian Snares

on Saturday, 29 September 2007
Emma Pollock & Alaska in Winter Reviewed
Posted on 2007.09.29 at 22:20
Current Music: Gel-Sol - Unifactor
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Emma Pollock – Watch The Fireworks (4AD)
It was just last night that I and a good friend were discussing how difficult we were finding it to write songs of late, to come up with something new, in the past songs have come easily or at least there would be those days once or twice a week, maybe a month if I think deeply enough, the days and years all seem to float into one these days, when a song would fall together just out of nowhere, or a melody or riff would almost play itself. Just lately it all seems to sound so uninspired and as if it’s all been done before, I personally put my new deficiency down to the wider world of music that the internet has enlightened me with, an endless library of inventive tunes, too clever for me and more time consuming than I can justify, still although there is no shortage of people out there still bashing tunes out left right and centre in the traditional way, few do it so simply and so consistently as it would appear Emma Pollock does. I had previously concluded that she was simply a voice to Alun Woodward’s thoughts in the excellent Delgados but it would appear that she has more talent than I’d ever given her credit for.

You can still hear the Delgados in the general sound, 3 minutes into opening track Paper and Glue its classic Delgados piano breakdowns and sweet vocals, slightly tainted by an icy fear as it slowly moves into a lovely waltz outro and at times echoes Reasons for Silence. Acid Test is upbeat and fresh sounding, slightly more “pop” than the Delgados by and large were, Adrenaline likewise an ascending piano tune that needs no help in introducing itself to you.

If this does nothing more than make you aware of the existence of the Delgados and their excellent back catalogue then it will be a success, hopefully though it’ll help you realise what a rare talent Emma Pollock is.

Alaska in Winter – Dance Party in the Balkans (Regular Beat Recording Co.)
By simultaneously mixing Piano & Vocoder, Alaska in the Winter have created what may be the most original and ambitious pop albums of the year. It will not surprise you upon listening to them that their line up is as follows Brandon Bethancourt, Zach Condon (of Beirut), Heather Trost (of A Hawk and a Hacksaw), Hari Ziznewski (of Rap), Stefanie Lamm, Rosina Roibal (who played in the Kanye West live string section), Hilary Bethancourt, and Naila Dixon. There are obvious references to Beirut and A Hawk and a Hacksaw but here they are mixed with vocodered vocals that almost give some songs a daft punk feel.

Other songs such as Harmonijak and Horsey Horse have piano chords as sparse as A Silver Mount Zion, mixing these tender sounds with electronic drums and the aforementioned vocoders, this really is something special.


on Monday, 24 September 2007
Tom Brosseau - Grand Forks Reviewed
Posted on 2007.09.24 at 23:15
Current Music: Tatsuhiko Asano - Genny Haniver

Tom Brosseau - Grand Forks (Loveless)
In my childhood and early youth my dad constantly tried to brainwash with me with all sorts of country music, generally it would be quite horrible and sickly sweet, fiddles galore and yodels aplenty. Ever so occasionally though the odd track or artist would stand out, Johnny Cash obviously (although my younger brothers constant repetitive playing of Folsom Prison Blues should yet somehow didn’t turn me off that song for life) Willie Nelson, Lonnie Donegan and perhaps with the most long lasting effect Hank Williams. And so it remains that in my blood I have both a loathing and a small box room in my house of music for out and out country *(I’m not talking bonnie prince billy, Sparklehorse etc)

Tom Brosseau has instantly been promoted to the top of that list with his wonderful album Grand Forks, recalling the Smith Garrett Band, at times Benjy Ferree with his Steptoe and Son pop so delightfully done on opening track I Fly Wherever I Go, Down on Skidrow is like the moody dusty best of Calexico and both At the Close of Everyday and Misplaced Music’s Charlie Parr on the accentuated Plain Lined Jacket.

A gloriously simple album to coast down still waters on with a picnic basket and a bottle of cider.
on Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Bosques De Mi Mente & Serafina Steer Reviewed
Posted on 2007.09.18 at 22:18
Current Music: Talkdemonic - Beat Romantic

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bosques De Mi Mente – LoFi
With the first signs of the winter bearing down us, they bring with them a terrible feeling of loneliness and a bleak reminder of the harsh weather set to follow in the steps of what has yet again been a poor summer. Yet the winter also brings with it a tragic beauty, one that can pull you from the deepest of setbacks and sprinkle you with hope.

The music of Bosques De Mi Mente is your perfect partner to such feelings of melancholy and despair, like the scene from Far & Away when Nicole Kidman gets shot and Tom Cruise hands her back to her former lover and takes the slow walk through the snow, brutal and unforgiving it beats against your bare face, its gets in through any means possible and bites at your defenceless skin. Yet against the odds it’s hard to deny the beauty of snow and its icy mischievousness, its ability to hold a moment in time, the way you sometimes feel the need and occasionally elongate a time and period of sadness, finding comfort from your sorrows and wallowing in your misery, its unhealthy yes but sometimes it serves a purpose yet eventually like Tom you just have to let her go, just walk away from the situation. You try not to look back yet when you do all you see is footsteps slowly disappearing in the snow as the fresh snow covers them up and severs all former ties.

Bosques De Mi Mente is the music to soundtrack your latest tragedy, the music that will bring beauty to the most tragic of happening, solo piano has rarely captured such feeling, this was last done so well by Eluvium and if that’s not a recommendation then I don’t know what is.

Serafina Steer – Cheap Demo Bad Science (Static Caravan)
You may have guessed that I have a little more than an appreciation for the female vocal and more than a chip on my shoulder about how highly rated Cat Power is and yet again I find myself stumbling over a stupidly talented female that far exceeds anything that I’ve heard from Chan Marshall.

Serafina Steer will appeal to anyone who has been wowed by the likes of Bat for Lashes, Whistler, The Finches, Meg Baird, Cocorosie or Kate Bush and yes I hate lame comparisons but it’s not just because she owns a harp that I find myself thinking of Joanna Newsom, however it’s not that simple, this is Joanna Newsom gone back in time, a medieval Joanna who at the same time mixes her folk styling’s with modern technology and electronics, as if she’s half stuck in the past and half in the future, maybe the common, poor servant girl who creeps into her mistresses room and jumps grubby handed onto the harp at every opportunity, bashing out beautiful songs that no one will ever hear until now. As creative and original as Cocorosie, as lyrically weird as Sparklehorse, yet as accessible as the girl next door, the girl living on a council estate fighting to hear her harp over the arguments that overpower her playing

Catch now before you regret having to stand at the back of a packed out crowd, next to burger king at next year’s ATP, Serafina is a delightful discovery.

Sadly I can’t find any MP3’s so give her Myspace a try

on Sunday, 16 September 2007
Múm - Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy Reviewed
Posted on 2007.09.16 at 16:10
Current Music: Mom - Little Brite
Tags: fat cat records, fatcat records, kanda, mice parade, silent ballet, stereolab, the books, the delgados

Is the new Múm album really so bad?

Múm – Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy (FatCat)

I’ve been quite surprised to see how badly the new album from Icelandic (currently) septet Múm, described on the reliable Silent Ballet website as follows:

“let's just say this is one to put on the shelf and watch it collect dust…this album fails at accomplishing any sort of goal, and even raises the question if one exists in the first place. There's an anxiety behind the track, and many others that really prevents anything from being carried out completely. Thoughts are left completely abandoned, mid-sentence, and rarely do we see anything fleshed out to form any sort of understandable statement.”

Rating it at a measly 3 out of 10, it seems that there has been further negativity towards the album from other reliable sources and so it’s with caution that I stick my neck out, that I pipe up above the crowds and ask “Is it really that bad?” I started this fanzine in paper format initially with the idea of promoting good music, sharing with people music that I have fallen in love with, hence why you will normally find just positive reviews on here, I see no point in telling people what I don’t like, what’s disappointed me. For one of the first times though I feel that I could be wrong, how can there be so much disdain for an album that I have loved from the very first listen to now where new songs keep popping out into the foreground, is it because although having the Múm back catalogue I’ve never given it the time I imagine it deserves, yes I loved Green Grass of Tunnel but really who didn’t? maybe those devout followers were expecting something more spectacular, something more progressive and I’ll admit that at times the timid production does sound like that of a band debut opposed to their fourth/fifth (?) album but to me that adds a certain Icelandic magical charm to it, the delicate icy frozen nature of the twinkling lullaby’s within are made that little bit more childlike and naïve, slowly tip toeing through the snow on cold winters nights.

Perhaps it’s the new line up, after all now not only one of the twins that famously graced Belle & Sebastian’s Fold Your Hands album cover have left the band, with Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir following her sisters footsteps departing at some point in 2006. It was her voice that alongside the electronic glitches, beats and effects, and the variety of traditional and unconventional instruments that made the band’s sound so distinct. So now we have the inclusion of more prominent male vocals not too distant from those of the excellent Mice Parade and particularly on the Books-ian cut up glitch of single They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded the much missed synth pop of Kanda. Marmalade Fires are what the Delgados would’ve sounded like had they purchased a laptop rather than split up. Dancing Behind My Eyelids is again lovely and playful, again reminding us of Kanda and mixing amstrad-esque loading screens with truly delightful melodies. School Song Misfortune is again naïve and playful like some strange childhood dream sequence, lullaby’s for an Icelandic kindergarten.

The closing triplet of songs are somewhat more somber and melancholy in sound, and perhaps those will please long term fans, mainly instrumental and occasionally haunting, particularly so the dense and dark forest walk in the middle of the night that is I Was Her Horse. Guilty Rocks is everything you’ve ever read about Stereolab yet down several times better and closer Winter (What We Never Were After All) is again haunting and angelic icy keyboards set to choir like Viking film chorales, delightful and refreshing, as I listen again I can only convince myself further of how special this album is.



FatCat Records

Múm - Dancing Behind My Eyelids MP3

Múm - They Made Frogs Smoke'Til They Exploded MP3

Múm - Moon Pulls MP3