on Friday, 18 September 2009

Allo, Darlin' - Henry Rollins Don't Dance

It was a sad time earlier in the year to hear the news that the wonderful, poptastic The Lucksmiths had decided to call it a day, however this did mean one last tour and an excuse for a trip to London to see their very last show on British soil.

Arriving late as usual I found myself glued to the stage, rarely have i been so won over by a band on very first impression, live that is, it happens all the time on record. It was so refreshing to see a band actually enjoying themselves instead of worrying about their hair, getting their cordless straightners out between verses to re-straighten yet again. Allo, Darlin' are no such band, instead a bundle of joy, pop as it should be, stealing choruses from popular songs, we counted Johnny Cash, Weezer and Grease amongst the victims.

On record they do not fail to impress either, Henry Rollins Don't Dance is again one of the tracks of the year popwise, trumpets leading the way into her oh how delightful vocals. There's a hint of Helen Love in there, without the "tack" that is, instead silver service pop that is bound to fill indie disco floors for years to come. Dear Stephen Hawking is as good as the title would suggest, intelligent, yet catchy pop. And finally Heartbeat Chilli, a downbeat Johnny Cash borrowing ballad, so sweet it reminds me of Slow Club.

Listen to Allo, Darlin' here

Look out for the full length album currently being recorded for our faves Fortuna Pop!

A pop discovery of the most exquisite type, gloriously essential, horribly catchy and delightfully lo-fi. I read reviews of Hot Lava, all over the top and claiming perfect pop, i could only expect it to be exceptionally poor and on first listen i was far from convinced. However Swine Flu was kind to me and kept me off work for two week, enabling me to discover the Playstation again and thus hours on end of music, most of which ended up being this gem of a record by Hot Lava.

Brilliant, no exceptional, fun, short pop songs that'll have you tapping along and singing sub consciously before you even get past the third track. I honestly feel as passionately about Hot Lava as I did when I first discovered Lacrosse. A band not to be missed.

Each song seemingly a bit better than the last, you'll be fighting over which is your favourite, Apple Option Fire? Blue Dragon? Jpeg in the Sun? o retorno da lovefoxxx? I could go on.

Track it down and let yourself be won over.

Hot Lava - Task Master mp3

Source: Walrus Music

Hot Lava - JPG in the Sun mp3

Source: Kata Rokker

Fergus & Gerinimo - Blind Muslim Girl

Snappily titled and catchy as can be, lovely shiny 60's Beach Boy pop, slightly scuzzier but equally as catchy. A bit of Belle and Sebastian can be heard beneath it all, particularly on Harder than It's Ever Been, Belle and Sebastian had they been brought up in the gutters and not a private school. The title track is one of the pop songs of the year. Highly recommended.

Fergus & Geronimo - Powerful Lovin' mp3
Source: Weekly Tape Deck
Fergus & Geronimo - Harder than it's Ever Been mp3

Sources: CatseatBird
on Sunday, 13 September 2009

I have long had a soft spot for Japan, the country in general to be fair but particularly its music, the awesome Noble label has in more recent times been a favourite of mine with its lush, near perfect releases.

However, my heart was originally won over courtesy of the excellent Geographic Label, an offshoot of the also excellent (at least it used to be) label, Domino, run by Stephen Pastel of all people. Here i was introduced to array of great artists, not least Nagisa Ni Te and the wonderfully ramshackle and always delightful Maher Shalal Hash Baz who have intriguingly just released a 177, yes one hundred and seventy seven track double album entitled C'est La Dernière Chanson. To be honest i'd recommend you try one of their other releases and leave this for the completists, many songs are barely more than a lick and each track seems to have about ten seconds of silence in between, which is normally longer than the actual music on offer. When they do extend past the 30 second mark though, they are normally memorable. If nothing else it serves as a reminder of what a great and intrigueing little band Maher Shalal Hash Baz are.

It seems forever since Geographic released anything, as previously mentioned they were a fantastic label and it turns out that they still are as they return to the scene courtesy of a magical collaboration between The Pastels and Japanese band Tenniscoats. It carries a kind of liquid magic and is fast becoming a contendor for album of the year for me. Just lovely lovely music, exactly the kind of thing i'd expect from the label. Tenniscoats gentle music is the perfect compliment for Stephen Pastels somewhat individual vocals. The contrast of voices on Song For a Friend is just sublime. Lovely stuff.

Pastels / Tenniscoats - About You mp3
Source: The Tape is not Sticky

In no way connected to the label or even the bands mentioned, but equally Japanese and equally magical are ASA-CHANG & 巡礼, probably best known for their near perfect track Hana. On latest release 影の無いヒト, of which i can find no real information, they excel again, more chopped up vocals that form the beats, alongside a two or three songs that recall the loveliness of Nagisa Ni Te and Tenniscoats.

Asa Chang & Junray - Hana mp3
Source: Diary of a Space Traveller