The Autumn Stones – ‘Endless War’

By John Hartley

This is quite a charming slice of indiepop which takes me straight back to the days when I could actually pop into my local record shop and pick up a 7-inch single. The guitars buzz, the singer almost gasping for breath in between staccato lines of verse and there is even a saxophone that somehow manages to unwrite the unwritten ‘saxophones-on-records-other-than-‘Absolute-Beginners’-or-by-Madness-are-a-bad-thing’ rule.

I have no idea what Toronto-based The Autumn Stones are singing about, mind you, but any band that manages to include the words ‘zest’ and ‘cuckold’ in the same song is on the right lines. At three and a half minutes ‘Endless War’ is perfect pop song length, and even manages to take the listener on a surprise detour – like a country bus veering off to an obscure village – half way through without losing sight of its ultimate destination. That destination, by the way, should be your favoured mode of listening to music.

‘Endless War’ by The Autumn Stones is released on Monday 28th October via Chic Monk Records.

The Inspiral Carpets — ‘Inspiral Carpets’

Inspiral-Carpets-Album

Inspiral Carpets return with their first new album in two decades, and it’s as if they’ve never been away. And yet at the same time the record sounds exactly like they have been away. If you follow. There is a new-found freshness and wide-eyed energy– including original vocalist Stephen Holt– to much of ‘Inspiral Carpets’, as if the band are starting out all over again, entering a new era.

That old Clint Boon organ swirl is still there, still driving the songs, their danceable brand of psyche-punk– brought together with the help of guitarist Graham Lambert, bassist Martyn Walsh, and drummer Craig Gill– still crucial, still totally their own. At the heart of this album, at the heart of all their best songs, is a singalong, shameless pop element. Indeed The Inspiral Carpets still know their way round a tune.

Cheers for the music, John: Ten years since the death of John Peel

By Philip Neeson

It’s a bit of a cliché to say it but….is it really ten years since the sudden shuddering death of influential and unique BBC– and other– radio DJ John Peel? I remember receiving the news via text from my brother. I was in the university library at the time, about to sit down and write some essay about Roman slavery or whatever. I remember looking at the brief text: “John Peel dead. Heart attack while in Peru”. Of course straight away I’m thinking this is a joke but that lasted all of 0.5 seconds and was never really convincing anyway. Why would my brother send those words in a text as some sort of bizarre unfunny joke? I knew it was true. Then a kind of dreamlike surrealism took hold. It can’t be true. This is one of the worst pieces of news I could ever have received. I walked home, forgot all about my essay. I remember seeing all the oblivious faces as I walked passed them, I felt like I was living on a separate planet, or at least floating a few feet above ground level. In a not good dreamland that I didn’t want to be in. I wanted out. And yet I knew I would be here for a while. In fact, in some ways I knew I’d never come out. I guess I still haven’t. Not totally. Continue reading

Friday wind-down Orbital sadly (again) no more KEXP special

Distressing news in the week that Orbital are calling it a do after 25 years. Yes, they did split between 2004 and 2012, but when they came back with the album ‘Wonky’ – as good an album as ever they’d made – it looked like they’d be around a while longer yet. Not so.

So as they go their separate ways, let us indulge ourselves as the working week winds to a close. A live set for Seattle radio station KEXP.

Continue reading

The Twilight Sad — ‘Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave’

Wintry-emotive indie act The Twilight Sad nowadays do their angular, tripping-down-the-stairs Krautrockian indie-noise in a less abrasive, angrier style, instead things generally more smoothed out and radio-friendly. They now remind this writer of underrated late-80s Dublin band Into Paradise. And in a way this is what’s disappointing. Their earlier records were more unique, positively flawed than this one. But, equally, others may prefer it.

‘Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave’ is okay, if indeed it sounds like so many other people…..even not that dissimilar to the latest Interpol record. James Graham’s coarse-folksy tones, of course, are still instantly recognisable, and in some ways this saves the record from melding completely into a big indie-goth blancmange dated 1982 – present. Not as good as the last one and not as interesting as before.

 

Listen to Gang Gang Dance remix Soft As Snow’s ‘All Our Beasts’

Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance reworks Soft As Snow’s ‘All Our Beasts’, found on the ‘Glass Body’ EP that came out this summer on Houndstooth. Here find him stretching out and adding some beats and pieces to the original’s offkilter, spooky contemplation. The track is off ‘Glass Body Remixed’, expected next week. Check out the tracklist below.

‘Glass Body Remixed':

A1. Halo Heart (Lucy Remix)
A2. All Our Beasts (Gang Gang Dance Brian DeGraw Remix)
B1. Glass Body (Factory Floor Gabe Gurnsey Remix)
B2. Black Birds (Maria Minerva Rework)

[Via TinyMixTapes]

Wild Smiles — ‘Always Tomorow’

wild_smiles_always_tomorrow_cover

By Philip Neeson

‘Always Tomorrow’, the debut long-player from punk-pop three-piece Wild Smiles, is eleven rollicking tracks addressing “the struggles of the debt-heavy, priced-out youth generation.”

Opener ‘Fool For You’ is a Ramones-eque lovesong: “I’m a fool for you/ and everything you do”. The next track ‘Never Wanted This’ is pure songbook Nirvana, albeit less grime-y. ‘Everyone’s the Same’ has a go at some of that bitesize JAMC punk-spirited psyche-blues, while a track like ‘The Best Four Years’ wears its C86 badge proudly on its lapel. If ever a record released this year shows its influences as obvious as ‘Always Tomorrow’ does we’re not sure we’ve heard it yet. But we do love Wild Smiles’ lovable honesty and true spirit. Always tomorrow? Pah! Enjoyable stuff.