New household member and French princess Seraphine says she only listens to old school jungle and sometime glitch-step. I don’t quite believe her silky continental sophistications as I’ve seen her secret stash of Serge Gainsbourg, rare groove and booty bass LPs.
2. “Annabel Dream Reader” – The Wytches
I’m a 90s kid through and through. Cut me and I bleed jangly indie, shoegaze and pre-major-label grunge (when it was called alt. rock). I’m pop but Sub Pop. I’m sub Sub pop Pop. Pop.
Some folk might think that the terms wretched, noisy & abrasive are negative words to describe music with. I think things went bad when the only audible influence bands took from Nirvana ended up being Nickleback, Puddle Of Mudd, Creed, et al. There are so many bands influenced by Kurt, Thurston, J Mascis whose music sounds nothing like them, but it was Bleach or Nevermind that made them pick up a guitar.
Rarely a band dares to occupy a space made sacred by Saint Cobain over twenty years ago. Rarer still is a band with the ideas or the chops or the tunes to pull off anything worthwhile.
Filtered through a sixties freakbeat awareness, pre-nevermind rhythm section and a throat shredding south coast accent, The Wytches scream their fucking heads off in memorable pop tunes as distortion reigns supreme. From the fuzz comes transcendence. Touch me; I’m quick.
1. “Soft Friday” – Coves
Noise ridden wall of sound pop melodies fuzzy skygaze shoegaze hazy days; the (beautifully sub-40 minutes 10 tracker) Coves record has myriad sparkling & eclectic psyche pop delights that I haven’t stopped listening to since April.
I just love it so much.
4. “United Ghosts” – United Ghosts
Poppy hooky shoegaze with dual male/female vocals. There needs to be some sort of internet widget where this stuff gets posted straight to my door without me even hearing it first.
joint 3rd. “New Gods” – Withered Hand
Dan’s long awaited follow up to Good News (his first record which was my favourite of 2009) was a worryingly together effort with a backing cast of Scots indie royalty behind him (King Creosote, Eugene Kelly, Frightened Rabbit to mention a few). The old bumbling charm has diminished a bit, the songs are bigger and looking out rather than in. I think the album just lacked a “No Cigarettes” or “Love In The Time Of Ecstasy” and time had increased my expectations to silly levels. It’s a great record, don’t get me wrong.
joint 3rd. “St Vincent” – St Vincent
I like my pop music like I like my coffee: bonkers & unpredictable, taut & skewed, arty & twisted (never ask me to make coffee). It’s Madonna brought up on Talking Heads rather than disco. An incredible record from an incredible talent, and had I picked it up earlier in the year it may well have been higher up the list.
Mewsli finds it hard to choose too. Here’s the next three best LPs of 2014.
7. “Ganglion Reef” – Wand
I like my 60s inflected psychedelic pop music COVERED IN RIFFS AND NOISE AND MENTALISM. Thanks Wand!
8. “Sun Structures / Sun Restructured” – Temples
I like my 60s inflected psychedelic pop music incredibly authentic sounding. Thanks Temples!
This record was so 60s beat pastiche that I initially dismissed it but I’m very glad I went back to it as it’s chock full of fab songs. The remix album that is now bundled with it is the whole record taken apart by acid drenched wizards (actual wizards! Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve to be precise) in a fevered high and put back together all wonky and could well be better than the original. Excellent value for money for sure.
6. “Days Of Abandon” – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The growing Pains continue. The first LP noise-twee made way for LP2’s angry teen stompbox (my fave LP of 2011) and now their third sees them getting Jen from Fear Of Men to sing half the songs in a polished 80s Smithsian fashion. Jangle and sparkle and huge pop songs – not indie pop – just POP. Fit to burst exuberance and sky grazing ballads.
It’s not them, it’s me. If DsD is falling for sappy ballads in his dotage, i seem to be going for feelgood pop in mine. I really wanted to be hooked on droney stuff, like the Swans and Temple and Parquet Courts. Or grab my pipe and slippers and hang out with Beck, or stare out the window at the dismal weather with the War On Drugs, or brood with Bonnie Prince Billy. But seems that most of what i found this year that hit the spot is a spectrum of pop.
I’m a heavy rocker, me, right?
Starting with classic Zep, Purple, & Lizzy; defining myself by UFO, Judas Priest, AC/DC & Motorhead LPs in the 70s; surviving the 80s thanks to Van Halen, The Cult, Faith No More & Guns’n’Roses; reviving in the 90s with Thunder, Gun, Live, Pearl Jam & Soundgarden; and indulging myself with all of the above and more in the internet-fuelled new millennium.
Tennent’s Super and Jack Daniels; denim & leather; festival bottle battles; fast cars and loud guitars; Breaking The Law & Running With The Devil. That’s yer DsD profile, yeah?
Well I’m fifty on Sunday, and you know what has absolutely knocked me for six this week? A vid featuring a colliery brass band, a walk on the moors, pints of orange juice and cola, and a crooning couple of middle-aged singers yearning for a cuddle. If you haven’t seen it over on The Graun, get a load of this song, newly available this week on the expanded rerelease of the What Have We Become album. I figure it’s just too late to force its way into my Festive Spill considerations for this year, but Lawdy I can’t stop playing it right now!
Someone has been feeding Trwbador after midnight, and then getting them wet (okay, not so difficult for a band based in the depths of West Wales). The landscape of their forthcoming second album (out on 11th August) is familiar enough, with Angharad van Rijswijk’s delicate vocals, Owain Gwilym’s guitar patterns, subtle electronic beats and random tinkly noises all present and correct. This time, however, the landscape is dominated not by gentle, shy creatures with big soulful eyes but by giant avant-pop monsters in eye-catching plumage, cavorting exuberantly. Continue reading
Baby Queens at Dinefwr Literature Festival, 21/6/14
As I’ve mentioned before, my mission at every festival I attend is to get hooked on a new act. This year, rather than Glastonbury or somewhere else with hundreds of different stages and performers, I was at the Dinefwr Literature Festival near Llandeilo in West Wales, mainly because Trwbador were playing. An interesting new experience – great set from them, fascinating guided tour of the remains of Dinefwr Castle, got heckled by the comedian Bridget Christie (I’ve never actually been to a stand-up performance before, but I do have a vague idea it’s supposed to be the other way round…) and heard the amazing Viv Albertine in conversation (but missed getting my copy of her book signed as I had to head off to Trwbador – dammit, Dinefwr, if you have only three stages why can’t you synchronise the timings properly to allow people to move between them..?).
However, the emphasis on the literary side of things did mean that the musical pickings were a little thinner: four blokes with copious beards who had clearly decided that the future of music was a fusion of Coldplay and Fleet Foxes (they may of course be right), some badly distorted noise with unintelligible vocals (needed more dynamic contrast, and I needed a beer – a shout out to Jacobi Brewery’s Red Squirrel) and… Cardiff’s Baby Queens. Perfect summer music: vocal harmonies that remind me a bit of En Vogue, plus some effective rapping; catchy songs with a chilled soul/RnB groove, with a hint of dub in the live performance (but they really need to get a proper bass player – the sound needs a bit more bottom end to be perfect). Four songs released so far (links to two of the catchiest ones below the fold), and an album planned for 2015. The one thing I find disturbing is that Gary Lineker is a fan, through a family connection, but please don’t hold that against them… Continue reading