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Video Premier: Oly Ralfe – A Forest In The City

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Joe

Ralfe Band’s Oly Ralfe has shared a new video for ‘A Forest In The City’, which appears on his debut solo album Notes From Another Sea – a collection of piano instrumentals.

The video has been filmed in his studio in Oxfordshire as well as on location in nearby Wychwood Forest.

The video release coincides with a show taking place at St. Pancras Church, London, on October 10 (tickets) when Ralfe will be performing songs from the album, along with a six-piece classical ensemble. The show is a collaboration with orchestrator Luke Lewis.

“I think of this album as a pathway through mysterious places; I hope it can unlock the beauty and strangeness of what’s around you,” said Ralfe.

“I see emotions as pictures and pictures as music, and each of these tracks is a conjuring of an indistinct yet intense place, and my music is the soundtrack to that. When I am inspired I find myself gravitating towards the piano, and through it I’ve opened myself up more than I have before.”

Notes From Another Sea is available on vinyl limited to 500 hand-numbered copies worldwide, CD and digital.

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Tim Rutili & Craig Ross – Video Premiere

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Tim Rutili & Craig Ross – Video Premiere

Posted on 08 June 2018 by Dorian

The video below, for the song ‘Like A Rifle’, comes from Tim Rutili & Craig Ross’ forthcoming album 10 Seconds To Collapse. Tim is the founder and principle songwriter for Califone and Red Red Meat. Craig is a producer, songwriter and collaborator who has worked with Shearwater, Lisa Germano, Spoon, Patty Griffin, Robert Plant and Daniel Johnston.

The album, released on the 22nd June by Jealous Butcher Records, has been getting rave responses from other artists:

“Best record I’ve heard in a long time – each song wrapped in it’s own unique foil of odd old colors that get brighter each time you hear – every song worth a good long soak.” – M. Ward

“10 seconds to collapse is brilliant – Tim Rutili and Craig Ross make music of unhinged genius and bruised beauty” – Mark Lanegan

“Melancholy humor, playful messy bombast – it gets the car running then drives it into a ditch to stagger naked into the woods.  A vast and unpredictable ride. Listen loud .” – Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater)

JB165_Cover

US based readers can see the duo on tour in July. Click here for dates and details.

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Grant Hart – Top 10

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Grant Hart – Top 10

Posted on 17 September 2017 by Dorian

I’m not a huge fan of eulogising the dead, I think that praise and recognition is something that is much more powerful when someone is still alive. However, I do understand the sadness, and need for catharsis, that people feel when someone important to them passes away. In the case of someone like David Bowie it is in part due to the huge impact their music has had over the decades. In the case of someone like Grant Hart, who died of cancer aged only 56 this week, it is in part due to the lack of perceived impact they had on the musical landscape.

Grant Hart has never been afforded the same level of respect as his Hüsker Du band mate Bob Mould. He didn’t write and sing quite as many songs with that band as Mould did, but many of his contributions stand amongst the bands best. His solo work gets far less attention and even though he formed a new band (Nova Mob) some three years before Mould formed Sugar you won’t see anniversary editions of either of their albums in your record shop.

Here is a selection of ten of my favourite tracks from across his career, a hard job to whittle down to such a short list. I’ve split the songs (presented in chronological order) 50/50 between Hüsker Du and solo work. I urge you to seek out the albums that these songs are taken from. The non-Hüsker Du work is well represented on Spotify although harder to buy in physical form.

Diane

This song, from Metal Circus, is about a real life murder and is perhaps better known as a single that the band Therapy? released 15 years later.

Pink Turns To Blue

Zen Arcade is my favourite album by the band, and an extremely influential record demonstrating much more scope and invention than a hardcore punk band was supposed to display. I’ve decided to only pick one song from any album for this list and it was tough to exclude ‘Never Talking To You Again’, but this is possibly my favourite from the album. Also one of the few songs where I could find really good quality live footage.

Terms Of Psychic Warfare

New Day Rising was always going to suffer following Zen Arcade but it is still a great album. This excellent footage gives you two bonus tracks; ‘Powerline’ and ‘Books About UFOs’.

Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely

It says something about Hart’s growing stature in the band that both singles taken from their first major label release, Candy Apple Gray, are his compositions. This is one of them.

Back From Somewhere

Bob Mould famously told Grant Hart that he would never have as many songs on a Hüsker Du album as him. On their final release, Warehouse Songs And Stories, Hart had nine of the twenty tracks.

The Main

Intolerance is a really fascinating album, with Hart handling all musical and production duties on the record. ‘2541’ almost made this list, but this piano driven song about drug addiction is one of his most powerful recordings.

Admiral Of The Sea

I picked up the 12″ single of this track shortly after it was released. I remember spinning it over and over when I got home.

You Don’t Have To Tell Me Now

This song, from Good News For Modern Man, is another example of hart’s gift for introspective love songs. This version is a live audio recording from what may have been his last live tour.

You’re The Reflection Of The Moon On The Water

In which Grant Hart goes all ‘White Light/White Heat’ for his 2009 album Hot Wax.

For Those Too High Aspiring

His final release, 2013’s The Argument, isn’t the easiest of listens. It is a sprawling concept album based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost and needs a few listens to get into. It is worth the effort though, like Zen Arcade it proves that the best work is ambitious and cerebral and takes a bit of effort to understand. This is the last song from his final album, and seems an appropriate way to end this list.

By Dorian Rogers

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Eyelids – Or

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Eyelids – Or

Posted on 02 May 2017 by Dorian

Or, the second album by Eyelids (the band being confusingly called Eyelids Or in the UK), comes hot on the heels of their first ever UK dates and my opportunity to hear some of their new songs for the first time live. The new songs they played, plus the couple already released as singles, gave me a pretty good idea what to expect from the album. Sophomore releases can be disappointing, often pieced together from sings written at the same time as the debut in order for a label to get a quick follow-up release. With Eyelids being made up of veterans, with many albums to their credit, this wasn’t ever going to be the case and this album is filled with the freshness and wealth of ideas you’d expect from a band at their peak.

Eyelids Or

The album kicks off with ‘Slow It Goes’ a single that was a real statement if intent when it came out last year,  all sparkling riffs and 60s beat-pop vocals. ‘Camelot’ keeps the pace up with a guitar line that could be straight from a Cracker record and guest keyboards from Jay Gonzales (from Drive-By Truckers) adding some extra depth.

This is an album with some nice changes in pace and after a break-neck start we slow down for the rather lovely pairing of ‘Falling Eyes’ and ‘Tell Me You Know’, the latter pulling in some of 60s psyche influences that were front and centre on their debut.

This is an album which is expertly sequenced and really doesn’t sag at any point. As such I’ll avoid the temptation tom wax lyrical about each song here. Honourable mentions go to ‘My Caved In Mind’ (another single surely?) which features an insanely catchy almost new-wave opening riff and ‘Moony’. Any song that sites Black Sea era XTC as the influence for the rhythm section is alright by me.

The real triumph of the album is how well the band pull all the different elements together across the board.  The playing is uniformly great, their debut showed off some great guitar playing and this release continues to impress. It isn’t just the guitars though, strong vocal harmonies and an excellent rhythm section make this more than just about the axes.

The use of guest performers is another big tick in the box. Sometimes when a band brings in guest players it feels like little more than an excuse to get a name on the liner notes. The guests here all have a purpose, and that purpose is to sound as much like themself as possible. When we hear Peter Buck’s mandolin it sounds just like Peter Buck and when Jonathan Seagal’s violin comes in it could only be the Camper van Beethoven man playing. This is a band of musical magpies and the bits of magic they bring from other bands, from other influences and different sounds is all carefully designed to make Eyelids sound as good as possible.

Peter Buck also produced the album and, along with engineer Thom Monahan, he does a great job. This is an album that sounds really good, all the elements are given space and the balance on the album is just right. Buck is clearly a fan of the band as well, appearing (see above) in the video for ‘Falling Eyes’.

If you loved their debut album you’re going to love this, nothing about it disappoints. If you haven’t heard Eyelids already then this release is a great place to start (before quickly going back to hear their previous LP and EP releases). You can thank me later for introducing you to your new favourite band.

10/10

By Dorian Rogers

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Sixteen of the Best Songs of 2016

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Sixteen of the Best Songs of 2016

Posted on 29 December 2016 by Dorian

We recently published our Top 20 Albums of 2016, but this only reflected a section of the amazing songs that came out this year.  There were great albums we missed, albums that just missed out and songs that came out on single this year. So, as a bit of an end of year bonus, here are the best songs of 2016 that didn’t feature in our end of year album list.

16. ESP Ohio – Royal Cyclopean

It wouldn’t be Neon Filler without a Robert Pollard track, and this horn driven gem from his latest collaboration with Doug Gillard is one of his best this year.

15. The Wedding Present – Rachel

There are rumours that this year’s Wedding Present album may be there last, if that is the case then they are finishing on something of a high.

14. Childish Bambino – Me and Your Mama

Donald Glover is a successful comic actor, the face of the young Lando Calrissian and a Grammy award-winning singer, sickeningly talented.

13. The Shins – Dead Alive

The Shins releasing a song that sounds like they could have recorded 15 years ago may not seem that exciting, unless you think early Shins is about as good as music gets. Which I do.

12. Allo Darlin’ – Hymn on the 45

Allo Darlin’ sadly called in at day in 2016, but just as they played their final shows they released one last single. A final document, if nothing else, of why they’ll be missed.

11. Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

Car Seat Headrest is the work of Will Toledo, this year’s bespectacled indie geek de jour. The album justifies the hype this time around.

10. The Avalanches – Subways

The new Avalanches album may not be much of a step forward given the huge gap between this and their debut recording, but there were enough good songs to make it worth a listen.

9. Parquet Courts – Human Performance

The New York band have been releasing consistently great music since they broke through with Light Up Gold in 2012. The title track from their latest album shows them in almost subdued mode.

8. Angel Olsen – Shut Up and Kiss Me

2016 was a bit of a breakthrough year for Angel Olsen, her 4th LP getting a lot of attention and radio play. This track showcases as much fuzz-pop as folk and is a bit of a break from the softer country vibe she’s associated with.

7. Case/Lang/Veirs – Best Kept Secret

Three of the best vocalists in country-pop come together and, unsurprisingly, the results are great.

6. Okkervil River – Judy on the Street

Every two or three years Will Sheff’s band release an album and they all range from good to excellent. This track from Away is no exception to the rule.

5. Teenage Fanclub – Thin Air

More than a quarter if a century in and Teenage Fanclub can still produce some of the best melodic guitar pop around.

4. Girl Ray – Trouble

One of the best bands that we saw at Indietracks this year and one of the bands to watch out for in 2017.

3. Field Music – Disappointed

Due to its release at a busy time we sadly didn’t get round to reviewing Field Music’s excellent 2016 album Commontime. We still loved it though and can assure you it was a typically excellent release from the Brewis brothers. This was a single and one of the best tracks.

2. Luke Haines – Smash The System

Smash The System saw Haines revisit some of his previous themes, with a number of nods to his Baader Meinhof album. The Monkees references in this song are confusing but welcome.

1. Eyelids – Slow It Goes

Eyelids didn’t have a new album out in 2016, that is coming next year, but they did release this song and showcased what we can look forward to. Excellent video as well.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

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The Tuts- Let Go Of The Past

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The Tuts- Let Go Of The Past

Posted on 15 July 2016 by Joe

The Tuts, one of our favourite festival acts in recent years, have released this nostalgia-fest of a video for Let Go of the Past, the first single from their upcoming debut album Update Your Brain.

This 12 track collection takes in the band’s usual issues of sexism, love, friendship and politics, and also features versions of live favourites such as Always Hear the Same Shit and Back Up

The trio have set up a PledgeMusic page where you can pre-order the album as well as get hold of a host of other merchandise. Those that pledge also get a free recording of their cover of The Clash classic Rudie Can’t Fail.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Top 10

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Top 10

Posted on 16 December 2015 by Dorian

This week sees the much-anticipated release of the latest instalment in the world’s most popular space opera series, Star Wars: The Force awakens. It is impossible to avoid such a big release and media saturation is reaching fever pitch as the premier approaches.

When we see a bandwagon of this magnitude the only realistic option is to jump aboard. Luckily space is just as rich a source of inspiration for songs as it is for films. So here, for your listening pleasure, is the top 10 songs about space.

10. The Byrds – Mr.Spaceman

Early Byrds records were dominated by Gene Clark songs and cover versions, until Clark quit after two albums. This left Jim/Roger McGuinn to write the bulk of the songs, including this novelty from their 3rd album in 1966.

9. Pere Ubu – I Hear They Smoke The Barbecue

For a short period in the early 90s Pere Ubu decided to try to be a pop band, with mixed results. This track, about aliens among us, is one of their more successful attempts at being radio friendly.

8. Ash – Angel Interceptor

Ash’s first album, 1977, is very appropriate here as it is named after the year when Star wars first hit cinema screens in the US. ‘Angel Interceptor’ is named after the aircraft in the TV show Captain Scarlet. ‘Girl From Mars’ may have been a more appropriate choice for this list, but this is a better song.

7. Rotifer – The Cosmonaut Who Never Flew

This track is taken from the Vostok 5 EP that was part of an art show about people and animals in space. I could have picked any of the tracks from that EP (they are all pretty great) but this contribution from Robert Rotifer is a wonderful reflection on the Soviet space programme.

6. Sun Kil Moon – Space Travel Is Boring

I’m not a huge fan of Sun Kil Moon, whereas I’ve always loved the work of Modest Mouse. This cover of ‘Space Travel Is Boring’ is great though, and eclipses the original.

5. Robert Pollard – Love Your Spaceman

Superman Was A Rocker was one of Pollard’s least successful solo releases, an overtly lo-fi collection of forgotten songs that should have mostly remained unreleased. However, this is a Robert Pollard album, dig in the dirt and you’ll normally find a diamond. “When Fred says Rock ‘n’ Roll!” indeed.

4. The Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

When the Beastie Boys first hit the scene in the mid-80s it seemed unlikely that they would be releasing critically acclaimed chart topping albums 15 years later, but they were and this track is one of their best.

3. The Star Wars Rap

15 years ago I had no idea what a viral video was, or what a meme was or even what social media was, but I did know that this video was funny. Luke’s whiny delivery, and the slightly odd gin and tonic reference, have stuck with me that whole time. Classic.

2. Hefner – Alan Bean

This was the lead single from Hefner’s “difficult” final album and is one of the band’s most evocative tracks. It tells the story of the 4th man on the moon, who devoted his post-astronaut years to painting pictures of the lunar landscape.

1. Neon Neon – I Told Her On Alderaan

Super Furry Animal Gruf Rhys and Boom Bip collaborating on a song named after Princess Leia’s home planet, on a concept album about the inventor of the DeLorean. Near perfect pop.

Compiled by Dorian Rogers

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Eyelids – Bound To Let You Down

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Eyelids – Bound To Let You Down

Posted on 14 October 2015 by Dorian

In this new video from Eyelids (Eyelids OR in the UK) the band show their more gruesome side as animated characters. The song is taken from their self-titled EP, produced by former REM guitarist Peter Buck.

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Tigercats – Sleeping In The Back Seat

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Tigercats – Sleeping In The Back Seat

Posted on 05 February 2015 by Dorian

Tigercats have just released a video for the song ‘Sleeping In The Back Seat’ from their excellent new album Mysteries. Watch the video below:

The band are on tour with Fever Dream in March and April, including a date in Brighton (promoted by Neon Filler) on the 27th March.

See the tour poster below for full dates:

Tigercats tour poster

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Clowwns – Shame On You

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Clowwns – Shame On You

Posted on 27 October 2014 by Joe

We are delighted to premier Shame On You, the excellent Dylan Thomas inspired track from Clowwns’s forthcoming debut album.

Based on this two minute psychedelic rock gem the album, The Artful Execution of Macho Bimbo, looks like one to check out when it is released in January next year by one of our favourite labels Bleeding Heart Recordings.

C L O W W N S – Shame On You from Horn Blower on Vimeo.

The Brighton based band’s  own description of their live shows sounds promising too, with them joyfully telling us in their press release that they perform with “celebrations of gleeful, bloody-minded fury.”

For the literary types among you Shame On You is influenced by Dylan Thomas’s poem Do Not Go Gentle In That Good Night. For the illiterary types among you just enjoy the great music instead.

Clowwns are Andrew Claridge (guitar), Miles Heathfield (vocals), Damo Waters (drummer) and Etienne Rodes (fuzz bass).

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 15.24

For more information visit their Facebook page or Bleeding Heart Recording’s homepage.

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