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Archive for December, 2009

Mixtapes Swapped.

2009 is nearly over, but the mixtape swap has beaten it to the punch. At 10 AM this morning, the doors slammed shut and all the mixtapes were put into an imaginary little bag and redistributed. In the end, two mixtapes or each entrant was decided upon, just in case there were any entrants who decided that it was okay to do a coldplay-exclusive mix or anything. But yeah, thanks to all those who entered, you’ve made me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile and hopefully given the gift of a new favourite band to some lucky soul. If you’d like to chat about it, then there’s the comment section below.

Hope you’re well, and thank you for a lovely 2009.

Matthew

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OLO Worms

There’s a very thin line between being experiemental and purposefully terrible, and there are many bands that tread that line with joyful abandon. Animal Collective might’ve won the record of the year in the HMV ‘poll of the polls’, but they’re still aural marmite, and it’s either heaven or hipster bullshit depending on which side of the fence you’re shouting from. Despite the doom and gloom of the indutry, there’scarcely been a better time to be a musician with wave after wave of bizarre bands developing whilst yet another record company posts annual losses. Taking advantage of this wonderful yet depressing era are Olo Worms, a brilliantly titled collective from Bristol.

Signed to Fence Collective, they’re commited to making some of the most overtly out-there music around, as their ‘Bare Foot’ EP so vividly illustrates. There’s a definite tribal aspect to some of their work, but in a uniquely digital way with the glitchy beats and feedback of radiowaves playing out under yelps and cries. It varies from sounding men dancing around an electrical fire to something altogether more tuneful and recognisably musical, with their song ‘flakes’ managing something that resembles beauty and honest sentiment. They’re signed to Fence records, and by all accounts they’re something to be reckoned with live and are giving you the opportunity to see them this coming January with their ‘Toxic Waist’ tour. Even if it’s not your kind of music, there’s no denying that they’re genuinely different and incredibley exciting. Here’s two tracks from streaming from ‘Bare Foot’

OLO Worms – Tortoise Shell


OLO Worms – Flakes


And the EP is available in it’s entirity for free from last.fm here: http://www.last.fm/music/olo+worms/Bare+Foot

http://www.myspace.com/oloworms

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Weird Era – Side A/A* download

Following on from the post yesterday, I’ve been in contact with Weird Era and they’ve said it’s okay to spread their Side A/A* EP around. Unfortunately, the original files were in .wma format, and iTune transformed them into .m4a’s, so finally, after lots of re-labelling and converting, the files are finally ready for download. So, to get your hands on what is undoubtedly one of the most exciting debut releases of the year. If you’re into lo-fi, shoegaze or anything at all like that, Weird Era are for you:

Weird Era – Side A/A* (mediafire)

Weird Era – Like a Ghost


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Novels

In theory, supergroups should be the pinaccle of music, the collection of the best talents from some of the best bands from around the world. In practice, all that we get is Them Crooked Vultures making some of the most bland, monotonous ‘rock’ songs of the decade and Jack White pointlessly making another band to release another album with. The hype is oten far greater than the quality of the overall product, and it’s rare that you get anything more than a decent single and a record oozing with filler songs. Obviously, there is room for brilliance, but how?

Novels are less a group, more a project. The idea behind it was simple – 5 friends go into a studio and don’;t come out until they’ve written, practised and recorded an EP. Consisting of Graham Wright of Tokyo Police Club, Luke Lalonde from Born Ruffians as well as Will Currie (Will Currie and the Country Sad), Dean Marino (ex~po) and Jason Sadlowski (Jay Sad), it read like a who’s who of the indie music scene coming out of Canada from the past few years. The record follows a similar trend, and with a few listens you can distill the songs down to their original parts, and there’s talent seeping from every moment of the 15 or-so minutes they’ve released. The fact that it was all done exclusively within 16 hours simply makes the whole thing even more astounding.

The great thing is that the band haven’t done this for personal gain – it’s free to download, in return for your listening they only ask that you pass the EP on. They want you to burn the songs onto CDs and hand them out in parks, leave them on buses or stash them in a magazine. So, for my part, this is me passing on the excellent work of Novels. Spread it as you see fit:

Novels – Mr Foster’s Teenage Daughter


Download the EP: http://www.okaynovels.com/download.html

http://www.okaynovels.com/

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Weird Era – Side A

Now available to download from https://thepigeonpost.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/weird-era-side-aa-download/

What you want and what you get for Christmas are two completely different things. So whilst I wanted to drink all day and eat until I popped, all I got was slightly tipsy at 2 o’clock, bloated and an early night. But there was also the tiny matter of an unexpected gift from Weird Era, who’ve got themselves together to record and release 13 tracks over two CDs, entitled ‘Side A’ and ‘Side A*’.  So whilst my little brother spends his boxing day reading football annuals and devouring selection boxes, I’m being treated to what is surely one of the best self-released records of the year.

If you’ve listened to Weird Era before, you’ll know what to expect, with a heady mix of shoegaze, drone and lo-fi sweeping you away for 35 minutes. It’s almost unbelievable that this is being put out by the band themselves for free – it sounds like a seminal record already and it simply washes over you, and there’s a craft within each of the songs that belies the fact that they’re pretty much unheard of. If I wasn’t such a terribly frightened man, I’d make a record label just to put this out to a greater audience, and if someone doesn’t snap them up before easter then indie labels have got a lot to answer for. Obviously, there’s a lot of inspiration taken from Deerhunter and the usual My Bloody Valentine stuff, but this is material that stands on it’s own, with ease. More than anything, this proves why end of year lists shouldn’t be started until January.

If you want a copy, then you should either ask the band via their myspace (below) for a link, or they’ve distributed physcial copies around various outlets in Manchester, where you can pick them up for free. I’ve e-mailed the band asking if I can pass it on, so check back later if you can’t be bothered chasing it down in real life.

Weird Era – Fullstop (lower amp)

Download: hotlink?id=pnhsjl9h

Weird Era – Sleep Paralysis

Download: hotlink?id=cm2d3257

http://www.myspace.com/wierdera

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The Great Mixtape Swap

Christmas is boring. Mixtapes are awesome. So what better way of wasting the lost week between Christmas and New Year by crafting a 10 song mix to swap with someone anonymous on the internet?  You might not know this, but as of January 5th, it’s looking like I’m going to be having a blog hiatus, at least on the music side of things. Platform 2 helps people from unprivaledged backgrounds do volunteer work abroad, and seeing as I’m living with my Mum on Europe’s biggest council estate, they’ve allowed me to be a part of their January programme. What that means for me is 10 weeks in India, helping a community by teaching English to Children and helping build toilets and stuff. What that means for this blog is that I’ll be away from a decent internet connection and the means to listen to new music, which obviously doesn’t lend itself to writing a blog very well.

Anyway, in order to do something BIG and EXCITING to start the hiatus, I’m organising this mixtape swap. If you don’t know what a mixtape is, it’s a collection of songs that you like that you think that someone else might like – in this case, a complete stranger on the internet. Because I haven’t got the money to be forwarding CDs etc., it’ll all be online and I’ll do my best to keep it anonymous (unless you want to admit who you are in comments or whatever).

There aren’t many rules, but a few suggestions. It’d be nice if the mix was around 10 songs long, just so that everyone’s got a benchmark to stick to. It’d be nice if you stuck to stuff that you think that people might not have heard before too, rather than sticking on a load of tracks from ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ that everyone has heard before. Absolutely anything is valid, and I won’t really be vetting these at all unless it turns out that someone’s trying to send off the new Lightspeed Champion album or something.

Submissions are open from now and should be uploaded to mediafire or any similar online filesharing site with a link to the file sent to mbritton2@gmail.com. Closing date is the the morning of the 31st December, when entries will then be sent to another random swapper for them to have a nice little listen to, whilst comments on each others mixtapes can be swapped on the comments here, if you’d like.  Your mixtapes should be zipped or rar’d rather than sent in a mess of mp3 files, preferably given a snappy title too. it’ll doubtless be better than ‘Pigeon Playlist’, anyway.

One more thing – try and make the tracks appear as an album to mp3 players i.e. it’ll show as an entire album on itunes rather than disparate tracks. It’s not that difficult and saves a lot of time when people are looking on their iPods for the tracks. In terms of making the mix, the best method I’ve found is to create a new folder on your desktop and then copy and paste the songs you want into that – it makes it a lot easier to zip, for one thing.

I’ve no idea how many entrants this is likely to attract, and there is definitely no genre tags attached to this. Submit whatever you think someone else could like. If you enter, I promise you’ll get a mix back, no matter what. If you don’t, it’s me who’s to blame, sorry. So, one last time, here’s a checklist of things:

  • Submissions open now
  • Around 10 tracks long, any age/genre but preferably newer stuff
  • Zip/Rar it
  • Upload to mediafire
  • Send link to mbritton2@gmail.com by 10 a.m December 31st
  • Expect an email with your ‘swap’ around the same time

If there’s anything that needs clarifying, just ask in the comments or via e-mail and I’d be happy to try and sort it out. I look forward to listening to my swap, whoever you may be.

ttp://www.gaythugdating.com/members/kest51/

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The other albums of 2009

With the albums of the decade list going up on TLOBF and the ‘Best of British’ arriving on Saam’s Faded Glamour any day now, I thought it would be nice to say a few words on albums that came out this year that i haven’t really spoken about. This is mainly due to being very, very embarassingly late to the party or possibly due to listening over a longer period of time without the short, sharp bursts that often result in my manically posting that such and such a band are the best thing ever. Either way, these are a few artists and their albums that you should definitely look into if they’ve not already cropped up in your other end of year searches:

Loney Dear – Dear John

Apparently, Emil Svanängen had been releasing his work by himself in Sweden since 2003, but it wasn;t until Sub Pop came knocking in 2007 that he got his break into a wider audience. On his second record, this time put out by Polyvinyl, he’s really stretching his wings, making an album that’s got just the right amount of Postal Service mixed in with his ow3n unique Scandinavian charm. There are one or two tracks that are more singer songwriter than anything else, but for the sheer scope and vision of the work, Dear John deserves commending. It’s personal and engaging whilst brimming with a confidence with what is being achieved. Excellent for long bus journeys, too.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

Anyone who’s ever written any kind of blog even mentioning music was seemingly linked to a diskjokke remix of the title track from this album a ew months ago. And though the remix is brilliant – as proven by the amount of decent writers that re-posted it – the original sttill far surpasses it. Anyone who’s appeared in a Michel Gondry movie doesn’t really need to be any more cool, but if you’ve got Serge Gainsbourg as a Dad then I suppose you might feel like you’re living in somewhat of a shadow. It’s been decades since the pair dueted on ‘Lemon Incest’ but with this release Charlotte really seems to have hit her stride, flitting between languages whilst crafting a wonderful album.

Zola Jesus – Tsar Bomba
Zola Jesus – The Spoils
Former Ghosts – Fleur

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you realise that the people you look up to are younger than you. Having turned 20 this year, Nika Rosa Danilova is younger than a lot of people. Not only that, she’s also made two of the better albums of the year and was a part of Gareth Campesinos! album of the year thanks to being a part of the Former Ghosts project. Whilst tsar Bomba and The Spoils are both spectacular in their execution, working with Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and Freddy Ruppert of This song is a mess but so am I takes her industrial, isolated soundscapes and hones them to perfection. Her voice is like something from a particularly vivid dream, creating some of the most haunting songs of the year. Heavily regretting not voting for these on TLOBF’s end of year poll.

The Fresh & Onlys – Self Titled

In a year where garage, lo-fi pop has been hyped beyond belief, it’s a still a shock that The Fresh & Onlys don’t demand more of a following. They’re dirty, and there’s a fair amount of fuzz on this, but at the heart of each track on their debut there’s a really good pop song. It’s hardly the most complex stuff, but the simple lyurics and thrashing of two or three chords somehow manages to sound like it’s not been done to death already when done by these guys. With a record coming out on woodsist soon, hopefully 2010 will see more hipsters flock to these San Fransicans

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Vs. Children

How do you top one of the most recognisable records o all time? well, you can’t, really. And though Vs Children isn’t as good as Etiquette, it’s not too far off, but iot lacks the instant connection with the listener that the 2006 album had.  Lyrically, it’s still the same old Casiotone, singing of love and longing whilst sounding like the saddest man on earth, but there’s a definite move away from pop with this, which makes it a little less accessible. Though it may take a while to get into, it’s still one of the most rewarding albums of the year and cements Owen Ashworth’s position as an international music treasure. As long as he keeps touring and releasing work of this quality, we will all be okay, I promise.

Best Coast

She’s not really put out a real record as of yet, but the ex-Pocahaunted member has still had a pretty big year. Pitchfork recently put The Sun was High (so was I) on their tracks of the year, which seems to be giving her dreamy, lo-fi music the publicity it deserves, and should only hasten the release of a full LP sometime. Supremely talented and has the potential to become the undisputed queen of her genre – grab ahold of every MP3 of hers you can, sit in your room and listen. You could even put them into some sort of order and pretend it’s actually an album, and it’ll still probably be better than most of the other music you’ve listened to this year.

Apologies for the lack of mp3/streaming, but there is a car outside waiting for me. Sorry.

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Free Music Tuesday (22/12/09)

It’s nearly Christmas, and we’ve all got no money, no gifts and an incredibly limited amount of shopping hours until the big day. In fact, I’ve got about 4 possible hours before I have to hand them all over, so it’s not looking good for my Mum’s chances of getting anything from her loving son. Anyway, being the nice people that they are, there are lots of bands queueing up to give you a few mp3s to listen to over the coming week. So rather than listening to Shakin’ Steven on repeat, here are some nice things that are available for you:

Johnny Foreigner – Winterval



In celebration of Birmingham city council’s entirely constructed and made up ‘winterval’ season (made to replace the incredibley offensive ‘Christmas’ season), the city’s best band have given away 2 new tracks and a remix from their website. It’s really good too, a deviation from the usual stuff you might expect from Johnny Foreigner with a bit of a electronic/chiptune feel on the second track, at least. If this is what we can expect from the third album, I cannot wait. Here’s a taster:

Johnny Foreigner – Palace Fires


And download it by putting your email address in the box at the following website:

https://fan.musicglue.com/sale/promoproducts.aspx?productid=dea4ee80-b4dd-4b82-865a-1edf095200e9

BEKO DSL

As usual, the wonderful online label has delivered us some of the best music on the whole wide web and done so for absolutely nothing, for which we should be truly thankful. However, it being Christmas and all, they’re putting up some ‘Christmas Karaoke’ on the 25th, which promises to be the highlight of my particular Christmas Day. No idea what it’s going to be at the minute, but it’s bound to be better than watching my little brother open endless presents. This weeks artists are The Dreams and Hanging Coffins, both of whom are excellent.

http://www.beko-dsl.com/

A GRAVE WITH NO NAME

Dummy magazine not only do excellent features, but they also give away some excellent tracks too. No Pain in Pop are putting out A Grave with no Name’s debut album after the success of their EP earlier in the year. If you’ve not hopped them already, then do so as soon as possible – they’re bloody brilliant. And the article on them is pretty awesome, too. They seem alright, really. Download underneath the picture if you can’t find it.

http://www.dummymag.com/features/2009/12/21/a-grave-with-no-name-sounding-frostier-more-elegant-/

I though there was more than that. I don’t think there is. Sorry. Hope you’re well.

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You might hate Madonna, which is a completely rational thing to do. As a person, she’s done a lot of nice things like adopting from developing nations, but she’s also subjected us all to looking at someone the age of our mother in hot pants, and she saw fit to marry Guy Ritchie. There are worse things she’s done, obviously, but let’s get away from her as a person and onto the music she’s made. The production might be terribly poppy and her voice grating, but there’s no denying that she’s had some of the best songs in living memory. Even the lesser stuff like ‘Hung Up’ is infinitely more inspired than anything Black Eyed Peas have churned out.

Mainstream pop isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is why Manimal records have seen fit to have a variety of artists cover songs like ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Like a Virgin’ on a tribute album. With 25% of all profits going to Raising Malawi, ‘Through the Wilderness’ features one of the best rosters around, and completely transform the songs. Ariel Pink is one of the more influential names on the list and his version of ‘Everybody’ is one of the more faithful recreations, staying upbeat whilst sounding as if it’s been recorded on an alarm clock. It’s often hard to identify the songs themselves, with the hits being filtered through various noise, shoegaze and dream genres before reachin the end product. In all honesty even if this didn’t have the weight of several decades of pop dominance to use, it would be a phenomenal compilation with Giant Drag, Jeremy Jay, The Bubonic Plague, Winter Flowers and Apollo Heights some of the other names being called upon.

It came out ages ago judging by posts on their myspace page, but I’ve only just come across it, so forgive me. Here’s two tracks – it could’ve been pretty much any one of them, but these ones inparticular are pretty good:

Giant Drag – Oh Father


Mountain Party – Material Girl


http://www.myspace.com/throughthewilderness

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I’ve just spent 2 and a half hours trying to put Romance is Boring into words. In short, it’s probably going to be the best 2010. Is it better than We are Beautiful, We are Doomed? I don’t really know. It’s near impossible to step back and view the record as a bigger picture at the moment – having spent so much time with each of it’s predecessors, it’s hard to judge something you know that you’re going to be spending quite a significant portion of your life listening to. There’s a lot of baggage, which Gareth himself seems to acknowledge, with seeming references to Veganism placed in at least one place on the record.

Musically, it’s very similar to We Are Beautiful, which isn;’t a bad thing. there isn’t the huge change of tone like the jump from the first to the second album, though that was to be expected. By the time the debut came out, the band were already sick of being twee pop, and the lyrics on here couldn’t be further from that. It’s still noticably Los Camp! and explores themes that we’re already familiar with – most prominantly, that of inadequacy and desperation, with petty bitterness being thrown in for good measure. When not comparing sympathy for the untimely demise of synthetic clothing, there’s a beautiful wordplay to admire, with several lines sounding like they’ve been stolen straight from a poetry anthology. And a good one too.

There has definitely been progression from the last record, but it seems that they’re settled in this soundscape for the moment – some of might sound a little familar, and once or twice you could easily be listening to ‘All your kayfabe friends’, but for the most part this is all stunningly original work. The band have good taste and it shows – the work with Zac Pennington, Jherek Bischoff and Jamie Stewart has massively influenced the entirity of the album, and a lot of it sounds like a particularly good Xiu Xiu record as a result. It’s also noticable that the band are becoming more trans-Atlantic, though whether the reference to ‘dirt’ seems innocent, hearing ‘fall’ (as in Autumn) sung in anything other than an American accent is always jarring, to me at least *. Of course, that’s a personal tick, and it doesn’t detract from the album as a whole in the slightest.

In terms of what stands out, the title track is a future crowd pleaser thanks to it’s anthemic, apathetic chorus, and though single ‘There are listed buildings’ is brilliant, it’s no match for ‘Straight in at 101′. If this is to be the band’s finest moment, I wouldn’t be surprised as it’s 3:55 of inspiration. It ticks all the boxes in being poppy, slightly downbeat in tone, thudding and catchier than chicken pox. There are two part harmonies, lyrics about sexual frustration, crashing creshendos and even a slow bit, whilst it never fails to be either visionary or incredibly awkward alternately. That aside, there’s ‘I sighed. I just sighed, just so you know’, which feels like it’s more a grower than an instant hit, whilst having some of the most spiteful, desperate lines that the band have produced yet.

It’s taken me 2 and a half hours and around 5 drafts to get this far. The record comes out on February 1st and barring a miracle, it’s going to be in every good end of year list in 12 months time. It’s rare that a band so consistently brilliant as Los Campesinos! come around, so let’s just cling on and hope, okay?

Los Campesinos! – The Sea is a good place to think about the future (Witchita download)


* [edit] It’s since been brought to my attention that it actually does say ‘Autumn’, which takes away from some of the mid-Atlantic vibe. But the same song does mention Jumbotrons and ballgames – but as it’s also been pointed out, I was probably just looking for something to criticise or mention in a slightly negative tone because, as you might’ve guessed, it’s likely to be one of the best album you’ll hear the next decade.

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