Archive for December, 2009

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:



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.



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.


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


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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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The Great Mixtape Swap – get your entries in before 31st December https://thepigeonpost.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/the-great-mixtape-swap/
Pigeon Playlist #2 is available now, featuring Is Tropical, Internet Forever, Zambri and more. Download here: https://thepigeonpost.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/pigeonplaylist2/
Pigeon Playlist #1 is still up, with Egyptian Hip Hop, Run Toto Run and Jam on Bread amongst others. Download here: http://wp.me/pGhwi-fM

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Folky singers range from the wishy-washy to the inspired, but the name Laura Marling brings about a stronger reaction than most. Having collaborated with Charlie Fink from Noah and the Whale on her first album and subsequently had an album made about their break-up by him, ‘Alas, I cannot swim’ seems to have split the critics almost down the middle. Though I’m a fan, comparing new artists to her is still a bit risky, but in this case it’s unavoidable.

Raised in Illinois, her debut EP was put out by Fat Possum last month and, to be honest, it’s wonderful. It’s not only the arrangement of the songs that make it sound like Laura Marling, but the voice itself. Tender, with a hint of vunerability but backed with conviction, the songs are centred around it and with good reason. It soars, and though it comes as no surprise that she’s most comfortable with a ‘smoke between her fingers’  thanks to the slightest rasp that’s almost hidden.

Entitled “Why you runnin'”,  her EP earned her a support slot with City and Colour (the solo project of Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green), and there’s been a daytritter session recorded too. Perhaps it’s music that you’ve got to be in a certain mood for, and it’s definitely not going to get you dancing, but there’s no denying the beauty in it, sounding like a folk based dream. Her debut longplayer is due next year and it’s definitely one to look forward to:

Lissie – Little Lovin’


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Delphic – Doubt remix inspiration

There is always someone with more talent with you, that is a given. And if there isn’t, there’s someone with more potential than you. But let’s not get too depressed about it, but let’s use the skill of others to INSPIRE us onto greater glory and, more importantly, the chance to win vinyl. Though my interpretation of Delphic’s ‘Doubt’ may have given you hope that you’d be in with a shout of winning the competition that they’re currently running on their website, don’t fear – there are people that are actually really good at this remixing stuff.  Let’s start with the Ramadanman remix:

Delphic – Doubt (Ramadanman remix) [radarmaker]

And finally, 835 rounds things up with his own version of events, turning the whole thing into some kind of crazy dream:

Delphic – Doubt (835 remix) (835.fr)

If you think you can do better, head over to Delphic’s Doubt site (http://www.delphic.cc/doubt/), where they’ve not only got stems from the song up for download, but also offer an online mixer where you can craft your wares without the hassle of paying money for software. Even if you’re like me and you’ve got a very limited pool of talent to bathe in, it’s still a fun way to waste an hour or two adding as much reverb as you can to some backing vocals.


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Naked Babes

A few months ago, whilst trying to sate my Tom Vek obsession, I posted on here about my search to find out what he’s been upto since 2005’s wonderful’We have Sound’. The truth is that not many people actually know, but shortly after Test Icicles split, he and Devonte ‘Lightspeed’ Hynes got together with two members of Semi-Finalists to make some backward kind of super group. Called Naked Babes, it featured Vek on drums and whilst the band apparently played two gigs, the end result was an EP entitled ‘Tits Melting’, which has subsequently become almost impossible to find online or off.

Anyway, to cut a long story short – I now have, thanks to a lovely reader, a copy of Tits Melting. And though Vek is renowned for his considered experimental indie approach to making music and Dev has since moved on to making cute folky albums with his Lightspeed Champion moniker, this project was definitely more in the Test Icicles mould. If, like me, you’re ashamed of your love of ‘For Screening Purposes Only’, then these few tracks are something to add to that list as the Ep claims to be a part of the ‘dance rock’ genre, whilst falling short of being either. Made up of chaotic percussion, angular guitar and intermittent yelps, it’s a mixture of being brilliant and quite terrible. It’s little wonder that the project didn’t last long – it sounds like a hangover from ‘Circle Square Triangle’. Either way, it’s interesting and here’s two tracks from it:

Naked Babes – Fuckin’ Dumbell Party (fileden)

Naked Babes – Girls Gone Wild (fileden)


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