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
Archive for December, 2009
The Great Mixtape Swap – get your entries in before 31st December https://thepigeonpost.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/the-great-mixtape-swap/
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’
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.
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)
The common perception is that children are easy to trick and cajole into liking certain things and behaving in certain ways, being highly susceptible to peer pressure and marketing. That’s why Christmas time sees adverts aimed solely at the under 7 market, telling them how they need to have a doll that wees itself or some Lego-wannabe transformers-esque pile of rubbish. The truth is that, whilst kids cna be pretty easy to manipulate, they can also be bloody stubborn, too. Teenagers are probably easier to mould in your own image – as long as you’re not their parent, that is.
A few years ago, a band came out that were pretty exciting. They made a sound that hadn’t really been given much mainstream coverage, filled with fast, angular guitars, frenetic drumming and a panicked, high pitched vocalist yelping out semi-incomprehensible lyrics. ¡Forward, Russia! were somewhat of a mini-internet phenomenon, with their demos being passed about in a similar manner to the Arctic Monkeys before them, with forums across the internet linking to this one website that had them all there, ready for download. The songs were fantastic, and whilst lad-rock was on it’s steady ascent in the pages of the NME, it sounded like the perfect antidote to the turgid mess that post-brit-pop was churning out.
What was probably most noteworthy was the naming of everything. As far as band names go, ¡Forward, Russia! is one of the more inspired choices around, but it was the songs themselves that garnered the most attention. Numbering tracks has probably happened before, but never pulled off with such conviction. It was a masterstroke, appealing to the ‘gotta catch ‘em all’ part of human nature whilst also ensuring that you were safe in the knowledge you had all the tracks available. The band claim – probably honestly – that this was simply a byproduct of being unable to find decent monikers for the tracks in time for their first gig, with the numbers sticking. If that was an accident, the band wearing the famous black and white ¡! t-shirts on stage was possibly a bit more cynical. Still, we lapped it up and bought the t-shirts (I had around 10 in different colour combinations), held onto the signed vinyls and attended the in-stores.
The result was something close to a cult. There weren’t masses of fans, but that’s kind of helped, like you were holding onto a secret that you were desperate to share. For a while they became my life, thanks to no more than 19 great songs, some clothes and great live shows. Steve Lamacq was even a big fan, airing various sessions by the band as well as a radio documentary about them. On myspace, you could barely move without bumping into someone copying their name (including my own positively cringe inducing ¡Forward, Matthew!) and their shows increasingly like social gatherings. Me and other fans would convince our friends to come along, promising them the time of their lives. There was a definitely something special about them, and it helped that they were amongst the best live acts in the country, with the crush of the crowd and the bizarre, jolty dancing antics of frontman Tom somehow fitting. Apart from one single, they put all their records out on their own Dance to the Radio label, and their debut LP Give me a Wall only intensified the love. Circular, with 40 seconds of hidden music at the start of the record linking up the first and last songs, as well as the fracturing ’15′ into two parts, it was, to me at least, a seminal work. As a result the band toured even more intensively.
For all the NME’s talk of ‘New Yorkshire’ and Dance to the Radio heralding a new dawn of DIY (which, you could argue, it did), it only took another 2 years for the wheels to almost completely fall off. Despite the success of the first album, the follow up Life Processes didn’t quite make the same impression. With ‘Don’t be a Doctor’, the band ended the numbers era, and with it took away some of the mystique surrounding them. The touring had also gutted them of all passion for gigging, and the hundreds of shows they played in support of their debut was replaced by a single sojourn around the UK for the second. They’d also become disconnected from Dance to the Radio, who had allegedly diverted attention and resources towards The Pigeon Detectives.
Around mid-2008, the band announced that they were to go on a hiatus, and in October they played their final gig, playing Brainwash festival at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club. It was far from a suprise, as much of the hype around the band had already died down, and Life Processes was released with more of a whimper than a bang. Many of the bands that had been lumped together with them in the ‘New Yorkshire’ scene had already begun to move on or die out – The Cribs were the fathers of the movement and have moved on to playing arena venues, with Kaiser Cheifs doing similar. Others like shutyreyesoryoullburstintoflames and The Wallbirds either split up or never really made it.
What’s happened since then? Drummer Katie was the youngest member of the band, and has returned to education, studying something at a University in Nottingham. Singer Tom Woodhead looked as though his solo project ‘Anteater’ has legs for a while, but has since moved on to production, working with I Concur and Cats and Cats and Cats, whilst also becoming the in-house sound man for a venue in Leeds. Rob Canning, the groups bassist, has been the most elusive to track down, and results have thus far been inconclusive. Whiskas, initially the heartbeat of Dance to the Radio and the driving force behind the band has now joined Duels, though has also set himself up as a producer and possibly a manager. He also appears to be a guest lecturer, and it was a video of his telling his story to students at Leeds Metropolitan University that brought about this post.
In the lecture, Whiskas mentions that the band still class themselves as being together, and his blog mentions that they’re ‘on hold’ for the time being. Whilst math-rock still inspires many different genres, it’s rarely being given much airing by itself, so it’d be nice to think that the band that took 65daysofstatic and made it pop and almost radio friendly will be back again one day. We can only hope. Anyway, here’s Whiskas saying far more interesting things about the band and the bubble around the band than I ever could:
And if you missed the boat, here’s their finest moment:
¡Forward, Russia! – Twelve
Never listen to people who say you have too much music on your computer. Until every spare kilobyte is taken up with .mp3, .ogg, .wma and .m4a files, you’ve not got enough. The argument that you’re never going to listen to it is an empty one – as long as there is an outside chance that you might and it’s a freebie, download away. Listening to your iTunes on random should be like listening to the best radio station in the world, not a ‘best of 2008′ compilation full of tracks you’re already sick of. Anyway, case in point – Fluffy Lumbers.
I’ve no idea where the mp3 came from, to be honest, but it’s there somehow, previously sitting astride the pile of unlistened files clogging my laptop’s harddrive. And for every moment that I spent listening to Abba Gold or the Dreamgirls soundtrack instead of Fluffy Lumbers, I am truly sorry. Despite sounding like the name of 70′s adult video star, it’s actually the solo project of Samuel Franklin, who is a part of similarly awesome band Frat Dad, whilst taking part in seemingly any project he can get his mitts on. By himself, he makes a fuzzy mess that sounds closest to the garage, surf inspired rock of Nodzzz, only with vocals that are much less nasal. It’s also pretty accessible and recognisably pop infused – the tunes are a joy ride through lush, catchy guitar riffs and distortion. The debut 7″ was put out by Weird Hug records, and there’s a 12″ on it’s way too, following attention from Pitchfork, who offered the following tracks for download. Shuffle, you never fail to entertain me with gems that I wasn’t even aware I possessed.
Fluffy Lumbers – Cruisers (p4k)
Fluffy Lumbers – Cruisers part 2 (Police Cruisers) (p4k)
Fluffy Lumbers – Harry Dolland’s (p4k)
Original Pitchfork article: http://pitchfork.com/forkcast/13465-harry-dollands/
The original Playstation was pretty groundbreaking from whatever angle you look at it. Originally drafted to be an add-on for Nintendo, the deal quickly broke apart and Sony realised they could do it alone. so whilst Mario was busy making seminal platforming games, Sony were busy shifting millions and millions of units, with Ridge Racer, Wipeout and Tekken being pretty much all you needed to have an okay, epilepsy inducing weekend in. Amongst all it’s innovations, there was one game that quietly heralded a mini revolution. In fact, ‘Music’ was more a piece of software, given that the ‘aim’ of it was to make an okay song from a pre-determined list of samples. It wasn’t too dynamic and the tracks that you could make on it were almost completely useless (thanks to only really being able to save them onto the PS1′s memory card) but still, it was the ability to make your own tracks in your living room, no matter how terrible the outcome.
So, whilst it might’ve all been a bit of fun making bad dance beats sound like an even worse dance song, it was all harmless fun. Their was seemingly no way you could take the ingredients provided and make something listenable. However, Sounds of 2010 finalists Delphic have already crafted one of the better songs of the year in ‘Doubt’ – a rollercoaster of a song, layered and executed to perfection. Offering a SoundCloud pro account as well as all the vinyl from their back-catalogue, the band are giving you the chance to remix their single, which is a pretty frightening idea given they’ve already done a pretty amazing job already.
Aware that complete amateurs such as myself probably don’t even know what mixing software looks like, they’ve uploaded all the ‘stems’ onto an online editing suite, which has all the basics you’ll need to make a half decent attempt. After about an hour or two of wrestling with it, even I managed to make a song, terrible as it is. Here’s my remix of Delphic, but I’m sure that you can do better – it’s essentially just a really bland version of the single itself. Send me your own interpretations, especially if they’re somehow worse:
Delphic – Doubt (Boring Pigeon remix) (fileden)
You can certainly do better than this. Head over to Delphic’s part of the Aviary website to work online, or if you’d rather do it from the comfort of your harddrive, Soundcloud has the stems. After you’ve done, upload it to the Delphic website for your chance to win , which also features some entries that actually sound brilliant. Good luck!
It’s easy to forget, but people are quite nice, on the whole at least. For every nasty person, there are about 10 that would happily make you a cup of tea and give you a biscuit when you are feeling a bit down. And the same goes for musicians, really. So for every horrible band with disasterous haircuts and terrible music, there’s a load who are plugging away, doing what they love. And some of them are even good, too. This playlist aims to showcase some of the better bands around at the minute, bubbling under the radar – hopefully, you’ll have heard of some of them, and it’d be good if you liked them too, and maybe it’ll help you find a band that you like.
The last Pigeon Playlist was centred around artists located in the Manchester area – this one is far from that. There’s a Greek man living in Barcelona, a set of twins from New York and… well, some lads from Manchester, too (but even then, they’re remixing a critically acclaimed London band). In short, it’s 9 artists that have really made writing this blog for the past couple of months worthwhile thanks to their music. I e-mailed them all, begging for a track to use and they sent me some tracks in order to compile this. Obviously, this wouldn’t have been able to happen without the bands themselves, firstly on the most literal way imaginable (they’re their tracks) and also without their immense kindness. Anyway, enough talking, here are the tracks. They’re all wonderful, and as well as being able to stream, it’s all available as one big downloadable .rar file below:
1 IS TROPICAL – THE GREEKS
It’s almost insulting how much potential Is Tropical have. Their debut single is out on Hit Club records next year and it’s a dead cert. to be a collectors item in years to come. Their unique brand of laid back, fuzz layered pop is, for want of a better word, tropical. It makes your feet tap and your body sway, in the way that all music should. This track is more thumping that other tracks, but equally catchy and amazing
2 ZAMBRI – BANG FOR CHANGES
Like HEALTH having a fight with a really good pop song or the Disney Channel having a harrowing nightmare, Zambri are the perfect crossover between the end of the world and sugary sweet vocals. It’s so blindingly obviously brilliant that the main shock is that no-one has thought to do this before. Taken from their EP of the same name, it’d be a massive shame if these aren’t all over 2010.
3 INTERNET FOREVER – GEMINI BIRTHDAY
Probably the best band ever found by blindly searching blogs and crossing fingers on myspace, they’ve recently finished supporting Johnny Foreigner on tour, which was likely the highlight of anyone who saw it’s life. They’ve also just released their debut single, Cover the Walls, which showcases their lo-fi power-pop to perfection, and this track should haunt your dreams in a similar manor.
4 SPARKY DEATHCAP – COSMIC LOVE INFECTION
He might be a Campesinos! in waiting (financial restrictions permitting), but his solo work is some of the most touching, personal and all round wonderful stuff about at the minute. This recently renamed track is perfect for walking in the rain with your hood up and feeling slightly in love with the world. Maybe give this a miss if you’re on your way out of a long term relationship.
5 THIS MANY BOYFRIENDS – THAT’S WHAT DIARIES ARE FOR
If you’re named after a Beat Happening song, then you’re already halfway to being a good band, though This Many Boyfriends hardly need the bonus kudos that such a moniker brings. That’s what diaries are for is the perfect reposté to all your fashionable friends who think they’re cool, being witty and anthemic in equal measure. And Anthemic in a good way, not like Hard Fi or whatever
6 BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB – MAGNET (DUTCH UNCLES REMIX)
We’ve all heard Bombay Bicycle Club. They’re lovely and have been brightening our stereos for the past few years now. If the BBC Sounds of 2010 was being polled a few months later, it wouldn’t have been a suprise to have seen Dutch Uncles in there, and whilst their brand of indie-pop is bound to excite in the next 12 months, we can wait for it to unfold whilst listening to what they’ve done to Magnet. (Labelled ‘Walking Backwards’ on the download due to e-mail errors. Sorry)
7 NEDRY – A42
After originally putting out their debut themselves, Nedry have earnt themselves the distribution deal that their talent rightly deserves. A heady mix of trip-hop and dubstep, it’s like if Portishead were more into grime. The amount of exposure they’ve getting at the moment is miniscule compared to the amount they deserve, but Huw Stephens is a long time fan, and the group have even done a session for his show. They’re touring next year – you should do all you can to be there
8 FICTION – TO STICK TO
Usually noted for their dark, sinister music, this track shows a different side of Fiction. Of course, they’re stick the hint of danger, like the haunted woods in a children’s morality tale, but it’s nice to hear a slightly lighter side to the London foursome. Recently played Dummy Mag’s party and have been recieving rave reviews from ArtRocker magazine amongst others, whilst their choatic drum set up (in which each member of the band plays) is the perfect antidote the usual, predictable band set-up
9 LARRY GUS – Tailbone Blues (H.O.P.E. Radio Session)
I’m actually convinced that Larry Gus is a genius. The alter-ego of Panagiotis Melidis, his debut album was awarded the ‘record of the month’ award by Vice Magazine’s Greek edition, and it’s easy top see why. Now living in Barcelona and writing jingles for adverts, this is taken rom a session he did for local radio. Almost unclassifiable, it’s mind-boggling and slightly frightening, but overwhelmingly wonderful.
So, there are the tracks. You can get ahold of them all as a download from mediafire below. If you’d like to be a part of the next Pigeon Playlist, drop me a line at email@example.com. Comments are always appreciated too.
Following in the footsteps of Gareth Campesinos! and No Age, Radio 1′s ray of hope Huw Stephens has suggested his own mixtape for Turnstile’s Bento series. It’s a slightly bizarre mixtures of songs, but it’s still an excellent way of spreading the word on bands like Yr Ods. Mind you, watch out for Gaggle – they are absolutely mad.
TURNSTILE BENTO #5 Curated by HUW STEPHENS
Bento #5 available from today is curated by Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1, C2 Radio Cymru, Swn Festival) As Huw poured over his delicious Bento Selection, he stopped to think:
“These songs come from totally different musical places to each other and hopfuly give a tasty Bento experience. Yr Ods are a brilliant indie band from North Wales with sharpness, melodies and a natural flow that can make you blush. They’re top live, and played the Moshi Moshi night at Swn fest 09. I fell a bit in love with Hjaltalin when I saw them at Eurosonic in Groningen, the Netherlands. They’re an Icelandic band, but it feels like a touring troupe somehow. There’s opera, basson, strings and these emotional, heart melting songs. This is new from their second album. Jakwob is a producer, remixer and all round studio genius who can make you rock into a vulnerable position. His remix of Ellie Goulding is so so good, he keeps busy making his own tunes, like this woozy belter. And Gaggle? That a 22- piece choir of strong willed and strong voiced Ladies, and they are Ladies, can gig, tour, record covers and release records to massive acclaim is a wonderful thing. Enjoy the Bento!
- 1. Yr Ods – City’s Heart Keeps Burning
- 2. Hjaltalin – Hooked on Chili
- 3. Jakwob – Wild Pitch
- 4. Gaggle – Mowglis Road
Join below to get this and all the other Bento releases. You won’t regret it:
These are just general tidbits. Rather than sticking them all in seperate posts, they’re here as a unit.
HUNKS – THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS RELEASED TODAY
I dislike X Factor. Well, not dislike – it just bores me. However, I dislike people thinking that buying a record on a major label that’s 15 years old might upset some imaginary apple cart with some fervour, so, whatever you do, don’t buy Rage Against the Machine this Christmas. It’s only got a slender chance of winning anyway, but let’s make those chances even slimmer by buying something that’s actually exciting – like HUNKS! Featuring members of Sky Larkin, Slow Club, Los campesinos and many, many others, it’s been released today in order to push forChristmas Number 1. Or, alternatively, to go for the top 200. Who knows – it might well make it. If not, the money is going to the RSPCA anyway, so it’s all for a good cause. The video is below:
You can buy it from iTunes using this link: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-magic-of-christmas-single/id342733800 and they’re updating a blog over at http://awesomeatchristmas.wordpress.com/. Ace.
BEKO DSL MONDAY!
You can tell you’re unemployed when you actually quite like Monday. The buses run a lot more frequently, the postman comes and the house is emptier, meaning you can have a bowl of cereal at 1 o’clock and nobody is even going to question it. A reason for everyone else to look forward to Monday is Beko and their Digital Singles Label! Every Monday, they give away a two track single recorded especially for them. To celebrate Christmas, they’re doubling their efforts, meaning 2 tracks from 2 artists at the start of each working week. Eternal Summers and Romantic States are featured this week, so don’t miss out!
Beko Website: http://www.beko-dsl.com/
TLOBF ALBUMS OF 2009
I’ve always been terrible at lists, and the fact that I missed about 15 of my favourite releases from my contribution to The Line of Best Fit’s end of year list was thoroughly predictable. Anyway, Japandroids – Post Nothing made the list, and I wrote a few words about one of the few albums I actually remembered that I like for them. Link below:
I think that’s it. If you’ve got any news of your own that you’d like crammed and condensed into something terrible like this, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org please.