Wednesday, 5 March 2014
London-based Teleman are one of a long list of groups that this blog has meant to write something about, but has never really got around to doing so. Because let's face it, they do tick many of our metaphorical boxes - their upcoming debut album has been produced by Bernard Butler, a man whom I am incapable of finding fault in. They have supported Suede, the best band of all-time, and over the next few months they are also going to be supporting Franz Ferdinand, one of the best bands of the last 10 years, and Maximo Park, who also make music. They released some great tracks last year, including the wonderfully ethereal "Steam Train Girl", and looked certain to go on to brilliant things this year.
The latest track the band have released is "Lady Low", which the band are making available to download now in exchange for an email address. For a band who have been touring extensively with guitar-heavy groups, it's a surprisingly subdued track, almost like something you might expect to hear on Jazz FM, although that might just be the saxophone solo that dominates the latter half of the song, as if 2011 never ended. Not since Air's heyday as music this lounge-y sounded so effortlessly cool. Roll on their debut album.
"Breakfast" will be released on May 26th.
Photo is (c) Claudia Burlotti.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Although it's been more than a year since the announcement, people in Northern Ireland are still getting over the shock of beloved sons General Fiasco going on hiatus, having logged 2 albums and hundreds of gigs under their collective belt. Sure, for some, other bands will come about who can fill that indie-rock hole in their hearts, but what about those people for whom the guys in the band meant everything? How will they be able to cope?
Well fear not, for 1/2 of the band, Enda & Owen Strathern, have just announced their new project, Oh Volcano. In what has become something of a trend for artists from this neck of the woods, they have abandoned the guitar-centric sound their previous project was known for in lieu of the purely synthetic. Their first song under the Oh Volcano name is "Oceans", which is a fairly decent slice of atmospheric Caribou-esque electronica, which should act as a great few first steps towards the road they are sure to travel down over the next few months.
"Oceans" is available to download for free.
We've featured Strabane's finest oddball 4-piece Freak's on TMB a few times in the past, charming us in the last year their off-kilter tunes such as "Old Piano" and "Symmetry and Correlation". Now the band have released their latest single, "Number One", and it's fair to say it's their best song to date.
For a start, it's a song that's incredibly hook-y from the get-go, with two interlocking vocal "ah-ah" and "ooo's" which lead into the lovely little guitar riff. The lyrics fall into "good side of daft" territory, with lyrics concerning Northern Irish golfers, a city in the African country of Mali, and rare flavours of Pot Noodle.
The band have also released a cracking, hilarious music video for the song, which is as gloriously wonky as the song itself. Without giving too much away, let's just say it features one of the oddest romances to feature in a music video.
"Number One" is the strongest song to date from the Freak's fellows. Let's hope they keep their bonkers-indie sound going for their future releases.
"Number One" is available to download now for a very modest price.
Friday, 28 February 2014
The Lost Music Club is a new record label which is co-run by the respected Alcopop! Records and the editor of the fantastic blog 1p Album Club (a blog which reviews albums that can be bought online for a solitary penny). The aim of the label is to release albums from respected artists which never saw the light of day for various reasons. Having announced the launch of the label last month, today they announced their first release, and for someone like myself, who has a great affinity for the Britpop era but hasn't delved into music by some of the "also rans" of the movement, it is a rather interesting one.
Step forward Sheffield band Speedy. Having formed in 1993, the group split up in 1997 when the Britpop bubble burst with only a solitary hit to their name ("Boy Wonder", which reached the dizzy heights of #56 in the chart in 1996), before their debut album "News From Nowhere" could be released. Now seventeen years later, that album is finally going to see the light of day, and in anticipation, the band have made one of the songs from the album "Heard, Seen, Done, Been" available as a free download. It is a song that is very much of its time - the song is mid 90s through and through. But that doesn't mean it isn't good, because it is ruddy fantastic.
We wish The Lost Music Club well with their new venture, and look forward to seeing what other lost gems they intend to unearth. In case they are angling for suggestions of albums that never saw the light of day, we'd like to suggest fellow Britpop "also rans" Catch, Joe Lean & The Jing Jong (perhaps the most famous unreleased album of the mid 00s indie rock revival), and the second album from Geneva, "Weather Underground" (which technically was released, albeit very much under the radar).
"News From Nowhere" by Speedy will be released on 7th April 2014. The band will reform for two gigs to coincide with its re-release in London and Sheffield at the start of April.
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Over the past few weeks, this blog has had a steady stream of invites from bands and PRs inviting us to attend their showcase at this year's SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. We're flattered to be asked, but unfortunately given that we're based on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, we're very unlikely to be able to attend the festival this year. (However, I will be going to be at The Great Escape in Brighton, which is more or less the UK's equivalent of SXSW, so any bands who are going to be playing at that festival should feel free to badger me about it from now until May).
Thankfully, there's still going to be a Northern Irish presence from here at the SXSW Festival. Among the acts from here who are making the trip westwards is Rams' Pocket Radio, who after launching his debut album "Béton" last year will be playing at several events at the festival. In order to drum up awareness before the trip, he has promoted one of the songs from the album, "Love Is a Bitter Thing", to single status.
It's something of an odd choice, in that there are more accessible, hookier songs on the album that could do a great job of introducing his music to a new audience, like "Boats" or "Dogs Run In Packs" (although in fairness, the latter has already been released as a single - twice). "Love Is A Bitter Thing" is quite a stripped back track, both in terms of how it's been produced and in regard to the emotion on show. Hopefully it should help Mr McCauley to win over a few new fans, particularly those who lean towards music of the "heart on sleeve" variety.
"Love Is A Bitter Thing" will be released on 17th March. Rams' Pocket Radio will be playing at several dates at SXSW, including the Northern Irish party on 10th March and an SXSW Official Showcase gig at BD Rileys on 14th March.