Thursday, October 30

The Death Set

You know those bands that gather hype and more hype all year until it kinda stops and you wonder, 'Hmm, what hapenned there?'. Well, The Death Set are just one of those lots, though it was only a few weeks ago when I opted to lend em my ears. And it wasn't even by choice, it was during my usual routine of watching/fast-forwarding 120 Minutes until something 'good' came on. So 'Negative Thinking' did, and I was like well impressed. Right there and then the Artrocker front cover was justified. It's an agreeable bit of never-annoying tuneage that marries all kinds of Korg keys and recurring techno talk and relentless drum pounds and rumbling vocals, all of which ends up like the indie equivalent to the iPhone or something. Jeez that makes no sense, but then neither does the hype-pause of this lot.

Download
Negative Thinking

The Death Set Myspace

Monday, October 27

Middle Class Rut

Some bands don't know how to bonus from the hype they garner. Middle Class Rut may not be blessed with a Wikipedia page yet, and one of em may look like one of em from Iglu & Hartly, but they sure as hell know how to book a gig in London town. Or at least their people do. Come November MCR (no, not that MCR!) will be hitting five whole venues across the UK's capital, shooting their load of candy-coated meaty straight-up rock all over the city. They've spent their careers driving vans over the flatlands of USA, but now - and I quote from their Myspace blog - they're "Looking forward to a change of scenery, culture and backwards running toilet water. I used to be a big Dr. Who fan (circa late 80s) so gettin in one of them phone booths is on my list of things to do." There's actually two of them, which once you cloak your ears around new single and the reason I'm writing this post, 'Busy Bein' Born', comes as a stupefaction. You'll be as excited as they are.

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Busy Bein' Born

Middle Class Rut Myspace

Thursday, October 23

Bon Iver

I am ashamed. So, so ashamed. Utters of the name 'Bon Iver' were thrown my way months back, but I never caught on enough to venture out in to the world external of Noah & The Whale, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons to figure, "Hey, wait a minute, Wisconsin seem to be pretty good at this whole alt.folk thing too." Not only the setting of relatively funny American TV sitcom 'That 70s Show', and also Watford FC centre back Jay DeMerit, Wisconsin USA is the place the creator of one of this year's best albums calls home too. Bon Iver himself calls it 'neo-soul'. Shout And Twist totally agree, whilst too getting a little teary eyed-causing lo-fi tranquil acoustic Iron & Wine-but-better cogency from 'For Emma, Forever Ago' as well. If there's one more record you plan to lose yourself in this October, make sure it's this one. God I sound like Woolworths.

Download
Creature Fear

Bon Iver Myspace

Monday, October 20

Eastern Conference Champions

American TV sitcoms are not just the basis of powerful, hilarious and moving scripts that sometimes just can't help but embarrass the rest of the world at trying to write great telly. Well, some of em anyway. They too hold a purpose to showcase some of our planet's finest musical thespians. The OC told me about Patrick Park, Friends told me about Interpol, Dawson's Creek told me about Alanis... well, we won't go there. And now thanks to NBC's wonderfully written Life, starring Damien Lewis as a detective which is coming to ITV3 later this year but I've been watching it for over a year cause I'm cool and hip, I discovered Eastern Conference Champions. Philadelphia's ECC are a tad above your average big, brooding indie rock that just slips in the right side of The Script, with the likes of Coldplay, Editors and White Lies for company. Wrap your ears around killer tune 'The Box'. Then go watch Life from the first ep. Two great tips. One great blog.

Download
The Box

Eastern Conference Champions Myspace

Thursday, October 16

Lo-Fi-Fnk

It took me ages to Google these after I caped my ears all around em on 120 Minutes the other evening. Not because they're so little-known you have to stalk though hundreds of results to find their Myspace page, but because I televisually noted their band name wrong. They're not Lo-Fi-Funk, Finland's jazz-heavy posse who outside of their country are known as trekkies, but Lo-Fi-Fnk, Sweden's disco house Moshi Moshi-tagged masters. 'Change Channel' would be a taxing listen if it wasn't for this constant glam of a sweet key bar barging into the tune at what seems like the most appropriate of times. Jeez, what is happening to me? First DJ Mujava, now Lo-Fi-Fnk. I've been bitten by the nu-house bug and I'm lovin' it!

Download
Change Channel

Lo-Fi-Fnk Myspace

Monday, October 13

Hockey

When The Automatic very first rolled up onto the 'scene', I, like most people, thought much of them. There was nay snobbery, just pure downright indie durability. Then 'Monster' happened. Like an England second half at Wembley, it all went a tad loco. It wasn't at all their gain in eminence, but just how nettlesome the song had become. It was almost unlistenable. Same kinda thing could well happen to Hockey. Right now I cannot dig 'Song Away' enough. It's total pop gold, spread like Team Waterpolo sprawling in the sweetest jam possible with only Lizzie McGuire when she's at her least annoying for company. But there's that slight feeling that in the midst of what will no doubt be total hysteria once they reach our shores from Portland come December, it'll go a bit, well, Automatic. Until then though, they're ours.

Download
Song Away

Hockey Myspace

Thursday, October 9

Mike Bones

Just because Mike Bones inhabits inside the present-day talent pool of New York doesn’t mean he's all new woven punk and riveting anecdotes, prep’d up to vie with contemporaries of Vampire Weekend, MGMT and Amazing Baby. He is however pretty darn gifted, and prefers to shelve out a more euphoric pop-based stringy anthem rather than just another single of the year like 'Kids' or 'A Punk'. Forty-odd plays in and I'm still not sick of 'What I Have Left'. Judging by his Myspage page he doesn't gig all that much either, which as much as it is annoying, gives him a sense of mystery. Though if he ever does show his face outta Brooklyn town, he'd probably go and rule the world.

Download
What I Have Left

Mike Bones Myspace

Monday, October 6

DJ Mujava

I never normally do this. And by this I mean listen to washy house music. And by normally I mean pretty much ever. But I've certainly got time for DJ Mujava. His tune 'Township Funk' has been shagging the late night Radio 1 playlist (where I first heard it) for a few weeks now, and currently my text message-ringtone too. The rush of bizarre spacey clatter just wishy-washing in and out of the song - it feels like an absolute anthem. I'm not a big clubber but if I was in some hot new club at 2 in the morning, with the dance floor relatively full, and this came on, I'd jump feet first in the middle and shake my ass off like there's no tomorrow. Possibly. But if it gives me those kind of fantasies, then you know it's a special piece of melody.

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Township Funk

DJ Mujava

Thursday, October 2

Forever The Sickest Kids

In hip-hop speak, 'Sickest' means 'the best ever', 'cool' or 'awesome'. This makes total sense when you take Dallas powerpop-punk troupe Forever The Sickest Kids into account. All six members chanced upon another at high school and college, and in 2006 FTSK was hatched. Simple story, but if there Wikipedia page is anything to go by, this is a better on; Front man Jonathan Cook got so excited at the promise of his new band that he spent about £180 on a front page song placement on PureVolume, even though they were yet to record a single note. But rather than backfire at the band like Juande Ramos and his Top 4-cracking plan, this meant they were imposed to head into a studio and make 'Hey Brittany', which was so darn special major labels were turned on over em. Universal Motown won, and three EPs later, the debut record, 'Underdog Alma Meter', hit the Billboards like Giovanni smacked his past Arsenal. Well, it went in at No. 45. But after laying my own ears around its glossy Get Up Kids-take'd alt.punk shine, I've got a strange suspicion that sometime next year it'll be re-released to a much wider appeal, blasting them off into Fall Out Boy territory. They really are that good.

Download
Whoa Oh! (Me Vs Everyone)

Forever The Sickest Kids Myspace

Wednesday, October 1

September - Album Of Last Month

Glasvegas - Glasvegas - Columbia

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but for about fifteen minutes in late June this year I was holed up in a radio studio with the four members of Glasvegas. All year I'd heard nonstop superlatives slapping them as 'The most exciting British prospect since the Arctic Monkeys', or 'The most important debut record since 'Definitely Maybe', not forgetting 'The best band to come out of Scotland. Ever.' It seemed that hype hadn't got so heated since Turner and co blasted off three years ago. Then it happened. The moment in which I too jumped on the bandwagon of hysteria to claim Glasvegas as something a little more than just special. It came after the band played 'Daddy's Gone', and band leader James Allan trodded over to the corner of the studio, held his head in his hands, and took a few moments to clear his head before he could take off again. The effect the words had on him, the passion that evoked from his voice afterward, and just the shear tenacity of emotion songs like that can have - it was all so mesmerising. There's not one or two highlights from 'Glasvegas'. The whole thing is spectacular.

Download
The whole thing!

Glasvegas Myspace