Album Review – Dum Dum Girls

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Dum Dum Girls -’Only In Dreams’ (Sub Pop)

Most musical genres are seen as having a heyday that future revivals hark back to. Generally speaking, it’s often held that only the 2-tone movement of the late seventies really improved upon the movement that it was based upon. Yet I think the revival of interest in Indie-pop/c86 (call it what you will; just so long as you distinguish it from indie being short-hand for anything involving guitars) runs close. It’s often typified as being a mid-eighties concern because of the c86 cassette, though there were forerunners in bands like Orange Juice and Monochrome Set. And every so often it flickers into the overground again.

That’s part of the reason that people have -quite rightly -honed in on the Dum Dum Girls -along with acts like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Best Coast and Girls. But scene or no scene, there’s a certian charm here that I like to think would have got song and band noticed whatever. It’s clear from the opening ‘Always Looking’ that this is a much more polished affair than its’ predecessor I Will Be – strange to think that was only eighteen months ago.

There’s probably not much here that’s going to draw in those not normally drawn to this style of music, though it’s worth noting that they are not ‘twee’ like some in the genre. Tracks like the aforementioned ‘Always Looking’ and ‘Bedroom Eyes’ and the album’s standout track ‘Coming Down’ ensure that this is an album worth hearing.

Overall, it’s a solid collection of tunes, and a heap of fun into the bargain. Whether there will be those who drop away not that they sound more polished only time will tell. But there’s so many worse ways of spending your listening time than pricking up your ears this way.

Only In Dreams is out now on Sub Pop.

Dum Dum Girls -’Bedroom Eyes.’ mp3

Dum Dum Girls -’Coming Down.’ mp3

A pot-pourri of Mogwai remixes

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Not a long post – computer being painfully slow and I have been trying to share these with you for a couple of days…

First up, Mogwai take on fellow Glaswegian’s Laki Mera’s track ‘Crater.’

Their album The Proximity Effect is rather good (one of many albums I am trying to get around to reviewing. The band are understandably thrilled that Mogwai wanted to do the remix.

Laki Mera – Crater (Mogwai Remix) by Just Music label

Like it? Download it for free from their Facebook page

Yuck’s album is rather fine, you shoulda heard ‘Georgia’ by now (if not, WHY NOT?)

This is Mogwai’s remix of Rubber:

Now, two remixes for bands I know next to nothing about, but these sound awesome to these ears:

Album review – Wilco

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Wilco -’The Whole Love’ (dBpm)

Wilco’s 8th album -released via their own dBpm label – demonstrates just why they are such a highly regarded band. Because whilst debates will doubtless rage about whether this is their best record or not, there are many facets to this albu n that show many sides of Wilco and why I’ve found this such any easy album to fall in love with.

It’s worth the money alone for the opening track ‘Art Of Almost.’ Over the course of seven minutes we have the song and the experimentation, and the guitar workout. And it’s blooming fantastic. But there’s a whole lot more that’s deserving of your attention, like the single ‘I Might’ which seems to bring both the Jam and The Doors and the gorgeous ‘Black Moon.’

For a band once considered a fine Alt. Country band, Wilco have continued to evolve, experiment and excite, so that they have gone beyond this mere definition. Friends, Romans, Countrypersons- lend your ears to this. A wonderful mixture of leftfield and great songwriting.

The Whole Love is released on dBpm on September 26.

You can also stream the entire album here

Album review – St. Vincent

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St. Vincent -’Strange Mercy.’ (4AD)

Texan Annie Clark’s third album – the follow-up to 2009′s rather wonderful Actor – demonstrates why her profile and reputation are continuing to grow rather nicely.Clark is an artist who thinks outside the box and gives the impression of being in total control. This record demonstrates once and for all that she is not just another femail singer-songwriter – but an artist who performs in the vein of a Kate Bush or a Laurie Anderson.

This record is more synthesizer-driven than Actor -’Northern Lights’ and ‘Surgeon’ are two very different tracks whichshow Clark pushing the extremes of what can be done within the confines of the pop song.

The standout track on Actor was probably ‘Actor Out Of Work’ and I think ‘Cruel’ is the outstanding track here. If I have a criticism of this record, it would be that the lyrics can sometimes seem a little below par. ‘No; if I ever meet the dirty policeman who roughed you up…?’ er, what exactly?

Whilst I think there is a truly outstanding album yet to come from Ms. Clark, this album shows her continuing to grow, as an artist to continue watching. She is getting on top of here game, fairly ahead of it in many ways – and best of all, doesn’t play the game.

****

Strange Mercy is out now on 4AD.

To get a free mp3 of ‘Surgeon’ follow this link



Presenting…General Fiasco

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Hailing from Magherafelt, Northern Ireland, General Fiasco are Owen Strathern, Enda Strathern, Stephen Leacock and Stuart Bell.

Having released their debut album Buildings last year, they will shortly be releasing their new EP.

Entitled Waves, two tracks are currently doing the rounds, the titled track and another which was recently considered ‘The hottest record in the World right now’ by Radio 1, ‘The Age That You Start Losing Friends.’

See what you think, I’m really enjoying these tracks and looking forward to hearing more.

General Fiasco – The Age That You Start Losing Friends by Dirty Hit

General Fiasco – Waves by Dirty Hit

They’re shortly out on tour – details are on the poster above.

…and it would be nice to know what you think!

Album review- Stonesthrow

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Stonesthrow -’Judas or rebel’ (Bloomingfield)

The debut album from this Glasgow four–piece opens with the anthemic ‘Tear It Down.’ This track sets the pace and scene for the album that follows.

Now this might seem like an odd comparison to make, but in a way, Stonesthrow remind me of The Drums. Neither act sound remotely like the other, but they have a similar approach. In the case of Stonesthrow they enjoy 70s rock -and whilst their influences are clear to see (or should I say hear), they are having an enormous amount of fun, and have produced an album without any fat on it, so to speak. So no; it’s not an album to innovate, but nor is it a self-indulgent album.

As well as the aforementioned ‘Tear It Down’ , highlights include ‘I’m Ready’ and ‘Slowly Breaking Through.’ Rock music may be having a tough time of it at the moment of late, what with sales for the genre going through the floor. Yet Stonesthrow strike me as a band who will persevere whatever the economic and/or musical climate.

Fair play, fellas.

***1/2

Judas or rebel is out now on Bloomingfield

You can get a free download of ‘Tear It Down’ by signing up at the band’s website.

REM split: a reflection

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Yes – I’m back. Not that I actually went away; but the blog was refusing to post pictures or links, which would have been kinda pointless.

Like many people, I’m kinda stunned by the news this evening that REM have called it a day. Now I’m going to be honest: I hadn’t been really blown away by an REM album in a while – possibly at least ten years. But Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills -and with drummer Bill Berry until 1996 were responsible for some excellent music. So many great tracks – singles and album cuts; and so many great albums. Most bands do well to produce a really coherent album in their career. REM made at least eight outstanding albums -Murmur, Life’s Rich Pageant, Document, Green, Out Of Time, Automatic For The People, Monster and New Adventures In Hifi. Even some of the weaker albums had awesome tracks ‘Driver 8′ ‘At My Most Beautiful’ ‘Discoverer’ ‘So. Central Rain…’

So…some videos for you:

Remember them this way

update

Still having problems.

For some reason, it is impossible to upload files or pictures at the moment.

There will be more music and much more besides very soon.

In the meantime, check out the links down the side.