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Monday, August 15, 2016

The Indie Anthology 69: essential songs

More immortal tunes for the anthology section! Today we go back to the "magical indiepop land" that is Dunedin, New Zealand, to recover one of their finest bands and make a humble tribute to some of their geniuses. Deep down under is the place to be!

Song: Point That Thing Somewhere Else
Artist: The Clean
Year: 1981

Discovered The Clean around 2002-2003, when 'Anthology' was released (and I was discovering the never ending, unmissable, Flying Nun catalogue). I remember that I got instantly hooked by the second CD, the one with the bulk of 'Vehicle' ('Drawing to a Hole', 'Someone', 'The Blue'... oh dear). But the first CD was a bit too rough, may I say a bit too punk to my ears then, making me rating them a bit lower than my beloved Chills and Bats... Blame first impressions, because that first half includes 'Point That Thing Somewhere Else', which originally appeared on debut 12" EP 'Boodle Boodle Boodle' and its mesmerizing. Co-written by the late (and forever missed) Peter Gutteridge, this is indiepop at their best: jangle drowned into delay and fuzz in what ranks as one of the best guitar works of underrated master David Kilgour (legend, legend, legend), an almost kraut rhythm (courtesy of his great brother Hamish and the bass of Robert Scott). Here's the mystery, the edge, the spell, the sense of adventure, the immediacy, the melodic power, the open landscapes, the bewitchment of a sound that once hits you, never let you go... Luckily.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 113

Back home for a short time before getting on the road again (Emerald Isle, here we go!) but there's so much music out there to simply miss the chance to present you another TOP TEN Jukebox for you listening pleasure. Excellent comebacks from Tennis and our dear Persian Leaps, the new tunes from Egoism (formerly EGO) and Mercury Girls, confirming here we have two bands to follow closely, a killer version of The Replacements... plus plenty more to discover & enjoy! And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Direct links to 2016 Jukebox playlists

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Indie Anthology 68: essential songs

Told you this section was going to be revitalized and, before we take a holiday break for about ten days here's another mesmerizing tune to add to our anthology. Well, as a matter of fact it is way more than just a tune. In my opinion, it's one of the best jangle pop melodies ever penned.

Song: I Had an Excellent Dream
Artist: The Dentists
Year: 1985

This past April, we had the pleasure to count with Mark Matthews from the amazing The Treasures of Mexico, answering our questions in the 'These Go to 11' section. But, Matthews, as we pointed extensively on that interview, has a jangle-pop pedigree that goes back to the middle 80s, as he was a permanent member of the The Dentists, a terribly underrated combo that gave us a bunch of gems, among them this mind-blowing 'I Had and Excellent Dream', an epitome of what an eternal jangle-pop tune is, and part of a truly masterful album, 'Some People Are on the Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now' (reminder: have to grab a copy, damn it!). Second one: a guitar starts ringing (thanks Bob Collins, also playing now at the Treasures, you are genius guitarist). Seconds five to-eight: you are irrepressibly hooked by that chiming guitar riff (it resonates, vibrates, hums and keeps going further, relentlessly), propelled by that groovy rhythm section. Second thirty: Michael Murphy starts singing and you, providing an fragility and melancholy to the otherwise blasting tune. Second one hundred and eighty: the chorus keeping exploding and you know you'll get stuck to the song forever. 31 years have passed and still sounds raw, exciting, slightly psychedelic, immediate and classic at the same time. Guitar pop as its best.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Discoverer 148: new indie findings

Last Sunday of July, we have time for another round of new proposals in our discoverer series before holiday's break! We go quite psychedelic & ethereal today, get ready for the trip!

Zen Mantra. We begin in Christchurch, NZ, to introduce you to the music of Sam Perry's solo project, that he began around 2012, when he was just 17 years old. Perry, who is also member of pop band Yumi Zouma debuted in January 2013 with album 'How Many Padmes Hum', and now has a self-titled follow-up, created and recorded mostly by himself around the world whilst on tour, out since this April via mighty Flying Nun Records. A record that sees Perry going deep into that psychedelic pop territory that no one does as New Zealanders groups but widening the sonic palette to add all forms of pop music: from shoegaze bursts to reverb attacks, from atmospheric landscapes and occasional darker tones to blissful, immediate tunes full of hooks. Oh! The "warped" pop from down under is here again to haunt you...

Eerie WandaAnd let's move to Amsterdam, The Netherlands (first time?) to meet this indie pop quartet led by Croatian/Dutch singer-songwriter Marina Tadic. While she was the guitarist of local band Earth Mk. II after graduating from art school she decided to embark herself in writing her own material, citing Beat Happening,You Marble Giants and Daniel Johnston as influences. Early circulating demos reached Jacco Gardner’s bassist Jasper Verhulst, who agreed to help her assemble a band and produce its music. Bram Vervaet on lead guitar and Nic Niggebrugge (also in Jacco Gardner) on drums joined the then duo and, in 2015, they began rehearsing and recording debut LP, 'Hum', out since this February via Beyond Beyond Is Beyond RecordsAnd what a record this is! Summery, evocative, gentle, extremely melodic, subtle yet elaborate, with Tadic's vocals recalling you the quiet powers of Angel Olsen doing joyful indiepop with hints of psych-folk. Look for Wanda at the best records of the year list! 

Manon Meurt. Very happy to feature a band from the Czech Republic at the Blog (sure it's the first time!). Hailing from Rakovnik, just outside of Prague, this quartet formed in 2010 but until 2013 they were known as Katie & The Accessories. With the adoption of their current, literary name, also came a solid status of "band to follow", playing alongside consecrated bands like The Raveonettes or the legendary My Bloody Valentine. In the fall of 2014 they self-released debut 12" mini-album, self-titled, which sold out shortly, becoming almost a collectors item. Now upstart Canadian imprint Label Obscura has reissued the vinyl this April. An unmissable chance to discover the highly melodic yet moody, sparse and dreamy sounds of the combo, clearly recalling Lush and Slowdive, combining with their full throttle shoegaze moments. Best of both worlds.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 112

Here we are again, squeezing the last days of July with the most exciting new music approaching our radar. This time, our regular TOP TEN Jukebox blends brilliant, consecrated artists returning to form, like our beloved Hamilton Leithauser (hard to imagine his song is not fated for the best songs of the year list) or the amazing reunion of Neko Case, Laura Veirs and K. D. Lang, alongside dear bands of this Blog as Space Daze or The Spook School, plus the regular discoveries taking us places, some sort of a music travel with stops in Argentina with Las Kellies and our recurring New Zealand with Zen Mantra. A lot to discover, a lot to enjoy! And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Direct links to 2016 Jukebox playlists

Friday, July 29, 2016

These Go to 11: interviewing Phosphene

Last interview before holidays! And what a great one! Because our guests answering the questionnaire this time are Phospheneone of our favourite music discoveries on this 2016 so far and, besides an exciting band, are a trio of wonderful people. These Go to 11!

Rachel, Matt and Kevin, seeking for the light among the haze
Haling from Oakland, CA, they started to play in 2008 when Rachel Frankel (vocals / guitar) and Matt Hemmerich (drums) met in class. Two years later the couple decided to start a music project together, launching a first EP that by now must be a rising collectors' item. But Phosphene needed a major factor to become what they are now (an ace band, that is): meeting Kevin Kaw (bassist/ guitarist) in a songwriting event featuring Aaron Dessner's from The National (a shared passion with this Blogger) in 2013. With Phosphene becoming a trio, they recorded s/t first LP in July 2014 followed by the terrific EP 'Breaker' this April (among the best of 2016 so far). A stunning blend of dreampop, indie-rock and shoegaze fated for great things to come. Here we go!

The millennial heartbreakers 
1.First record that you bought (be honest)
Matt:​­ 'Dookie' by Green Day.
Kevin: '​­Fountains Of Wayne' (s/­t album).
Rachel: ­'Millennium' by Backstreet Boys.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
Matt​­: AFI in 2003, most recent: Low with Andy Shauf.
Rachel: Hanson in 1999 with my mom (SUPER COOL), most recent: Low with Andy Shauf.
Kevin​­: my sister took me to see Duran Duran in 1993, most recent: Treasure Island Music Festival.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Rachel:­ 'Transantlanticism' by Death Cab for Cutie (not all that embarrassing, but it’s a super sappy album and they’re a very mushy indie rock band).
Matt​­: 'If You're Reading This It's Too Late' by Drake.
Kevin:​­ 'Me&The Rhythm' by Selena Gomez.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Matt:​­ 20” Paiste Dimensions ride cymbal.
Kevin:​­ my Torino Red 2000 American Standard Stratocaster.
Rachel​­: my great­grandmother’s violin.
The "fucked up" song. The National during the durational performance of
'A Lot of Sorrow' by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Photo: Charles Roussel
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Matt​­: "You are my center when I spin away" ­ Radiohead, “Videotape”; "I'm a moth who just wants to share your light" Radiohead, “All I Need”; "I live in a city sorrow built. It's in my honey, it's in my milk" ­ The National, “Sorrow”; "I still owe money to the money to the money I owe" ­The National, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”.
Rachel: ​“I’m a modern girl, but I fold in half so easily” ­ Rilo Kiley, “Pictures of Success”; “Bored in a role, but he can't stop standing up to sit back down, and lose the one thing found. Spinning the world like a toy top 'till there's a ghost in every town.” ­ Elliott Smith, “Can’t Make A Sound”; “There’s always a siren singing you to shipwreck” ­ Radiohead, “There There”.
Kevin​­:No longer cradled in gravity’s memory...” ­ Pale Saints, “A Thousand Stars Burst Open”, “Over the moon and under the influence” ­ The Trash Can Sinatras, “Easy Read”.

Neko Case, a true original
6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Matt:​­ Neko Case, Thom Yorke, Carrie Brownstein, Killer Mike, El­P.
Rachel: ­ ​Neko Case, Elliott Smith, Alan Sparhawk, PJ Harvey, Rachel Goswell.
Kevin​­: Kurt Feldman, Jen Goma, Koji Nakamura, Robert Smith, Johan Duncanson, Jeremy Wrenn.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Matt​­: 'Unknown Pleasures' by Joy Division.
Rachel: ­​​'July Flame' by Laura Veirs, 'The Eraser' by Thom Yorke.
Kevin​­: 'Kid Games' by Airiel, 'I Love You, Honeybear' by Father John Misty.

'We got you, babe'... repeat ad eternum...
8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Matt​­: Movies because I’m illiterate. 'Carol' is one of the most evocative films I’ve seen in some time.
Rachel: ­books- 'Kafka On The Shore' by Haruki Murakami, 'All My Puny Sorrows' by Miriam Toews
Kevin​­: books- 'The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay' by Michael Chabon, 'Man V. Nature' by Diane Cook; movies- 'Groundhog Day'.

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
Matt​­: It’s a tie between 'Rogue' and 'Wire'. Both are dear for selfish reasons. 'Rogue' was the first song I ever wrote and sung a vocal melody on. 'Wire' is the first song I wrote in full on guitar.
Rachel:​­ I’ll pick one from our first album and one from our second. I was really happy with the way the melody turned out on 'Thief' and 'Be Mine' is probably my favorite child from Breaker.
Kevin​­: I’m quite fond of 'Wild Decay'.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
Matt:​­ Indie is more of an ethos to me than a genre. There’s a huge community of musicians, bands that encompass it, so you can really stick “indie” in front of any sound. Being indie, however, doesn’t inform the music itself.
Rachel: ­I still don’t really know the answer here. At its core the term just represents “independent” music, but like Matt said it’s evolved into an entire scene. It’s actually pretty meaningless for me at this point.
Kevin​­: I think it involves making something for the sake of making it, and then sharing it with others, all on your own terms.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
Matt:​­ residing in Portland, Oregon with Rachel. A black cat and corgi are mandatory in this house. Ideally, we’ll still be creating music with Kevin as Phosphene labels.
Rachel: ­ ​I’d love to keep playing music and gain a stronger following over time. I also hope to be living in the Pacific Northwest and continuing my work as a designer and illustrator, probably with lots of animal babies and a HUGE kitchen.
Kevin​­: I don’t know, but wherever I end up, I’m sure it’ll involve donuts.

 Zillion thanks Matt, Kevin and Rachel!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Indie Anthology 67: essential songs

Almost A YEAR since the last chapter of our anthology? Please accept my apologies... I don't have a real reason to justify the lack of updates in this section except less time on a daily basis to update the Blog. But that's something about to change (I think), and we're going to revamp it here immediately. So, in order to do it properly, I needed an engaging, really driving tune from a very beloved & flawless band. Let's bring back the memories... and the great tunes!

Song: You Should Always Keep in Touch with Your Friends
Artist: The Wedding Present
Year: 1986

Can't remember exactly when I first listened to The Wedding Present, but I easily recall the compilation mixtapes (yes, ages ago then) with terrific bands a long lost friend of mine and myself used to exchange for a while. One of my favourites was a selection of tracks from The Posies' 'Frosting on the Beater', The Fall's 'This Nation's Saving Grace' and The Wedding Present' 'George Best'. What a killing trio, right? I loved the three bands (I still do!), but I got particularly hooked by David Gedge's way of blending jangle-pop with pure, urging electricity, so I started to search from more immediately, finding an incredibly amount of gems, among them this blissfully stunning 'You Should Always Keep in Touch with Your Friends'. From the very first second the short drum roll connects with the chiming guitar (Peter Solowka and Gedge doesn't get the credit they deserve as guitar players) the listener knows there's something going on here. It's a burst of adrenaline that keeps the pace and momentum during its minutes... but there's more beneath the shiny, upbeat surface. There's a real ache, a poignancy in the simple yet affecting lyrics. A look back to first loves and a period in time now long gone. Evocative and contagious at the same time. What an eternal tune!