Tuesday, 29 September 2009
California based trio Mountain Goats have been going for a while now, in fact this is their sixteenth album. With with main songwriter and brainchild behind the Mountain Goats 'John Darnielle' being known for his hugely literate lyrics and being critically lauded as one of the best contemporary lyricists there is certainly a lot riding on this one but that doesn't seem to have phased Darnielle in the slightest and they certainly haven't lost their touch despite having more albums than Metallica.
In fact 'The Life of the World To Come' is by far one of their best albums, it's actually one of those things that not a lot of bands can get right, after a while their albums either stay the same again and again or they completely go off course or sell out. Mountain Goats have done none of those three choosing to perfect their craft and do things a little differently, this time by writing twelve songs all based around passages from the Bible or rather as Darnielle would say
'twelve new songs: twelve hard lessons the Bible taught me, kind of.' With that in mind this album isn't always as heavy as the Biblical references might suggest, it is a great mix of songs that blend from the more subtle, sparse sounding acoustic ramblings of Romans 10: 9, the rocking Psalms 40: 2 with it's pounding drums or the warming, piano driven numbers such as Genesis 30: 3.
Each song is a reflection of some of those tasks that life seems to throw at all of us told in a rather creative way, recorded in Steve Albini's studio The Life of the World To Come is a far cry from the days when they recorded albums through boomboxes and such but the quality of the recording really brings the album out into new light.
Wichita Records have a talent for producing some of the best indie around, of recent years seeing the likes of Los Campesinos, Sky Larkin, Les Savy Fav and, of course Bloc Party gain huge success.
Now with recent signings First Aid Kit I'm sure they are planning great things and with a single as beautiful as this they are certainly off to a great start.
Hard Believer follows on from their debut ep released earlier this year, Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Soderberg sure know how to write some great music. The acoustic, alt country sound is hard to get right and these two have nailed it.
Their brilliantly layered vocal harmonies that sound purely heavenly caught me the first time I heard it, the simple guitar/piano combo builds up to an unexpectedly epic and uplifting chorus which left me wanting to listen to it over and over again.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Awesome store Lazy Oaf has just released it's new Autumn Collection featuring their very stylistic illustrations on some awesome projects.
They are also having a launch party for their new zine this Thursday,
Check their new collection out here
Glug, which is on the last Thursday of every month is a great place for like minded creatives to meet up and generally have a good time.
This particular sold out event, held at the Queen of Hoxton played host to some absolute genius designers, illustrators and animators including talks from Sanky and some of his team at Allofus, Merlin Nation whose visuals included pieces using super 8 footage intertwined with awesome motion design, Adobe, GDR and the hosts for the evening, Studio Output, there was live screen printing from Boop friends Waste Yourself as well as other many other treats including music and a mini exhibition from Bob London and a Glug goody bag.
This was a great event and will certainly be one on my calender from now on.
Sanky D&AD vice president http://www.allofus.com/
Studio Output http://www.studio-output.com/
Waste Yourself http://www.wasteyourself.com/
Le Loup, the original concept created by Sam Simkoff which has now developed into a five piece band still relies on that 'bedroom' mentality with the structure of their second album 'Family.'
What I like about Le Loup is the process they went through to create Family, an intriguing approach was taken in the sense that where most other bands would use synths or any other amount of electronic backup and instead recorded all of their instruments before re processing them as samples, giving the album an organic feel but there is still a modern approach and same very interesting effects which have been applied to the original samples, the album was recorded by the band in drummer Robby Sahm's basement and finished off in a remote cabin in North Carolina where everyday distractions such as the internet and television were non existent and communication with the outside world was extremely low. This also adds to the dreamy textures, slightly atmospheric feel that the album gives off.
Family feels like a mixture of alt folk and old Animal Collective esq electronica.
With vocal harmonies running all the way through the album sounding if they have been recorded in a church, additions of instruments such as the banjo and double bass on top of numerous others adding to the melodic theme running throughout, Le Loup's progression on Family is very apparent and they have created a great album full of flavour.
The Trio who hail from Ohio are another fine addition to the seemingly endless amount of bands who are revolting against the use of computers in their production, opting for that ever popular DIY approach which has proved a success for so many bands of late and will surely do the same for Times New Viking.
Born Again Revisited, their fourth album in which the master copy was delivered on VHS, is promised to be "25% higher fidelity," a percentage found by Matador's engineering staff after laboratory tests, on the first few attempts it is hard work to work your way through the rough and ready hiss of the vocals and crackling of the symbols but given a bit of time and you do find some great tracks, such as the catchy 'No Time, No Hope' and the Lo-Fi indie ramblings of '2/11 Don't Forget' which clocks in at 3 minutes 47 making it the longest track on the album.
Times New Viking are certainly an interesting band and definitely one you should check out.
Here are a is a taster of the album courtesy of their record label Matador.
Friday, 25 September 2009
This Friday at the Old Blue Last! Sexbeat presents LOVVERS, Teen Sheikhs and Your Smiling Now But We'll All Turn into Demons
If your in the London area and your not seeing Dinosaur Jr. then you should go and check out these 3 awesome bands that we at Middle Boop love. And if thats not enough there are DJs until 2am afterwards as well.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
The first track to be lifted from their upcoming album 'Climb Up' is certainly a change from their early material which was about nine years in the making and revolved around dark instrumental sections.
This time round there is a new line up and a new sound, after Michael Gundlach and founding member Bobby isolating themselves down in Cape Cod, finding some new members along the way, multi-instrumentalist Jed Armour, drummer Brandon Collins, bass player John Mordecai who had been involved with Apse before.
After the completion of their new lineup they set to work on further developing a sound that was often described as 'Post, Post Rock.' From the sound of 3-1 and it's B side 'The Whip' this time around Apse have gone for certainly a more upbeat, Lo Fi approach, with dirty basslines and distorted vocals running through both tracks, there is something that really caught me. With the whole album recorded in the band members houses, the Lo fi approach really adds to their sound too.
I can't wait for the album, released early October.
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
"Togetherness is what Glug is all about, from humble beginnings we have
been bringing together creative people for beer, hanging out and
looking at stuff we think is cool."
Now, on September 24th in time for both London Design Festival and
Digital Week, we are set to host the biggest most adventurous Glug
yet, taking over all three floors of incredible East End summer venue
The Queen of Hoxton. Our hosts this time are Studio Output, who in
keeping with our love of togetherness are sharing the roof, bar and
basement with some of their favourite collaborative artists and
agencies from the last year.
Featuring a whole host of awesome designers and illustrators including friends of Middle Boop, 'Waste Yourself' you also have:
Illustrator Bob London, photographer Nick
Andrews, artist Richard Paul, animator Merlin Nation, interior
designers Macaulay Sinclair, interactive agency AllofUs, trend
research consultancy GDR and Adobe will all be showing work around the
venue. There will also be live screen-printing of exclusive tees and
the opportunity to be a part of Nick Andrews’ ‘Lyrical Theatre’ shoot.
Music comes courtesy of DJ Jsquared from Breakin Bread radio while up
and coming band Kid Love Lies play the basement.
Should be an awesome night.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
tUnE-yArDs is the singular musical project of New England native Merrill Garbus.
Her DIY approach has a vast mix of sounds, incorporating samples, elements of world music, Reggae, folk with an altogether pop sensibility.
The production on this very Lo-Fi album will have the music students ripping their hair out by the bulk load and wondering why their generally over produced and uninteresting rubbish isn't being picked by the likes of Warp because they 'obviously' know more about production and filters on Cubase.
So that was a bit of a rant but the real attraction that lies with tUnE-yArDs can't be taught at any sub division middle class music college, Merrill Garbus' one man band approach is pretty unique, combining her ukulele with samples of general household objects, strange samples of kids talking about blueberries tinny drums and vocals recorded through such an obscure little voice recorder that when it’s overloaded it starts crackling.
This mess of noise comes together brilliantly and the style of recording really only caters for a certain type of music and tUnE-yArDs is just that, although hers is the rare, slightly unhinged talent I do wonder what it would sound like given access to a plush recording studio. Songs such as ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Little Tiger’ are a great example of the type of catchy, intimate sound that tUnE-yArDs creates.
BiRd-BrAiNs is one of those albums that doesn’t come round every day, it pushes boundaries, maybe not
In the same way ‘Pink Floyd’ did but nevertheless you won’t hear anything quite like it.
The album comes in a delightful screenprinted cardboard sleeve, once again emphasising the DIY ethics of the album, the picture above does not do it justice.
So since receiving this album last week I haven't stopped listening to it, normally the sign of a very good album and in the case of 'God Is Good,' this is an absolutely sublime album.
Om are a curious outfit made up of just two members, Al Cisneros (formerly of stoner rock legends Sleep) on vocals and bass and Emil Amos (Grails)replacing Chris Haikus on drums.
The four songs on this album take the listener into a dark and eerie world of atmospheric rituals and personal convictions transcribed into verse. Om seek to move you and with songs such as the nineteen minute opener 'Thebes' you can see how. Thebes is a mesmerising, sometimes haunting tale building up to eight or nine minutes of some of the best riffs you will hear this year, complete with Cisneros's chanting.
Oh and did I mention it was produced by living legend Steve Albini? who does wonders for Om's sound, a sound in which if in the wrong hands could be a disaster but Albini does what he does best and has helped produced an album that takes the genre of stoner rock to whole new levels, much like Sleep ten years ago bringing the genre into the limelight, Cisneros and co have completely revolutionised what you may expect from a stoner rock album.
The album artwork is awesome as well, with special printing techniques used to make the gold bits really stand out.
This is the full package.
The epic Codes In The Clouds have a new single out, "Don't Go Awash In This Digital Landscape" this is probably the shortest Post Rock track ever made, weighing in at just over three minutes but is a great track from their epic debut 'Paper Canyon' which was released earlier in the year.
You really need to check this song out here.
Monday, 21 September 2009
The garage punk trio Vivian Girls could well be in the right place at the right time with their second album 'Everything Goes Wrong.'
The Brooklyn based all girl group have created an album that people over here are really taking a shine to, each song is a fun, fast paced, scuzzy hark back to 60's girl bands and surf pop with a charming, DIY ethic that is seeing a much needed revival of late.
There seems to be a rift as to whether they are actually creating interesting, sign of the times music or are just a bunch of incompetent posers,
well you only need to look at where they get their name from to pretty much sum up that debate, coming from artist Henry Darger's magnum opus, In the Realms of the Unreal. Darger's Vivian girls are said to be some of the most slippery, troublesome figures in contemporary art.
With extensive tours of the US and Europe, already gaining some great national press, 'Everything Goes Wrong,' a much darker approach than their 22 minute debut looks set to raise a few eyebrows as the word spreads.
Everything Goes Wrong is out today.
Cover albums are always a tricky thing to get right, Deftones 'Rarities' and A Perfect Circles 'Emoitve' spring to mind straight away, but if there was one man that could guarantee adding his own touch of class to every song it has to be Micah P. Hinson.
'All Dressed Up And Smelling Of Strangers' is a double disc collection of songs that each have a very personal connection with Hinson and he does more than just do the songs justice, whether it's early 19th century blues or Leonard Cohen each song gets the full Micah P. Hinson treatment making this a worthy addition to an already sterling back catalogue.
The recording of the album adds a lot to do with why this album works so well, thwe whole thing feels so live and intimate as if he could very well be in the room with you, especially on the first disc where there are barely any additions to the sound than Hinson (with his unmistakeable voice) and his acoustic.
The second disc is where things get more interesting, when things go 'electric,' getting drums and piano into the mix creating a more upbeat atmosphere it shows how diverse his tastes are with covers ranging from Sinatra, Dylan and Presley to Pedro The Lion and Emmy The Great, but it's the final track, The Beatles 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' that really makes the album worthwhile.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
From the sounds of things this could actually be the real deal, Pavement are set to be playing some dates next year at Central Park Summerstage in New York on September the 21st.
Whether this is set in stone remains to be seen but all I know is at this rate I'll be in New York this time next year.
Sunset Rubdown are a band that don't come around that often, with such a unique and catchy sound I jumped at the chance to see these guys showcase material from their new material in the newly reopened and refurbished Garage which, despite now having a ridiculous sponsor (it is now called the 'Relentless' Garage) is a great little venue.
After an uninspired set by support act Oh Ruin, in which the crowd were more concerned about continuing their conversations than anything going on up on stage,
Sunset Rubdown appear on stage and plough straight into a number of the big songs from their recent album 'Dragonslayer,' belting out songs such as the epic 'Idiot Heart' and 'Black Swan' which just sounded great live and also managed to engage the crowd (which by the look of the crowd would have been a pretty hard task) to the point where the front of the venue was awash with indie kids dancing their asses off and left the rest of the extremely packed crowd watching on in amazement.
Most of the set consisted of the new album which, although a great album was a little disappointing they only played one or two from the phenomenal 'Random Spirit Lover' although when they finally played 'Mending Of The Gown' I felt pretty fulfilled.
I was surprised how busy the Garage got on this extremely wet and windy Tuesday night, it's encouraging to know that so many people are starting to cotton on to the greatness of these guys and the roof leaking being sandwiched between literally the biggest man I've ever seen at a gig and a Woman who can only be described as 'The Scottish Widow on acid' that didn't distract from a belter of a gig.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Turning The Mind, the follow up to the Mercury Prize 2007 shortlisted début offers the listener a mixture of uplifting and ambient electro that 'explores themes related to the human mind.'
There is a definite retro feel with a lot of the loops and synth sounds harking back to the Eighties and some dance beats coming straight from the 90's rave era but there is certainly a good mixture of contemporary sounds in the mix as well, a lot of the tracks get a little epic and generally build up to very 'feel good' choruses, which I believe was the intention as the album title 'Turning The Mind' comes from the cognitive therapy practice of 'Mindfulness', which James Chapman aka Maps came across a few years ago, taught by Professor Marsha M. Linehan. It is a practice which, in simple terms, takes negative thoughts and turns them towards positive ones by accepting reality as it is, however bad it may be.
With quotes like that you can tell a lot of time and thought has gone into the creation of this album and there are some really strong tracks on this album, especially 'Let Go Of The Fear' and 'Love Will Come' when Chapman moves away from the dreamy synths and switches more to dance with a great beat sounding like a cross between Faithless and M83.
Turning The Mind also boasts some great artwork
To coincide with London Design Festival the KK Outlet in Hoxton Square are hosting a special event on 23 September 7 - 9pm. All members of the 5.5 Designers team will be in attendance and will be offering people the opportunity to have their own Mensuration vase mocked up (visually, not physically) based on the measurements of their torso. The event is free and open to all
Monday, 14 September 2009
What a way to start the week!
East London sextext 'Lark' are a unique blend of of psychedelic, alt blues that sets out to tell a dark tale.
Shop is an album that could only have been made in London, it is packed full of truly oddball gems with each song offering something completely different, from the beating drums and Stooges esq riff of 'A Failed Scheme,' to the instrumental 'Dirt Track' which just sounds heavenly.
Lark create their sounds using instruments mostly bought at the Kingsland Waste Market which is featured on the front cover and with legendary producer Brendan Lynch a keen supporter as well as Stuart Marconie playing them on his Radio 6 'Freakshow' despite having only released a couple of un-promoted 7"s Lark look set to have a great year on the back of their debut.
From the 3rd of September until the 30th at Electrik Sheep gallery in Newcastle, the wonderful Si Scott will be showcasing his new solo show with a host of new pieces exclusively for Electrik Sheep.
Si Scott's instantly recognizable style has been dominant around a whole host of huge brands including BBC, Hugo Boss, MTV, Unicef and Volvo.
All of the pieces will be made available via the Electrik Sheep website .
If you are around the Newcastle area this is one not to be missed.
Lovvers - Society Jam by divisionpromotions
To celebrate their upcoming huge tour in support of their debut album last month, Lovvers have released a previously unheard track entitled 'Society Jam.'
Check it out.
Their tour starts on the 18th of September.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Hailing from Portsmouth. You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons have continued to build a cult following for best part of 8 years with their loud riffs, psychedelic jams and on stage performances. Despite so far only releasing material on independent labels, the Demons release their fifth full release on London label, Function Records. Having previously worked with Blood Red Shoes’ Steve Ansell on previous release ‘Black Demon Time’, ‘Contact High Wit Da Demons’ also gathers a collection of some of the finest Stoner Rock beats and Post-Grunge revival anthems your likely to hear on the South Coast this year.
Opening track ‘2009’ sucks you in straight away displaying furious sounding guitars with a number that bands like Mudhoney and Black Sabbath would be proud of. We hear the influence of bands such as Dead Meadow, Sonic Youth and Om throughout the record in live favourites such as ‘Nervous/Alive’, ‘The Recidivist’ and ‘Jammin’ on the 13th Floor’. Compositions like ‘Alpha and Omega’ bash out a near 7 minute guitar and bass repetition that will make grown men want to head bang away like they did when they were 14 years old. Throughout the record we sense the passion each band member gives in their performance which is also transferred into their live performances. Although singer and bass player Richie Troughton has a quieter relaxed approach to his vocals they add a certain laid back charm that you would find in groups such as Slint and Oneida.
36 minutes and 8 tracks later, ‘Contact High’ climaxes with an eighteen minute volcanic explosion. ‘Prismatic Reflections’ takes us on a journey of Desert Rock with mind-blowing drone guitar noise to finish the record off splendidly. It leaves you with a sense of euphoria that makes you think “what the hell happened there!?” and invites us to listen again to see if the last 54 minutes really did happen.
If any band deserves some continued underground success then these guys have well and truly set the standard of what Rock n Roll should truly sound like.
Monday, 7 September 2009
'Mean Everything To Nothing' Manchester Orchestra's second album is a real rock album, full of raw, energetic, loud songs that people can easily relate to.
Manchester Orchestra have already gained quite a legion of fans touring with the likes of Kings Of Leon, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Brand Newand have built up a huge reputation for having a great live show, which comes across well on the cd, in fact lead singer 'Andy Hull' wanted the album to be recorded live to give it that raw edge.
This is a decision that really payed off as they just have that sound that is meant to be heard live, with the beginning five or six songs merging into one long energetic assault well equipped with loud, punky guitars, cheesy keyboards and the quiet loud/ quiet loud stop start formula that makes a classic rock album with the latter half of the album mellowing out into a couple of ballads and ending on the six minute 'The River.'
Manchester Orchestra have the makings of a band that will certainly not always be playing the smaller stages at Reading.
The lovely people at the Graniph stores sent Middle Boop over some wicked t shirts the other day, to mark the self titled debut of La Roux's album in Japan Graniph teamed up with La Roux to produce a limited edition t shirt available exclusively from the Graniph stores which looks awesome.
These guys work with some amazing designers and come up with some great t shirts, such as a Collaboration series which has seen Graniph produce t shirts based on the works of some of the most influential designers ever, with designs based on the likes of Emil Ruder and Josef Muller Brockmann's work.
Steve Harringtonis an illustration from CA, USA and has a fantastic portfolio crammed full of rich and colourful illustrations of charcaters and shapes. Steve is another designer who is heavily influenced by geometric shapes and character design and has used his talent to produce work for Computer Arts and can also be found in the new edition of Arkitip.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Oh Yes Yo La Tengo are back!
Popular Songs is another absolute stunner of an album that, as most Yo La Tengo albums are is full of many surprises.
Take the opener 'Here To Fall,' starting off as a proper psychedelic hark back to earlier material and then breaking off and ending with a string section for the outtro.
Popular Songs, which is anywhere from their 12th to 19th album (depending on what you are counting) shows how a band as talented as this trio can evolve and still write music that affects people in different ways, albeit the spacey pop of 'Avalon Or Someone Very Similar' or the two minute garage rock genius of 'Nothing To Hide' to the heart wrenchingly emotional nine minute epic 'More Stars Than There Are In Heaven' (by the way what an awesome name for a song) you just get the feeling that this is why a band like Yo La Tengo have been around for so long, their music evokes so many different emotions from just one album and that to me is the sign of a really special band.
This is typical of Yo La Tengo, releasing an album that can incorporate all the things their legions of fans have grown to love about them but still produce something that is challenging and different. In fact 'Popular Songs' not only retains the qualities of such classics as 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out' and 'I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass' but pushes the boundaries further in what they can achieve musically. To me this is one of their best albums and songs such as the brilliant final fifteen minute rock out 'And The Glitter Is Gone' and 'More Stars Than There Are In Heaven' are already contenders for some of my favourite Yo La Tengo songs.
They will be in the UK in November, I'll see you there.
Friday, 4 September 2009
Resident Records in Brighton are selling of Middle Boop's recent prints for Oneida.
Resident is one of my favourite shops ever so its awesome to see my own stuff in there. The Rough Trade stores are also selling the Deerhunter Print here
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Something Weird is the website of Canadian based artist Maxime Francout. Maxime produces some highly detailed and original illustrations inspired by his interest in skateboarding and books. His won awards for his illustrations and is also the creator of French Fourch Editions who goal it is to produce neat and original books.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
House of Burvo is the online portfolio of designer and typographer Matt Burvill. Matt is really passionate about typography and this is really obvious in his design work, all the type in his work has been carefully crafted and thought about and most of the typefaces in his work are also available to buy. His new website is also very original and radiates creativity.