Thursday, 25 February 2010

Japandroids - ICA, London. 23/02/10

With ‘Post Nothing’ having been my favourite album of 2009 this was surprisingly the first time id managed to see Japandroids live, despite them playing four London shows in October all of which I managed to miss due to either a lack of funds or other gigs already planned. So this ICA show had been hyped up in my mind for quite a few weeks.

Due to work commitments I was unable to arrive in Charing Cross for the start, thus missing the opening act Talons, however I managed to catch most of the second support band, Male Bonding. The Dalston three piece you may have seen supporting various cross Atlantic bands as well as their share of headline events across the capital. They have deservedly received a fair amount of acclaim with their brand of DIY lo-fi post-punk, including a track featuring on the latest Rough Trade counter culture compilation. They achieved a positive reception from the crowd where I hope and expect to catch them at some other point in the not too distant future.

So, having been a bit sceptical as to how Vancouver duo would compare on the stage as they do so fantastically on record I was pleasently surprised as to how well they pulled off an hour and a half set with only an albums worth of material under their belts. They seemed to display an endless amount of energy which seem to be a common occurrence with two piece acts, although it took around the midway point of their set until a similar sort of energy transferred towards the audience inside the sold out venue.

The Canadians mixed their set with the majority of Post Nothing as well material from their Lullaby Death Jams EP and previously unreleased tracks, of which are set to be available on their forthcoming series of 7” singles. I was also impressed with the sound at the ICA, where the band sounded clear and heavy with the beats, riffs and vocals requiring very little technical hitches, with exception of both Brian King and David Prowse’s vocal mics slipping every so often.

The band did seem reliant on a couple of covers to perhaps make up some of their time allocation, however they both seemed to go down very well. The first which apparently has been a live favourite for some time was an exquisite interpretation of the Big Black track ‘Racer-X’. The other which happened to close a set that is usually ended with ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’, was an epic cover of ‘To Hell With Good Intentions’ by Mclusky, at the point where the crowds focus was drawn towards the 4 minute stage dive by an audience member due to strong recommendation from the band.

Further more, the interaction between the band and the audience was a wonderful and entertaining occurrence, where King mentioned on more than one occasion how they enjoy performing in London and genuinely seemed overwhelmed with the gig at the end. This I felt was viewed largely amongst the spectators as well, in an evening that involved an awesome live performance from my favourite band of last year and an excellent new t-shirt from the merch desk to boot. Happy days.

Words and Images by Freddy Rothman

Free Noisia remix by legendar Amon Tobin

Check the link below to download the awesome remix of Noisia's new song 'Machine Gun.'
The track will be available for two weeks and then the original will also be released.
The video's not bad either!

Download the song here

Efterklang - Magic Chairs (4AD)

It’s not that often you find an album whose artwork perfectly matches the contents. And I mean perfectly here, not a little bit, or even mostly. The front cover of Efterklang’s third album makes for an unusual exception in that its depiction of self-propelled ribbons of colour and light provides an exact visual counterpart to the music contained within. Magic Chairs has been painted with the broadest of brush strokes, in a set of colours equally showy and understated, the slightly outré edge to their previous albums toned down in an approach that simply screams ‘pop’. But this is pop in the warmest and most inviting sense, straight from the Broken Social Scene school of raise-your-fist-and-pump-the-air-in-joy celebration music, none of your chilly electro-synthery here, thank you very much.

I’ve always had an odd relationship with Efterklang. Ostensibly there’s much about both their previous albums Tripper and Parades that should be so easy to love, but there’s always been some other factor at work, some snag that has prevented me from simply switching off and floating downstream. And for all its considerable charm, that same hitch still remains evident on Magic Chairs. Yet strangely it acts not to the record’s detriment, but to its credit – it’s almost as though the sheer breadth of vision on display here is able to prevent a listen being anything but an intensely concentrated experience. For a little bit of context, as I type I’m halfway through second song ‘Alike’, and as delicate swells of synth and brass lift Casper Clausen’s vocals adrift on a buoyant sea of noise I’m forced to pause it to concentrate on the sentence I’m writing.

Magic Chairs demands attention, but in the least obvious of ways. Instead of reaching out and grabbing the listener by the lapels, positively screaming ‘LOVE ME!’, it soaks in gradually over a number of listens. On first listen, the saccharine, almost-twee melody of ‘I Was Playing Drums’ breezes past in a pleasant rush - the sound of a busker playing a familiar song in a Tube station perhaps, or an instantly recognisable song on a passing car’s radio – and disappears into the background again. It’s only an hour or two later that it becomes obvious it’s well and truly lodged in there, and is stubbornly refusing to leave.

This curiously elusive quality is largely due to the orchestration. Make no mistake, this is one of the most beautifully arranged ‘indie’ albums I’ve heard in a long time, reaching for the heights of Owen Pallett’s recent masterstroke Heartland in subtlety and scope. There’s a delicate sleight of hand at play here that enables each song’s backbone of strings and brass to remain at times almost inaudibly buried in the mix, but to maintain a definitive presence. The hyper-percussive whorl of ‘Raincoats’ sounds sparse on initial inspection but upon closer examination reveals a densely layered core, and when the strings finally reach the fore on the jaunty thrum of ‘Full Moon’ the effect is one of dazzling, glorious release.

Best of all, though, remains ‘Alike’. Testament to Magic Chairs’ transcendent oddness, it initially seemed one of the album’s more unremarkable songs, breezing perfectly pleasantly through ever-so-slightly MOR leanings. But once again it’s the tiny nuances that prove definitive, and as a gradually rising interplay of brass begins to invade the track’s very centre and rip its very structure apart, it heads straight for the sky, dashing streaks of brightly coloured paint over all it touches, like an astral Jackson Pollack. For all my misgivings about Efterklang and that certain snag that just won’t let go, the prevailing wind is getting ever harder to resist.

By Rory Gibb

The astounding artwork that compliments the album was done by Hvass and Hannibal

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

FUTURE ISLANDS - Free Download - Tin Man

This is the first track from their new album "In Evening Air" out through Thrill Jockey on 3 May 2010. Synths, crazy polyrhythms and vocals, this feel good song emphasises the way indie is going at the moment and I can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

Midlake - The Courage Of Others (Bella Union)

The Courage Of Others is the third album from Texan prog-folk rockers (for lack of a better genre definition) Midlake. Their second album 'The Trials of Van Occupanther', was somewhat of a slow burner amongst indie rock fans, gradually building a reputation as more time wore on and they played more shows and festivals promoting it. Today it is regarded as something of an underappreciated gem. With this behind them, Midlake release 'The Courage Of Others' with a small but dedicated fanbase and with the potential to leap into the limelight.

Their new album begins with "The Acts Of Man," a pleasant and catchy folk number that passes in little under three minutes before we reach the meat of the album. Unfortunately, where the meat is expected to be there is barely a scrap to be had. Whilst most of the album remains "pleasant" that's just about the highest praise that can be offered to most of the songs on the album; scarcely is there anything interesting or original and never is there anything hugely exciting. On 'The Trials Of Van Occupanther' Midlake played like a band with some backbone, unafraid to let loose and get a little bit loud from time to time. The chugging anthems from their previous album such as "Roscoe" and "Head Home" cut stark contrast to the folkier numbers. On 'The Courage Of Others' rarely is there a tempo change between songs and this leaves the album as a whole feeling flat and somewhat feeble. On numbers such as "Children Of The Ground" when singer Tim Smith proclaims that he's "come here to wait for the end of it all" there is little or no emotional connection to the listener, the band plays sheepishly in the background and his proclamation falls on apathetic ears.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, the double header of "Bring Down" and "The Horn" towards the end of the album are two fine tracks. The dynamic shifts in sound are far more entertaining than the majority of the rest of the album and revive some of the prog elements that had been highlights on previous albums. They even come good on the psychedelic nature that is promised by the albums cover, though not heavily.

'The Courage Of Others' is not a bad album by any means; none of the tracks are annoying or downright terrible, they just suffer from being completely forgettable. This album does not have the variation and consistency of their previous efforts and therefore does not have the same replay value, save for the odd track. Overall this is a disappointing turn of events for a band that deserve more recognition. It is a definite step back for Midlake, but not so far that they won't be able to spring back with their next album.

By Rob Hakimian

Retribution Gosbel Choir – 2 (Sub Pop)

Despite the album artwork looking remarkably like David Gray’s ‘Life In Slow Motion’ do not be fooled, this is no mere bland slice of chart friendly acoustic pop the likes of which skinheads and grannies come together in harmony to sing along in melodramatic drivel. (unfortunately I know this from experience having seen one of his shows) in fact the amusingly named ‘2’ couldn’t be further from mundane, this is an album as loud and vast as the icy mountains in the image may suggest.

RGC are a rock band for the 21st century, their dirty, eclectic mix of songs have had me enthralled since the first listen, it’s been a while since a rock album has done anything other than leaving me a little dead inside so it’s great to hear such a fantastic array of straight out garage rock songs that go beyond the usual realms of the genre. The drumming plays a large part in why RGC have such a large sound with Eric Pollard’s pounding drums eeping out of every corner none more so than in the climatic finale to the five minute ‘Poor Man's Daughter’ finishing with a ripping guitar solo over the top of mental drumming.

Featuring Steve Garrington on bass and Alan Sparhawk singing and playing guitar, better known as two members from cult favourites ‘Low’ you almost get the feeling that RGC are letting the guys release this inner rock passion that they just can’t achieve in Low and being a huge fan of Low I was a little weary at first as I didn’t want this to become just another disaster side project as many of our heroes seem to have fallen ill of in the past but thankfully I can say that both bands are
completely different, RGC couldn’t be more apart from the minimalisms of Low with noise filling every second of this album, each song crackles and hisses from the seemingly garage style recordings, songs such as ‘Your Bird’ and the more upbeat ‘Workin' Hard’ really play a part in showing you what this band are all about, blues

style riffs, big drums and almost country tinged vocals.
Retribution Gosbel Choir have excelled themselves with this album and has proved that after so many failed attempts by lesser artists, it is still possible to create a ‘rock’ album without sounding tired or processed.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Middle Boop Single of the week - Frightened Rabbit - Nothing Like You

Here we have another fine release by the wonderful Frightened Rabbit, a band that have already had a lot of praise from the team here at Boop towers and with Nothing Like You, the second single to be lifted from their hotly anticipated third album 'The Winter Of Mixed Drinks' they may really be in business.

Nothing Like You is their most accessible song to date, with a surprisingly upbeat tempo the whole way through and a string section to boot this three minute pop song sees the FRabbits exploring new territories, expanding on sounds that were merely touched on in their last attempts and although the song is over far too fast for myself this is the one that will end up getting these guys some serious airplay over the coming months.

Monday, 22 February 2010

These Monsters Album Launch, The Lexington 19/02/10

The Lexington being one of my favourite venues in London always seems to throw out a good show, whether it’s the launch of Twilight Sad’s latest epic or the experimental musings of lesser known acts such as Au (played to all of 60 people) this venue has seen some history in it’s short time of opening. Bearing that in mind I went with an open mind to tonight’s album launch having already heard These Monsters album I knew I was in for a treat.

After a few minor hiccups actually getting there we caught the end of Munroe Effect, a band whose name seems to have cropped up on many a support slot bill for a few years now and that’s probably where they will stay, it just feels like their heavy rock sound resembling early Biffy and Reuben was a year or so too late and is now something that sounds a little tired and dated. Second on the bill ‘Shield Your Eyes’ had a few interesting moments with widdly guitar lines, odd time signatures and seemingly out of tune guitars but all the praise has to go to the headliners.
These Monsters were by far the stand out band, they ploughed through their forty five minute set with ferocious intensity and wowed the crowd with their trademark prog tinged experimental rock, crazy riffs breaking into offbeat sax and synth parts. It’s been a little while since I’ve seen a new heavy British band that actually brought something new to the table but These Monsters could well be onto a good thing with their new alum ‘Call Me Dragon.’

These guys have spent their time tallying up a very exciting list of support slots consisting of bands such as 65daysofstatic, Mono, Envy, Russian Circles, Oceansize etc I feel with an album as strong as this and an obviously well thought out live show to boot I see no reason why 2010 shouldn’t be a big year for this Leeds based four piece.

Wolf People new track

British Psych rock group Wolf People have a new track for you to sink your teeth into on the eve of their London show at the Windmill in Brixton.
October Fires is an excellent taster for what they have to offer from their new compilation album 'Tidings'

Listen to October Fires here

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Penguin Prison - Something I'm Not

Check out electro pop newbie Penguin Prison's latest MP3 here

Homework: Modern Polish Poster Design - Kemistry

The Warsaw based studio who have been creating ground breaking poster work since 2003 will be showcasing a new exhibition at the wonderful Kemistry Gallery on March the 5th. This will be well worth checking out

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Kaki King announces new record and tour

That's right, the wonderful Kaki King will be back with a new album this year, entitled Junior her fifth album will be released on April the 15th through Rounder Records followed by a string of dates over here and stateside.

Bettie Serveert 'Deny All' MP3

Dutch indie rockers Bettie Serveert are back with a new album, Pharmacy of Love. Out March 23 via Second Motion Records in the US, here is a sampler of what they have been up to.

Deny All

The Kissaway Trail - SDP

The Kissaway Trail - SDP from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Here is the video to the first single taken from the Kissaway Trail's second album. Good things look set to be coming from these guys

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

Trilogies are a hard thing to get right, you only have to look as far as the Matrix or the Godfather trilogies to note that the third part is often the one to avoid like the plague, in the case of The Golden Archipelago which is in actual fact the third part of a trilogy of albums comprising of ‘Palo Santo’ (2006) and ‘Rook’ (2008) it is quite the opposite.

Dedicated to the impact that humans have on nature and the environment the feeling runs deep through this one and none more so than in the beauty of enigmatic frontman Jonathan Meiburg’s stunning vocal display which carries this album to depths that just couldn’t be ventured with any other, you ultimately feel the passion and the intense relationship between this man and his pain and care for the world that we live in. Rook concentrated on flight itself but this third part turns its concerns (as the album artwork may suggest) to on life on islands and this is coming from a man who knows what life on islands are like having spent time as a researcher on islands all over the world including the Galapagos, Madagascar and even a few months in a remote Aboriginal settlement in Australia to which some of his dossiers have been made available, illuminating its themes via his studies.

That said the intimate and personal subjects that are delved deep into do not distract from the fact that this is an album full of majestically beautiful tracks that are rarely heard any more. Meiburg’s tearjerking falsetto’s on the epic ‘Uniforms’ sang over the sweeping string sections showcase what this band are really about and ‘Black Eyes’ has been one of my most played songs of late, 3 minutes 40 of pure bliss. After listening to this recently I had an urge to play one of my all time favourite albums Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden and I realized how remarkably alike the two vocalists are, this is something only a select few can match.

Without banging on too much about how great the vocals are we also have a powerful range of percussion showcased by the aptly named Thor Harris and sinister piano parts and string arrangements that complete an album that I can not only say would be their finest to date but also one of the highlights of my music collection of recent times.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Musée Mécanique - Hold This Ghost (Souterrain Transmissions)

Portland Oregon based five piece Musée Mécanique have come in to fruition as folk is most certainly rocketing into the charts all manner of folk acts not only making invigorating and exciting albums but also getting huge amounts of airplay and making a fair amount of money, so with this how does a band like Musée Mécanique stand out from such a crowded genre?

Well for a start Hold This Ghost doesn’t have the instant ‘pop’ hooks of various other releases, instead Micah Rabwin’s somber, softly spoken vocals and delicate guitar workings gently entice you in and slowly but surely as the album develops you find it’s quiet charm and haunting atmosphere compelling you to listen further and explore the melancholic piece to its entirety. There is a subtle beauty that lacks with a lot of the more mainstream titles, the sad and expressive lyrics are allowed to flow giving the listener more of a grand picture as to what they are about.

Their elegant debut took almost three years to make and it’s this striving for perfection which has meant Musée Mécanique have had the time to develop their sound and persona with an album that seems to constantly look to the past, so much so it seems an obsession of the two main songwriters Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie who take every opportunity to create an air of nostalgia, from the first notes of opener ‘Like Home’ you can tell this is not your usual folk album and with this strive to create music that wouldn’t be out of place being played through a Victorian gramophone it’s quite rightly so that their name be taken from a museum of old-fashioned coin-operated music boxes in California.

Musée Mécanique’s eerie orchestration and interesting mix of old school instruments with modern techniques and production processes can make this a hard listen at times but with strong tracks such as the accordion driven ‘Sleeping In Our Clothes’ and the enchanting finale ‘Our Changing Skins’ Hold This Ghost has a grace and power that is pretty unique.


Shapeshifting Victorian-styled dandy Daedelus has a new mini-album upcoming for Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label. Righteous Fists of Harmony is a typically contrary listen, flicking between frankly terrifying blasts of white noise and stumbling hip-hop rhythms to softer edged, vocal led ruminations. It's also great, a worthy follow up to his last full-length Love To Make Music To, and an immersive listen in its own right.

In advance of its release, and his appearance at the almighty Brainfeeder evening at Fabric on 10th March (featuring an all-star cast, including FlyLo himself along with Kode9, Martyn, Nosaj Thing and The Gaslamp Killer), he's made one of its standout tracks available for free download through FACT. Get it here...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Saturday love for Swordfishtrombones

Sometimes there really needs to be a good excuse to wax lyrical about an album that first appeared over twenty-five years ago. You know the drill – anniversary reissues, Q-style ‘best ever’ lists, Don’t Look Back-style one album gigs. Then there are those records that don’t really require an excuse beyond just wanting to revisit a stone-cold classic. The fact that almost the whole of Tom Waits’ back catalogue effortlessly fits into that category is probably reason enough to name him as one of the finest, and most unique, artists of the last few decades. But the term ‘classic’ is loaded in itself, carrying the implication of a dusty museum artefact, something to be admired rather than loved – certainly not an accusation anyone could level at any of Waits’ material, which even twenty or thirty years down the line still feels gritty, dirty, alive.

Swordfishtrombones marked a turning point in Waits’ sound, marking the start of his Frank’s Wild Years trilogy of records (completed by the heartstoppingly brilliant duo of Rain Dogs and Frank’s Wild Years) and heralding the arrival of a stripped down, abstract musical edge to match the ambiguous intent and tortured personae of his many protagonists. It’s often cited as a difficult album, but what is most striking about listening to Swordfishtrombones is how easy it is to love, despite its harshly contrasting elements and raw, bleeding-hearted emotion. Every aspect fits comfortably into place, somehow smoothly switching between the piano balladry that made his name, gruff spoken-word and something new entirely – the rough, disjointed barroom brawls of ‘Underground’ and ‘16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six’. Not a second is wasted - ‘Shore Leave’ manages to create a wholly believable world in only four minutes, one in which a nameless soldier pines for home as he wonders the humid alleyways of some godforsaken wartime Asian port.

It’s testament to the strength of his subsequent albums that Swordfishtrombones feels like only one of many fantastic records – in the hands of lesser artists than Waits, it would have been a never-bettered career high. As far as today goes, it's proper whiskey-soaked Saturday hangover listening.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Middle Boop T shirt design

Middle Boop has just entered a T shirt designing competition. It's open to vote next week so I'll keep you posted as and when it happens but hopefully lots of you will like it and vote.

You can vote for it next week here

The Album Leaf - A Chorus for Storytellers (Sub Pop)

Since the days of grunge in the late eighties and early nineties, Sub Pop records has gone a long way. 20 years ago you would never have imagined an artist like The Album Leaf to have appeared on a label alongside the likes of Mudhoney, The Dwarves or Nirvana. But as with most things within the music industry lies a key word. Progression. A word that can be used impeccably to describe the musicality of Album Leaf chief Jimmy LaValle.

A Chorus for Storytellers
expands on a line-up of a full band rather than LaValle’s solo instrumentation like with his previous work. There is also a progression in his sound, opting for a more electronic approach with uses of samples and drum machines familiarising with the post-rock sounds of 65daysofstatic and Sigur Ros. With the LP mixed by the Icelandic collective’s engineer Birgir Jon Birgisson, we can see where this influence comes from, providing a glitch sound that is a development from the lo-fi folky sounds of his earlier work. The album manages to combine a mixture of landscapes as well as guitar driven sounds that will appeal to those of you who enjoy your music with textures. Icelandic horn sections are provided along with the usual rhythm section giving the record a lot of variety.

Eleven tracks are made up in almost fifty minutes to present A Chorus for Storytellers. The introductory track ‘Perro’ sets up the record nicely but with every other track bar that and ‘There is a Wind’ clocking between the 4 and 5 minute mark there is not much variety in terms of length and given the concept of the album I feel the record begins to get a bit tiresome. By the end there is nothing to really stand out where it could do with a really epic number to set the spines tingling.

All in all a listenable album which those for with a true ear for music shouldn’t have any qualms in hearing, but from a personal perspective the Album Leaf have created a record that will fit in well as background music. Though little else more.

By Freddy Rothman

Rétrofuturs ace print ideas

Check out this awesome new project from Stéphane Massa-Bidal aka Rétrofuturs I am a huge fan of her work.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

First Aid Kit - The Big Black And The Blue (Wichita)

Gosh the two Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg that make up First Aid Kit don’t half know how to tug at those heartstrings. One listen was all I needed for their phenomenally beautiful single ‘Hard Believer’ to make their way to the top of my most wanted list with their heavenly dual vocals and country tinged folk and I’m delighted to say that when their album finally dropped on my doorstep that the rest of it is just as magnificent as that first track.

The Big Black And The Blue seems to disregard any of their Scandinavian roots instead hitting on an alt country style echoing the sort of sound resonating from Seattle at the moment with various homage’s to folk and country legends of the past and their obvious adoration for such sounds new and old it’s hard to believe that these two girls were both born in the nineties (making them both younger than me which is kind of scary) especially when listening to their lyrics, tales of loves lost and heartbreak stories that should generally be beyond their years but nonetheless their lyricism is generally bang on the money and something of a strong point. Their sound can be very minimal at times with delicate guitar picking and the occasional bit of flute of vox with the sound completely driven by the duos astonishing vocal harmonies, from the yodelling of ‘Waltz For Richard’ to the dirty, passionate growls that end ‘I Met Up With A King.’ It sways between the light folk of tracks such as ‘A Window Opens’ to the haunting ballad of ‘Ghost Town’ which melody has the power to take the listener away, far away and you do tend to lose yourself in the melody.

When talking about the album the sisters have said “We aim for the hearts, not the charts” which is an apt quote but with an album as lush and pure as this I don’t see why they wouldn’t make a bit of a storm in the charts seeing as how so many of their predecessors (Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes) have hit the ground running. The talents of these two girls is still so underexposed and I hope that The Big Black And The Blue gets the exposure it deserves.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Design Swapsies

the lovely guys up at design studio Waste have come up with a great idea called Design Swapsies whereby you swap some cool design based merch with them. Middle Boop is fourth in the list, swapping one of the much sought after Deerhunter and Prefuse 73 prints. Not bad eh?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Massive Attack-Splitting the Atom

Massive Attack-Splitting the Atom-directed by Edouard Salier from edouard salier on Vimeo.

Check out the dark new video from the legendary Massive Attack.

Middle Boop Single Of The Week - tUnE-yArDs - Real Live Flesh

Merrill Garbus, the brainchild behind the magnificent lo-fi folk sensation that is tUnE-yArDs certainly created quite a stir last year with her outstanding début Bird-Brains proving if nothing else that you don't need plush studios and vast amounts of expensive equipment to create beauty.
Now Garbus is back with a European tour and an astonishing new single that further showcases her unique talents, 'Real Live Flesh' is a minimalistic, darker slice of pop compared to anything on Bird-Brains with swirling multi-layered vocals that build up to heart stopping yelps playing over a tinny, fuzzy drum beat and bassline that in the wrong hands could just sound awful but with Merrill Garbus it all seems to fit together ways I never thought possible.
Watch her stunning performance of the song above in one of the 4AD session.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Taking it back... #3 1989

Spacemen 3 - Playing With Fire

Jason Pierce, Pete Kember and Co with their third LP. Their psychedelic minimalist sound coupled with softly spoken vocals allowed them to become a leading influence within the British shoegaze scene.

Since their split in 1991, S3 paved the way for newer projects including Spiritualized and Spectrum. With the latter still continuing to perform this track in their sets.

Here is live footage of what they did best. This is 'Suicide'.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Noah And The Whale things

We are going a bit Noah And The Whale crazy over at the Boop hq this afternoon, we have a great remix of Noah and the Whale's 'Love Of An Orchestra' by Chew Fu
and not only that but we have also been gifted with the closing track of Noah And The Whale's upcoming short film entitled 'The First Days Of Spring' here.

So Cow offer new track 'Halcyon Days'

Irish band So Cow, the brainchild of Brian Kelly which came to light in South Korea 2006 has just announced of tour of America with big plans for 2010 here is one of his latest tracks.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Grass Is Greener / Elysse Ricci

Here is a fantastic print by Elysse Ricci who has done some wonderful work for clients including Urban Outfitters.
Check more of her stuff out here

Chapel Club UK Tour Feb 2010

Chapel Club are just about to set off on tour and with the backing of a fantastic single on their backs lets hope these gigs gain them a deservedly bigger fanbase

Here are the dates

Mumford & Sons- 'The Cave' video

There are some great videos out at the moment here is a glimpse at two wonderful offerings from Mumford and Sons and Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit - 'Nothing Like You' video

Frightened Rabbit on MUZU

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Field Music - Field Music (Measure) (Memphis Industries)

It seems that pop has always been defined by the seemingly irreconcilable tension between its makers’ restless quest for immortality and their music’s fundamentally ephemeral nature. Yet at its basest level pop music aims to freeze-frame a moment in time – a moment when its creators will forever be wrinkle-free and that song means as much as it ever can, or will. The song itself should be the immortal medium, remaining identical long after the people who sired it have slipped off this mortal coil. The very essence of the ‘rock star’ is flawed – if your music really matters it will outlive you, and the fountain of youth will preserve a memory as fleeting as the period when Dorian Gray saw his true reflection in a portrait.

Fatalistic? Sure, but this undeniable truth is what lends those fleeting moments such gravitas. Take Field Music’s closest contemporaries and sometime bandmates, The Futureheads, who in a dizzying twist of luck (or fate) managed to craft a perfect pop album first time round, and since have suffered at the hands of the law of ever-diminishing returns. So in some ways you’d expect the same fate to have befallen the brothers Brewis – they write guitar songs with perfectly executed triple-layer harmonies; Beach Boys, Beatles and post-punk influences present and correct Saah. Undeniably pop musicians in every way then. So why is it that three albums down the line they remain as difficult to fathom as ever – and all the more rewarding for it?

2007’s Tones Of Town was a slow-building word-of-mouth hit, almost certainly given an interest boost by the immediate ‘indefinite hiatus’ that gave the band time to focus on side projects. But it was never an easy listen, shredding a list of influences as long as your arm into a jumbled collage of jagged edges and sudden washes of smooth orchestration. Three-odd years down the line, Tones Of Town still seems to delight in revealing its hidden facets. And therein lies the reason why their follow-up Field Music (Measure) remains as beguiling as its older brother – it’s pop, sure, but it’s also more than pop, at once deceptively simple and deceptively complex.

A case in point: the cocky swagger of ‘Each Time Every Time’, suddenly offset by flourishes of cascading keyboard instrumentation and operatic vocal battles. And as suddenly as you’ve managed to work out where they’re going, they change tack, dropping into an ever-building coda that suddenly rattles to a halt. It’s disjointed in the way that Of Montreal’s Skeletal Lamping was - only, y’know, good – trading in that record’s morass of unfinished ideas for a whole fulfilled entity. The same is true of ‘Clear Water’s classic rock licks and cascading vocal harmonies that tickle the verge of high camp with a knowing wink.

And yet, for all its studied trickiness and awkward angles, Field Music (Measure) is deeply human at heart, at turns strikingly vulnerable – ‘Lights Up’s confession “How can I be sure / You won’t see the worst of me” – and aggressively decisive, during the muscular brawn of ‘All You’d Ever Need To Say’. And ultimately, this layered density, both musical and emotional, makes it a tough record to review. I can’t be sure that the album I’m writing about now will be the same album I listen to in six days’, or six weeks’, or six months’ time. But that’s certainly a large part of its appeal. For now, it’s enough to say Field Music (Measure) is a highly accomplished piece of work, one so crammed full of ideas and concepts that it’s impossible to digest in one round - and one almost certainly destined to mature like a good wine.

By Rory Gibb

Spike Jonze 'I'm Here' trailer

Spike Jonze has just created a fantastic short film in collaboration with Absolut Vodka, watch the amazing trailer here.


2 person studio Moregood who have recently graduated from UCA have created some great work including this awesome cd packaging. Check out more of their work here.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring (Wichita)

Ok so what do we know about Los Camp to date? ‘Twee’ is a word annoyingly banded around when talking about these guys, instantly likeable, high energy pop punk the likes of which has seemingly opened the floodgates for far too many inferior imitators almost ruining a sort of style and sound that Los Camp made their own, well not any more. Romance Is Boring certainly has similarities to their previous material but this is the sound of a band that is maturing well, finding their sound and creating a third album that is by far their finest work to date.

Working with producer John Goodmanson whose previous credits come as Death Cab and Sleater Kinney has allowed Los Camp to explore a darker side that was merely touched on before but has a starring role in this offering whilst also giving their much loved pop hooks a brilliant reshuffle making the album more accessible whilst not only retaining their talents, giving even more room for the Welsh seven piece to individually step up to the plate and showcase their growth. Since we last heard from the much loved group there has also been a bit of a change around, Aleks was replaced by Kim on synths and vocals and Sparky Deathcap (Rob) who has been joining them on tour.

The frenzied keyboard bleeps and instantly ‘to the point’ yelps are a replaced by string and horn arrangements straying away from any attempt at clutching on to the Lo-Fi bandwagon and actually making for some unexpectedly epic finales and moments that despite the obvious lyrical similarities to the last two you really hear something darker and more grown up. ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future’ is the closest bind between the atmosphere of the whole album and the subject matter creating a brooding sing along that doesn’t just appeal to the adolescent love sick teens but has a chorus uplifting and invigorating enough to capture the hearts of even the most cynical writer and put in to place the fact that Los Campesinos are a band of many hidden talents. There is an awe of confidence that wasn’t there before and such tight production that makes tracks such as the insanely catchy ‘We've Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)’ something so much more than the ‘twee’ pop that we’ve come to expect.

The lyrics are always a big draw for me with lead singer Gareth’s sarcastic outlook on life shining through as always on tracks such as ‘Straight In at 101’ 'I think we need more Post-Coital and less Post-Rock, feels like the build-up takes forever but you never touch my cock’ is certainly a statement and a half but it’s this off the wall, somewhat garish humour that makes the band even more appealing with each song telling a story of the awkwardness and resentment of love, generally ringing as true as watching an episode of the Inbetweeners.
Los Campesinos! have really found their feet with this offering of truly honest and touching anthems.

Listen to Peter Gabriel cover Bon Iver

Living Legend ex Genesis front man Peter Gabriel is set to release an album of covers later on this year including tracks from the likes of Radiohead, The Magnetic Fields and Arcade Fire. In the build up to that you can now hear a stream of the man himself covering Bon Iver's 'Flume'.

Check it out over at Stereogum here

Also check out the video underneath. I have been waiting for a good reason to post this video for a long time. Genius!

Woos animation

Woos from Computer Arts on Vimeo.

Check out Pet Punk's wonderfully crazy animation for Computer Arts.
To see more amazing thins from Pet Punk visit their site

Middle Boop interviews A Place To Bury Strangers (Mute)

Brooklyn is a place that seems to be constantly breeding creativity, you have some of the most creative music, artwork and god only knows what else flying the flag for seemingly one of the most creative places on the planet at the moment.
One of the bands at the forefront of this craze of amazing bands are A Place To Bury Strangers, dubbed as New York’s loudest band these guys have gained a rapidly growing fanbase for their DIY approach and intense live performances.

I met the modest lead singer and guitarist Oliver Ackermann and bassist Jono ‘MOFO’ Smith, two thirds of the band in a reasonably overpriced bar as the rain ploughed down outside for a sizeable pint and chat about how they got to where they are today in a very short space of time, soundguys wanting to kill them, a few guilty pleasures and I even get a few exclusive bits of info that will only be found in this interview so read on and find out why this fantastic band deserves all the credit.

MB: So from selling cd-r’s and booking your own tours to the first album (out in 2007) and in 2009 signing to Mute and releasing one of the most talked about albums of last year. How have the last few years been for you?

OA: They’ve been great, I mean it’s been fantastic we’ve had the chance to travel to amazing places and play with amazing bands, had the chance to afford what we’ve needed to afford and do whatever we want, I mean it’s been fantastic.

JS: It’s been a hard road as well, non-stop touring and trying to do as much as we can as fast as possible but it’s been great.

MB: How did you guys end up signing to Mute?

OA: It all started pretty much with Mute US, they had come to a whole bunch of our shows and approached us saying they wanted to sign us as a band and we hung out with those guys a few times, Andrew Miller who worked in Mute US at the time we hung out with him and then we played a show in the UK and Josh and some of the people from Mute UK were there and everyone just seemed really cool people, it seemed like the right thing to do, they’re all music lovers and there are so many great people on the label we were obviously great fans of their whole back catalogue so it seemed the right choice.

MB: So was it a label you always wanted to sign with?

OA: Sure, I mean as far as any of those sort of big labels go Mute was definitely one that we all thought were amazing so we’re all really happy about it.
MB: Ok so let’s talk about the whole ‘New York’s Loudest Band’ term that seems to be banded about when anyone ever mentions your name, I mean I guess you’re hearing that quite a lot at the moment.

OA: That’s what people are saying yeah.

JS: It was in a review once and people jumped on it and it kept getting repeated ending up with the guy that put out our first record wanted to put it on as a sticker on the front of the first 500 copies of the release.

OA: I mean people say that all the time and I don’t know if it’s true or not, I mean I’ve never seen one of our shows so all I know is there are a lot of other crazy bands out there as well so who knows?

MB: Was it always the idea to really blow your fans away with being ‘ultra’ loud?

OA: It’s all about dynamics and playing with a volume that seems appropriate and I guess for what we’re doing it’s very loud so it just seems appropriate.

JS: Y’know you hear the music and sort of lose track of what’s going on and where you are at and to achieve that it requires a little bit of volume sometimes. It’s not just volume for the sake of volume, it’s part of the whole sound.

MB: With Skywave (Oliver’s old band) you had a lot of guys, sound engineers wanting to kick you out of your own shows. Is that sort of thing still happening now?

OA: Not so much, I mean people are still pissed off and what not but it’s like I think since the band has been doing ok the sound guys can’t be too pissed if there’s people at the shows, y’know they might be kinda pissed off but they’re usually ok with being pissed off which is a really weird thing but people really like this band so I’m kinda psyched about it but it makes things really different for me, I mean we were playing almost pointless tours countless times and I just had all these people wanting to kill me and people who just seemed to hate music and hate what was going on to having it all switched around with people loving it and kinds going nuts at shows and stuff, it’s cool.

MB: It’s funny how it’s all happened with yourselves and the whole ‘Shoegaze’ craze that seems to be going around at the moment, is that a category you guys would say you fall under?

OA: I don’t really think we’d say that, I mea n I don’t really think of it in any sort of genre, it seems to me like even with the shoegaze music the boundaries are blurred so maybe there were bands that defined that back in the day and there are some bands now where it’s obvious that they are trying to emulate the shoegaze thing but what we’re doing is writing pop songs with crazy, fucked up noise.
I can see where someone would draw parallels between us and shoegaze but it’s not really that kind of thing. I feel we’re trying to do something that’s different as well as embracing the past.

MB: It can be all too easy to ‘label’ a band

OA: Sure, I mean that can even help people out to get an idea of what a band’s all about

JS: Also in America I think bands ideas are more blurred than in this country, like in America bands like Jesus and Mary Chain are labelled shoegaze whereas here, to me it’s much more defined by a pop kind of thing.

MB: With some inspiring bands coming from Brooklyn at the moment is that scene a factor in you guys deciding to move there?

OA: It wasn’t really the sole reason, it’s also that you can see shows all over the place but we really wanted to go for the art scene, it’s a real inspiration to see so many people working really hard and creating this amazing art, so music falls into that category but it’s just the way that there’s the drive with the kids that are really excited and pour their hearts and souls into everything they do, it’s very passionate. You go to these warehouses and it’s floor to ceiling sculpture and everything. It reminded me of the way Providence, Road Island used to be with this awesome art scene and a group of really good kids who were really nice and were all about being creative. New York is one of those places where you can make that happen. It’s awesome.

JS: In Williamsburg and Green Point, two areas next to each other, a lot of people moved there originally because they could no longer afford to live in Manhattan so it’s literally the first stop off the train so they gradually spread from the first stop which is Bedford Avenue, there’s a concentration of people there who wanted to be in NY any way they could and ended up in Brooklyn.

OA: Lot’s of time people who are really into their work aren’t too concerned about their environment being safe or what not so they live in places that are dirty or fucked up or whatever just to be able to have some space and the spot to do something that they’re really passionate about.

MB: Which brings me on to a very good point, I was going to ask you about your experiences in Bushwick

JS: Crazy!

OA: Yeah it was wild, I found a dead dog in a trash bag once,

MB: Wow, that’s nice!

OA: Yeah that was nice, I found a bullet hole in my van, people would slash the tyres and smash the windows out and one time I had someone tag my windshield so I was driving around for a few weeks where you couldn’t see out of it, that was pretty fun.

JS: And his van got stolen and when he got it back there were parts of a chopped up car in the back of it. We told the cops but they were like ‘we don’t care, it’s not our problem.’

MB: You could have sold it, maybe make some money out of it.

OA: We left it in the street, I thought we could get something for it, it was a Suburban or an SUV well basically the body for it.

MB: That would’ve been a nice surprise.

OA: It was a nice surprise but then you had to start the engine with a screwdriver all the time

MB: Does that sort of environment shape the way you are? Do you feel it builds you as a person?

OA: It did to some degree as it was really hard to live there at the time. I’d saved 3,000 dollars and on top of the deposit I had to pay for the flat that 3,000 went in a week or two partying and then it’s like fuck! Reality hits you and then it was like a struggle for a year or so to be able to survive and do what you want to do so you take this crappy job and do very weird stuff like eat a lot of instant mashed potato and rum and noodles and then it builds you as a character, I think it’s one of the good things in NY as it kicks you in the face and so you can either take the kick and persevere and do what you want to do or you can get the fuck out of there, so if you can’t handle it, you leave. It sorts out the riff raff from the people who actually want to be there.

MB: So talking about random jobs, what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

OA: It doesn’t sound that bad probably but it was building the inside of windows for Polo, Ralph Lauren, doing the window displays and it was so demoralising because it’s like these art directors had no fucking good ideas whatsoever and they’re telling you all this stupid shit like folding a sweater and re-positioning it in some window and you’re just running around all day doing this stupid job with the worst ideas ever. It was so bad I didn’t even bother picking up my cheque.

JS: Jesus!

MB: Oh come on, isn’t that the point?

OA: It was like, I can’t even be bothered, I don’t even want this money and that’s when I was roughing it as well.

JS: I’ve had loads of shitty jobs but the worst jobs are like working in an office or something, you’re chained to this desk and this job you hate. It’s the worst thing ever.

MB: With the death by Audio (Oliver’s company that makes pedals including a lot of the ones they use) is the technical side of actually making your own equipment something you’ve always been interested in?

OA: Yeah I just wanted to get involved in every single aspect from recording to creating it, working on our own album covers and starting our own labels to do everything you can to push forward the most important thing which is the music.
So if you can build something that can aid creating more beautiful songs, I’m all about it.

MB: So do you have a favourite pedal?

OA: I don’t really care (laughs) I guess my favourite would be the Harmonic Transformer. It’s one of the pedals we made.

MB: Haha well I’m not going to ask you why.

OA: Well I’ll tell you, there’s a secret setting on the pedal where if you don’t plug the guitar in completely it makes these wild and crazy noises that you wouldn’t believe and this is the first time anyone will hear about it!

MB: So with your recent showstopping performance at ATP, how did that all come about?

OA: We were asked by My Bloody Valentine and we told them no (laughs.) They’re a fucking amazing band and we’ve played with them before, I mean they’re mind blowing so it was quite an honour. When I saw them in LA they were so loud a light fell from the ceiling.

MB: Who have you guys been into recently?

OA: Where we live we have this venue practically in our house so I get to see a bunch of upcoming acts, ‘Jeff The Brotherhood’ are amazing, Coat hangers and Flaming Eyeballs are fantastic bands

JS: These Are Powers, All The Saints and Sian Alice Group are all cool people. A wide range of music.

MB: So talking about music you’re into do you have any guilty pleasures?

JS: Oh loads, whenever we go on tour we listen to Britney Spears, our last tour in the US we couldn’t get our Ipods to work so we ended up listening to the radio and the radio in the US is so bad, they get hooked on these terrible songs and we would almost look forward to these songs, I wouldn’t say it was a guilty pleasure but it’s something we endure and I am guilty by it.

OA: I really like Au Revoir Simone, it’s good when you’re going to sleep.