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R.E.M. to release new vinyl 7-inch collection

REM

Box set release: '7IN – 83-88' by R.E.M.
Release date: 8 December 2014

Label: UMC / Capitol
More information: on R.E.M. website

REM 7IN-83-88

Eleven singles that R.E.M. released between 1983 and 1988 with I.R.S. Records have been gathered for 7IN – 83-88, a new boxed collection of vinyl seven-inch singles to be released December 8 by UMC/Capitol. The singles feature replicated original picture sleeve art and the set includes two U.K. releases making their U.S. vinyl seven-inch debuts: “Finest Worksong” / “Time After Time” (live) and the double-pack single for “Wendell Gee” with “Crazy,” “Ages of You,” and “Burning Down.” 

R.E.M.’s early storytelling was both epic and familiar, with themes of loss and alienation expressed in several songs, including “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,” and in their 1987 Top 10, “The One I Love.” This new, transformative music emitted from the sleepy/sharp college town of Athens, Georgia, where R.E.M. and other bands forged a scene, which spawned a movement and ultimately led to a cultural sea change in music. 

1987’s “Its The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” was a tongue-twisting pop culture rally cry, beckoning to the tuned-out masses, listless casualties of 1980s economics, politics, and general ‘Me Generation’ malaise.  In December 1987, Rolling Stone’s year-end issue celebrated R.E.M. on its cover as "America's Best Rock & Roll Band." By the end of R.E.M.’s run with I.R.S. Records, the band’s success had paved the way for a new generation of alt-rock and grunge acts, as Athens’ finest continued to lead the charge.  

Popular music’s modern-day evolution can be traced in step with R.E.M.’s ascent and reign as one of music’s most creative and influential bands.  Explore the history that leads back to Athens.  These are the documents.

R.E.M. ‘7IN – 83-88’ 

  • “Radio Free Europe” / “There She Goes Again”
  • “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” / “King of the Road”
  • “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” / “Catapult” (Live)
  • “Can’t Get There From Here” / “Bandwagon”
  • “Driver 8” / “Crazy”
  • “Wendell G” / “Crazy” + “Ages of You” / “Burning Down” [U.K. double-pack, previously unreleased in U.S.]
  • “Fall On Me” / “Rotary Ten”
  • “Superman” / “White Tornado”
  • “The One I Love” / “Maps and Legends” (Live)
  • “Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” / “Last Date”
  • “Finest Worksong” / “Time After Time” (Live) (U.K. single, previously unreleased in U.S.)
REM singles

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Olde Worlde: "The Blue Musk-Oxen" out on September 1

Album release: “The Blue Musk-Oxen” by Olde World
Release date: September 1 2014
Label: Groundhog Records
Listen: on Olde World website 

Olde Worlde is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, Sohhei Numata. Born in Machida, Tokyo, Olde Worlde releases his brand new album The Blue Musk-Oxen in the UK on September 1st. Recorded, produced and mixed by Brad Wood (The Smashing Pumpkins, Ben Lee, Sunny Day Real Estate, Tortoise) it features current single Stuck In Hibernation – which is picking up airplay across BBC 6 Music, including spins at Lauren Laverne. On The Blue Musk-Oxen, Numata plays guitar, bass, drums, ukulele, piano, keyboard and moog. 

As a precocious teenager, fixated on all kinds of musical styles from a very early age, it wasn’t long before he made himself a regular on the city’s busking circuit, absorbing the styles and skills of the city’s broad range of live talent. With much of the local music being sung in Japanese though, Namata looked to learn English from as many sources as he could, learning in person from J-Punk bands he would see live, but eventually settling on American Forces Radio as the medium to best be exposed to his adopted tongue.

Getting to grips with many a 90s US Indie Rock and Power Pop band through his radio, the traits of these come to the fore on The Blue Musk-Oxen. From former single Your Bird’s delicate lilt and simple melody, through to Stuck In Hibernation’s more fractured guitars and buoyant pace, The Blue Musk-Oxen is made a bright, sun-kissed, collection thanks to Brad Wood’s production.

Tracklisting

  • Wishing You Well
  • Your Bird
  • Number City
  • Thinking About You
  • A Girl Across The Country
  • Lemon Cake
  • Beating
  • Stuck In Hibernation
  • Realize Poppies
  • No One’s Gonna Be
  • Good Boy
  • Be Alone

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Seminal indie-rock act Braid return with new album

Album release: ‘No Coast’ by Braid
Release date: July 8 2014
Label: Topshelf Records
Pre-order: on Topshelf Records website

Topshelf Records and seminal ’90s indie-rock band Braid are pleased to announce the band’s first full-length studio album in 16 years, ‘No Coast’. Being released on Tuesday July 8, ‘No Coast’ was produced by Will Yip and contains 12 of the most technically and lyrically creative songs ever penned by the Champaign-Urbana, IL- based quartet. Featuring a rousing collection of textures, as well as the combined signature vocals provided by guitarists Bob Nanna and Chris Broach, No Coast presents itself as the fitting follow-up to the career defining, 1998 indie-rock classic Frame & Canvas. 

Since its inception in 1993, Braid released a number of compilation songs, 7” material and full-length albums that are still regarded as indie-rock benchmarks. 1998 was the defining year for Braid. The band played almost 200 shows that year, toured Europe twice (first with The Get Up Kids then with Burning Airlines), and Polyvinyl Record Co. released Frame & Canvas, the quintessential Braid album, recorded and produced at DC’s Inner Ear studios with J. Robbins. The record was released in April 1998 and met with more success than neither Braid, nor Polyvinyl, had ever imagined.

By early 1999, Braid was ready for a break and, ultimately, ended up deciding to call it quits. The last five days of the band were captured by the Bifocal-directed Killing A Camera documentary. Nearly a year later, Damon, Todd and Bob emerged as Hey Mercedes with some additional friends while Chris went on to start The Firebird Band and Lucid Records.

In mid-2010 the members of Braid - Chris Broach (guitar/vocals), Bob Nanna (guitar/vocals), Todd Bell (bass), and Damon Atkinson (drums) - discussed the possibility of working on a new release as well as performing a number of reunion shows that eventually led to their Closer To Closed EP and their Frame & Canvas tour in 2012 where they performed the album front-to-back in addition to a number of fan favorites. This burst of activity was a welcome return for the band that’s also made fans excited for what was possibly next beyond the release and brief stint.

Now in 2014, Braid has returned with a fresh set of material on No Coast that is more of a rebirth of the band rather than a simple reunion. “I think we feel like we want this to be an introduction to Braid more than a follow-up to previous material,” Chris Broach said. “We wanted to capture the spirit and dynamic tension that comes from having two guys up front that have a lot to say and a rhythm section that helps shape the songs. We spent a lot of time looking to where we could give each instrument its own space on the record - everything has its place, and its very deliberate.”

“The drive has always been there to create new, exciting material that would speak to all of our fans, old and new,” Bob Nanna adds. “We’re excited with how the record turned out and look forward to Braid’s busy future.”

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Acclaimed Dublin band Spies to release 'Distant Shorelines' EP on 18 November

EP release: Distant Shorelines by Spies
Release date: 18 November 2013
Listen: on Bandcamp

Dublin band Spies' searing indie-rock has an assured delivery that suggests an abundance of experience. The truth is the five-piece band are still in their early twenties.

Their music recalls the resolute indie-rock dynamics of The National filtered through the atmospheric tones of '80s rock. Sharp post-punk guitars, determined rhythms and Michael Broderick's far-reaching vocals further create the uncannily experienced sound.

Guitar music has a way of being cyclical. And the timing is right for Spies' live kinetic rock to reach more discerning ears. On title track Distant Shorelines, the band showcase a grungier edge on the arrangement which is lifted from murkiness by Broderick's emotive voice. Mint and Lime also has a jagged edge anchored by caterwauling guitars and a tumultous bassline.

Previous releases received regular radio airplay from Irish stations Phantom FM, 2FM, 98FM and Today FM while the band have recorded sessions for 2FM's Dan Hegarty, Today FM's Paul Mcloone and 98 FM's John Barker. The band have received praise from the Irish Times, Hot Press and State Magazine, Nialler9, Fake DIY and have played festivals like Forbidden Fruit, and Hard Working Class Heroes.

Reaction

“Displaying the same assured mastering of dynamics that the best rock bands have – the live-sounding production feels like you’re spying on them in their world effect rather than the band trying to game you into listening. Michael Broderick’s seasoned vocals are once again, key to their appeal.” – Nialler9

'A fine take on the far side of indie-pop” - Jim Carroll of The Irish Times

"Singer Michael Broderick calls out in a soulful purr over militant drums and agitated guitars. Throw in a handful of truly gorgeous melodies and you've got a world class performance on your hands" - Celina Murphy, Hot Press.

"Dublin's Spies sound like they're latching onto a higher calling. Every sky-reaching riff that creaks out of their frenzied guitars is headed for the heavens, with frontman Michael Broderick getting more amped-up by the second." - Fake DIY

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Acclaimed electronic blues duo Vienna Ditto to release new EP

EP release: Ugly by Vienna Ditto
Release date: 14 October 2013
Listen: on Bandcamp.

Female-fronted electronic blues duo Vienna Ditto will be releasing their new EP, Ugly on Monday 14th October on Ubiquity Project Records as a free download.

The 3-track EP blends their country blues and gospel influences with primitive ‘voodoo electronics’ and clattering junk percussion (instruments used include a 57 foot narrowboat), bringing Juke House to the Juke Joint.

The band members, Hatty Taylor and Nigel Firth, first met when he started teaching her guitar around 2000, when she was 11. The lazy tyke never practiced but did have a most arresting voice. After a couple of years they lost touch, but bumped into each other in the street in 2009.

They recorded an electronic version of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire the next week, and the week after one of their own compositions, Long Way Down, which somehow ended up being played on Huw Stephens’ Radio One show. An appearance on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury Festival followed and the band have since been given a Maida Vale session for Tom Robinson on BBC6 and have appeared on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks Music Show.

They have been given airplay on Radio One, BBC6 Music and XFM and received glowing reviews in Q Magazine, Artrocker and The Fly. Their last single I Know His Blood was made a single of the year by Nightshift Magazine, BBC Berks and BBC Oxford and they were made unsigned band of the year 2012 by The Ocelot.

Reaction

  • “With Smoky-voiced femme fatale Hatty Taylor on vocals, London-based three piece Vienna Ditto mix wild-eyed rockabilly riffs with sparse, atmospheric electronica.” Q Magazine
  • “Exceptional...a breathtaking musical melting-pot that almost defies definition.” Fortitude Magazine
  • “Portishead doing a Tarantino soundtrack” Huw Stephens, Radio 1
  • “Fantastically dirty… one of the catchiest choruses l’ve ever heard… made me want to dance round my bedroom with my hairbrush” The Fly Magazine 

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STRFKR announce their UK and European Tour

Tour announcement: STRFKR's UK & European Tour
Listen: on official site 

Hot on the heels of the release of their acclaimed third album Miracle Mile, Portland OR-based STRFKR reveal a string of UK and European Nov / Dec tour dates. Spanning Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland and the Czech Republic, they will also play 5 UK shows, to include London’s Hoxton Plaza.

STRFKR have always maintained a very close relationship with their fans, demonstrated again recently with a fan-led remix competition for While I’m Alive. Following a run of incredibly successful US festival dates, which included FYF and Summerset, this extensive Winter tour marks another opportunity for the band to connect in the best way possible with their dedicated fans across the pond; through the energetic live show.    

Initially the brain child of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Josh Hodges, it's hard to say exactly when STRFKR became as fully fledged as they are now. It could've been during one of the 100+ shows they played over the past two years - ecstatic sold-out dance parties that started in tiny, sweaty rooms before word of mouth spread and forced a move to larger (and even sweatier) venues. Vibrant crescendos, explosive drum beats, and layered synth melodies drive STRFKR’s theatrical live show, and with the band more confident and comfortable than ever before, now is the time to catch them on the road.

STRFKR play the following UK & European dates:

November:

  • Fri 1st - SWEDEN, Stockholm Debaser - Club Night
  • Sun 3rd - DENMARK, Copenhagen Pumphuset
  • Tue 5th – GERMANY, Muenster Gleiss 22
  • Thu 7th – SPAIN, Barcelona Razz 3
  • Fri 8th – SPAIN, Madrid Copernico
  • Sun 10th – FRANCE, Paris Point Ephemere
  • Mon 11th – FRANCE, Lille La Peniche
  • Tue 12th – LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg Rock Hal Café
  • Wed 13th – UK, London Hoxton Plaza
  • Thu 14th - UK, Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
  • Sat 16th – UK, Edinburgh Electric Circus
  • Sun 17th – UK, Manchester Deaf Institute
  • Mon 18th – UK, Nottingham Bodega Social Club
  • Wed 20th - BELGIUM, Ghent Video
  • Thu 21st - SWITZERLAND, Aarau Kiff
  • Fri 22nd - ITALY, Brescia Lio Bar
  • Sat 23rd – ITALY, Padova Pulse
  • Mon 25th - AUSTRIA, Vienna Chaya Fuera
  • Tue 26th – CZECH REPUBLIC, Prague Meetfactory
  • Wed 27th – POLAND, Poznan Meskalina
  • Thu 28th – POLAND, Warsaw Hydrozagadka

December:

  • Sun 1st – GERMANY, Dresden Puschkin
  • Mon 2nd – GERMANY, Berlin Comet
  • Tues 3rd - GERMANY, Hamburg Molotov

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Twelve Clay Feet: More Naked Than Obscene

Album release: More Naked Than Obscene by Twelve Clay Feet
Label: Kiln Records
Release date: 11 November 2013
Listen: on official website

When Cambridge based Twelve Clay Feet released their debut album Totem Bells, mixed by Fraser Smith (Ian Brown / Shed Seven), in February 2012 it was met with high praise. Drawing comparisons to the early sounds of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and even Radiohead - owing much to vocalist / guitarist Ian Jeffs’ appreciation of classic songwriting and his uniquely gruff vocals (Robert Plant / Mark Lanegan) – they were deservedly noted for their grandiose, ambitious approach. The band’s roots stretch back to the womb, with twins Ian Jeffs (lead vocals) and Jay Jeffs (lead guitar), who joined forces with Ollie Porsa (bass) and Bob Radford (drums) and started the band in 2011.

Now releasing their second album More Naked Than Obscene, preceded by the bustling, evocative, forthcoming 7” single Hailstones (23rd September 2013) we re-join Twelve Clay Feet in an energetic mood. From the first track their sound is as muscular as it ever was, yet always careful to keep melody at the core. More Naked Than Obscene proves a master-class in the re-imagination of key influences, while leaving a lasting watermark of its own. Stadium-sized opening track By The Station Light, with its bleak depiction of characters of-the-night, is soon swallowed up by the insistent Rags & Bones and rock n roll bravado of Wrecking Ball. Elsewhere on the record, Electric Pulse keeps the pace alive – it's an album that never loses steam.

Already receiving comparisons to Kings Of Leon, Brian Jones Town Massacre and John Spencer, the band are picking up a cult underground following - a starting point from which the critics agree, should soon see them secure their well-deserved place in the ‘big adoring limelight’. Previous releases have been supported with sold out shows at The 100 Club, Liverpool’s Cavern Club and Birmingham’s 02 Academy. They also performed on the BBC Radio 1 backed Transit Tour. Twelve Clay Feet will soon be announcing additional UK tour dates this Winter.

Praise for debut album Totem Bells

“A band without restrictions or limitations…the sky’s the limit” - Classic Rock
“There’s a world weariness to Twelve Clay Feet’s sound that belies their youth. There is a grandiose nature to this music that shows real ambition” - Prog
“..a unique sound that is so much more than the sum of its parts” - Classic Rock Society
“Like the soundtrack to a monochrome indie flick… a cut above!” - Guitarist Magazine
“Enticing” - Black Velvet

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The Smashing Pumpkins reissue their platinum selling box set, 'The Aeroplane Flies High'

Box set release: The Aeroplane Flies High by The Smashing Pumpkins
Release date: 23 July 2013
Label: Virgin / UMe 

As part of the continuing series of reissues of The Smashing Pumpkins' acclaimed catalog via Virgin/UMe, the iconic alternative band is set to release four separate versions, all fully remastered, of their platinum-selling 1996 box set The Aeroplane Flies High: 6-CD +1 DVD; 5-LPs; and Deluxe Digital and Standard Digital editions. The CD/DVD, 5-LP version and digital configurations will be released on July 23.

The original The Aeroplane Flies high was a five-disc box set that featured expanded versions of singles from their acclaimed 1995 double album Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness, including Bullet With Butterfly Wings, 1979, Zero, Tonight and Thirty-Three. Mellon Collie achieved Diamond certification by the RIAA for sales of 10,000,000 discs and digital equivalent per disc (5 million copies of the double album).

These new limited edition box sets of The Aeroplane Flies High feature the original 33 track version—remastered by Bob Ludwig—and expanded to 104 tracks (90 audio and 14 audio-visual) encompassing unreleased demos, alternative versions and live recordings. In addition to expanded versions of Aeroplane’s original 5 discs, a 6th disc contains live recordings from the 1996 Mellon Collie tour, while the DVD content is taken from a July 4 1997 performance in Belfort, France. Included is a 46-page book with liner notes written by David Wild, plus extensive track-by-track notes by The Smashing Pumpkins' founder-singer-songwriter-guitarist Billy Corgan for the original release’s 33 tracks. The box set has unique packaging with embossed foil wrap and twinkle stock for jackets. You can view the full tracklisting of each box set and DVD here.

As David Wild writes, “The Aeroplane Flies High is a trip, and perhaps fittingly for Billy Corgan, it was an exciting, exhausting and scary one that reveals a lot about the Smashing Pumpkins at this point in their musical journey.”

Notes Corgan in the 46-page book: “What I like about The Aeroplane Flies High is that it’s almost the existential backwater of the Mellon Collie album. Listening to the music gathered here is a little bit like seeing what goes on behind the walls of Disneyland. I’ve always been fascinated with places that are very well constructed, and finding out what’s really going on just over the fence. You look over that gate and notice that things on the other side are not well painted — or maybe you spot that guy dressed as some character sneaking a smoke on his break.  At least for me, the behind the scenes feel heard on The Aeroplane Flies High represents something revealing not found on the main album. In retrospect, it’s a nice document of how we arrived at the apex of Mellon Collie — and also what standing on that apex did to us personally.”

The Aeroplane Flies High follows 2011’s acclaimed reissues of the band’s groundbreaking first two albums, Gish (1991) and Siamese Dream (1993), as well as 2012’s Pisces Iscariot (1994), the band’s third album, as well as their fourth album, Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness (1995). 

As The Smashing Pumpkins get the fully remastered treatment via these reissues, the band is excited to be moving forward by creating new music. They will soon start recording the follow-up to 2012’s acclaimed album Oceania (Martha’s Music / EMI Label Services / Caroline Distribution). It was created by the band — singer/guitarist Billy Corgan, guitarist Jeff Schroeder, drummer Mike Byrne and bassist Nicole Fiorentino — at Corgan’s private studio in Chicago as a true album experience for listeners to fully immerse themselves in. It entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart at No. 4 and earned the No. 1 spot on the Independent Albums Chart.  Marking the band's 7th studio record, it is “an album within an album,” part of their 44-song work-in-progress Teargarden by Kaleidyscope.  The band launched their 2013 world tour in Mexico this past March and is heading to Europe and Japan for summer dates through August 11.

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Anamanaguchi: “8-bit synths and appropriately fuzzed-out beats” – Pitchfork

Album release: Endless Fantasy by Anamanaguchi 
Release date: 30 September 2013
Label: Alcopop!
Listen: on official Anamanaguchi website

Anamanaguchi are an American chiptune indie rock band made up of hackers and producers born & raised on the Internet from New York City. They make "loud, fast music with a NES from 1985” - and they do it amazingly well.

Boasting an incredible fanbase who raised them over $100k kickstarter fund in under 24 hours, with former credits including the Scott Pilgrim Video Game soundtrack (which debuted at Number 3 on Billboard Heatseekers Chart) and a track on video game Rock Band, September sees the release of their new album Endless Fantasy worldwide. 

Anamanaguchi started in Pete Berkman’s basement in the suburbs of New York where Weezer, snacks and Super Nintendo lived in equal rotation. At 15, he began experimenting with creating punk music using an 8-bit NES. Following bass player James DeVito to NYU’s Music Technology program, Pete met Ary Warnaar who grew up in LA on raves, fashion and lazer tag. Ary began writing for the band, lending a more academic electronic-influence to Berkman’s capricious pop sensibilities. Later that year Luke joined as the band’s drummer via a MySpace message and then the band had fully formed.

Anamanaguchi is serious about being happy. They’re part of a wave of young Internet romantics, nostalgic for a future they know may never come, but can see the seeds of it in the beauty that surrounds them. They’re making emotional dance music for the video game generation and aren’t afraid to claim it. Anamanaguchi was born past cynicism and indifference; they’re in love with the universe and aim to celebrate magic-made-real with their music. The band is interested in breathing life into low-tech machines and making expressive, emotional melodies using the simplest, rawest electronic tones available.

Anamanaguchi is what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would’ve been if they were a boy band. Ary is cool but rude, Luke is a party dude, Pete leads, and James does machines (he’s responsible for all the DIY sound-and-light electronics the band uses).

Their upcoming album Endless Fantasy is about reality and dreams, being young and searching for agency in an infinite existence. Its 22-tracks explore dreamworlds of all kinds from polygon forests, to Tokyo drifting hills at 100mph, to the lifestream from Final Fantasy VII.

They teamed up with editors from Tim & Eric to make their first music video, Meow – a fever dream version of The Warriors set in the perfect arcade. The video lives as a David Lynch by-way-of John Hughes ode to the victorious feeling of suburban escapism through friends and fun.

Anamanaguchi are lead songwriter Peter Berkman, bassist James DeVito, guitarist Ary Warnaar and drummer Luke Silas.

Reaction

  • “8-bit synths and appropriately fuzzed-out beats” – Pitchfork
  • “Awesome overload that has to power to make both eyes and smiles to wide” – theneedledrop.com
  • “One of the most eclectic, psychedelic, and out-of-this-world-sounding indie bands to arise in a long time” – Earmilk

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Steve Cradock to release new solo album, 'Travel Wild - Travel Free'

Album release: Travel Wild - Travel Free, by Steve Cradock 
Release date: 30 September
Label: Proper
Listen: on Steve Cradock website 

Renowned guitarist Steve Cradock announces the release of his third solo album, Travel Wild - Travel Free, on Monday the 30 September through Proper Records.

A founding member of the iconic Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene and guitarist for Paul Weller since 1992, the Solihull native has long been regarded as one of Britain’s most talented musicians and a part of the country’s musical heritage.

The affection and knowledge for his craft amassed over the years are truly tangible on the latest thoughtfully constructed 13-track album. Ever the savvy collaborator, Steve co-produced the album with his wife Sally Cradock, who also provides vocals, and enlisted the help of Squeeze’s Chris Difford to co-write the track 10,000 Times.

The record radiates relevant retro as a 21st century ode to Sixties psychedelia. From the get go, dreamy opener Any Way The Wind Blows immerses us in an exploration of sounds in the best of the British musical tradition. Steve’s skilled songwriting and expert multi-instrumentalism are evident on tracks such as Sheer Inertia and Travel Wild - Travel Free. This record is a true labour of love from a man who clearly knows how to write and use catchy hooks, hip vibes and lush melodies.

Travel Wild - Travel Free proves once again Steve’s knack for creating music that feels at once familiar and innovative; music that both transcends and cements itself in our country’s cultural tome.

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Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - 4th album out 17 September

Album release: Fly By Wire by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Release date: 17 September
Label: Polyvinyl

Missouri-based indie-pop trio Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin has debuted the first single, Nightwater Girlfriendfrom their forthcoming album, Fly By Wire, with Stereogum. Out September 17th on Polyvinyl, the album will be available on CD/Digital, 180-gram coke bottle clear vinyl with a gatefold jacket and collage-style pull-out poster, a special limited edition red/white vinyl exclusively for mail-order, and red cassette tape.

For this new album, the members of SSLYBY returned to the attic where they made their debut full-length Broom, but first they took a 5000 mile detour. After the Boris Yeltsin Foundation in Yekaterinburg, Russia extended an invitation to the band, Phil Dickey, Will Knauer, and Jonathan James spent a whirlwind six days in their namesake's home country this past January: meeting with Yeltsin's close friends and personal translator (who gifted them seven bottles of expensive Russian vodka) and performing at an elementary school after the U.S. consulate named them cultural ambassadors for a day. The trip concluded with a set at Old Nu Rock, making SSLYBY the first American group to play at Russia's largest winter rock festival.

Despite all of its empowering moments, this once-in-a-lifetime adventure also marked a turning point for SSLYBY."I used to joke that we would break up if Boris Yeltsin ever found out about our band," says Dickey. "So I figured this was either the death or rebirth of the band." Happily, it turned out to be the latter. With no one pressuring them to start work on a new album, SSLYBY decided to anyway for the best reason of all - because they simply wanted to. Rejuvenated by the sights they saw and people they met, the three musicians returned home eager to start work on a new full-length. With this desire in mind, there was no better location for Fly By Wire to come together than in the place that started it all: the attic of Knauer's parent's house where SSLYBY recorded their breakout debut album, Broom. The band is releasing a documentary about their life-changing trip this summer, called Discussions With Russians. Watch the trailer here.

Drawing as much from the pop-punk power chords their brains were wired to love as teens in the late 90s, as the multi-layered pop of the 60's and 7'0s they strive to emulate, SSLYBY has been writing songs for over a decade based on the timeless principles of beautiful melodies and good harmonies. From the scuzzy-paired-with-sunny guitar rhythms on handclap-aided first single, Nightwater Girlfriend, to the mid-tempo electro-pop of Harrison Ford, the songs on Fly By Wire are just plain fun to listen to. As a result, the music they create is nothing if not universal. And even though it took a trip to Russia for the band to be reminded of this, one listen to Fly By Wire is all you'll need.

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Wiretree's fourth album, Get Up, to be released on 19 August

Album release: Get Up by Wiretree
Release date: 19 August 2013
Label: Cobaltworks Music
Listen: on official site 

Wiretree began as the solo recording project of singer-songwriter Kevin Peroni. After releasing the LP Bouldin in 2007, Peroni recruited other band members to solidify the project. The group released their sophomore effort Luck in 2009, which made its way to numerous year-end Best Of lists, labeled by Blurt Magazine as their “Best Kept Secret”. The band have since appeared at SXSW, featured on Austin City Limits and toured Europe. This year the band will play China’s biggest music festival, The Strawberry Music Festival, alongside acts like Deerhoof and Travis.

Wiretree’s mission statement for Get Up reads thus: unite diverse songs in a compatible way. Peroni, an Austin native, spent his life listening to music from the UK with The La’s, Radiohead, The Kinks all currying favour while sitting side by side US artists such as Grandaddy and Dylan. Each of these bands influenced what would become this beautiful patchwork album. Take Us Away beats like a Shins comedown, while elsewhere much of the album is guided by the power pop light of Big Star. 

It was a conscious decision then to create an album that sounded homegrown and carefree, the general feeling being that too many modern albums are left feeling overly clinical, sterile and precise. The recording process itself was varied. Some songs were recorded live with the whole band (So Bold, To the Moon), other songs recorded alone (Marching Band, When You Were Young). The remaining songs were done in various studios, using different equipment and producers resulting in sonically different approaches to match the writing of each song. Peroni admits that when these new songs were birthed, it wasn’t with the intention of them becoming an album, which perhaps going someway to explain the resulting diversity. 

Of the album, Peroni says: 

“The album before, I tried using only one producer, I let the band members push the music to more of a rocking sound, and that was good for the time, but it made me want to get back to the roots of how I hear music in my head. I think this new album is one of the most revealing in terms of how I hear and create music in my head.” 

For many, such diversity might signal a band yet to discover their true direction. But for Wiretree, now four albums in, their path couldn’t be more clear-cut; write the songs you want to listen to.

“There are traces of Britpop’s cool factor and The Shangri-Las’ lilt and sway” - Under The Radar

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The Dodos release 'Carrier' through Polyvinyl on 27 August

Album release: Carrier by The Dodos
Release date: 27 August 2013
Label: Polyvinyl
Listen: on official website 

San Francisco natives The Dodos announce the release of their new LP, Carrier, out worldwide on August 27 via Polyvinyl Records.  The album will also be released by Dine Alone in Canada, Hi Note in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China, P-Vine in Japan, and Jointt Corporation in Thailand. The album will be released on CD, LP (180 gram blue vinyl), cassette (limited edition of 100 white cassettes) and via all digital outlets. The first single Confidence is available for streaming and will see a digital release on May 21st.

The Dodos, comprised of singer and guitarist Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber, are also heading out on a full North American tour following the release of Carrier. Dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

When it came time for The Dodos to begin writing their fifth LP, singer/guitarist Meric Long wanted to start over. The uncertainty of the band’s trajectory as well as the unexpected passing of guitarist Chris Reimer (formerly of Women) brought about a reassessment of things within the band, and in particular Long’s songwriting.

“Chris was a huge influence on the way I think about guitar, songwriting, and music in general,” reveals Long. “Seeing how he could transform and shape sound with an electric guitar inspired me to explore more tones and use those tones to begin writing a song.”

In need of a different vantage point, Long began writing words before music for the first time, enveloping himself in silence rather than sound. When it came time to set these lyrics to music, Long started writing with only his electric guitar in hand - another first. The focus on this instrument was due in large part to the time Long spent with Reimer. And so, when he began to formulate the tracks that would ultimately comprise Carrier, Long employed two principles he inherited from Reimer: patience to let a song develop and a judgment-free enthusiasm for sound.

The album was recorded in the band’s hometown of San Francisco, allowing for less time constraints and a more pressure-free experience than past out-of-state sessions had afforded. Although John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio was initially selected for its analog-friendly setup, the duo were happy to find themselves working within a supportive community of like-minded musicians that included engineers Jay and Ian Pellicci, both of whom assisted in the production of Carrier, as well as the Magik Magik Orchestra, which appears on several tracks. As a result, the album The Dodos crafted is refreshingly sincere: no computers, no gimmicks; just eleven songs that are beautiful and solid and true and honest.

For a band briefly in flux, it’s clear now that The Dodos’ outlook on the future has never looked more certain.

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The Lucid Dream: Songs of Lies and Deceit

Album release: Songs of Lies and Decit by The Lucid Dream
Release date: 22 July 2013
Label: Holy Are You  
Listen: on Bandcamp 

The Lucid Dream were formed in Carlisle, Cumbria, in the far north of England, in 2008. Fused by small town boredom and a mentality to break the mould they siphoned the spirits of key influences, such as The Jesus & Mary Chain and Spacemen 3, to suitably shape their live repertoire in an old textile factory, overlooked by a disused gas works.

Initial releases between 2010-2012 (Erbistock Mill EP), and 3 sold-out 7" singles (Love In My Veins, Heartbreak Girl, Hits Me Like I'm Stoned), gained significant praise from the likes of The Fly, NME, BBC Radio 2 (Steve Lamacq's 'Listeners Tip of the Week') and Frank Skinner (Absolute Radio); along with major support from BBC 6 Music (Nemone 'Record of the Weekend', Lauren Laverne, Gideon Coe, Tom Robinson).

The debut album, Songs Of Lies and Deceit, was recorded at Ghost Town Studios, Leeds, with producer Ross Halden. Initially the album took shape via the recording of two 7" singles, (Love In My Veins, Heartbreak Girl), before sessions lasting up to 5 days, mostly recorded throughout the early hours, shaped the album. Opened by How's Your Low When You're Low Alone?, a 6 minute sonic attack, revolving around 2 notes, it’s a track influenced by the band’s passion for New York revolutionaries Suicide, and Primal Scream circa XTRMNTR. Merging into Glue, both tracks touch upon social commentary, as well as a nodding to the works of Edinburgh novelist Irvine Welsh.

The white noise that opens the first 9 minutes of the album is by no means indicative of the album as a whole. Tracks such as In Your Eyes, Love In My Veins, and Heartbreak Girl ultimately owe more to the psych pop of The Stone Roses, The Byrds, The Ronettes and C86 era Primal Scream. Elsewhere, Heading For The Waves was influenced heavily by a love for the genius of Liverpool bands like Shack, The La's and The Coral, while The Twilight Endpays homage to the influential guitar playing of The Verve’s Nick McCabe.

The album is wrapped up by the 9 and a half minute track, Sweet Hold On Me. A fixture of the live set since its creation, the track mixes Space Rock, Gospel, Psychedelia and white noise. It was the obvious choice to close out the record, showcasing the band’s adeptness with multiple styles.

The Lucid Dream will tour in May through to August. For tour dates, see their website.

Reaction

'Noisy northern hopes' - NME

'Reverb drenched majesty' - The Fly

'Beautiful traditional psychedelia' - Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music

'Jangly psychedelia, listeners tip of the week' - Steve Lamacq, BBC Radio 2

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The Hush Now unveil their highly-anticipated 3rd album

Album release: Memos by The Hush Now
Release date: 17 June 2013
Listen: on Bandcamp 

Boston, Massachusetts indie-pop rock quintet The Hush Now unveil their highly anticipated 3rd album on June 17. Described as "audio candy for the art school crowd”, compared to and influenced by bands from a wide array of genres, such as My Bloody Valentine, Guided By Voices, The Cure and Hall & Oates, they continue to release consistently great albums that have matured and progressed, with the latest release introducing even catchier hooks and more subtle guitars.

SXSW and CMJ appearances plus plays on BBC 6Music and internet exposure of the self-titled debut album helped to fuel interest while the band got to work on the second album, Constellations, which the UK music review described as “a little Stone Roses, a dash of Guided By Voices, a smidgen of Flaming Lips and a dose of Yo La Tengo; one of those classic pop tunes that pop up from time to time and catch you pleasantly off guard.” After having made an impression on music critics and fans alike, they began to create Memos.

Written entirely by the band and produced, mixed and recorded by well known Mad Oak Studio’s head engineer and producer Benny Grotto, who has worked with the likes of Aerosmith and The Dresden Dolls, “Memos” may be their strongest, quality album to date. Upbeat melodies and catchy hooks reminiscent of bands like The Smiths open the album, before taking you through a jazzy, nocturnal ballad and a song with an air of a late 90s club sound.

The Hush Now are: Adam Quane (guitar/vocals), Noel Kelly (guitar/vocals), Barry Marino (drums/vocals), Pat Macdonald (bass/vocals) and Jon Rosen (keys).

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The Capsules: 'Northern Lights & Southern Skies' out June 24

Album release: Northern Lights & Southern Skies by The Capsules
Release date: June 24, 2013
Listen: on Youtube

The Capsules have a tendency to have sleepless nights and write pensive, late-night reveries. When they emerge from these states, they bring with them a soundtrack to the half forgotten memories that pass through the space between reality and whimsy.

The songs on Northern Lights & Southern Skies unfold in the place where the heart is open to the mysteries of the universe and help us gain a bit of insight into the experiences of love, loss, and longing that makes us human. Julie Shields has a comforting voice that sounds like your best friend whispering in your ear, while the melodic bass of Jason Shields and Kevin Trevino’s understated drumming keep things deceptively simple.

The Capsules decided to expand their pallet on Northern Lights & Southern Skies and used less guitar and more keyboards, loops and electronics than they have on previous efforts. They still have their otherworldly aura, but there’s also a dark edge that keeps everything rooted to the earth.

Jason and Julie started writing music together in high school. In the process, they fell in love, got married, and started their first band, which was called Shallow. At an age when most people are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, they were already signed, professional musicians touring the world.

After Shallow ended, Julie and Jason continued writing, looking for a drummer to compliment their lush, bright pop lullabies. Kevin Trevino had been a fan of Shallow and, after a few rehearsals under the newly formed name The Capsules, the trio clicked. They started touring, making records and winning fans, including Steven Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, who asked them to write a song for the show. Their songs have also been used in several video games, including the megahit Borderlands 2. They have shared the stage with lot of great acts including The Flaming Lips, Garbage, Low, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Pinback, Juliana Hatfield, and The Mountain Goats.

Look out for videos for Across the Sky and Our Apocalypse, then they’ll be playing select dates while they continue to explore new sonic territory that will allow them to take their heart wrenching visions into even more exciting musical and emotional dimensions.

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'Portishead doing a Tarantino soundtrack' - acclaimed duo Vienna Ditto release debut EP


EP release: Liar Liar by Vienna Ditto
Release date: 22 April 2013
Listen: on Bandcamp

Recorded in a chilly boat, a dank basement and an old temperance hall, Vienna Ditto’s debut EP, Liar Liar, is a DIY diary of their first, turbulent, two years. Recorded and produced by the band themselves, the tapes were then rescued and mixed by Umair Chaudhry at Silver St Studios. The result is intelligent yet memorable, spooky but accessible electronica mixed with dirty guitar riffs – or, as Radio 1’s Huw Stephens puts it, ‘Portishead doing a Tarantino Soundtrack’.

The band – comprising vocalist Hatty Taylor and guitarist Nigel Firth – jerked into life in April 2009 when a hastily-recorded demo from their second rehearsal was played on Huw Stephen’s Radio One show. An appearance on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury 2009 followed, as did a Maida Vale session for Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and an appearance on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks Music Show.

Released in November 2009, their debut single Long Way Down gained airplay on Radio One, BBC6 Music and XFM, and was given glowing reviews in Q Magazine, Artrocker and The Fly. The band are currently working on their debut album.

Listen

Reaction

“Portishead doing a Tarantino soundtrack” Huw Stephens, Radio 1

“With Smoky-voiced femme fatale Hatty Taylor on vocals, London-based three piece Vienna Ditto mix wild-eyed rockabilly riffs with sparse, atmospheric electronica.”  Q Magazine

“Fantastically dirty… one of the catchiest choruses l’ve ever heard… made me wan to dance round my bedroom with my hairbrush” Esther Press, The Fly Magazine

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'Creepy, but in a good way' - Wampire release new album on May 14


Album release: Curiosity by Wampire
Release date: May 14 2013
Label: Polyvinyl
Produced by: Jacob Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
Listen: on official site

After forming Wampire, Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps steadily began to make a name for themselves in the same Portland OR scene that has produced labelmates STRFKR as well as Unknown Mortal Orchestra. It makes sense, then, that Wampire came to Polyvinyl’s attention when the duo opened for STRFKR at a hometown Portland show and that UMO’s bassist Jacob Portrait produced Wampire’s debut full-length, Curiosity.

The choice of Portrait was a natural one, with both Tinder and Phipps believing he’d be able to contribute almost as much to the record as they would. And so, in mid-August Tinder and Phipps each brought fragments of song ideas into the studio, before deconstructing, re-arranging, and fitting them back together piece by piece; at times lyrics and melodies were thrown out, brought back from the dead, or improvised on the spot.

This loosely structured approach made the process truly collaborative, with producer Portrait occasionally chipping in ideas for lyrics, arrangements, and instrumentation.

The resulting nine tracks are instantly memorable, while defying easy categorization. Says Phipps, “We realized the record began to stray away from having a ‘sound’ and gradually became a platter with an assortment of sounds. The record showcases a flavor we haven’t quite dug into before.”

The album’s diverse combination of sounds ultimately helped give birth to its title, Curiosity - a word that invokes the listener’s wonder at what will greet their ears next, while also describing the overall curious tone the record possesses.

First single The Hearse serves as the perfect introduction for those unfamiliar with the band, its opening notes swelling instantly with electronic organs over a driving drum beat. By the time bass and vocals kick in, you’re already hooked.

Elsewhere, Orchards weaves an infectiously breezy melody on the strength of vocal harmonizing, tuneful whistling, and undulating guitar lines.

In some cases, Wampire’s unique rhythms are best described by the band members, as with Trains, a Motown-meets-Strokes track that Tinder perfectly summarizes like so: “It’s sexy, sounds huge, and by all means should be blamed for future babies.”

The album concludes with the equally sensual Magic Light, a song centered around a dark seductive bass groove that sets the tone for Phipps’ come-hither lyrics. It’s the kind of track that draws you ever further into the record’s beguiling clutches, leaving a lasting impression that remains well after its final notes have faded out.

Reaction

Best New Music - Pitchfork
"Creepy, but in a good way" - The Guardian

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New album from Saturday Looks Good To Me

Album release: One Kiss Ends It All by Saturday Looks Good To Me
Release date: 21 May 2013
Label: Polyvinyl
Listen: on Bandcamp

In their decade-plus existence, Saturday Looks Good To Me have never taken a typical path: endless line-up changes, shifts in sound from lo-fi 60’s pop to experimental noise rock, a twisting discography heavy on one-off singles and bizarre package tours with afrobeat and freakfolk bands.

In 2012, bandleader and songwriter Fred Thomas returned with yet another reconfigured band line-up, including new vocalists Carol Catherine and Amber Fellows, but also featuring old friends from previous SLGTM incarnations like bassist Scott DeRoche and drummer Ryan Howard. The band’s fifth proper album, One Kiss Ends It All, came together following the group’s first tour after getting back in action, but the four years since their last full-length weren’t spent cultivating this new batch of songs. Instead, a spontaneous and breezy vibe flows through the album’s 12 selections, drawing on the reference points of 60’s pop and early indie rock, all filtered through the band’s skewed pop lens.

Thomas’ songs are always bittersweet, but short, uptempo rockers like Invisible Friend and Break In recall the open-hearted running melodicism of New Zealand kiwi-pop while more groove-oriented numbers like Polar Bear or Sunglasses meld electronic elements with the same sharp-edged attitude of the first Strokes album. Even former SLGTM lead vocalist Betty Barnes (who now lives in Sweden) sings lead on two tracks: the doo-wop piano lament of Negative Space and the spare indie rock road trip The Ever-present New Times Condition.

Saturday Looks Good To Me’s albums from the early 2000’s (All Your Summer Songs, Every Night) predicted the reverb-saturated production and girl-group revisitations that indie rock would embrace several years down the road. One Kiss Ends It All expands on those early lo-fi marvels and feels more like a revelation than a continuance. With more sophisticated arrangements and melodies more direct and engaging than anything the band has ever done, the album feels like re-telling the details of a dream minutes after waking. Something new colliding with something that shouldn’t make sense in a beautifully strange collage. And always more details hidden in the corners.

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Dark, dirty, psychedelic rock from acclaimed band The Lost Souls Club - and a UK tour

EP Release and tour: High Noon by The Lost Souls Club
Release date: 25 February 2013
Listen: on official website   
Video link: Shoot Me Down

“Romeo has a great opening riff and vocal line. The lyrical themes are suitably noir…so they sit alongside bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys….and look like a junior Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds” – Simon Price, The Independent

“Perfect to soundtrack both wild Friday nights of excess and the gloomy sad Sundays that always follow, the likes of Kiss Away The Sun and Romeo are monochromatic slices of life that retrace and then reinvent those such as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Raveonettes who came before them. The guitars are fuzzy, the vocals sleazy, the songs themselves urgent and paranoid, almost as if they’re scared of the impending sunrise. It’s thrilling stuff.” - Mischa Pearlman (Kerrang / Clash / Record Collector)

“Their dark, pulsing rock swirls with a sinister malice that sets the tone perfectly...” – Kerrang

“The Lost Souls Club may be a musical home for the heartbroken and dreamers, but on this showing I think they'll very soon need to start booking larger venues in which to hold their meetings, as they are about to explode.” – Uber Rock

"With hints of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as NIN-edge that remains, there’s a real intensity that really makes it hard to turn away. There’s something dark and wrong going on here, but at the same time its irresistible… you just want to reach out and touch it." – Pure Rawk

Hailed by The Independent’s music guru Simon Price as the band to fill The White Stripes’ empty shoes, The Lost Souls Club are a UK band who play rock as it should be: dark, dirty and energized with a psychedelic twist. With reverb, fuzz and massive hooks the band belong with the likes of The Dead Weather, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Jesus and The Mary Chain.

The band’s sinister rock is perfect for a long drive through the night along a lonely road with nothing but heartache for company, but they also have a musical alter ego – a brooding acoustic side that is just as thrilling as their rock'n'roll, with a naked intensity that echoes the sounds of Nick Cave and Johnny Cash.   

Having just signed to JL Booking agency (Nine Black Alps, Spotlight Kid, Passenger), The Lost Souls Club are now are touring High Noon, their debut EP, which has already picked up glowing reviews in the UK and in Asia and Australia (where they toured in 2012). The theme running through the EP – from which the ‘High Noon’ title originates – is the idea of a showdown between two opposing sides of oneself: arrogance and insecurity. The mirrored image on the cover echoes this idea of duality.

High Noon was self-produced and recorded, apart from opening track, Romeo which was produced by the eminent Sam Bell (Editors, REM, Bloc Party). With BBC Introducing already hailing them as a ‘Band to Watch’ in 2013, this year is set to be a big one for The Lost Souls Club.

Tour dates

Confirmed tour dates are as follows, with more being added shortly to the live page of the band's website:

March 15th - Edinburgh - Cabaret Voltaire
March 17th - Glasgow - Broadcast
March 19th - London - Surya
March 20th - The Boileroom - Guildford
March 21st - The Green Room - Welwyn Garden City
March 22nd - The Mother's Ruin - Bristol
March 23rd - The Factory - Porth
March 25th - Southampton - the Joiners

For links to venues / ticket information, please see the live section of The Lost Souls Club website.

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