Due to rising international pressure, Joanna Gruesome’s new album Peanut Butter finally entered the world on 11 May via Fortuna POP! (UK), Slumberland (US) and Turnstile (RoW). Rival groups will be disappointed to learn that the record is a further experiment in combining hyper melodic pop music with sonic violence. Officials have confirmed that the album contains a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs. Yet they have issued warnings of "a marriage of radical politics with peanut butter spread".
Like their debut, the new album was recorded by MJ from Hookworms, with the aim of heightening the group's "pop" and "aggressive" elements to excessive and hitherto unrecorded levels. As songwriter Owen Williams explains: “We tried to make it shorter, more economical and attempted to pack as many hooks and screams in as quickly possible in order to avoid short changing the consumer or wasting her/his/their time. Lyrically it’s more obtuse and surreal but also attempts to mock trad masculine rock themes whenever things do get more lucid. But sometimes musically we embrace them by doing embarrassing guitar solos. I'm not sure how much else I'm at liberty to say but one thing I will disclose is that the record is a response to threats posed by rival groups."
"Does more in 22 minutes than most albums do in 40." NME 8/10
"Ebulient, thundering and made with unabashedly 90s vigour." The Guardian 4*s
"Their tip as one of Britain's brightest new hopes is more than backed up on this showing." DIY 4*s
"Devoid of pretence, "Peanut Butter"'s sonic impulsiveness is wonderfully chaotic." Loud and Quiet 9/10
"Their fusion of righteous hardcore and cutie pop stylishly decluttered for their second outing… short, but invigoratingly sweet." Uncut 8/10
"Joanna Gruesome have managed to retain the gift of allowing the listener to feel as if they are part of a very exclusive gang." Record Collector 4*s
"A collision of riot-grrrl, C-86 tweeness and whistling Psychocandy-era Mary Chain." Q
The band play the following UK gigs later in the year.
18 September – Islington Mill, Manchester Tickets
22 September – Scala, London Tickets
24 September – Glad Cafe, Glasgow Tickets
29 September – The Haunt, Brighton Tickets
GONGS PLAYED BY VOICE - THE CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENT
Prog-influenced Nottingham quintet The Chemistry Experiment are set to release their second album, the intriguingly titled “Gongs Played By Voice”, some ten years after the release of their debut album “The Melancholy Death Of…”. Housed in beautiful artwork by the Bulgarian artist Gyukov, a set designer in communist Bulgaria, the new album sees the band conclude the transition from their indie roots with nine beautifully arranged and recorded songs that encompass such influences as Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billy, Tindersticks, King Crimson and Soft Machine.
Formed by songwriter Steven J. Kirk (vocals, guitar) and Paul Stone (bass) and completed by Emily Kawasaki (keyboards), Lee Tombs (flute, vocals) and Martin Craig (drums), two of the band have long since departed from their Nottingham origins with Kirk now resident in Bologna, Italy and Kawasaki living in Brighton where she plays in krautrock grrrlgruppe Slum Of Legs. The release of “The Melancholy Death Of…” in 2005 saw critical if not financial success with the NME awarding the record 8/10 and describing it as “Strange, gargantuan rhythms, weird instrumentation and a singer who sounds like Kurt Wagner under ten feet of snow”.
If the geographic dispersion of the band wasn’t challenging enough, in 2009 drummer Craig was diagnosed with MS. “It has made drumming somewhat tricky”, he says. “I still gnash my teeth to the rhythm of the music though, and I feel honoured to join the company of Ronnie Lane, Clive Burr, and Don van Vliet.” All of which may go some way to explaining the My Bloody Valentine-like gestation of their second album, although Tombs posits a more positive explanation, saying, “ ‘Difficult second albums’ are difficult because people spend 5-10 years gathering up what they need for the first, and then have to knock out the next one in a matter of months. We overcame that problem by taking ten years.”
Loosely based around the theme of seasons, elements and the sea, the album opens with the wondrous “Hung Lam”, followed by the track “Rainy Day”, on which Stone employed the little known technique of water percussion. “Martin and I started swirling water in saucepans and tapping the edge of the pan to make the woooo noise. I’d heard something similar on an Edith Piaf record”.
The fantastically catchy “Leo & Magician” has an even more fantastical plot. “It’s about a scarecrow who runs away from his farm, leaving the farmer (Leo) without a way to protect his crops from the birds,” says Kirk. “Luckily Leo’s friend Magician comes along, and although he can’t help him with the scarecrow due to union rules, he turns Leo into a cat to scare away the birds, and that is why birds to this day are scared of cats. The scarecrow also abducts Leo’s wife but I didn’t want to go into that in the song.”
Other songs include the beautiful “We Have Seasons”, “Jandek Bakery”, “The Event and the Experiment” (“It’s kinda the same story as Valis by Phillip K Dick”) and a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Story of Isaac”, but perhaps the standout track on the album is “Channel Light Vessel” which Kirk describes as the best song he ever wrote and says, “This is about the sea, and sailors, and a boy I read about on BBC news who impaled himself on a fence trying to pick conkers.”
The album concludes with the nine minute long “A Good Wind”, describing a windy day on the coast of Australia and the classic battle between good and evil, nature and synthetic, human and vocoder. Like many things about The Chemistry Experiment it’s unique, slightly odd, and shouldn’t really work but somehow does. In the ten years since their last record a thousand faceless indie bands have made a thousand dreary records, while The Chemistry Experiment have ploughed their idiosyncratic furrow to produce “Gongs Played By Voices”, the perfect distillation of their strange and distinct vision.
"As tuned-in to the prog sorcery of king Crimson as the reflective rootsiness of Will Oldham" (Mojo, 4 stars)
"It’s [A Good Wind] simply extraordinary, but then the whole album is." (Echoes & Dust)
The second edition of our Jukebox 45s Singles Club is now on sale. Subscribe now for twelve 45rpm coloured vinyl 7"s from the following great artists...
Tigercats * Evans The Death * Joanna Gruesome * Simon Love * Pete Astor * The Spook School * Cinema Red & Blue * Darren Hayman * Flowers * Mammoth Penguins * Martha * The Proper Ornaments
What do you get?
- Twelve limited edition 7" singles, pressed on coloured vinyl with a jukebox hole
- Exclusive B-sides
- A custom-made glow-in-the-dark Fortuna POP! Jukebox 45s record middle
- A Fortuna POP! Jukebox 45s tote bag
- A Fortuna POP! Jukebox 45s fridge magnet
- Free MP3 download of all tracks
Illustration by Matt Ashton of The Leaf Library.
Subscriptions are limited to 150.
*Artists subject to change
SEPTEMBER GIRLS RETURN WITH BRAND NEW 12" EP "VENEER"
January suddenly seems like a terribly long time ago, but if you can cast your mind back that far you may remember a remarkable album released just mere weeks into the then fresh, unsullied year that was 2014. Full of driving drums, doom-filled fuzz guitars and perfect monochrome vocal harmonies, September Girls’ debut album Cursing the Sea shot into the new year with all the excitement, vim and vigour of an outrageous New Year’s Eve party.
Critics rejoiced and new fans were birthed, kicking and screaming to the front rows of gigs and festivals across the globe. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Phil Spector, The Velvet Underground, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain, the five-piece play reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order and have been described as "a combination of razorwire guitar lines, thudding Moe Tucker beats and girl group melodicism".
Cursing the Sea garnered widespread coverage, with a Guardian New Band of the Day piece, NME radar and 8/10 review and a 4* review in The Fly as well as coverage in The Sunday Times, The Observer and Uncut. The Financial Times said that they were “like a less malevolent Jesus and Mary Chain – impressive power, conjuring exactly the right balance between noise and sweetness”, while Time Magazine no less named them as one of the 11 best new bands in the world.
As their year of triumph draws to a close, September Girls return with a brand new four track EP entitled Veneer, recorded deep underground in Guerilla Studios, Dublin. Whilst still retaining their signature drenched feedback sound the tracks have a greater depth and polish than the album recordings. Each of the four tracks is written and sung by a different member of the band. The perfect way to round off September Girls' incredible year, the Veneer EP builds on the foundations of Cursing The Sea to offer a tantalising glimpse into the band's future as purveyors of the finest dark-hearted pop in town.
ONLINE MAIL ORDER FROM CARGO
All mail orders are now being handled by Cargo Records. Go to our Cargo catalogue page
for further details!
WITHERED HAND ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'NEW GODS'
Fortuna POP! (UK/Europe) and Slumberland Records (US/Canada) are proud to announce the new album by the Edinburgh based folk-rock troubadour Dan Willson who records as WITHERED HAND. New Gods is his stunning second album, which follows his critically acclaimed debut Good News, and is scheduled for release next March.
Active in the world of visual art and dabbling in music for many years, Dan Willson came late to singing and songwriting at age 30, in a period of reflection between the death of a close friend and the birth of his first child. The resultant material, much of which went on to become the album Good News, has been praised for its depth and startling honesty.
Withered Hand has been embraced by Fife-based musical powerhouse the Fence Collective (whose sovereign King Creosote guests on the new album), seen his songs picked up on MTV and cult series Skins, and gained a legion of fans including Jarvis Cocker and Rolling Stone Magazine USA (who decreed him “Artist to Watch”).
A prolific live performer, recent Withered Hand shows have included collaborations with Pam Berry of seminal 90's US noisepop band Black Tambourine and a rotating cast of musical friends embellishing Dan's exuberant and original songwriting alongside fragile and uplifting solo performances.
The long-awaited second album (produced by Tony Doogan – Mountain Goats/Belle & Sebastian etc and part-funded by Creative Scotland) features guest appearances from the likes of Pam Berry, Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines and members of Belle & Sebastian and Frightened Rabbit.
The five years since Good News was recorded has seen Willson honing his songcraft, building his audience and gaining critical momentum. The new album is a beautifully executed collection of songs from one of Scotland’s most gifted songwriters.
KARL SMITH OF SODASTREAM - BACK AND AS HIGH AS A KITE
30 years after strumming his first guitar on the steps of his childhood home in Bangladesh, Karl Smith, the voice and songwriter of Sodastream, is set to release his debut solo album, "Kites". Recorded and mixed in Karl’s basement studio while preparing for fatherhood, Kites captures the heady excitement, nervous energy and intermittent panic of the time. Kicking things off with lead single "I Want You", a wonky little ode to love in the modern world, Karl will be showcasing songs on stages, radio stations and work computers across the country over the coming months.
Born in New Zealand, raised in Bangladesh and schooled in India, Karl ended up in Perth where he began playing music. After garnering a swag of WAMI awards and JJJ airplay with local outfit, Thermos Cardy, the band unexpectedly split. Soon after, Karl formed Sodastream and moved to Melbourne. Following the release of their second EP, they toured Europe on the back of support from eminent UK DJ, John Peel and subsequently signed with Tugboat Records / Rough Trade.
Fast forward a few years and now, with 12 albums in the bag and countless tours through Europe, USA, Japan and Australia under his belt, Karl Smith’s debut record, Kites, feels like both lucky 13 and number one.
TENDER TRAP ARE BACK WITH TEN SONGS ABOUT GIRLS
Fortuna POP! are proud to present Ten Songs about Girls, the new album from Tender Trap. Over the course of its ten vignettes on being female in this day and age it taps into larger questions about love, death, gender politics and the nature of existence, all delivered with a huge dose of humour, joy and warmth.
Ten Songs About Girls is Amelia & Co’s most complete-sounding effort yet, filled to the brim with resounding backing vocals and glorious fuzz. The album’s artwork comes in green, purple and white ¬– the suffragette colours, sharing the original feminists’ concern for aesthetics as well as politics. With three strong female voices on the record, sometimes harmonizing, sometimes calling and responding, sometimes singing alone, Tender Trap draw on the dynamics of the original girl group songs, but aim to show what happens when those girls aren’t in thrall to the male Svengali.
NEW SHRAG SINGLE "DEVASTATING BONES" FROM CANINES LP
Taken from the band’s third long-player Canines, Shrag’s new single “Devastating Bones” is out on 10 September. Heralding them as one of the most exciting British bands around, “Devastating Bones” is a sordidly salacious stomper, fizzing with energy and raw emotion.
Shrag’s Bob Brown says this about the song: "I wanted to do a glam song. A proper, chant-along, fist-punching glam song. I was born in the epicentre of glam rock - Wolverhampton, so it seemed a natural thing to do. Of course in the end it sounds like a Shrag song but that's a good thing too! And it's possibly the only pop song in history to mention the word 'Ischium'".
Helen King, the band’s lyricist, describes “Devastating Bones” as; “a filthy song about lust and summer, and wanting someone with a weaker mind than oneself”
The album Canines stalks new territory for Shrag, broadening their spectrum of sound with a high quality production that encompasses such influences as ESG, Chic and New Order. Recorded at Gargleblast Studios with producer Andy Miller (Life Without Buildings, Mogwai, Sons and Daughters), Canines is a visceral pop record bristling with urgency, melody, and danger, and is the sound of a band fully in their stride.
The album has garnered praise from the likes of NME (8/10), The Music Fix (9/10), Neon Filler (9/10),The Financial Times, Uncut, Artrocker, the BBC, This is Fake DIY and Drowned in Sound.
Here’s what some of them said:
"A feisty offering which showcases some great songwriting" 8/10 - NME
"Real, instant pop albums like this only come along once every three or four years. This time it's Shrag's turn." - A Layer Of Chips
“...musically, thematically and stylistically, this is a band that subverts expectations.” - BBC
“Canines is a taut, exhilarating, tour-de-force.” – This is Fake DIY
ALLO DARLIN' - NEW SINGLE AND UK TOUR
Allo Darlin' are all set to release the superbly jangly “Northern Lights” on limited edition orange vinyl and download on the 1st October. The third single to be taken from Allo Darlin’s second album ‘Europe’, it's written about a New Year’s Eve spent in Sweden and somehow manages to imbue a wintery scene with a sweet breath of sunshine as Elizabeth Morris’ voice rings out clear as a bell and Paul Rain’s guitar melodies shine brightly.
It’s backed by “Golden Age”, a B-side which seems to exist simply to prove that Allo Darlin’ have super-catchy melodic pop gems to burn. In any other band’s hands this might be a single rather than tucked away as the flip of the third single from the album, but then it’s this kind of willful perversity that makes Allo Darlin’ so very special!
The single is available to order direct from us now, or you can buy it from the band themselves on their current UK tour:
7 Sep Deaf Institute, Manchester tickets
8 Sep Kazimier, Liverpool tickets
9 Sep Blackburn Art College, Blackburn 1.45PM SHOW / ALL AGES / FREE ENTRY!
10 Sep Brudenell Social Club, Leeds tickets
12 Sep The Haunt, Brighton tickets
13 Sep King's College, London tickets
Listen to Golden Age:
BOO SHUFFLE! THE NEW SINGLE FROM THE PIPETTES
The Pipettes are back with Boo Shuffle a super fun single resplendent with its own dance routine that zaps them right back to their polka-dotted girl group roots and the fifties / sixties retro vibe that made their name. One of the last songs to be produced by the legendary Martin Rushent (The Stranglers, Shirley Bassey, Altered Images, The Buzzcocks and, most famously, the Human League’s ‘Dare’) before his untimely death earlier this year, Boo Shuffle fizzes with energy and is sure to put the band right back in the hit parade where they belong.
Singer Ani Saunders says, “The song’s named after my shuffling hamster Boo (RIP) and more or less represents exactly what The Pipettes are about (the song that is, not the hamster). We like to sing pop songs, we like to dance, and we like to have a good time. It’s got dance moves and directions, and it's the perfect opportunity for everyone to have fun and let go a little. Let's face it, it's pretty gloomy out there at the moment and this song always lightens the mood.”
The B-side is a remix by Martin Rushent, who the band are devastated to have lost, having grown close to him and his family during the recording of their album at his home studio. Famed for the album 'Love And Dancing', a remix reinterpretation album of the Human League's 'Dare' which changed dance music forever, this remix was to have been the start of his second such project, an album of remixes of 'Earth Vs The Pipettes'. As Ani says, “It was an honour and a privilege to have worked with Martin. This single is a tribute to him and a big thank you to the whole Rushent family.”
Already a huge live favourite with the band’s fans, Boo Shuffle comes complete with a dance moves video made with London’s all girl 60s dance troupe The Actionettes and is odds on to be the number one dance song at parties across the land this Christmas. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to do the boo shuffle!
14th December Sound Control, Manchester tickets
plus support from The Projectionists (riot Becki's new band)
Sir Darren Hayman releases a new limited edition 10" EP featuring I Taught You How To Dance, the stand out track from The Ship’s Piano, a beautiful, sweet and non-ironic love song. Darren describes it as his cruise ship song, a song suitable for weddings and 1980s teenage discos, like 'Red, Red Wine.' Expertly embellished by Steve Pretty’s mournful trumpet, the song sounds even better when played with a glitter ball in the room.
The EP also contains covers of Come Dancing by The Kinks, I Don't Wanna Dance by Eddy Grant and Dance Away by Roxy Music. Asked why he chose these particular songs Darren replied, “These are the tunes that would drift over my school playground from the 6th formers' social club. It's hard to imagine how cool and exotic these songs sounded to me as a 13 year old. 'Come Dancing' in particular is a much sadder intelligent song than it appears on first inspection. The truth is that songs that are good to dance to, don't have the word 'dance' in the title. Songs that have the word 'dance' in the title are usually heartbreakers.” Listen out for Nik Vestberg of Moustache Of Insanity playing Gameboy on Come Dancing!
CINEMA RED AND BLUE HALLOWEEN EP
The Butterbean Crypt EP is a special Halloween release from Cinema Red and Blue, an indiepop supergroop featuring members of both Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts. Strictly limited to 500 copies on 10” vinyl, it’s pressed on spooky black and white marble effect vinyl. Lead track Walkin’ To The Cemetery is a Cinema Red and Blue original that comes on like a Nuggets garage original, replete with 60s organ and scary screams. The EP also contains two covers, with versions of Beau Brummels’ psych-pop classic Gentle Wandering Ways and the sixties folk obscurity As Pure As The Freshly Driven Snow by Whistler Chaucer Detroit & Greenhill. The EP is rounded off another original Memory Grave (Recalled From The Crypt).
Led by songwriter David Feck, Comet Gain have released a string of critically acclaimed records on Kill Rock Stars, Track & Field and What’s Your Rupture?, with albums such as Réalistes, City Fallen Leaves, singles collection Broken Record Prayers and, in June of this year, Howl of the Lonely Crowd, establishing the band as one of the most fearlessly passionate and fiercely intelligent British bands around.
Crystal Stilts burst out of Brooklyn's storied post-punk indie scene in 2008 with a string of releases that culminated in their fantastic debut album Alight Of Night, deftly combining the spooked 60s Texas psych of 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola, the gothic blues/punk howl of Gun Club, the dark, experimental DIYism of early Flying Nun/Xpressway groups and a dash of classic 60s pop by way of early Jesus & Mary Chain. Their critically acclaimed second album In Love With Oblivion was released on Fortuna POP! earlier this year.
Together as Cinema Red And Blue they’ve released one album to excellent reviews (“a knowing and affecting power-pop record about the foibles of loving records too much” – Pitchfork). Now with this Halloween EP they’re set to strike fear into the hearts of all. Be afraid, be very afraid!
You can download Walkin’ To The Cemetery for FREE here.
HERMAN DUNE - BE A DOLL AND TAKE MY HEART
Everyone's favourite vegan folk-rock frenchies Herman Dune return with a new single and video for Be A Doll And Take My Heart from their critically acclaimed album Strange Moosic album.
The album Strange Moosic is still available from us in three formats - standard jewel case CD, deluxe vinyl LP and limited edition book-style CD. All three formats come with fantastic artwork including lyrics, guitar tab and drawings by David-Ivar Herman Dune.
You can download Tell Me Something I Don't Know from the album for FREE here.
DARREN HAYMAN - THE SHIP'S PIANO
Darren Hayman continues one of his busiest years with a brand new solo album of subtle, drifting piano ballads called The Ship’s Piano, available as deluxe fold out card sleeve CD or vinyl LP with free download.
Darren says of the album:
“In November 2009, I had this thing happen to me, where I ended up in hospital with a fractured skull. For a few months I felt constantly dizzy and was diagnosed with some deafness in one ear. Sharp, loud noises bothered me greatly. I was told to rest and do nothing; but who knows how to do that?
“Music always helps when I’m ill, so I started to make the simplest, quietest music to help me recuperate. I tried to make the music that I wanted to hear, which is perhaps what we should always do, but in this case there was a direct therapeutic need.
“I avoided any jagged edges. I kept imagining the sounds I wanted as round and smooth, like well-worn pebbles.
“Lyrically, I also found myself eschewing conceptual and metaphoric character-led songs. I started to write the simplest and most direct words in the first person, something I have avoided for a few years.
“If you are a songwriter and something bad happens to you, people say, “You can write a song about it at least.” They mean well, but the big events in life have to seep out gradually with me and not in urgent, confessional bursts. The songs on this record are pleas for calm. As I get older I find I prefer small, quiet things.
“All the songs were written on my ship’s piano. ‘Ship’s Piano’ is a colloquial term given to small-scale pianos that were used on boats. Mine was built in France in 1933 and folds away to resemble a sideboard. I wrote a song where I imagine its history. It’s called ‘The Ship’s Piano’.”
You can download the title track of the new album for FREE here.
THE LADYBUG TRANSISTOR - CLUTCHING STEMS
Over the course of some sixteen years and six remarkable albums, The Ladybug Transistor have confirmed their standing as the preeminent exponents of lush, formalist pop music. With a superlative new record, Clutching Stems, at the ready, their pursuit of a singular musical vision remains as true as ever.
Their new release, Clutching Stems, is a stunning collection of potent refrains and brought-to-one's-knees ballads. As ever, Olson is in fine form; here, his lyrics compel, detailing an overarching search to find one's voice in the face of moments that knock the wind and words right out of a person. These are stories of humbling heartbreak, profound longing, undoing distress, nagging regret, and coming-of-age awakenings-all set to invigorated pop arrangements featuring backing vocals by Frida Eklund. The new Ladybug line-up has found its own distinct vernacular that honours diverse influences and the band's own precedent sound.
Clutching Stems assuredly underlines that while love can tear things apart, it can also capably mend them together once more. And, in doing so, it reminds us again of the band's magic: The Ladybug Transistor make music that is somehow both modern and timeless, universal and yet theirs alone.
Clutching Stems is available to order direct from us now on both CD and vinyl LP.
Check out the video below of Gary Olson playing Oh Cristina from the new record, accompanied by our old mucker Darren Hanlon, somewhere on a beach in Spain.
BEARSUIT - PRINCESS, YOU'RE A TEST
Bearsuit are giving away the third single from their critically acclaimed album "The Phantom Forest" absolutely FREE. Go here to download it.
Check out the amazing video for it below, directed by James Sharpe and starring Ellie from Fever Fever. Scary stuff! Who'd want to be in a wood after dark with Bearsuit?
EVANS THE DEATH - DEBUT SINGLE, LIMITED TO 500 COPIES
Fortuna POP!'s latest signing Evans The Death make frenetic and infectious punk pop which exudes the kind of unbridled charisma, intelligence, and runaway energy that promises a singularly exciting future for the band.
Their debut single, the double A-sided 'Threads’ / ‘I’m So Unclean’, was produced by Rory Bratwell (Test Icicles / RAT:ATT:AGG / KASMs), and couples latent-cold-war-paranoia love-song 'Threads', as urgent, unsettling, and hook-laden a calling card as could be wished for, with “I’m So Unclean”, wherein singer Katherine Whitaker's vertiginous, primal, and urgent vocal delivery electrifies lyrics which alternate between the scathingly acerbic and the boldly fragile: "When I'm watching the shopping channel, I will think of you / when I try to get to sleep, I will think of you...''
'Threads’ / ‘I’m So Unclean’ is available now from us as a limited edition white vinyl 7" single, PARTLY MADE FROM GOLD. Check out too Ian Galloway's ace video for "Threads", below.
COMET GAIN - AN ARCADE FROM THE WARM RAIN THAT FALLS
Comet Gain release a single version of "An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls" from the smash hit album "Howl Of The Lonely Crowd", with two exclusive B-sides, a cover of Carla Thomas' "Take It To My Baby" from the West Heath album sessions with Edwyn Collins, Ryan Jarman and Seb Lewsley and "You're Just Lonely" from the album sessions with Brian O'Shaunghessy and Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele at Bark Studios.
HOWL OF THE LONELY CROWD - THE NEW ALBUM BY COMET GAIN
Howl of the Lonely Crowd represents the fruition of the affection with which Comet Gain are held: recorded and produced by British musical icon Edwyn Collins, and Ryan Jarman of The Cribs, Brian O’Shaughnessy (My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream) and Alasdair Maclean of The Clientele, who also contributed guitar, the record captures a band fully in their stride and able to realise their full potential.
Suffused with longing, love, and defiance, Howl of the Lonely Crowd documents and dissects this English melancholy with a rare self-assurance. The songwriting here is of the kind that only Comet Gain can really pull off - perfectly pitched evocative pop, redolent of all that is rich, gorgeous, and uncompromising about the meeting between punk and sixties soul, and imbued with a particular streak of violence and urgency which the band have now refined into a complete and elegant aesthetic.
Howl of the Lonely Crowd is the soundtrack to lives spent dedicated to seeking out the outposts of pop culture, an immersion that asks no reward beyond the music itself. On this record, with the patronage of their esteemed friends, acolytes and collaborators, we find one of the most treasured and exhilarating British bands around in full realization of their creative capacities.
"The sound of a focused Comet Gain, ambitious but successful, their many influences – musical, cinematic and literary - refracted though the prism of Feck’s tortured romantic troubadour to produce canonical English indiepop. Wonderful." - SoundsXP
"One of the most heart-stoppingly romantic bands on the planet" **** - The Fly
"If British indiepop could in any way be compared to the world of organised crime then Comet Gain's David Feck could well be its Godfather. He's in untouchable form here" 8/10 - Clash
"A very special release indeed" 9/10 - Subba-Cultcha
"A delicately beautiful, supremely angry and unmistakably British affair" 9.5/10 - Soundblab
"These pure, poetic songs advance their euphoric yet melancholy quest for improbable romance" **** - Uncut
"The antidote to all the mawkish and sentimental indie of late... will be stuck on repeat for months" **** - Artrocker
Listen to The Weekend Dreams:
CRYSTAL STILTS - IN LOVE WITH OBLIVION
In Love With Oblivion is the new album from Crystal Stilts, stretching things further from their critically acclaimed debut, honing their songcraft, indulging their more strung-out sides, full of elliptical verses and perfectly chiming guitars, cranky pop organs and the punkest of rhythms.
It's a perfect blend of pop smarts and beguiling experiment. The best songs on In Love With Oblivion are effortless, rapturous - "Through The Floor" burns on fevered energy; "Silver Sun" kisses the air with a beautiful stream of jangle guitar; "Alien Rivers" is a spooked, psychedelic requiem. "Precarious Stair" is the best girl-pop-song-not-actually-fronted-by-a-girl since "Just Like Honey".
A buzzing organ, some slack-strung guitars, a clutch of Moe Tucker dreams and some black tambourines rarely sounded this alive. The CD comes as a digipak; the vinyl LP is packaged in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve and comes with a code for a free download.
"Welding shimmering melodies to joyous nihilism, the Brooklyn noise-poppers' second shines, darkly" NME (8/10)
"Thrillingly transcendent... even the song titles sound like great bands from the future" Q (4/5)
"A selection of beautiful pop songs that recall Bowie, The Byrds and Joy Division - albeit shrouded in menace, reverb and the achingly dry baritone of frontman Brad Hargett. Terrific stuff." The Fly (4/5)
"Brooding garage with a classic retro sound... there's something strangely familiar, thrilling and addictive about this LP" Loud & Quiet (8/10)
Download Through The Floor from the album for FREEhere.
BELONG - THE NEW ALBUM FROM THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
On the heels of their debut eponymous album, released in 2009, Brooklyn quartet The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have rightfully earned themselves a reputation as masters of the peerless pop song, crafting tender, melancholy gems which shimmered and sighed with the wistful promise of new love, casting a spell over listeners and critics alike.
Which brings us to “Belong”. For this, their second album, The Pains of Being Pure Heart have recruited the services of master producer Flood and renowned mixer Alan Moulder. Only a few seconds into the title track and it makes perfect sense. Having worked with the legendary likes of My Bloody Valentine, U2, Smashing Pumpkins and PJ Harvey between them, they have opened up the band’s beautifully self-contained sound and made it vast and magnificent, with heretofore unmapped widescreen dimensions.
Everything seems more vivid, more lush and spacious now; the emotion heightened, more potent. The majestic “The Body” gallops along and goes deeper, darker than they ever have, painting a bleak portrait of decaying relationships, “Too Tough” is one of the most wrenching, yearning songs they’ve written to date, while previous single “Heart In Your Heartbreak”, with its handclaps, infectious chorus and late-breaking synth stabs, sounds like the very essence of bittersweet romance. The new single meanwhile, is also the title track, and sounds positively anthemic, with buzzsawing, Smashing Pumpkins-circa-Gish guitars slicing intermittently through Pains’ beautifully jangling wall of noise.
Taken in total, it adds up to a glorious vision of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – vibrant and expansive, more muscular and complex to be sure, but without losing any of their fragile beauty and inimitable charm.
BEARSUIT - THE PHANTOM FOREST
Dancepunk five-piece Bearsuit have unleashed their eagerly anticipated album The Phantom Forest. The 12-track long-player heralds a fierce new sound for the band, who have swapped violins, flutes and horns for dirty synths, urgent guitars and infectious beats in the light of a dramatic line-up change. With a sprinkling of sonic dust from big-time producer Gareth Parton (The Go Team, Breeders, Foals) the band have created a perfectly off-the-wall pop masterpiece.
The Phantom Forest is laden with dance-floor fillers, killer beats and brazen melodies. It will keep you dancing until all the booze is drunk, with a birdsong finale to serenade your dawn-walk home. But lurking beneath, a more sinister and melancholy thread weaves the 12 tracks together.
Songwriter/guitarist Iain Ross explains: “The album’s theme starts with a train crash in a phantom forest. The surviving passengers have to re-establish a new kind of society, cut off from everything else, beset by dangerous creatures and mythical beasts. Underneath the shiny pop surface, the tracks are riddled with self-doubt and fear, with the characters constantly trying to escape their situation. They have to re-discover the point of their existence, which I guess is what we had to do as a band after our line-up change. We’ve found a new way of writing and playing songs.”
Beset by their own dangers, Bearsuit have survived to make the best album of their career. With a new rhythm section on board they have reinvigorated their sound - punctuating the songs with more urgency, but without losing their pop sensibilities and unaffected charm.
With their first new recordings since 1992, The Primitives are back with a fantastic new record, the Never Kill A Secret EP. With a new lease of life after successfully touring the UK in 2010, the band decided to write and record some new material. The four tracks on the new EP include the fuzzified girlpop stomper of the lead track “Rattle My Cage” and the cute little Velvets-y heart-melter “Never Kill A Secret”, along with two covers, Suzi Jane Hokom’s Lee Hazlewood-penned “Need All the Help I can Get” and Toni Basil’s Northern Soul classic “Breakaway”. March also sees the band embark on a full UK tour.
Fronted by indiepop blonde bombshell Tracy Tracy, The Primitives emerged from the independent scene of the mid-80s that spawned The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, The Wedding Present and Primal Scream. Their sound distilled the shimmering guitar jangle of the Byrds, the buzzsaw style of The Ramones and 60\'s girl group melodies into two and a half minute pop gems. Regular session guests on John Peel’s radio show, with many an appearance in his Festive Fifty, their career was boosted / hindered when Morrissey named them as one of his favourite bands.
A widely acclaimed first album, Lovely, made them the UK’s indie darlings, while the huge success of the single \'Crash\' saw them cross over to a mass audience. Further chart success followed, along with two more studio albums, Pure and Galore, plus extensive tours of Europe and the US, before the band called it a day in 1992. Guitarist Paul Court and drummer Tig Williams continued to work together on various musical projects throughout most of 1990s, while Tracy contributed vocals to Band of Holy Joy amongst others, and also recorded with several outfits working in the dance music field. In 2008, Mojo Magazine voted the Primitives’ second single “Really Stupid” one of the Top 40 UK indie singles of all time.
The band were reunited in 2009 by the untimely passing of their original bass player Steve Dullaghan, reforming to play a show in his memory later that year in their home town of Coventry; their first show together for 17 years. Bolstered by its success they went on to tour the UK in April 2010, receiving a rapturous response, followed by a headline slot at the Indietracks festival and shows in the US and Spain.
You can download Need All The Help I Can Get from the EP for absolutely FREEhere.
THE LOVES ...LOVE YOU
Revolver by The Beatles, Nevermind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe – The Loves new LP …Love You is shorter than all of these AND it’s got a member of the Velvet Underground as the voice of Jesus on it.
This, The Love’s final LP before they call time on ten tawdry years at the top on Valentine’s Day 2011, was recorded at Soup Studios underneath East London’s Duke Of Uke shop, as were their last two albums Technicolour and Three. Rejected LP titles included “So Long Fuckers”, “What?” and “The Pains Of Being Poor Through Art”. It was mixed and mastered by Rob Jones of The Voluntary Butler Scheme fame and is as shiny a pop record you will hear this year (… made on this budget, anyway!)
Lead single “December Boy” has real live violins on it and a wall of backing vocals from Emma Hall of Pocketbooks and former Love (now head of The School) Liz Hunt with whom Simon wrote the stomping number, “That Boy Is Mine”. Elswehere Nathaniel Mayer’s 1966 soul single “I Want Love and Affection (Not The House Of Correction)” gets a Loves overhauling and made into a Merseybeat thing complete with caterwauling “singing”, nasal backing vocals and incessant handclaps.
“O! My Gawd” features Mindy from the American group Still Flyin’ on vocals in what is The Loves version of hip-hop – you’ve been warned. The debt to Tom-Tom Club is acknowledged in the backing vocals. The Stones-y ballad “I Lost My Doll To Rock’n’Roll” is the only song not to be recorded at Soup, as any version attempted could not capture the feeling of Simon’s original 8-track demo. The Loves go Led Zeppelin (sort of) on “King Kong Blues” with squally guitars & a “wep-weh-dow” guitar lick much loved by people who love Jimi Hendrix (Of which Simon Love is not one).
Doug Yule from The Velvet Underground is the voice of Jesus’ answer-phone on “It’s…The End Of The World” another song (like opener “WTF? or How I Realised I’d Wasted My Life”) about coming to terms with the fact that you’ll never amount to anything and is based on Simon’s one and only acid experience; “I thought when I took it I’d get some sort of cosmic answer but instead I got depressed and I thought I’d cut my hair because I found a pair of scissors with a single strand of hair next to them,” says the singing idiot. Producer Simon Trought contributes the Brian May harmony guitar solo at the end of the song.
The LP closes with a cover of comedian Jake Yapp’s “The Very Stars Were Meant For Us”, a song Simon first heard late one Sunday night on BBC 7 as he was drifting off to sleep and it serves as a short pick-me-up after the depressing futility of “It’s…The End Of The World”
This is The Loves’ final LP because…just because.
"Zesty psychedelic pop music filtered through The Loves own special brew of Kool Aid" - Artrocker (Album Of The Month)
Download "December Boy" for FREE here and watch the last ever Loves video for "It's... The End Of The World" below.
MILKY WIMPSHAKE COMMIT MORE CRIMES
Milky Wimpshake's new album My Funny Social Crime is available to order NOW from Fortuna POP! on CD.
A potent mixture of fizzing pop tunes, punk attitude and protest folk have made Newcastle's indiepop anarchists Milky Wimpshake one of the UK’s best loved bands and the new album delivers in every way.
Obvious pop hits include previous single One Good Use For My Heart, a heartfelt ode to remaining in love; the insanely catchy Cherry Pop; and a duet with Amelia Fletcher (Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Tender Trap) on Eyeball To Eyeball. And if there are less politics on this album than previous efforts Pete gives it both barrels on Murder In London. As well there are two covers that show the breadth of the band’s influences in The Monitors’ Motown classic Share A Little Love With Me and a version of Riot Grrrl band Kicking Giant’s “Fuck The Rules”.
While most songs adhere to the classic Milky Wimpshake sound – buzzsaw guitar (think Ramones, Buzzcocks), simple bass, garage-y drums, throwaway humorous lyrics – there are moments of real tenderness in Itchy Feet On A Tuesday Night, Patchwork and Changing Shape.
My Funny Social Crime is an album chockfull of great pop tunes played with heart - one for fans and those new to the band alike.
"They've never sounded more gloriously life-affirming. An instantly brilliant indie-pop classic. Utterly unmissable" Soundblab (9/10)
"As you hit play it wraps it’s arms around you in a big bear hug and won’t let go! A very satisfying listen indeed." Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot (8/10)
"A record that'll warm your cockles whenever your cockles need warming" Artrocker (4/5)
"Probably their best album yet. By the time Amelia Fletcher comes along and duets on 'Eyeball to Eyeball', you think just about anything's possible." A Layer Of Chips
DAZZLING DARREN'S POST-HEFNER HIGH
Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern's album "Essex Arms" is out now and available direct from us on CD and vinyl + free MP3 download, all orders coming with a limited edition hand stamped "Essex Arms" beermat.
The album's had some amazing reviews:
"Hayman's post-Hefner peak"Uncut (4/5)
"Shouldn't Hayman have won some sort of award by now?"Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times (4/5)
"One of our great underrated songwriters"Artrocker (5/5)
"Another wittily observed winner from the Dazzler"The Stool Pigeon (4/5)
Also available is a four song 7" EP featuring Darren's duet from the album with Emmy The Great "Calling Out Your Name" plus three previously unreleased and exclusive tracks. You can download the song for FREEhere.
Since the release of "Essex Arms" Darren has mainly been lazing around doing nothing. Just kidding. In January he recorded a song and made an accompanying video every day, documenting the process with drawings and a video diary for his January Songs project.
You can watch the video for "Winter Make You Want Me More", the third single to be taken from "Essex Arms", below.
EARTH VS THE PIPETTES
The Pipettes second album, Earth Vs The Pipettes is out now and available on both on CD and vinyl + download. Produced by the legendary Martin Rushent, the semi-retired producer of The Stranglers, Shirley Bassey, Altered Images, The Buzzcocks, and, most famously, The Human League’s ‘Dare’, it was written with the idea of imagining what a disco in space would sound like, an exploration of what might happen if all the genres and styles that have set the dance floor going for the last fifty years were loaded onto a rocket and fired into the stars.
What would Motown’s transition as Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross started to veer into Philly Soul and the emerging compositions of Larry Levan sound like if that development had happened on Mars? (Answers: I Vibe U; I Always Planned To Stay). What would the disco divas and social misfits of the Seventies be listening to if Studio 54 existed on a giant space station orbiting Saturn? (Answers: From Today; Stop The Music). How would the motorik Euro pop of the Eighties such as The Human League and Stock, Aitken and Waterman translate they lived on some cool planet we'd never heard of? (Answers: Call Me; Thank You).
A pure pop album, leaving behind the realm of the three female harmony girl-group for the unison girl pop of Abba and The Pointer Sisters, moving towards the sounds of Chic-inspired seventies disco and eighties chart music, Earth Vs The Pipettes is chock-full of classic influences and killer pop songs, the kind of album that major labels struggle to make with teams of producers and writers.
TENDER TRAP - DANSETTE DANSETTE ALBUM
Tender Trap's latest album "Dansette Dansette" is available now as a CD digipak and a vinyl LP + MP3 download. Their 6music smash 7" single "Do You Want A Boyfriend?" is also available on limited edition white vinyl. Trap fans in the US of A and Canada are directed towards that damn fine label Slumberland Records to make their purchases.
Title track "Dansette Dansette" kicks of the long player in fine fashion, morse feedback bleeps leading into a melodic ode to the bedroom record player. "Girls With Guns" and "2 To The N" are more punk-inspired, hearkening back to Amelia's Talulah Gosh roots, while single "Do You Want a Boyfriend?," celebrates the girl-pop phenomenon, but deconstructs it, too. Slower tunes like "Suddenly" and "Counting The Hours" give plenty of room for Amelia's vocal interplay with Elizabeth and Katrina, and "Capital L" wraps up the album in epic fashion, a tambourine-driven slow-dance which builds to a glorious crescendo. With two extra girl voices the band now combines the harmonies, oohs, ahs and sha-la-las of classic girl-pop with the stripped down beats and dirty guitars of the Shop Assistants and The Vaselines.