NEW ALBUM FROM INDIE AUTEUR PETE ASTOR SET FOR RELEASE
Spilt Milk is the brand new album from indie auteur Pete Astor, previously of The Loft, The Weather Prophets, and other esteemed acts. It was recorded onto ½ inch tape at the home studio of James Hoare of Ultimate Painting, The Proper Ornaments and Veronica Falls, with James playing guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and singing backing vocals. “He was”, says Astor, “an amazing band.” Other contributions came from members of Astor's live band, with Pam Berry (Black Tambourine, Withered Hand) supplying vocals, Jack Hayter (Hefner) on pedal steel, Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides) on viola, and Robin Christian (Male Bonding) and Susan Milanovic (Feathers) on drums.
The album has all the hallmarks of a future Pete Astor classic, drawing together key strands and tributaries of his work over the years, blending intuitive songwriting, acute lyrics and incisive melodies. After many years making more experimental, electronic music Astor has come full circle to the sound that made his name. He explains, “I’m back to being myself, bringing together sounds that I’ve used over time to make a record that sounds more like me than me!”
From the opening track “Really Something” to the recent single “Mr Music” (a favourite of Marc Riley and Gideon Coe on BBC 6 music) the album’s re-connects Astor’s bespoke guitar pop with his long-standing embrace of The Velvet Underground’s musical DNA. Other standout tracks include “My Right Hand”, a hymn to everyone’s best friend, with guest appearances from Tony Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Philip Larkin and a host of ex-girlfriends; the slow burning drama of “The Getting There” recalling the atmospheres of Astor’s 80s kindred spirits, The Go-Betweens. Also, there is the wry drive of “Very Good Lock”, summed up by Astor as “a description of an injurious medical condition that often affects the male of the species”. Elsewhere there are the gorgeous harmonies of the grown up country lament “Good Enough”, which wouldn’t be out of place on one of George Jones’ most heartbroken albums.
Spilt Milk is part of a continuum: from Astor’s beginnings with The Loft and The Weather Prophets on Creation Records in the 1980s, via his solo work through the 1990s and his more left field albums with The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound on Matador Records, Heavenly and Peacefrog, through to his return to solo work with the Songbox album in 2012. As well as this ongoing musical activity, Astor is also Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches, researches and writes about music; 2014 saw the publication of his study of Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation as part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series.
Astor remains in touch, engaged and vital in a way that is rare with someone with such longevity. The album continues the story of one of one of England’s most respected and significant songwriters. As Astor says, “time passes, shit happens; some losses, some gains. Don’t cry – but I did!”.
This is Spilt Milk.
Pete plays on Thursday 7th January at The Lexington, London, as part of the Fortuna POP! Winter Sprinter. Watch the Darren Hayman directed video for the first single from the album, "Mr. Music", below.
STANDARD FARE'S EMMA KUPA RETURNS WITH NEW BAND MAMMOTH PENGUINS
Hide and Seek is the debut album from Mammoth Penguins, the new band fronted by Emma Kupa, formerly of the much-loved Standard Fare. The album is an exhilarating collection of indie anthems, with Emma's candid songwriting and heartfelt vocals at the fore. Chugging away like a great lost Weezer record, the songs are bold, loud and outrageously catchy, with lyrics that hit just the right chord, exploring the burgeoning responsibilities of being in your late 20s/early 30s.
When Standard Fare called it a day after nine years and two albums, Emma Kupa upped sticks and moved from Sheffield to Cambridge, where she recruited Mark Boxall (bass) and Tom Barden (drums). Previously the bassist and lead singer in Standard Fare, Emma relished the switch to guitar in Mammoth Penguins, allowing her the space to deliver her trademark soaring vocals and to indulge in the occasional mean guitar solo. With Tom’s driving energy and Mark’s bouncy pop bass they quickly developed their riff-tastic powerpop sound.
A songwriting force of nature, Emma soon had enough songs for "Hide and Seek". Recorded at Sickroom Studios in Norfolk by producer Owen Turner (Magoo, Factory Floor), Hide and Seek captures the band at the age they're at right now, reflecting on different aspects of being in their late twenties. With Hide and Seek, Mammoth Penguins have produced a wonderfully varied record, each song a story containing nuggets of joy, despair and hope.
The band launch the album with a show at London's The Lexington on Tuesday 21st July, before an appearance at Indietracks Festival the following weekend.
JOANNA GRUESOME ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM & TOUR
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
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.