(I don't know where this is)
Not everything I listen to comes from Scotland. I'm not that insular, believe it or not. It is rather the point of the blog to focus on the Scottish stuff, but today we are going off on a wee wander to talk briefly about some stuff that comes from elsewhere that I've been enjoying recently.
Quite messy sounding, occasionally shouty, Mancunians, meaning by law I have to reference The Fall. I've never really liked The Fall that much though, so we'll move on quickly. I do like Monster Island though. Most recent release The Green Room EP is as lo-fi as Hell, thumping drums, guitars alternating between jangling and buzzsaw, and vocals that are spoken or shouted than sang. Albums Sunken, Public, Squares and The Anchor have a bit more variety in the songs and are probably better starting points than The Green Door. Loads of fun if you like things chaotic and noisy. I do.
You can get quite a lot of Monster Island from their Bandcamp page for free.
London based, and a bit strange. Weird Dance 2 from their debut EP Weird Dance is essentially garage rock, but draped in as many odd noises as seemingly possible to come out with a less than straightforward result. Other songs on their Soundcloud page go through as many styles as Baaneex could think of, it seems. Picnic Swan is quite gorgeous, a bit post-rock, a bit shoegaze and just really good, while Sandwich Song is shouty fun and Coool Count is just gloriously daft. I've still not quite decided what to make of this lot, but what I've heard has certainly left me interested, and entertained.
Debut EP Weird Dance is available from Odd Box Records.
Colonics are a three piece hailing from Brighton, with a fine line in instrumental post-rock, with a bit of shoegaze slung in for good measure. Debut album 1.0 is available as a name your price download from Bandcamp, and well worth a listen. The songs are mainly short and sharp, lots of noise, with good hooks and melodies mixed in, with Hessian 2.4 a particularly ferocious example. In between there are a couple of ten minute plus epics that play around with being a bit more experimental, building up sounds as they go, with the odd dash of weirdness added on top. For me the first long song Learning To Speak Microbe does this better than the second, Peresphone. Learning To Speak Microbe feels like it builds a bit more organically and sounds more interesting, while Peresphone wouldn't have suffered from being half as long, more in line with the other punchier tracks on the album. Final track Meateor is presented as a live version and shows promise, though I'm not sure the live recording does it much favours. I'd like to hear it properly recorded, so it has done it's job in getting me interested at least. Plenty good things going on on 1.0, and worth a listen if you like things loud.
Londoners, and a bit more in the instrumental post-rock style. Debut EP We Have Sound Houses Also is a bit more restrained and less messy than the other bands mentioned here so far, with the three tracks within having a more lush, cinematic feel. Opener The University Is A Factory sets the tone nicely, with strings adding flavour as the song goes for a slow build before exploding into a burst of noise, then fading away to nothing just as gradually. Exactly the kind of thing that I like, really. The rest of the EP follows a similar formula, but with plenty variety in the execution. So much so that three songs really doesn't feel like enough by the end, but being left wanting more is hardly a complaint, is it? Really quite glorious in places, and deserving of a listen.
We Have Sound Houses Also is available as a free download from Bandcamp.
Debut album Hymns For the Careless was recommended on Twitter a while back by DC of The Waiting Room, and by the swell A Sweet Unrest blog, which was more than enough to get me to listen. I gave the album a wee mention then, but since I'm venturing out of Scotland for this post it is worth bringing the band and album up again. Tiny Birds are a London five piece and on a quick listen Hymns For the Careless is a collection of short and sweet, bright and breezy folk-pop songs. A better listen reveals that the sweet jaunty pop tunes are allied with less than cheery lyrics. Folk tinged happy pop songs with sad lyrics is a wee bit of a lazy round up, but not that far off I think. The album is really quite lovely, and available as a free download from Bandcamp.
Wrote about this lot just a couple of weeks ago, but the novelty hasn't worn on yet, so all I said there still applies. In between causing trouble with Guillemots and Ellie Goulding fans on Twitter Pris are gearing up to release a single, The Bret Easton Ellis quoting "The Better You Look The More You See". The single is due out soon, and is a whole heap of fun. Half shouty, half sweet, their inspirations and references are all fairly blatant, but since the song left me with a big daft smile I'm completely ok with that. Fun punky pop that doesn't need to be analysed deeply, it just breezes by and sticks in your head. Check out the video for The Better You Look The More You See here.