duminică, 17 august 2008

Melpo Mene - Holes (2004)

“Erik Mattiason, the man behind Melpo Mene, might have never reached an audience outside of his native Sweden if "I Adore You," the lead single from his second studio album, hadn't been featured in a popular Volvo advertisement in 2008. Naming his project for the Greek muse of tragedy, Mattiason began recording his folky, electronica-tinged songs in the early 2000s. He was signed to Imperial Recordings, the home of likeminded singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez, in 2003, and his debut EP on that label, Don't Save Me, was released the following spring. Another EP, Hello Benjamin, came out in the autumn, and his debut full-length, Holes, hit stores in Scandinavia before the year was out. His third EP, 2005's Jedi, signaled the end (for the time being, at any rate) of Mattiason's relentless release schedule. After three years of relative quiet, the erstwhile unknown Melpo Mene found himself launched into the mainstream when Volvo snapped up "I Adore You," a track from his upcoming album, for a commercial that aired around the globe, notably in the United States. His sophomore album, Bring the Lions Out, came out on Imperial in the summer of that year.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Melpo Mene - Holes

vineri, 15 august 2008

Papercuts - Mockingbird (2004)

“Mockingbird is the long awaited follow-up to 2000's Rejoicing Songs (released on CassingleUSA). Difficult to characterize, Papercuts' second release shuffles along like a marching band on quaaludes....if that marching band also had a morose Steve Nieve on keyboards and was produced by Phil Spector and Kevin Shields.
The lush arrangements and biting lyrical content (try "Pan American Blues Pt. 2," or "A Fairy Tale") are reminiscent of Scott Walker, or more recent practitioners of gloom such as Red House Painters, Okkervil River or Rufus Wainwright (minus all the bombast). The main distinction though, is the groove. Even the slowest, most quiet tracks on Mockingbird will get your head nodding, like your favorite early pop/r&b single playing at 33 rpm.
Jason Robert Quever is the mastermind here, handling all songwriting duties and playing a bit of everything. He's joined by Matt Popieluch (keys, backing vox.) and Luke Top (drums), both of whom are from The Cave-Ins and have played with Cass McCombs as well. Natalie Mazzuca provides viola on several cuts and Antenna Farm's own Paul K. lays down some keys on the title track.
With some of the catchiest pop tunes that we here at Antenna Farm have heard in quite some time, Mockingbird will get funky, it'll lull you to sleep, lift your spirits and make you hurt.” (From Antennafarmrecords.com).

Download : Papercuts - Mockingbird

joi, 14 august 2008

The Ballet - Mattachine! (2006)

“In years past, when indie pop was referred to as "gay," it was more likely a junior high put-down about general wussiness than it was about dudes making out. When actual homosexuals such as Stephen Merritt wrote about their romances, they were largely obscured in flowery language, a symptom of a time when lovers were, as he said, "beat up just for holding hands." More than a decade later, followers of Merritt's Magnetic Fields can more openly talk about the realities of their urban man-love. On the strength of their self-released debut, Mattachine!, the members of New York City's Ballet might be the gold standard in this "sissy pop" movement.
Opener "Personal" is ambiguous only for the twenty seconds or so before Greg Goldberg sings, "I saw you on Gaydar." With a production sheen surprising for a band whose D.I.Y. disc bears the telltale blue belly of a CD-R, the Ballet takes a characteristically light and witty approach to Internet cruising. The bold sequencing of such an unmistakably queer song as the opener colors everything that follows. Although the subsequent charmer, "Cheating on Your Boyfriend," has no gender-specific pronouns, it's hard to hear it as anything but a first-person account. On paper the subject matter and synth/string instrumental palette might make it sound like the Ballet is stealing the Hidden Cameras' lunch, but that band's hazy folk comes nowhere near the talent for succinct, hook-driven catchiness all over Mattachine!.
"I Hate the War," the finest song on the album (which features members of Aislers Set, Baskervilles and Voxtrot), proves that the members of the Ballet have more on their minds than boys. Rather than lecture on the finer points of the current political situation, the band focuses on relatable feelings of inarticulate helplessness. "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na/ I hate the war" goes the infectious chorus. Instead of coming across as shallow, it sums things up nicely, hitting the inclusive note of a classic such as "Give Peace a Chance." Now that we've been stripped of the baby boomers' naive belief in the power of a pop song to legitimately change hearts, what else is there to say?
The Ballet excels in the sort of three-minute ear candy that boys and girls have been writing about each other for ages. That the band members so effortlessly co-opt the form to detail the gay scene is at once more interesting than the same old he-said/she-said and as casually revolutionary only in its universal likeability.” (From Prefixmag.com).

Download : The Ballet - Mattachine!

Snowglobe - Our Land Brains (2002)

“Formed by two high-school friends, Tim Regan and Brad Postlethwaite, Snowglobe's music traverses the psychedelic folk pathways first cleared by the likes of Gram Parsons and the Byrds and later explored by the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel and their Elephant 6 brethren.
Our Land Brains is a warm and inviting record filled with comfortable sounds and friendly melodies. Though the Beatles and Beach Boys influences aren't quite as obvious, Snowglobe shares many psychedelic affinities with the Elephant 6 bands, such as the Apples in Stereo and especially Neutral Milk Hotel. The result is a charming and affable listen with swelling thrift-store organs, horns, acoustic guitars, chimes, and even some strings all blending into a pleasing whole. The band's vocals are occasionally a little bit too restrained for their own good, limiting themselves within a specific vocal range. The songs are catchy enough, though, such as Tim Regan's "Dream Works" and Brad Postlethwaite's "Smiles and Frowns." Our Land Brains doesn't aggressively push in any progressive direction, but that's not really the point. Highly enjoyable.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Snowglobe - Our Land Brains

miercuri, 13 august 2008

The Lovetones - Meditations (2005)

“Drawing inspiration from late-'60s psychedelia and mid-'90s pop underground acts like Matthew Sweet, Australia's Lovetones formed in the early 2000s with Matthew J. Tow, Matthew Sigley, Serge Luca, and Chris Cobb.
If you're looking for an ultimate half-and-half fusion of John Lennon with early-'70s David Bowie, the Lovetones' second album is one of the closer approximations that's apt to appear. They credibly recall both of those figures in the arching vocals and earnestly penetrating vocals, and (at least as far as Bowie goes) in a vague sort of launching-into-the-cosmos ethos. As with many efforts that bring to mind icons of decades past, half and half don't necessarily make a whole on par with the whole of any single one of their inspirations. There's a slightly lazy, drifting feel to lyrical preoccupations, and a similarity of approach throughout most of the tracks, that the masters of these kinds of forms transcend with greater eclecticism and vision. Keeping your expectations realistic, however, it's a pleasant listening experience, with an effectively psychedelic-tinged, full but not densely cluttered blend of electric and acoustic guitar and keyboard textures. The keyboards in particular recall early Pink Floyd on "Genius" and the dramatic closing instrumental, "The Color and the Cut," which builds to an opus-like piece after a comparatively modest beginning. Among the highlights are "Inside a Dream," with its gently sliding guitar glides; "Come Home," which sounds a little like the Beatles' "Free as a Bird" as done by an indie band; and "Across the Sea," whose chorus can't fail to recall the melody of Buffalo Springfield's "Broken Arrow." (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Lovetones - Meditations

marți, 12 august 2008

The Chrysler - Cold War Classic (2005)

“The Chrysler's first album (2003's Failures and Sparks) was a very pleasing amalgamation of classic American influences (Neil Young, the Band), emotional U.K. sounds (Coldplay, Snow Patrol), and hooky Swedish pop. Their second, 2005's Cold War Classic, makes a small step forward both in songcraft and production, making an already good band pretty close to excellent. As before, the band's sound is built around a sparse foundation of guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums. They layer in judiciously placed violins, percussion, horns, and backing vocals. This time out, though, Henrik von Euler's production is a bit sharper and the arrangements more carefully plotted out, which adds an extra dimension to the sound of the album. The songs would have worked stripped down to nothing, though, as both of the band's composers, Pelle Lindroth and Anders E. Rudström, have written some very fine songs that adeptly balance emotion and melody. Lyrically the duo is pretty downbeat and restrained, with the subject matter of the songs ranging from heartbreak to nostalgia and on to melancholy and regret. Musically, they have a wider palette, utilizing bopping indie pop with horns on "While the Tide Is High," strummy C86 twee-isms on "It Was 1982" and the sweet-as-summer "Blue Gold," as well as more appropriately downcast sounds on the dramatic "First Blood" and "Holland Park" (both of which sound like they could have been played by the Bad Seeds), the back porch country minor key ballad "Catholic Tuesday," and the exceedingly autumnal "Eddie." Lindroth and Rudström trade off vocals (singing their own compositions), and they both have wonderfully rich and evocative voices, perfect for the equally rich and evocative songs they have written. Cold War Classic is the kind of record you can disappear into; it creates a gentle and peacefully sad mood that's hard to shake for a while afterward, like a well-written book or well-made movie that creates its own world. The Chrysler don't get the same praise that some of their poppier and hipper fellow Swedes get, but they seem like a band that's going to be making records this classic for a long time to come.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Chrysler - Cold War Classic

Seaside Stars - The Magic of Stereo (2001)

“Every so often, I'll get a cd from a band I'd never heard or heard of, and put it on, and instantly love it. That can't even begin to describe this disc. I put this on, and by the third song, it's already in my year's top ten. This is the jangle pop record of this new decade, and probably the best melodic guitar pop band I've heard since East Village (with the possible exception of Brideshead, though I may like these guys more). There is absolutely nothing bad I can say about this record, so I guess I'll just continue raving... The guitars: perfect sound, mixing crystal clear guitars with ever-so-slightly distorted rhythm guitars, that occasionally break out louder for the breaks. The music is generally upbeat and always moving. The vocals: sunny male vocals with lots of heavenly harmonies and backing vocals. Think East Village, Teenage Fanclub, Speedboat... take the best bits of all and you'll have "The Magic Of Stereo". All of this comes from two German fellows, and I really can't wait to see what they do next! The disc comes in a funny wraparound cardboard sleeve, around the jewel case (like the Sloan "Navy Blues" cd). Do whatever it takes to find this cd, and you'll love it, too!” (From Indiapages.com).

Download : Seaside Stars - The Magic of Stereo

luni, 11 august 2008

Aerospace - The Bright Idea Called Soul (2001)

“Aerospace is: Torbjörn Thorsén, vocals and guitar; Kristian Rosengren, guitar; John Boqvist, piano and organ; Christer Nilsson, bass; Fredrik Balck, drums.
At the outset, Aerospace was all about playing live. All about playing live and all about going on tours. Little surprise, then, that the blondest {and friendliest, possibly} band in the business embarked on their first three-date jaunt to Malmö and back a mere month after forming in Toby’s living room, one of the last days of January 2000. The first ‘practice’ was more about deciding who should play which instrument than grinding the same song for hours on end and the resulting line-up was Toby on vocals and guitar, Kristian on electric guitar, John on organ and Wurlitzer piano and Christer on the bass {Fredrik joined a little later on drums}.
Sticking to their unorthodox ways {unorthodox in a world where bands are half-expected to spend five years in a tiny basement before even considering playing live, at least} the fab five lined up shows in their native Sweden, slowly gaining a reputation among fans of their brand of breezy-but-energetic, melodic guitar pop, and an ardent following wherever they went, celebrating their six month-anniversary by touring the west coast of America for half a month. Rising to the occasion, Aerospace played larger venues than ever before, taking in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle as part of the New Modern Tour, featuring premier American indie pop bands Majestic, My Favorite, The Fairways and others.
Recording always seemed an afterthought, but the sessions that eventually surfaced on »The Bright Idea Called Soul« were just as spectacular as the live shows, still the number one priority of Aerospace.
The fall meant more concerts and the band perfecting their craft through playing all over Stockholm and the rest of the country, with the first birthday crowned by the award for “Best Newcomer” at the prestigious Benno Awards early 2001.
The year that followed saw the band again supporting some of their musical heroes: The Aislers Set and The Lucksmiths on their respective tours of Sweden, and another summer of love was spent in San Francisco where Aerospace “blew away most of the other bands” {Peter Hahndorf, TweeNet} at the four-day Popfest 2001.
One year later, Aerospace can add an album and twenty-odd shows to their resumé {including first-time trips to Norway, England and Scotland and playing with Belle and Sebastian in Stockholm} and are getting ready to record the follow-up to »The Bright Idea Called Soul«, set to take their music to the next level.” (From Labrador.se).

Jimmy Jimmy - Here in the Light (1986)

“Jimmy Jimmy would have been considered a forgotten band from the '80s if anybody had actually known the group in the first place. A duo consisting of vocalists/guitarists James O'Neill and Jimmy Kemp, Jimmy Jimmy debuted with the chirpiest of singles -- the keyboard-laced jangle pop gem "I Met Her in Paris" -- in 1985. Reminiscent of Herman's Hermits and the Mindbenders, Jimmy Jimmy had enough Merseybeat charm and British Invasion hooks to make listeners believe that they were '60s relics. Perhaps that is why the group failed to achieve mass acceptance, at least in the U.K. Obscure to most British and American music fans, Jimmy Jimmy found a spot between Aztec Camera and the Housemartins on the Philippines' new wave radio stations, as "I Met Her in Paris" and, to a lesser degree, the lovely ballad "Lady" became staples of the format. Syrupy lyrics and boyish harmonies overflowed on the band's only LP, Here in the Light, released in 1986 on CBS in the U.K. Since the late-'90s Internet explosion, Jimmy Jimmy has acquired greater recognition, as collectors of rare new wave and indie vinyl have sought out the duo's scarcely available small discography.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Jimmy Jimmy - Here in the Light

duminică, 10 august 2008

Chasing Dorotea - Chasing Dorotea (2002)

“While buying magazines in a mall we noticed some truly wonderful music coming from the speakers. Gentle little songs with sensitive whispery vocals. We asked the boy behind the counter what it was. That boy was songwriter Christopher Sander and the wonderful music was by his very own; Chasing Dorotea.
In the autumn of 2001 Christopher Sander gathered a bunch of friends to join Chasing Dorotea, started playing live in Sweden and, most importantly, recorded this wonderful self titled album.
Some people have compared him to Nick Drake, Red House Painters and Belle & Sebastian. And Christopher Sander certainly has the same obvious talent for letting emotions go straight from guitar and vocals to heart of the listener. Expect this songwriter to stick around for a good time.” (From Labrador.se).

Download : Chasing Dorotea - Chasing Dorotea

The Kane Gang - Miracle (1987)

“Kane Gang was a blue-eyed soul trio from North East England that had a few UK hits and one U.S. hit in the 1980s. Named after the movie, Citizen Kane, the trio recorded for the indie record label, Kitchenware, that was also home to Prefab Sprout.
Vocalists Martin Brammer born in Seaham, County Durham and Paul Woods, plus multi-instrumentalist Dave Brewis formed the trio in 1982, after meeting in small local bands, and signed to a small record label, which led to a deal with London Records in 1984.
Their debut album, Bad and Lowdown World of the Kane Gang (released in the United States as Lowdown), was released the next year, and spawned two United Kingdom hit singles. These were "Closest Thing To Heaven" (#12) and a cover of The Staples Singers' "Respect Yourself" (#21). The latter was also a hit in Australia, reaching #19. The album had a decent pedigree, being produced by Pete Wingfield, and having both P. P. Arnold and Sam Brown as backing singers.
The band's next album, Miracle, released in 1987, spawned two U.S. hit singles: "Motortown" (#36 U.S. / #45 UK) and another cover - this time of Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further" (#64 U.S. / #52 UK).
Woods left the band in 1991 to attempt a solo career. Woods and Brewis also worked on an album which was never released.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : The Kane Gang - Miracle

The Kane Gang - Motortown

Blueboy - Unisex (1994)

“Reading, England-based indie-pop outfit Blueboy was led by singer Keith Girdler and guitarist Paul Stewart, who previously teamed in the little-known Feverfew. Upon recording the first Blueboy demo in a friend's shed, the duo sent a copy of the song "Clearer" to the famed Sarah Records label, which agreed to release the track as a single in the fall of 1991; with the subsequent additions of second guitarist Harvey Williams (of Field Mice/Another Sunny Day fame), singer/cellist Gemma Townlet, bassist Mark and drummer Lloyd, the group returned in mid-1992 with "Popkiss," soon followed by the full-length If Wishes Were Horses. Resurfacing the following year with the singles "Meet Johnny Rave" and "Some Gorgeous Accident," Blueboy issued its second LP Unisex in the spring of 1994; soon after Mark and Lloyd left the band, with Townlet assuming bass duties and Martin Rose signing on to play drums for the 1995 single "Dirty Mags." When Sarah folded later that year, label co-owner Matt Haynes formed the new Shinkansen imprint, bringing Blueboy with him to release 1996's "Love Yourself"; by this time the line-up was again reduced to the original duo of Girdler and Stewart, with vocalist Cath Close, bassist James Neville and drummer Ian Gardner completing the lineup for 1998's The Bank of England, reportedly the band's final release. Girdler and Stewart also recorded as Arabesque and later Beaumont.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Blueboy - Unisex

sâmbătă, 9 august 2008

The Pearlfishers - Across the Milky Way (2001)

“An ever-shifting Scottish group led by singer/songwriter David Scott, the only constant member, the Pearlfishers are a glorious soft pop band mixing acoustic-based music with subtle orchestral flourishes, rather like a Glasgow-based Prefab Sprout with a major Brian Wilson fixation. Since forming in 1989 the Pearlfishers have refined and broadened their sound while maintaining a steadily growing cult following.
During the always-nostalgic '90s, any number of musicians paid homage to some combination of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Burt Bacharach, trying to channel those influences into perfect pop that could actually stand alongside the work of their heroes. From the gruff Fab Four cops of Oasis to the acidic easy listening of the Divine Comedy to even the angelic, surf-kissed harmonies of R.E.M.'s Up, you could hardly open your ears without some reminder of the divine three B's. But no one, perhaps, has been able to invoke the entire trio as effectively as the Pearlfishers' David Scott does on Across the Milky Way, a gorgeous album good enough not to send you immediately scurrying to your record collection for a taste of the real thing. Songs like the pastoral title track, something Brian Wilson might have conjured up if he'd been born in Scotland instead of California, and "New Stars," three blissful minutes of everything that's great about jangle pop, are the real thing, in fact -- and that's just the first two cuts. With help from a string section, horns, a pair of drummers, and even a banjo player, Scott isn't limited in his influences. A true student of pop, he nods here to everything from the Brill Building to sentimental '70s AM radio fare. But he always returns to those often-elusive touchstones, with impeccable results. Wouldn't Bacharach himself want to claim the heart-tugging, flügelhorn-flecked instrumental "The Vampires of Camelon"? Wouldn't Mike Love and company have loved to tackle the soaring chorus of "Shine It Out"? And couldn't the gentle "Paint on a Smile" pass for a McCartney offering from a mid-period Moptops album? To some, that probably reads like sacrilege, especially given that Scott's lyrics, while often evocative and never dumb, aren't the equal of his music. Then again, that would be a tall order indeed -- and after all, the words of Scott's idols are usually remembered far less often than their hummable, loveable, damn near-inescapable tunes. If those are what you're looking for, then Across the Milky Way sounds like an outing for the ages.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : The Pearlfishers - Across the Milky Way

1000 Violins - Hey Man That's Beautiful (1988)

“One Thousand Violins were a sixties-influenced indie-pop group from Sheffield, Yorkshire, who had several UK Indie Chart hits in the late 1980s.
The band was formed in 1985 by Darren Swindells (bass), Colin Gregory (guitar), John Wood (vocals), David Warmsley (keyboards/guitar), and Peter Day (drums). Gregory and Warmsley had previously played together in The Page Boys. Their first single, "Halcyon Days" was released in 1985. The follow-up, "Like One Thousand Violins" was voted into that year's Festive 50 by listeners to John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, the band having recorded a session for the show earlier that year. 1986 saw a second Peel session, and the band breaking into the indie chart with "Please Don't Sandblast My House", which reached number 11. In 1987, Day was replaced by Ian Addey, and the indie hits continued with "Ungrateful Bastard", "Locked Out of The Love-In", and "If I Were a Bullet". The following year the band's debut album, Hey Man That's Beautiful was released, and Wood departed, to be replaced by ex-Hazze Office singer Vince Keenan. With the band troubled by financial problems and 'mind differences', they split in 1989.
Colin Gregory went on to form The Dylans. Keenan went on to join Splendid Fellows and later SPIGGOTT. Warmsley died from cancer in 1992.
While the band's success during their lifetime was limited, the internet and the interest in this era of indie pop saw interest in the band increase. Vinyl Japan issued a collection of the band's work in 2001, Like One Thousand Violins.” (From Wikipedia).

Download : 1000 Violins - Hey Man That's Beautiful

The Fairways - This is Farewell (2004)

“Outstanding collection of songs recorded between 1998 and 2004 by sadly departed San Francisco pop darlings The Fairways. One of the most beloved bands on the international pop scene, the band produced highly melodic songs coupling jangling guitars, piano, organ, flute and strings with the melancholic voice of lead singer Brent Kenji. In one energetic burst at the turn of the century The Fairways released a brilliant debut single and album, contributed tracks to several international pop compilations, toured the USA and Japan, and placed a song in a mainstream Miramax film. Despite glowing reviews and an ardent following across the globe, the promise of a highly anticipated second album never materialized and the band drifted apart. While bassist Jen Cohen played in fellow San Francisco hitmakers The Aislers Set, Kenji went on to form the celebrated Matinée duo The Young Tradition. The 13 tracks on this swansong CD include eight previously unreleased songs that formed the basis of that elusive second album, two tracks from their sold out ‘Darling Don’t You Think’ 45 on Matinée, a song from a limited split single with The Aislers Set, and two tracks from a 2001 tour CD. In addition to signature Fairways originals, the album includes covers of select songs by Japanese pop group Three Berry Icecream, venerable American songwriter Walter Donaldson, and Scottish indie legends Jesse Garon and the Desperadoes. This is Farewell is a modern indiepop classic and a wonderful way to say goodbye to a truly remarkable band.” (From Amazon.com).

Download : The Fairways - This is Farewell

vineri, 8 august 2008

moi Caprice - Once Upon A Time In The North (2003)

Danish 4 piece band moi Caprice rose to underground fame in the late nineties when they entered the top slot on the Alternative Chart with the song The Sun & the Silence as the first unsigned band ever. A few years would pass before the band released their first actual single, Daisies, and despite it being a slightly awkward ballad, the song turned into a minor hit in Denmark, and with 7 consecutive weeks in the top slot of the Alternative Chart is was the biggest hit on the chart in 2002. The band ended the year with a nomination for best new band of the year at the Radio Awards. The next single, Artboy Meets Artgirl, proved moi Caprice one of the finest art rock bands in the country, and paved the way for their 2003 full-length debut, Once Upon a Time in the North, which was widely praised by the critics. After an extensive tour moi Caprice released their second album, You Cant Say No Forever, in early 2005. Again the reviews were amazing, some claiming it a true masterpiece. Both To the Lighthouse and My Girl You Blush turned into hits, on both the Alternative and the mainstream charts. In early 2006 moi Caprice was nominated for the grand prize of the Radio Awards. moi Caprice has been widely acknowledged for their skilful song writing, their apt ear for the pop tune in a dark melancholic musical setting, their highly intelligent lyrics in an original style that is inarguably the sound of no one but themselves. The band has just released their third album "The Art of Kissing Properly".

Download : moi Caprice - Once Upon A Time In The North

moi Caprice - Riding in Cars With Girls

Naïve - Fish (1986)

Naïve was a new wave post-punk band formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1983. Fish is their full debut album, released in 1986. A very rare record.

Download : Naïve - Fish

joi, 7 august 2008

Underground Lovers - Rushall Station (1996)

“The innovative Underground Lovers are the premier group bridging Australian music from the traditional drums and guitar rock of the past to the technology and electronic-influenced music of the late '80s and beyond. It all started as the musical expression of Glen Bennie and Vincent Giarrusso, and within the space of ten years and six albums it ended up that way again.
As GBVG (their initials) Bennie and Giarrusso released their first single "Blast" in 1988, establishing the Underground Lovers' basic characteristics: Bennie's striking hypnotic guitar atmospheres balanced against Giarrusso's acute pop sense. By forming a group the following year, they were able to extend their imaginations. The serene vocals of Philippa Nihill offered yet another color, compared to Giarrusso's rhythmic leanings. On-stage, Nihill and Giarrusso swapped both vocals and keyboard duties, supported by bass and drums, and encased by Bennie's unique guitar approach. The Underground Lovers played their first gig in Melbourne in May 1990. Two gigs later they recorded their independently distributed debut album.
Their second album Leaves Me Blind was released in England even before Australia, after the head of England's cult label 4AD happened to be Australia, heard the finished record and offered the group a one-album deal on 4AD's sister label Guernica. 4AD's spotlight led to strong import sales in the U.S. Americans assumed the band was British. The British thought the Underground Lovers were in tune with the burgeoning Manchester scene. The Underground Lovers knew they'd developed what they were based on: British influences like Joy Division and New Order and local Australian inspirations. The band's third album Dream It Down became their mainstream label debut, a lush record which almost gave the band a hit record with "Las Vegas."
The Underground Lovers didn't enjoy their tenure under a major record company and chose to leave rather than be told what they had to do in order to achieve that hit single. The next album, Rushall Station, was released on the group's own ironically-named Mainstream label. Phillipa Nihill had left for a solo career, but still appeared on a couple of the tracks. It just meant that Bennie and Giarrusso could please themselves where they pushed the Underground Lovers next. On record and on stage, the Underground Lovers could be whatever they needed to be to suit the occasion. While Bennie and Giarrusso are in charge it's always unmistakably Underground Lovers. Under the same methodology they have created two more albums, Ways T'Burn and Cold Feeling. In between they have released another single and performed as GBVB; Bennie produced Phillipa Nihill's debut solo album and Giarrusso wrote and directed the movie Mallboy.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Underground Lovers - Rushall Station

marți, 5 august 2008

Sandpit - On Second Thought (1998)

“One of Australia's most unrecognised indie-pop outfits, Sandpit enjoyed a brief but productive career spanning 1994-1998. Like their previous EPs, this album was released through Fellaheen Records, and is both their first and last album, with the band members going their seperate ways after its release.
Running in at just under 40 minutes, the album is comprised of ten tracks, two of which (Along The Moors and Greater Expectations) were released as singles. The sound of the disc could be best described as fractured, melodic, indie-pop. It is this, along with guitarist Brendan Webb's tendency to experiment with altered guitar tunings and unusual chords, that have led some to liken the band to Sonic Youth.
The songs on the album range from upbeat indie-pop (Along The Moors), Hold Yr Horses, Helicopters, Greater Expectations), to slower and more reflective songs (Metamorphosis, I Positively Hate You Now, Walk In A Straight Line), while others are dynamic-driven instrumental tracks (Whole Again, DI/Eclipse) and the final track, Crepe-Paper Fortress, sounds like a combination of all these traits.
Musically, they are a guitar driven three piece, though Brendan experiments with the use of a melodica and e-bow to expand the band's sonic boundaries. Lyrically, the album is introspective and emotionally diverse, sometimes melancholic and joyful in the same song (see Along The Moors). This contrast is played upon in tracks such as Hold Yr Horses and I Positively Hate You Now), in which the emotional qualities of the lyrics and music are juxtaposed against eachother to great effect, with a nagging degree of tension accompanying each track as a result (more on this later). The main focus of the songs is on the vocals and guitar, with no real feature parts for the bass and drums, played by Stephanie Ashworth and Greg Wales respectively. This not a shortcoming, but rather a strength, as the rhythm section perform with an exceptional degree of tightness throughout the disc, not just with eachother, but also with the guitar and vocals, whether on driving tracks like Helicopters or on more rhythmically lethargic tracks like Metamorphosis.
Overall, On Second Thought provides a solid listen of creatively written and diverse indie-pop, by a band with enough variation in the mood and style of their songs to keep the record from becoming tedious, and enough musical ability and creativity to establish them as a unique group with a sound that was truly their own. Definately a shame that they didn't last any longer, but a record like this remains something to be proud of all the same.” (From Sputnikmusic).

Download : Sandpit - On Second Thought

duminică, 3 august 2008

Dada - Puzzle (1992)

“With their clean pop sound, catchy melodies, and clever lyrics, some journalists labeled Dada the Police of the '90s, although the trio wasn't as musically adventurous as that group.
Guitar riffs permeate dada's pleasing debut Puzzle, wedded to thick slices of an equally important influence -- '60s psychedelia. The L.A. trio offers plenty to keep the ears busy: the orchestral sadness of "Timothy," and insidious melody of "Dog, " strung-out ravings of "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, " and over-the-edge teen-angst of "Dizz Knee Land." Avoiding tedious jams, keeping the songs tight and memorable, combined with a taste in cover art worthy of L.A.'s best psychologists, helps make this disc an intriguing puzzle.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : Dada - Puzzle

sâmbătă, 2 august 2008

DM3 - One Time Two Times Three Red Light (1993)

“Fronted by singer/ guitarist Dom Mariani (formerly of The Stems and The Lime Spiders) DM3 got their start in 1992 with the accompaniment of bassist Toni Italiano and drummer Pascal Bartolone. Bringing out their own brand of power-pop to the town of Perth, Australia, DM3 debuted with their first single "Foolish" in 1993 before following it with their first full-length 1 Time, 2 Times, 3 Red Light in 1994. After a European tour in support of these two releases, DM3's second album Road to Rome came out in 1996 before Bomp Records hooked up a "best of" compilation in support of the band 1997 US tour entitled Dig It The Most. With the 5 Greasy Pieces EP released that same year courtesy of Citadel Records, another compilation of b-sides and out takes entitled Garage Sale saw the light of day in 1998.” (From AllMusicGuide).

Download : DM3 - One Time Two Times Three Red Light