Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Answering Machine - New Songs Live + a Remix

A double dose of goodness from two of our favorites, The Answering Machine and This Is Fake DIY. TAM is in the middle of a UK tour, previewing tracks from their forthcoming Lifeline disc due in early 2011 and prior to last night's gig in London, our mates at This Is Fake DIY rolled video on stripped down versions of the current single "Animals" and the title cut "Lifeline".

Lead singer Martin Colclough, who took on the role of producer for the new disc, has also been trying his hand at remixing. And, since permission isn't required, why not tinker with your own songs? Even though the "Animals" single is still hot off the presses, check out the band's remix here:

The Answering Machine - "Animals" (The Answering Machine Remix)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Download New Esben and the Witch - "Warpath"


Yesterday was a planned NTT hiatus, which I'll have periodically, but that doesn't mean there's not any new music worth sharing (although it might mean there's not a lot of new music worth sharing -ed.). It should be obvious by now that like a lot of bloggers, I don't have the inclination to write about every release that comes along, and tend to focus on bands I like. I like Esben and the Witch, so here's another post about them.

The first UK band signed by Matador Records in six years just released their debut EP, for the previously NTT'd "Marching Song", earlier this month. Now the label's keeping the interest and momentum up by releasing the edit of "Warpath", the first track from their full-length debut Violet Cries, released on February 8th (UK: January 31st).

Perhaps perfectly timed for Halloween, "Warpath" is another ethereal, gothic song from the trio that the label was good enough to offer as a free download.

[MP3] ESBEN AND THE WITCH "Warpaint" (edit) (via Matador Records)


[MP3] ESBEN AND THE WITCH "About This Peninsula" (self-released), from 33 EP

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Lykke Li - "Get Some" b/w "Paris Blue"


Swedish songbird Lykke Li dropped the first track from her yet-to-be-titled 2nd CD today. Working again with Bjorn Yttling, "Get Some" will appear on the full-length, scheduled for a 2011 release, while "Paris Blue" will be exclusive to the single. Vinyl lovers can order the 7", limited to 500 copies, from Rough Trade here. Stream below, 'get some' free download here.

[STREAM] Lykke Li - Get Some by LykkeLi

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Tunes Tuesday / The Big Beat 'cast 01

After 2 beta test programs, let's term this the proper debut. Don't call it a comeback.

Aw, shoot. I had to take down the Beat'cast stream, but you can see the playlist below.


[MP3 - Left Click] The Bees - "I Really Need Love" (via Klubbace)

[MP3 - Right Click] Surf City - "Kudos" (via Pitchfork)

[MP3 - Left Click] Twin Shadow - "I Can’t Wait" (via Hypetrak)

[STREAM] Seinking Ships - "Digging His Own Hole" [feat. Miki Berenyi]

[MP3 - Left Click] Wire - "Two Minutes" (via Slicing Up Eyeballs)


Bettie Serveert - "Kid's Allright"

[MP3 - Right Click] Museum of Bellas Artes - "Watch The Glow" (via The Line Of Best Fit)

Lush - "Leaves Me Cold"

The Sir Not Appearing In This Film Flying Fickle Finger of Fate goes to:

Underworld - "Diamond Jigsaw" (featuring Paul Van Dyk)
The Doors - "The WASP (Texas Radio & the Big Beat)"
Wildbirds & Peacedrums - "The Well"
Esben and the Witch - "Done Because We Are Too Menny"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Download Secret Knives Affection CD for Free

Probably like you, I tend to surf the web by starting at a bookmarked site, then clicking on a link of interest, and then another, and another and after a while I have no idea how I got there or what I was looking for to begin with. And it really doesn't matter: kinda like my dog Buster chasing a beam of light across the carpet, ask me which sites I've visited en route from Point A to B and I've got nothin'. Usually though, I pick up kernels of info on the way, all culminating in a satisfying destination. Well then, I don't have to further explain how I stumbled across Secret Knives, now do I?


They're a quartet from Wellington, New Zealand who've made their full-length debut Affection available as a fully free download. Singer Ash Smith's voice may quiver in a manner that's awfully similar to Conor Oberst, but any similarity to Bright Eyes ends there. The guitar work of Richard Larsen is the prize here, ringing and chiming through waves of shimmering indie pop. There's a real classic feel to their music, made clearer in this interview with Smith who namechecks influences like Television, The Chameleons, Ride and Slowdive amongst others. Seriously, Affection is one of the best things I've heard in a while.

<a href="">Affection by Secret Knives</a>

1. Black Hole
2. [MP3] The Shining
3. Affection
4. Wicker Park
5. Future Wave
6. Good Fortune
7. [MP3] The Northwest States
8. Good Grief
9. Elegy / Dreamdisco
10. [MP3] The Garden
11. The Church

Download a few, stream a few and if you like what you hear, please consider supporting the artist and label. You can opt to purchase a series of prints based around the album artwork and a download code for a collection of demos and remixes by friends of of the band and their label, A Low Hum. The package costs only $10NZD (approx $7.60 USD) including free postage anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Tunes Tuesday - The Big Beat 'cast (Beta 2)

Apologies for the delay, but New Tunes Tuesday is back and full-on this week. I'm going to be experimenting with different recording methods and processes to determine which way is best and suffice to say, today's wasn't ideal. Nonetheless, I think you'll enjoy the batch of new material. Just hit play below, and I'll guide you through all of today's new tunes.

Alas, the Beat'cast has been taken down to allow for more storage space, but please enjoy a few of the week's selections.

[DOWNLOAD] Ringo Deathstarr - Imagine Hearts by Club AC30

[STREAM] Sissy and the Blisters - "Things May Change"

[STREAM] Kordan - "Mirror"

[STREAM] Deerhunter - "Desire Lines"

[DOWNLOAD] Laetitia Sadier – "One Million Year Trip"

[STREAM] UNKLE - "Separate Half" (featuring Lumerians with Rebecca Coseboom)

[DOWNLOAD] Stereolab - "Sun Demon" (via This Is Fake DIY)

[STREAM] Blue On Blue - "Summer Daze"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Miki Berenyi resurfaces with Seinking Ships


Lush: Emma Anderson, Chris Acland, Steve Rippon, Miki Berenyi

While the headline of this post is about the debut from Seinking Ships, the context is going to focus on the first noticeable appearance in nearly 15 years by Miki Berenyi, the former lead vocalist of a band I adore: Lush.

OK, Seinking Ships. It's a new project of Eric Matthews (Cardinal, solo work on Sup Pop) and Christopher Seink, a veteran of several bands in Northeast Ohio. Their debut Museum Quality Capture, years in the making, is a mostly instrumental effort inspired by the pair’s mutual love of film soundtracks. Seink's appreciation of Lush led him to reach out to Berenyi, long out of the spotlight and working as a copy editor in the UK since Chris Acland's suicide brought Lush to an abrupt, tragic end in 1996. After Matthews wrote the lyrics specifically for her, arrangements were made to have the vocals recorded in London. She's featured on three songs, the only ones with lyrics on the disc. It's available now on S-Curve Records.

[MP3] Seinking Ships "You Didn't Love Me" (feat. Miki Berenyi)

[STREAM] Seinking Ships "We Will Drink Wine" (feat. Miki Berenyi)

[STREAM] Seinking Ships "Digging His Own Hole" (feat. Miki Berenyi)

Now, word of Berenyi resurfacing sends this fan's heart aflutter. Despite an extremely by-choice low profile, her limited interviews over the years reveal a performer at peace with life out of the public eye and content in her role as wife, mother, and office worker. However, two interviews she gave earlier this year offer a glimmer of hope that should the right circumstances be presented, a reunion may still be possible.

Speaking to The Quietus to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their debut EP, she explained that "some guy at All Tomorrow’s Parties offered for us to do gigs playing (debut full-length) Spooky. We got quite excited, but then he came back to us and said he had listened to the album and realized he never really liked Lush so he’d changed his mind about the gigs. Call me petulant, but that kind of flaky cuntishness puts me off wanting to return to the music business."

Reiterating the point in an subsequent interview with the blog The Von Pip Musical Express, she confessed "I’m afraid that the honest answer is not unless we were offered an awful lot of money. I have enough trouble finding the time to answer these questions let alone relearn the entire Lush back catalogue, rehearse with a new drummer and actually schedule time to play the gigs. So if we did it, I would have to stop work, and if I stop work, then how do I pay the bills?"

Her Lush bandmate Emma Anderson, in the same interview, echoed the sentiment: "If the money was right then, yes, we would do it but I think promoters would have to come to us so we would be in the driving seat. Who knows what may happen in the future."

So, while that's a water-under-the-bridge missed opportunity, I came away with the feeling that at the very least, a reunion was considered and therefore, still possible. 2011 will mark the 20th anniversary of Lush's 2nd US tour, co-headlining with another band ripe for reuniting: Ride. Considering the current plethora of chillwave/shoegazing outfits whose lineage can be traced back to both of these bands, wouldn't a reunion of one or both be wildly received? Coachella, if you're listening, here's two ripe for your intervention.

BTW - this is one of the best videos I've ever seen. The use of color is amazing.

Lush - "De-Luxe" (from the Mad Love EP (UK), Gala (US compilation)

Lush - "For Love" (from Spooky)

Lush - "Hypocrite" (from Split)

By 1996, Britpop was in full force and headed across the Atlantic. Lush responded with Lovelife, which incorporates more of the guitar-pop that defined the genre. Some critics called it a sellout. I thought it a perfectly timed shift that captured the sound of the moment while maintaining all of the band's trademarks. Case in point, Berenyi's confessional "Ladykillers":

Lush - "Ladykillers"

Fans should investigate Light From A Dead Star, perhaps the ultimate Lush tribute site.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why British Indie Bands Still Can't Break America


I've been meaning to write about this piece from the NME since it was posted a few weeks ago. I've been fascinated at, seemingly, the growing gulf between indie/alternative music from overseas and here in the States over the last few years. Growing up on British classic rock before punk and new wave changed my life, you might say I'm a bit of an Anglophile. I've had the good fortune to present and program indie music on the radio for most of my adult life and have gotten to see countless shows while attending SXSW here, The Great Escape and Camden Crawl there.

I've always been amazed at the extent of coverage that modern music receives in Britain. Go to any news stand, and tell me that SPIN and Rolling Stone are better than MOJO or Uncut? Then there's more mainstream fare like Q and the NME but you get my drift. (For the record, I can do without some of the fanboy stuff from NME, but for sheer volume of information, they're still worth a look) As an example, during a trip to London I was pretty blown away stumbling upon a prime-time BBC-TV program all about music from Manchester. Not just Madchester or baggy, but bands spanning back to the 60's. The Fall! Prime-time! I mean, never ever anything like that here. And this wasn't MTV5, but a national BBC channel. In short, my take is that indie music is afforded a variety of mainstream platforms in the UK that it doesn't have in the USA.

But back to the initial premise: sure, there are exceptions. I saw Mumford & Sons play live in Brighton and were convinced they were for real. The article states that their album Sigh No More has been certified Platinum in the US. While I've found no such evidence, the disc's "Little Lion Man" recently spent a week atop the US Alternative Radio chart (replaced by Kings Of Leon's "Radioactive"), so perhaps that's merely premature speculation. The album's peaked at #16 and currently sits at #26.

The article rightly refers the nearly overnight discovery of Florence + The Machine, whose VMA performance of "Dog Days Are Over" catapulted her UK #1 Lungs from #44 to #14 on the Billboard Album Chart. It's since dropped to #28 and #53 in the ensuing weeks. The song sits at #27 on the Alt Radio charts. Mind you, the album was released in July of 2009.

But let's step back and ask if these two are really indie bands to begin with? Compared to the usual fare heard on American commercial alternative radio, probably so. But in the realm of the Pitchfork-helmed indie underground, not so much. Their trashing of Sigh No More may as well have come with a stamp that read 'not one of us', and that's their right. It was released domestically by upstart Glassnote Records, founded by industry vet Daniel Glass, and they've had an incredibly good run with a band who'd previously been ignored by radio (Phoenix) and a new band, The Temper Trap, whose debut single "Sweet Disposition" was strategically licensed in so many places it become ubiquitous. So while Glassnote may be, by definition, indie, it's walked and talked like a major.

Florence's Lungs was released on major label Island, and perhaps due to her winning, who-is-this-chick performances at SXSW 2008, enjoyed a bit more favor from the Pitchfork crowd, who were allowed ample time to keep her as one of their own before the album ever saw light.

But as to the fundamental reasons why British indie bands still can't break America, I've lots of opinions, including:

- US commercial radio curtailing the presentation of new music
- inability of UK bands to repeatedly and thoroughly tour America
- diversity of US radio formats: is there even an audience for country and hip-hop in Europe? Certainly not to the extent there is domestically.
- American radio, with few exceptions, killing the notion of 'DJ as tastemaker'
- also, with exceptions, less acceptance of 'pop' in a 'rock' radio format
- a greater cultural difference between the US & UK than at any time in our lives
- drinking age: 18 vs. 21, prohibits a fertile audience access to where up-and-coming bands perform.
- British music press hype kills bands dead

Mind you, the NME article is talking about UK bands succeeding on a chart level in the States and achieving the success that goes with it. There are countless critically acclaimed indie bands that have found America a welcoming place to tour and sell a fair amount of records, albeit on a smaller scale and unfortunately, playing to the same circuit of markets with reasonably surefire draws. I mean, we're probably never going to see stadiums in flyover country filled like we saw with the Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, and U2 ever again. I think that time has passed. Would it help if The xx played Wichita? Considering The xx might never receive airplay there, there's probably little chance of that happening. That said, we've become are too splintered, too retreated-to-our-own-corner to have that type of communal experience. And no one will ever be able to 'break' America without actually breaking all of it.

Truthfully, I think the reasons why run much deeper than what's been touched on here. What do you think?

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Answering Machine - "Animals" Video / MP3

The video for The Answering Machine's single "Animals", included in this week's New Tunes Tuesday lineup as a free download, was released today. It's taken from their forthcoming second disc Lifeline, due in 2011. Video above, audio below.

The Answering Machine - Animals by The Big Beat


Oct 21 Kingston, England
Oct 22 Leicester (The Sound House)
Oct 26 Manchester (The Deaf Institute)+
Oct 27 London (Hoxton Bar and Kitchen)+
Oct 28 Glasgow (King Tut's)+
Oct 29 Aberdeen (Drummonds)+

Nov 17 Hamburg (Uebel and Gefaehrlich)*
Nov 18 Brussels (Botanique - Rotonde)*
Nov 21 Köln (Luxor)*
Nov 22 Berlin (Lido)*
Nov 23 Munich (59to1)*
Nov 26 Frankfurt (Das Bett)*
Nov 27 Luxembourg (Sonic Vision Festival)

+ w/ Rapids!
* w/ Tokyo Police Club