Saturday, May 23, 2009

It's Called Seizing The Day

Morning Star is the brainchild of Jesse Vernon who is also involved in the glorious This Is The Kit alongside partner Kate. From his base in Paris, Jesse writes fantastic little gems of songs, so far rather overlooked this side of the channel. Maybe changing all that, Longest Way Round is the first single taken from his forthcoming album on Microbe Records. Put simply, it's a fantastic example of a true summer song. A devastating mix of laid back vocal lines and hedonistic guitar, twisting and turning together in a perfect balance of energy and lethargy. Although the album contains even more gems, this is the one that takes us by the neck and throws us outside into the sun. This is the euphoria of those first long weekends of sun, late night dancing with late night wine.

Longest Way Round is released by Microbe Records on 15th June. The accompanying album, A Sign For The Stranger, follows in August. You can also head over to Daily Growl to hear some superb tracks from This Is The Kit.

[EXCLUSIVE MP3] Morning Star - Longest Way Round - (Alt Link)
[MYSPACE] visit Morning Star on myspace.
[TWITTER] Follow Morning Star on twitter.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who Is The Love And Who Is The Knife

Our adoration for Florence & The Machine is well known, her shows are intense affairs and her recorded output to date has been nothing short of solid gold. The video for her forthcoming single has now dropped, and what an incredible affair it is. Taken from the A Lot of Love A Lot of Blood EP out on 9/6/09, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) is an orchestral strike to the heart of pop, all shimmering strings and wrenching crescendos. Florence's vocals soar over the top of the mix as on her previous singles, but this time it's Paul Epworth giving them those production wings, and my god does it show. The vocals themselves are pretty vague, something about sacrificing a rabbit, but does it really matter? Welch succeeds by coming across as the weird girl that probably ate worms at nursery, cut her own hair at primary, and wrote poems on herself in college. Hopefully her album will be stuffed full of more superb material like this and we can all look forward to a slightly off-kilter pop masterpiece.

[MP4] Florence & The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
[YOUTUBE] Or just watch the video on youtube.
[MYSPACE] Visit Florence on myspace.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Just Wanna Get With You

Electro-pop seems to encompass a huge range of songs at the moment, everything from Lady Gaga to Little Boots, La Roux to Friendly Fires. Fenech Soler inevitably slot into the same convenient genre, synth heavy foot-stompers with deftly crafted vocal lines. This is pop for girls that dance like Debbie Harry without realising who she is; for boys that will never know their glitter make-up makes them look a little like Bowie. Yet it is also acute enough to be lapped up by the Vice reading hipster brigade.

The Cult Of Romance is a stirring mass of sharp synths, infectious and aggressive guitar squeals, all mixed together with tense vocals. It's an electro orgy, throw it all in the mix and hope no one feels bad in the morning, yet Fenech Soler have crafted something more than the sum of it's parts. They've managed to distil the best parts of the electro renaissance and shaped them into what is basically, a killer tune. With more material of this calibre behind them, this could well be their breakthrough year. B-side Airbrushed is a dirtier beast, a pulsing aggravated electronic scream dripping in airy vocals. A suitable flip side, but not a touch on the pop sensibilities of the single itself. Unfortunately we don't have clearance to give you any downloads from Fenech Soler, but feel free to head over to their myspace and have a listen.

[MYSPACE] Visit Fenech Soler on myspace.
[BUY] Grab the single from iTunes here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Maybe You're Better Off This Way

Back in the heady summer of 2006, I vaguely remember being assailed by a dischorded band, clad in the darkest skinny jeans and with hair as rigid as it was dyed. This band was The Horrors, and I didn't care for them. I loathed their style-over-substance approach, their bravado and arrogance, their effortless art-school vibes and “I Am A Horror” branding of every other bright young thing I set eyes upon. Of course now I count these along my own prized attributes, shamelessly backtracking in my own mind, but refusing to admit that maybe The Horrors were right. In my defence, the album that they released back then was critically regarded as a fad. Good fun, but not much mileage. As quickly as they had risen that screaming apparition sunk back into the streets of Shoreditch, ready for guest parts in Nathan Barley and a last gasp appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

Roll around to early 2009 and shoegaze is the new vogue. Glasvegas' influence not withstanding, countless new acts are breaking through with a dark outlook and tote-bag full of eighties new-wave 12” records. From the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart to White Lies, this was the spring of our discontent. Never before has the dark shadow of Echo & The Bunnymen, XTC, or Joy Division been so influential. Against this backdrop, with little fanfare, The Horrors unleashed their lead single from their sophomore album Primary Colours on an unsuspecting audience. Sea Within A Sea completely abandons the aimless exhibitionism of their debut and instead toys with carefully layered analogue synths, steadily brooding guitar effects and deep sombre echoes. Gone is the crashing yelp of lead singer Faris Badwan, instead replaced with a steady and calculated supportive tone. Instead of being style-over-substance, this is carefully constructed genius.

Produced under the watchful eye of Portishead's Geoff Barrow the rest of the album, of which Sea Within A Sea is actually the final track, fails to let down the momentum and promise of it's lead single. From the deliciously macabre first minute and a half of album opener Mirrors Image, albeit a slow pulsating brand of macabre eventually giving way to a brilliantly simple guitar line and crashing drum explosion, this is an album that is constantly simmering on all fronts with dark energy. The production certainly carries the expanded vision of the albums creators, giving the nuances throughout each song a certain lasting quality. For me, the finest moment of Primary Colours is it's third track, Who Can Say. Borrowing heavily from Warsaw by Joy Division, it becomes devoured by a soaring ethereal guitar line before crunching back to earth with a stunning spoken-word interjection.

Primary Colours is a dark and sinister beast, but at it's heart beats a torrid rhythm and message. This is Hitchcock directing Romeo & Juliet, Ian Curtis directing Lolita. Most importantly however it is hope in dark corners. It is home found in a Strange House.

[MP3] The Horrors - Sea Within A Sea
[VIDEO] Watch the video for new single Who Can Say.
[SPOTIFY] Listen to Primary Colours on Spotify.
[BUY] Buy the album physically or digitally.
[WEBSITE] Visit The Horrors new website.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Among The Dust & The Microfiche

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart formed in Brooklyn in 2007, part of it's ever fertile pop scene. But don't let that Brooklyn reference put you off, Pains Of write gorgeous drowsy indie pop that could be as at home in the hazy streets of northern England as in NY's hippest borough. To me, Pains Of seem to draw together the timeless romanticism of Belle & Sebastian in their lyrics, with the shoegaze hum of My Bloody Valentine. Put simply, you'll absolutely fall in love with their delicious pop sensibilities and delicate imagery.

The band return to the UK in May to perform at Great Escape and Dot To Dot, as well as on a small national tour, dates on their myspace. To support that tour they release the dangerously infectious Young Adult Friction on May 18th, which we've got for you to download free courtesy of Force Field PR. Also embedded below is the charming little video, perfect.

[MP3] The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Young Adult Friction
[BUY] Buy their debut album from Pure Groove.
[MYSPACE] Visit the band on myspace.