Browsing All posts tagged under »indie pop«

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

September 14, 2015

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The Stringers are a four-piece from Ontario, that plays rock music of the old school – which doesn’t mean that it’s ‘old-fashioned’, but that it’s pop music, god dammit! This is entertainment, with no pretensions to any kind of creative territory beyond that compass; all too often that can imply some kind of highly manufactured, overly polished and self-consciously vapid ‘product’, but this is all about melodies, grooves and the raw sound of musicians making it happen together. Crisp, tight performances are represented in an immediate, close-quarters production, through arrangements that evince a good understanding …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

March 1, 2015

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There’s a gentle oddness to these songs, cradled in gleefully brutal drum machine sounds and fugal laminations of electric guitar ostinatos. The executioner of the latter is subtly ‘off’, in both pitch and articulation, contrasting the fascistic precision of the former, but colluding with it to efface the performer, along with any notion of their heroic ‘star status’, from the centre of the performance. This is music whose own production sets out to tell us that its author could readily be substituted by a rudimentary machine, or by some other random person; but the songs, and the gloomy disregard with which …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 25, 2014

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Mark Harrison and his very capable band (whose members include the extremely talented duo Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker) play a curiously English take on American roots music. Their stylistic materials mine the cracks between country blues and old time country music, continuing a UK tradition that began with skiffle and was nourished by the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and the pop-jug-band sounds of Canned Heat. There’s a sense when listening to American performers in such styles, particularly the older ones, that they are singing from beneath a heavy encrustation of …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

March 3, 2014

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Drug Corpse doesn’t have quite the full-core horror content that might be inferred from the cover and the title, but it sets its phasers to dark from the off, and keeps them there. The lyrical themes are as varied as the contributing emcees (of whom there are thirteen in total), but there’s a good mix of conscious and diss lyrics. The latter are full of verbal humour, though pretty threatening in tone, and, as tends to be the case in the mutually supportive indie rap scene, directed at the nebulous ranks of the ‘whack emcee’ rather than at any specific target. The darkness comes mainly from the tone of the …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

September 26, 2013

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Cassette mushes everything up and squeezes it together; on top of the warm, lush distortions naturally imparted by magnetic tape, the whole stereo recording is crammed onto half of a tape less than four millimeters wide. It takes some clever mastering to get a really spacious, clearly separated soundfield, but if what you want is a totally integrated sound then the format does half the work for you. This, you may be thinking, says ‘punk’ in brackets after the title, so why am I not talking about the songs? Production and other technical matters are a means to an end at best where punk’s concerned…

Various Artists – Album Roundup

January 16, 2013

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Sufficiently independent not to sound ‘indie’, yet aesthetically straightforward enough not to sound ‘experimental’, Neurotic Wreck’s schtick is a pretty accessible art-pop stew; a predominantly electronic production mashes up trip-hop, electro, shoegaze and other downbeat sources, into a melancholy and and carefully textured soundworld, freighted with nostalgia and regret. The album is all about its songs, which is to say it’s as much about lyrics and melody as it is about production, but the creative textures and arrangements are a central part of the utterance; it’s moderately avant-garde, but it’s also furnished with a pop sensibility, and very well put together. It’s not party music, but it’s very listenable, and indeed re-listenable.

She Makes War – Little Battles (gloom-pop)

February 15, 2012

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I’ve been waiting with some considerable bating of breath for this album to come along. The first She Makes War full-length was a real revelation for me: accessible, guitar-based music, founded on traditional songwriting virtues, that hits the sweet spot aspired to by writers of prose fiction, and articulates characters whose experiences chime with the listener’s (or my own at least) memory and understanding. Artistic truth, in other words, and in art, truth is beauty. Laura Kidd, whose project SMW is, has thought through the requirements of promoting her own music with a great deal of clarity, and so her work is beautifully packaged …