• Tag Archives indie
  • [Article 3403]Smoke Fairies

    Smoke_FairiesIt always seems a bit strange when a band goes eponymous some way into a career.  The usual way about things is to self-titlingly announce yourselves right at the start and then take it from there, wherever “it” takes you.  When it does happen though, it’s an eyebrow-raiser.  Why now?  Why this?

    It does all become rather apparent once attention is paid to what the Smoke Fairies have achieved with this record, that both expands their musical palette and brings an intangible feeling of a closer bond, which is rather nicely illustrated by the image on the cover – it takes two wings for one to fly, after all…

    Continue reading  Post ID 3403



  • [Article 3378]Sweet Apple – The Golden Age Of Glitter

    sweetappleI have no idea if it was a collective act or sheer coincidence, but somewhere along the line a switch was closed and we all became earnest, miserable sods.  Or at the very least I did and presumed that everyone else did too.  Thankfully, we have Sweet Apple here to decide that not only is it perfectly OK to be fun and bright and occasionally silly, but it’s also possible to look over one’s shoulder at the past and mark all the colourful spots without getting all maudlin about it.  And of course it’s even better to do so when you get to include Mike Watt in a canoe.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3378



  • [Article 3338]Afterhours – Hai Paura Del Buio?

    haiThere’s nothing quite like a band who choose their name wisely.  The two times I’ve seen Italian band Afterhours perform, it’s been a rather late affair.  Which turned out to be a bit of a bugger as both of these times were in places 200 miles from where I lived and on one occasion (a February!) I ended up trying to sleep on a bench outside Euston Station as I’d missed my train.  Whoops.

    Another thing about Afterhours is that they’ve never been afraid to experiment, and as such spent much of their time several years ahead of their peers.  This is a rather handy aspect, as this re-released (with surprises!) album from 1997 seems as fresh as if it had appeared just last week.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3338



  • [Article 3262]Sun Kil Moon – Benji

    benjiThis is a record that makes the notion of being a Record Collector a bit of a strange one.  Our various and varied collections are not passive artifacts for us to hoard and catalogue (none of mine are, anyway – which is probably why I can’t find anything), they exist as a series of buttons and triggers to be pressed, pulled and even provoked in order to bring forth memories, feelings and sometimes tears.  They remind us of times that are better off forgotten, but still we prod the hornet’s nest whenever we want to reminisce about something wonderful or even terrible.  We can be so stupid.

    So while Lepidopterists don’t rifle through their hoard to find a particular moth pinned to a piece of plywood that reminds them of an ex-girlfriend, and Philatelists don’t spend hours gazing at a stamp from a far-off country they’ve yet to visit because they miss their Dad, some of us (most of us?) find ways to feel alive in whatever way we can by listening to other people’s joy and pain.  Benji is a prime example of this.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3262



  • [Article 3251]Snowbird – Moon

    Snowbird-MoonThe year’s early months lend themselves to a certain sort of patience not found elsewhere.  The dark, cold days allow for a gentler pace of everything, because once the stress of the year-end is out-of-the-way and the warmth and sunshine still seem an age away (despite the TV’s best efforts to lead us to believe that it’s almost Easter already), what’s the point in being in any sort of a hurry to do anything?  January is a good time to take stock of what’s here rather than panic about getting the Now out-of-the-way as soon as possible to make room for the Next, so this is the best time of year for the Growers.  Instead of putting a record or single song on and moving straight on to the next one, this is the time for sitting back and gently soaking in every line, unhurried and calm.  The timing of this release then couldn’t be better.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3251



  • [Article 3079]The Head And The Heart – Let’s Be Still

    stillI have to admit that this one arrived at a bit of a weird time.  There was already lots going on both here and in the dreadful murk I have to put up with everywhere else (somewhat overwhelmingly so, it has to be said), I had loads of things half-finished and half-considered, and in all the confusion, this sort of fell off the table.  Which is doing this record and these people a huge disservice, as falling off furniture (metaphorical or otherwise) is something that shouldn’t be happening at all.  It’s also another one of those things that came along at an opportune time and is playing again now at an equally buoyant moment, reminding me of some of the things that drive me through this site (and elsewhere) in the finest possible manner…

    Continue reading  Post ID 3079



  • [Article 3041]Smoke Fairies – Ghosts: A Collection

    ghostsThe full title of Ghosts: A Collection Of A-Sides, B-Sides and an EP From The Recent Past wouldn’t fit in the box I have at the top of this page to enter such things, so the least I could do was embolden it at the earliest opportunity.  And it’s a collection of which is as accurate as it is copiously-monickered, for it gathers a selection of early singles, plus what may or may not be some previously unreleased things from before their full debut album sprang forth.  This dual CD edition gives you, the consumer, not just the original Ghosts compendium but a whole extra disc featuring another nine songs from the archives.  And as it’s also a Thursday that sees this package hurtling through my letterbox, this post is being accompanied by a rather lovely wine.  Long/possibly made-up words and many things in brackets to follow/precede aren’t so much a startling prediction as a worrying inevitability.

    Continue reading  Post ID 3041



  • [Article 3016]Blitzen Trapper – VII

    viiSomething that any artist or band strives for is that “thing” that, when you hear it, you know that it’s them.  It may be a unique vocal or choice of instruments, it could be something as superficially simple as subject matter of the style of artwork that adorns each release.  With Blitzen Trapper, it’s slightly different – it’s the way that their songs walk.  There’s something in the phrasing of each of their songs that has a footfall that, whatever else may be going on, sounds just like Blitzen Trapper.

    I’m also happy to report that the lovely white vinyl of this, the band’s 7th album, remains unblemished by yours truly which is more than can be said for a record that arrived the previous week.  It certainly helps to pay attention when slitting open cellophane shrinkwrapping from a foot-wide piece of sharp cardboard with one’s thumbnail, as my own digit – even a whole week later – still resembles an axolotl with a bemused expression thanks to the mother of all cardboard cuts…

    Continue reading  Post ID 3016



  • [Article 2983]Sebadoh – Defend Yourself

    Sebadoh-Defend-YourselfJust over a year ago, I was somewhat gratefully pointed in the direction of the new EP from lo-fi lovelies Sebadoh by my friend Mikala of BackstageRider fame and, although I was well aware of the band I was much less well-acquainted with their music for reasons best not divulged here.  Anyway, I am now and that’s all that matters, plus I have the rather nice feeling of both friend and band being as inextricably linked in my mind just as they are in real life.

    All’s well that ends well on that score then.  And now moving it all bang up to date, they have followed that EP with a full-lengther via the nice people at Joyful Noise Recordings, so it’s time to see what Lou and Jason (with Bob) have been up to.  And as it turns out, they’ve been up to all manner of good stuff.

    Continue reading  Post ID 2983



  • [Article 2973]Okkervil River – The Silver Gymnasium

    silvergymIn the migration back to things altogether more vinyl-based (in this house, anyway) there’s been a bit of an intriguing sideshow in the form of the download card.  For those who have seen the future of how music can be best bought, the combination of big records and teenytiny bits of code (CD players are already starting to be phased out of new cars and computers, they’ll be joining the cassettes soon) seems to be quite a winning combination.  Of course, these 1s and 0s don’t appear out of the ether, they’re generated by codes appearing on little cards that come with the record – and the notice that comes with this particular beautifully-designed record is one of the finer exponents.  I feel the coming on of a “most imaginative download card” countdown punctuating the Top 50 at the end of the year…

    Continue reading  Post ID 2973