Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Parts & Labor - Constant Future

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

Those of us who were blown away by the Brooklyn trio's last album will be overjoyed to know that Constant Future continues along the more experimental path they battered their way down on 2008's Receivers.

Thundering drums reverberate over the entire record, warped electrical squelches and glitches are used liberally throughout, and vocals bellow with the passion and belief that Paul Banks would like to think he has. This is an album of incredible power. And while it's all very well being innovative and generating an avalanche of sound tumbling out of the speakers, if you don't have the tunes to go with it then things can feel a little cold.

Parts & Labor compliment this kind of inventive approach with a great pop sensibility - tunes are something they have in abundance. Just check quaking behemoths like 'Rest', 'Pure Annihilation', 'Fake Names' or the title track for proof. It's the anthemic 'A Thousand Roads' which provides the high point though, with a chorus big enough to put most other bands' efforts to shame. Left-field, original, heartfelt, a mixture of analogue and digital – but with actual songs?
I hope you're taking notes, Radiohead.

Parts & Labor - "A Thousand Roads" (from "Constant Future") by YiN Magazine

Stream each track from the album by clicking the hands on the Parts & Labor website

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Monday, 25 April 2011

Five For Free #7

More free ear candy.

1) The Van Doos - Is This The One (demo)

Has anyone else noticed an increase in the number of 2 or 3 piece bands in the last few years? Whether this is down to falling record sales, the recession in general or just plain coincidence I have no idea. But why add extra fat to a band when you can make tunes this good as you are? English trio The Van Doos have just put out this excellent guitar-pop track as their second free download, ahead of a planned EP release in the summer.

Download 'Is This The One' from musicglue

The Van Doos on Myspace

2) 2.54 - Cold Front

This London duo comprising of sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow create menacing, early 90s influenced, ice-cool indie rock. It's no wonder the UK press have been getting themselves a little over excited by them, and with a European tour planned for May (part of which is supporting Wild Beasts) the fever looks set to spread. Grab a free download of single 'Cold Front', and then head to their myspace page to hear more tunes or pick up the 7"s.

Free download: Cold Front

2.54 on Myspace

3) The Music - Ghost Hands

After months of speculation The Music finally confirmed they would be splitting after a few farewell gigs in the summer. As a parting gesture they've given us this track from the abandoned 4th album sessions as a free website download. Whether more unreleased tracks will surface remains to be seen, but if the anthemic 'Ghost Hands' is an indication of the sounds they were coming up with, it's a huge shame that they're calling it a day. My personal guess it that we may not have seen the last of them just yet...

Free download: Ghost Hands

The Music's website.

4) Team Me - Dear Sister

Maybe the economy's doing a bit better in Norway. Originally a one man project, Oslo's Team Me have swollen to seven members. Fresh from some dates supporting British Sea Power they released their official debut EP in the UK, with an album to follow later in the year. 'Dear Sister' is the kind of well crafted, beautifully arranged indie that they do so well in that part of the world - with added harmonies. Hit the download arrow to save it, or the play button to stream it below.

Team Me - Dear Sister by Anorak London

Team Me's website

Buy The EP.

5) Moon Duo - Mazes

Another happy couple in music - Wooden Shjips' Ripley Johnson has teamed up with his other half Sanae Yamada to release an album of psychedelic drone rock, similar to his other band but with a slightly poppier edge. The muddy vocals and insistent beats are all there, but here they've been given more melody and light. Their (very acclaimed) album was out last week, for a free sample stream or download the title track.

Moon Duo - Mazes by souterraintransmissions

Moon Duo's website

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tracks Out This Week

5 of the best new releases, including 2 of this year's 'Found Of Confusion' stars.

The Tamborines - Black & Blue

This new single from London shoegazers The Tamborines shows a slightly lighter, poppier side to the band than much of last year's debut album, but contains enough grit to make it another worthwhile purchase. You may have to wait a few more days for the vinyl due to a delay with the pressing though. The download is available now.

The Tamborines Black And Blue by thetamborines

The Tamborines website

Buy the single.

Jukebox Collective - Lost And Found

As mentioned in February's 'Found Of Confusion' - Jukebox Collective release the finished studio version of 'Lost And Found' this week. Difficult to categorize, the track mixes standard British indie-guitar music with electronic bleeps, glitches and synth lines resulting in rich and warm base for vocalist Kev's Scroobius Pip meets Jamie T half sung/half rapped delivery. Really quite good.

Jukebox Collective on Facebook

Buy the single.

Polarsets - Sunshine Eyes

The first ever 'Founders' are their releasing their new single this week. Kitsune Records rarely put a foot wrong, and it looks like they've struck gold again in the shape of Polarsets. If you've ever wondered what would happen if Friendly Fires remixed The Postal Service, check out the link below and you should have some kind of idea.

Polarsets Website

Buy the single.

Unouomedude - Frequency

I can't tell you how to pronounce Unouomedude but I can tell you they're from Florida and that new single 'Frequency' could have been given a bit more studio shine and probably be on the playlists of alternative radio stations across the country by now. Thankfully they've left it's rugged charm intact and the warm summery fuzz makes it all the more enjoyable.

Frequency by unouomedude

Unouomedude website

Buy the single.


PJ Harvey - The Glorious Land

It's pretty much a certainty that PJ Harvey's latest album Let England Shake will feature highly in end of year lists and probably get a Mercury nomination. There's good reason for that though. With things looking increasingly buggered for the UK, the closest the music world seems to be able to come to a protest is a few clueless bands who want to stick it to 'The Man'. Oh come on. We can surely do better than ill imformed diatribes about how politicians are bad, or whatever half baked ideas The Enemy muster up for their next record. Thank God for PJ Harvey. A different type of protest song (and a million miles away from any Billy Bragg/Frank Turner bard-like busking) with feeling, emotion and ideas, that deals with the war in Afghanistan. The Regimental March by the Irish Guards backs a Stereolab-esq shoegaze drone.
"What is the glorious fruit of our land? / the fruit is deformed children / what is the glorious fruit of our land / the fruit is orphaned children."

PJ Harvey's website

Buy the single.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Raveonettes - Raven In The Grave

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

With so many bands currently using the twisted-girl-group-covered-in-layers-of-lo-fi-fuzz template, the timing is perfect for The Raveonettes to return with a stone cold classic and show the newbies how it's done, cementing their status as king and queen of the scene.

Raven In The Grave gets off to a flyer with current single 'Recharge & Revolt' - The Raveonettes by numbers it may be, but it shows why people still care a decade later when so many others have fallen by the wayside. The next track sees the Danes threatening a 'War In Heaven' - “I hate it when they forget to let people in...”
A slight departure from their usual territory comes in the shape of the supreme 'Forget That You're Young'. More downbeat than usual, it could be the best song here.

The mid-section of the album is similarly low-key but represents a dip in tempo rather than quality. Casual fans expecting the rush of previous albums may be left reaching for the skip button. More fool them for missing out on the beautiful-yet-dark 'Let Me On Out'. Things burst into life once more with the aptly titled 'Ignite' (surely a future single) and 'Evil Seeds', before the apocalyptic lullaby 'My Time's Up' wraps things up in a suitably haunting manner.

Not quite the career defining moment that could have sealed their status as legends of the scene, but another superb realization of what so many others are trying to do, and proof that they're still the masters of this field.

Free download: Forget That You're Young

The Raveonettes website

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Five For Free #6

More top free tunes to download.

1) Memory Tapes - Today Is Our Life

There are signs that Dayve Hawk (aka Memory Tapes) is moving away from the Chillwave sound that made up parts of his debut album, with the term "psychedelic girl group music" being used by the man himself. The album is due out in the summer and this new track appears on a Something In Construction compilation, or you can grab it free below. It's up there with the best he's made.

Free download: Today Is Our Life

Memory Tapes on Myspace

Buy the single.

2) Graham Coxon, Paloma Faith & Bill Ryder-Jones - Desire

Yes that really is the Blur man and the former Coral guitarist teaming up with, uh, Paloma Faith. The trio have got together for this free download as a promotion for indie footwear stalwarts Converse (I'm guessing they didn't pay for the shoes in the picture). Coxon told NME "It’s like kinda tripped out voodoo sort of London town thing." Not sure I'd agree - it's more like Juicebox by The Strokes with a little more production, duetting with The Kills. It shouldn't work, but it does.

Stream or download the track free from Converse

3) Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross - White Sun

'White Sun' is taken from Chicago duo Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross' 'Blow EP'. The laid back piano and beats hide the sad tale at the heart of the song, and it manages to sound both conventional and experimental at the same time. Weird. It also should be noted that it makes the repeated cries of "yay!" sound like they're being bellowed by a pirate. Like I said... weird - and wonderful.

Free download: White Sun

Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross on Myspace

Buy the EP.

4) Evaline - Hours

These Californians do Big British Guitar Music better than most current Brits themselves. They're heading over this summer for a few gigs and festivals and could end up being a better alternative than the hit and miss Morning Parade who are creating a similar noise. Once again it's a fine line - a hint of success and they could begin to style themselves as a U2/Kings Of Leon type stadium rock band, but for the time being they're just fine as they are.

Free download: Hours

Evaline on Myspace

Buy the EP.

5) Low - Especially Me

This is the second track from the new album to be given to us for free by the kind people of Low. Their ninth EP has been the most successful to date chart-wise (it broke the UK top 50 last week!) and also recieved the customary wall to wall great reviews that accompany each of their releases. A twinkling, throbbing, haunting songwriting masterclass as always.

Free download: Especially Me

Low on Myspace

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Saturday, 16 April 2011

St Deluxe and Afternoon Naps single reviews

St Deluxe - After The Fire EP

EP review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

Glaswegians St Deluxe have already received plaudits from such luminaries as Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, Sonic Boom and Alan Mcgee, and fingerprints of these indie deities can be found all over this new 10” only release for Record Store Day.

Opener 'After The Fire' is produced by Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite and mines a similar vein to the recent Yuck LP. There's Mary Chain fuzz, Sonic Youth lo-fi and My Bloody Valentine guitars.

'I Know How You Feel' slowly builds the distortion to create a quite beautiful broken-hearted epic, akin to other alternative 90s titans such as Deus and Sebadoh. 'Please Be Gentle' takes early Teenage Fanclub and gives them a grunge makeover.

Nothing here is clean, layers of dirty guitar envelop the whole EP, adding extra depth and passion rather than making the record sound sludgy. Scottish bands have always done US alt. rock better than the rest of the UK. What would you rather listen to – the debut album by The Delgados or the debut album by Bush? It's a no-brainer. St Deluxe are the heirs to Glasgow's scuzz-rock throne, and long may they reign.

St Deluxe website

Buy the single.

Afternoon Naps - Summer Gang

I heard about this recent summery, indie-pop single from Cleveland's Afternoon Naps from the guys at indie-mp3 - have a look at their site for a full review.

You can stream both tracks from the single here

Afternoon Naps on Myspace

Buy the single.

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Friday, 15 April 2011

Let's Get Ready To Rumble!!


Hold on, let me just turn down ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ and then we can talk properly

(dum!....dum dum dum!....dum dum dum!....dum dum dum!! Do..do do do do do...dodo do do do...)

That’s better. As you can probably tell there’s excitement in the air here at Confusion HQ today; Kev has spent the whole morning sprinting up and down the stairs, bouncing like a kangaroo at the top and yelling ‘Adriaaaaaaan’, while I decided to try my hand at a bit of shadow boxing - but when I saw how big the ex-Gladiator actually is I ran away and hid under my desk crying.

What’s brought on our sudden pugilist infatuation? News has reached us via a tweet that the gloves are being laced up and 2011’s head to head ‘Chart Off’ competitors are only a matter of weeks away from stepping out of the gym and into the ring! Very exciting!

'Chart what??' I hear you cry.  Well those of you who were familiar with The Sound Of Confusion in its previous incarnations, will be aware that for the preceding two calendar years Kev and I have engaged in a music themed bet. No money has changed hands, (we're both too tight) it's merely been about bragging rights...and oh how I've bragged. This time round we've opted to go for a full on assault at the hit parade and picked one female songstress each who we believe is destined for daytime radio playlists. Come the end of the year the artist with the most uk chart success will be declared the winner - simple as that. So who exactly is limbering up for the ring walk?

In the red corner representing Kev and The Sound Of Confusion we have Alex ‘Anthems’ Winston, while fighting out of the blue corner, on behalf of me and The Found Of Confusion, we have Hannah ‘Hitmaker’ Yadi. I think it goes without saying that we are both supremely confident that our artist will be the one standing proud and holding the championship belt come the end of December, but to help you neutrals make up your minds let's become a little more familiar with the girls in question:



We're far to polite to ask exactly but rest assured both ladies fit perfectly in the 'potential pop star' age backet

Do you think we're mad!! If we didn't ask the last question we're certainly not asking this one!!! Let's get to specifics.


LOCATION: London town and the green pastures of southern England
LABEL: Warner Brothers
STYLE:  Booming beats add considerable power to her electrifying combinations. A student of the art, her vocals display excellent technique and finesse, while her sharp lyricism will pick apart even a textbook defence.
RECORD: Gold; Guillotine; Heartbroken; Willow; Nothing Left;


LOCATION: Detroit 'Motor City', Michigan, U S of A.
LABEL: Island Records
STYLE: Great variety in her approach makes her an unpredictable opponent, especially when coupled with her unorthodox vocal stance. Will also pack significant strength into her drum loops but disguises it well with her quick light footwork around melody.
RECORD: Choice Notes; Sister Wife; Medicine; Locomotive, Sweet James


Naturally with a contest this close everybody want to know what sort of mindset the competitors are approaching the event with. Earlier in the year Yadi was kind enough to take some time out from her intensive training camp and offered us this comment with regard to the fight of the year .

'I will do my absolute best, for myself and the rest of the world, but mainly for your bet. I understand how important these things are and I don't want to let you down!......COME ON LETS DO IT!'

That's champions talk! At this time Miss Winston has not made any comment....or Kev is playing his cards very close to his chest and keeping me out the loop.

So there we have it ladies and gents, the contenders in all their glory. We're anticipating singles from both over the coming months so it's time to place your bets and pick your sides, will you be a 'Winston Warrior' or are you part of 'Team Yadi', let us know.

The battle starts here!


For more info on Alex Winston see the links provided here
Further info on YADi will be provided on the 'Found Of Confusion' blog page in the near future.

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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tracks Out This Week

5 of the best new releases.

Deerhunter - Memory Boy

'Memory Boy' is the second single to be taken from Deerhunter's highly praised album 'Halcyon Digest'.
More straightforward than much of their work and all the better for it. A two minute pop song with chiming guitars, it could be their best song to date. The 7" comes backed with new track 'Nosebleed.'

Deerhunter on Myspace

Buy the single.

Figurines - New Colors

Denmark's Figurines are another band who've been releasing records for a decade without recieving the recognition they deserve. Download this new single for free by hitting the download arrow below and spread the word. Denmark isn't all about The Raveonettes and The Kissaway Trail. Joyous indiepop like this needs to be heard.

Figurines - New Colors by One Thirty BPM

Figurines website

Buy the album.

Sonny & The Sunsets - I Wanna Do It

'I Wanna Do It' is the new single from California's Sonny & The Sunsets who release latest album 'Hit After Hit' in the UK this week. This single combines 60s garage pop with an 80s guitar jangle and is really quite good. Stream or download it for free on the soundcloud link. They're touring the UK in May. Dates can be found on their website.

Sonny And The Sunsets - "I Wanna Do It" by forcefieldpr

Sonny & The Sunsets website

Buy the single.

Maritime - Annihilation Eyes

Channeling early Teenage Fanclub and 90s American alt. rock bands, this track from new album 'Human Hearts' stays on the right side of the line that so many bands slip over and end up in emo territory. The guys have been around for a while as Maritime and served in other bands (including Promise Ring) before so they know what they're up to.

Download 'Annihilation Eyes' for free over at rcrd.lbl

Maritime on Myspace

Buy the single.


Generationals - Ten-Twenty-Ten

'Con Law', the debut album from New Orleans duo Generationals showed flashes of pure brilliance (check out 'Nobody Could Change Your Mind', When They Fight, They Fight' or 'Wildlife Sculpture' for proof). Now back with a second, 'Actor Caster', which is released in the UK this week, we could be left with a second lost classic album. I'm yet to hear it in full but all indications point to more moments of genius. Opener 'Ten-Twenty-Ten' being a prime example. Part glam rock, part northern soul, part Neu! - their genre mashing is excellent. Have a listen or download it for free.

The Generationals - Ten-Twenty-Ten by that's what i call lo-fi

Generationals on Myspace

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Slate Islands - You Are The One

Single review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

Upon first hearing the fairly orthodox opening of Slate Islands debut single, alarm bells start to ring. These are soon silenced as Polly MacLean's vocals kick in and the breezy folk traditionalism reveals a dark heart beating below the surface. The child-like line “I want to kiss you on the mouth” is followed closely by ”I want to take you home, I want to bury you under the patio.” Sinister.

B-side 'The Plunge' also doesn't stray too far from the Celtic folk blueprint, but again contains enough energy and life to carry it through – surprising when it seems to be about a grieving widow drunkenly contemplating drowning herself.

Traditional in sound though it may be, Slate Islands first release is well executed, witty and more than a little disturbing. You wonder what other dark tales you'll find lurking when the album drops later in the year.

Slate Islands' myspace

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Sunday, 10 April 2011

The See See - Late Morning Light

One of The Sound Of Confusion's tips for 2011 was ace psych-folk troupe The See See.

Check out Ged's review of their album 'Late Morning Light' over on soundsxp

Also have a listen to these two tunes, including 'Keep Your Head' which featured high up on The Sound Of Confusion's top songs of 2009 list, and get previous single 'Powers Of Ten' for free.

Mary Soul - The See See by 360degreemusic

Free download: Powers Of Ten

The See See on Myspace

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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Five For Free #5

The top 5 great tunes being given away currently.

1) California Wives - Tokyo

One of the buzz bands of this year's South By Southwest festival come good on their new single. If you liked the acclaimed album from Wild Nothing last year this will be right up your street. California Wives wrote and recorded 'Tokyo' before the tragedy in Japan, but if you head to their blog you can donate money to help with rebuilding the country. Let's face it, the technology that built the computer you're reading this on was probably designed there. So do it.

Free download: Tokyo

California Wives blog

Buy the single.

2) S.C.U.M - Summon The Sound

The debut album from S.C.U.M should be with us in August. Along with many other bands, they've recorded tracks to be released on limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day (16th April). A download is nowhere near as nice as a slab of vinyl, but if you want to check it out beforehand then they're giving the mp3 version to you for nothing. It's dark and moody as always.

Free Download: Summon The Sound

S.C.U.M on Myspace

3) Record Shop - Help Stamp Out Loneliness

Talking of Record Store Day - you can't get much more of an 'indie' band name than actually calling yourself Record Shop. This track sounds exactly as you'd expect. The kind of slightly twee, sweet, melodic guitar music that many bands have been creating for nearly 30 years. It's not often that it's done this well. This track was first recorded as a single in 2009 but will now be appearing on the band's debut album in May. Hit the download arrow to pick it up free.

Help Stamp Out Loneliness - Record Shop by wiaiwya

Buy the original single.

4) Slowdance - Sweetness

It must be hard for bands jostling for space in Brooklyn. Slowdance could be the next to break through despite only having played a dozen shows. Less art based and experimental than many of their peers, 'Sweetness' has a 60s French pop feel to it. A bit like a low-key Stereolab without the drones.

The free download of 'Sweetness' is available on Slowdance's bandcamp.

Slowdance's website

5) Karl X Johan - Fantasies

Yeah, nearly all of these blogs have a band from New York and a band from Sweden - and so we end in Stockholm and the new single from trio Karl X Johan. 'Fantasies' is the follow up to last years excellent 'Flames' single. Their interesting instrumentation and laid back approach could gain plenty of critical praise when they get their album completed.

Karl X Johan - Fantasies by Emotion

Buy the single.

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Friday, 8 April 2011

The Low Behold - Signs

EP review by KevW

Ths article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

Whatever the problems currently affecting the UK, a shortage of synth-pop duos isn't one of them. 'Signs' is the debut release from two piece The Low Behold, made up of Canadian vocalist Lisa Lorenz and Londoner Andy Leary.

The EP is unashamedly pop, but it's classy rather than a cash in and has clearly been well thought out rather than pilfered. The title track positions itself somewhere between the early electronica of The Human League and the more blissed out ambience of The Beloved. The two go together surprisingly well. 'English As A Second Language' packs a bit more punch but strays a little too close to the pop disasters dished out by Anastasia and the like – mind you, it would be the best track that that artist had made. Last up is the acoustic/electronic thrum of 'Every Now And Then'. Again pleasant enough but maybe a little too clean and you can't help but feel a little more edge wouldn't go amiss

So not a perfect EP by any means, however there are some promising touches and the forthcoming debut album could well contain a few quality pop moments.

Signs (Radio Edit) by The Low Behold

The Low Behold on Myspace

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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Tracks Out This Week

5 hot new tracks, pop pickers.

The Kills - DNA

Cooler than thou indie-rock due return after taking a couple of years out to mess around with Jack White (Alison Mosshart) and mess around with Kate Moss (Jamie Hince) to release 4th album 'Blood Pressures' this week. Pick up Dead Weather soundalike and album highlight 'DNA' for free.

Free download: DNA

The Kills website

Buy the album.

Mazes - Most Days

Information on the history Mazes is a little scarce, their website doesn't have much of a bio. I first heard about them late last year and if my memory serves me correctly one of them used to be in The Beep Seals. It looks like we will have a debut album in the not too distant future, but until then, here's there new single 'Too Soon'.

Mazes website

Buy the single.

Cults - You Know What I Mean

Cults' star looks to be on the rise thanks to the extra promotion from signing to Lily Allen's record label -  it's not at the expense of the tunes though. New single 'You Know What I Mean' is as sweet as ever, this time with a hint of a doo-wop influence. They may be just that little bit 'alternative' to get into platinum sales territory... but you never know. Not sure if this is the official video but it kind of works well.

Cults website

Buy the single.

The Joy Formidable - Whirring

This track may have been around since 2009's free download album 'A Balloon Called Moaning'  but for The Joy Formidable's official debut album 'The Big Roar' they've stuck a foot pump up it's arse and blown it up into a full on shoegaze anthem. The single edit is streaming below, but it's worth seeking out the full 6 minute album version.

Joy Formidable - Whirring by The Drift Record Shop

The Joy Formidable website

Buy the album.


Cold Cave - Villains Of The Moon

Trading in the more lo-fi electronica of debut album 'Love Comes Close' for a much more epic breed of synth-tronica, new album 'Cherish The Light Years' could see Wesley Eisold and co reach a wider audience, with some reviews already mentioning words like 'stadium'. Cold Cave have certainly taken a step forward and produced an album that surpasses their previous work. Grab album closer and new single 'Villains Of The Moon' for free below, where you can also stream the album in it's entirety and sign up for another free track.

Free download: Villains Of The Moon

Cold Cave on Myspace

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Monday, 4 April 2011

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

The 2009 debut from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart may not have been the most diverse or original album of the year, it was however, one of the strongest sets of jangly 80s influenced indie-pop we'd heard for a long time – hence being voted The Sound Of Confusion's album of the year.

How do you follow that? Repeating the exact same trick again could be seen as a formulaic cash-in on the word of mouth success they'd become. A complete change of direction to make that 'dark' or 'more experimental' second album could go either way. It worked for The Horrors, but when Arctic Monkeys changed their sound for 'Humbug' it alienated many fans. TPOBPAH took a different approach.

In interviews they'd suggested that they weren't happy about being labelled 'lo-fi', saying they wanted the album to sound as good as possible and preferring to use the term 'mid-fi'. This appears to be the route they chose on 'Belong', bringing in the dubious choice of uber-producer Flood (U2, The Killers, Smashing Pumpkins) to varnish over the fuzz and paper over the cracks – unfortunately it was these very cracks and that very fuzz that made their first album such an utter joy.

More polished as it is, thankfully Flood hasn't been overly heavy on the sheen, rather letting the songs speak for themselves. The C86 rush of the first album is evident in places (in particular 'Heaven's Gonna Happen Now', 'My Terrible Friend' and 'Girl Of 1000 Dreams') but much of this record seems to have jumped ahead five years, taking inspiration from the lighter end of the shoegaze scene of the early 90s (Galaxie 500, Slowdive, Chapterhouse etc.). It's a sound that suits them well, laid back yet still melodic. 'Even In Dreams', Anne With An E' and 'Strange' being particularly good examples.

So is 'Belong' as good as the debut? In short – no it's not. Purely and simply because the quality of songs doesn't quite match the euphoric buzz they created the first time round. The immediacy and initial excitement might be missing this time, but stick with this album and it will unravel itself to be another sterling effort.

Stream the whole album on soundcloud

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart website

Buy the album.

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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Dirty Beaches - Badlands

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

Dirty Beaches (the one man project of Alex Zhang Hungtai) wears his influences on his sleeve. A battered, torn sleeve that's probably never seen a washing machine. His debut album consists of just 8 tracks.

'Speedway King' comes over like like a badly recorded Suicide bootleg from 1978; 'Horses' could be The Cramps jamming with Elvis at the bottom of a swamp; 'Sweet 17' is a pissed Gene Vincent demoing a potential future single which his record company will probably reject; 'A Hundred Highways' makes you think of The Raveonettes before they learnt to play properly and had Vic Reeves' club singer on vocals; 'True Blue' manages to take one of the most beautiful songs of all time (The Ronettes' 'Keep On Dancing') and reduce it to total dirge; 'Lord Knows Best' is a doo-wop pastiche seemingly recorded on a very primitive tape recorder; 'Black Nylon' is an instrumental that goes nowhere and most bands wouldn't even consider as a b-side, and finally 'Hotel' gloomily crackles it's way through 2 minutes of nothingness.

All of which sounds like a pretty shit review, right? Wrong. Badlands is flipping brilliant!

Free download: Sweet 17
Free Download: Lord Knows Best

Dirty Beaches on Myspace

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Bearsuit - The Phantom Forest

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com/

The current line up of Norwich's Bearsuit is quite different to the one which got the ears of Festive 50 voters twitching back in 2004. The art-pop of old remains intact, but on The Phantom Forest it's been given a little more urgency and a more electronic edge than before. A decade on from the band's debut single and there's little sign of stagnation, perhaps due in part to the changing line up.

The writing seems fresh and full of ideas, from the yelping 'A Train Wreck' to the near electroclash of 'When Will I Be Queen' or the urgent post-punk of 'Tentacles'.
Both the lyrics and the lack of formula of the songs make for an intriguing listen.

Bringing in Gareth Parton (the man who's added extra life to albums by The Go Team and Pete And The Pirates amongst others) should have been a master stroke, yet somehow The Phantom Forest sounds a little muddy on occasion, and you can't help but feel that a little extra sparkle may have made it shine that bit brighter.

Still, this is far better than a lot of bands trying to do a similar thing, and most tracks sound like potential singles. You'd imagine John Peel would have approved.

Two free tracks are available from the Fortuna Pop! website:
Please Don't Take Him Back
A Train Wreck

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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Those Dancing Days - Daydreams And Nightmares

Look Who's Come Waltzing Back

Does anyone else ever get the feeling that album titles are plucked from thin air, tagged on as a last minute after thought? It’s not hard to picture the scene; the rest of the band are already living it up down the pub and as the triangle player packs up his gear, and puts on his leather jacket, it dawns on him that they’ve forgotten to give their new batch of recordings a suitable moniker. With the studio security guard stood jangling his keys at the door and looking tetchy, our hero takes an executive decision: ‘sod it, we’ll just call it Clam Buffet Blues’.

In the case however of ‘Daydreams and Nightmares’, the second album from Stockholm ladies Those Dancing Days, the name they’ve plumped for is extremely apt. The dichotomy in the title runs right through the record, it’s equal parts light and dark, both hard and soft. Stick this on when the sun is on your back and it’s an up-tempo, warm and exuberant collection, but later when the sky gets dark it transforms into something fretful, pensive and even at points aggressive - but it’s precisely this oscillation in mood that makes it such a good album.

So how does it shape up stylistically? It’s been two and half years since the release of ‘In Our Space Here Suits’, their debut long player, and given the tender age at which these girls first surfaced, it’s fair to assume that a great deal of living and learning has taken place in the time that’s passed. Thankfully, any new experiences they’ve been exposed to haven’t led to them trying to re-invent their wheel – this is no dubstep odyssey. The changes that have taken place are far more subtle.

The bass is high in the mix and the drums have a snap to them, which when coupled with the chiming echoes of the guitar and keyboards produces a post-punk vibe. Indeed throughout the 12 tracks there are several nods to the early 80’s and the work of The Cure, The Chameleons and even Adam and the Ants. The northern soul rhythms Those Dancing Days first became recognised for are still evident though, in particular on the excellent ‘Keep Me In Your Pocket’, and they still know how to knock out a fine pop chorus, most notably on ‘Can’t Find Entrance’ and recent single ‘I’ll Be Yours’ (shamefully pipped to Obligatory Record Of The Week by The Vaccines, what were you thinking Kev!)

As well as beefing up their sound, If you listen closely you can hear that the youthful exuberance of ’...Space Hero Suits’ has been tempered a touch, but rather than detracting from the record it gives it more clarity. The coloured crayons they were scribbling with on the first release are still evident but now they’ve learnt how to draw between the lines. There’s a refinement and focus to this LP that suggests this is a band who have a very clear idea of how they want to sound and the confidence to make it happen.

Lyrically it flits between endearing romantic innocence and wistful regret and, as with ‘Hitten’ on the first album, it’s in the more reflective and fragile moments that ‘Daydreams..’ really excels, in particular the lovely modern day torch song that is ‘When We Fade Away’, Linnea Jonsson’s vocals oozing soul and longing. Don’t be fooled though she won’t stand any messing either, declaring on opener ‘Reaching Forward':

I believe in so much more than just being nice and saying alright, I deserve to be this good, don’t you bring me down

And I wouldn’t dream of doing that because simply there’s not a bad track on this LP. The first quarter of the year has already thrown up some very good releases but this is right up there with any of them and could be a genuine album of the year contender. At under a fiver on ITunes it has got to be worth taking a punt on.

Well done ladies, long may your days of dancing continue, you can sleep soundly from now on.

Download an album track free from Those Dancing Days website here

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Friday, 1 April 2011

Found Of Confusion # 3

*mutters* Stupid 5 week months, totally ridiculous. It’s bad enough that p**** expects me to find 4 bands, never mind five! Does he not know March is chocked full of birthdays, a man’s needs time to party, not that he’d know how to do that, bloody veggie do gooder!! Thank god I was able to pilfer all these tunes fro...

Oh hello, didn’t see you there reader, hope you’re well! Welcome to the third Found Of Confusion, the ONLY place in the WORLD you’ll see these great new bands getting a well deserved mention – they certainly wouldn’t, for example, be found on a weekly 6 music podcast freely available to all via ITunes, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar, A NO GOOD FILTHY ROTTEN LIAR!!! So let’s enjoy the fruits of my labour and get to it!

*mumbled* What do you mean my microphone was on....no don’t put it up on YouTube.....yes I know who Andy Gray is why?...


While down the years ‘anybody’s for a fiver’ Liverpool has fluttered her false eye lashes at Detroit and suggestively unzipped her shell suit for New York, a genuine transatlantic love affair developed between the cities of Manchester and Chicago. This relationship certainly seems to have rubbed off on North West of England based producer STAR SLINGER, whose refreshing hip-hop beats owe more than a debt of gratitude to the sped up soul sample style innovated by Illinois’ favourite son Kanye West, (along with the late J.Dilla and 9th Wonder). That time spent digging in crates for old 45’s (or musty MP3’s!) has definitely paid off as Star Slinger fuses soul, funk, gospel - and anything else he can get his fingers on - into a harmonious blast of genre hopping fun . With beats such as ‘Extra Time’ and ‘Gimme’ crying out to be blessed by the top wordsmiths in hip-hop, surely collaborations and more remixes will be in the offing sooner rather than later.

Now we’ve all been in this situation haven’t we - he sits there docile, propped up against a tree munching some bamboo leaves and wondering why he’s not extinct yet, while we look on ‘awwwwing’ and knowing that the overwhelming urge to cuddle his black and white fur could result in us having our limbs ripped off – it’s the happy way us PANDAS AND PEOPLE co-exist! Fortunately the lads of the same name still have enough arms left intact to allow them to whip up a batch of great tunes for our enjoyment! Hailing from Redditch (nope I’ve never been either) this trio specialise in melodic indie rock which doffs its cap to the likes of Foals and The Electric Soft Parade. Having initially embraced Soundcloud as a means of sharing their demos with the public, the band are now enjoying the delights of a studio in Merseyside as they put the finishing touches on their debut long player. If tracks such as ‘Licking My Feet and ‘Hijamumpa’ make the transition to the final product, this will be an album worth raiding your piggy bank for. Stock up on the Bamboo folks, they could be around for some time!

Licking My Feet by Pandas and People

Moving on from the animal kingdom - hands up please, anyone planning on falling head over heels in love this summer? If you are then THE YOU AND ME ENSEMBLE have more than got your needs covered. In ‘See You they have magiced together the perfect soundtrack for your heart fluttering romantic dalliances in the sunshine. Surely destined to be coming to an advert near you any day now, this gorgeously simplistic melody skips along with an innocence and breezy air that warms the soul and swishes summer dresses, while trumpets add just the right amount of joyous exuberance to set off Kirsty London’s impassioned vocal. The project of multi instrumentalist Chris Read, this track is taken from last Octobers ‘Through The Forest And Into The Trees’ album, a record that has drawn favourable comparisons with Feist. There’s not much more to say about this one except sit back and enjoy it, but let’s leave the final word to the song itself ‘I can’t explain it, you’re just so amazing’ - I couldn’t have put it better myself

If your burgeoning relationship takes off, in the future you could find you and your beau creating music as special as that of New York duo WONDER BEAR. What makes this boyfriend/girlfriend combo’s work staggering however is that they’re both still only 16, THAT’S 16, years old! Their imaginative reinterpretation of the aforementioned Kanye West’s ‘Runaway’ single, along with 2009’s 4 track ‘Azul EP', displays enough creativity and craft to suggest a big future beckons for these teens. ‘Ghost’ encapsulates their sound perfectly, a slice of shimmering shoegaze tinged electronica washes beneath angelic vocals, not dissimilar to those of School Of Seven Bells’ Alejandra Deheza. The handful of songs they’ve offered up thus far simmer and tantalise, always hinting that something exhilarating is about to kick in, but slipping off before they outstay their welcome. With ample time on their side to hone their song writing skills, the potential for Wonder Bear is vast - watch this space.

Warning: Video Contains language some may find offensive.

If Wonder Bear plan to charm their way to world domination the name MOSCOW YOUTH CULT implies wholly different plans. This Stakhanovite bred Soviet elite squad will mobilise their T-34 tanks and march on our cities till the masses cower before them in fear saying, ‘please, you can take over our charts and radios but won’t you at least spare Simon Cowell’ ..... although actually they’re just some lads from Nottingham who sound a bit like Klaxons! They’ve got a new ‘MYC EP in the (efficiently constructed) pipe line and you never know this could trigger the re-birth of the not very memorable (and totally fictional) Nu-Rave movement –mind you I wouldn’t bet my Roubles on it.


Star Slinger Bandcamp
Pandas And People Facebook
The You And Me Ensemble Myspace
Wonder Bear Bandcamp
Moscow Youth Cult Facebook

Should you so wish, you can read the same words but hear some different songs here

Management Note: On completion of this article The Found of Confusion Correspondent was removed from his position with the company due to gross misconduct. Should you wish to apply for his role you can do so via the comments box below or at the following places:

The Sound Of Confusion Facebook Page

The Sound Of Confusion on MySpace

Thank you.