Orwell : Le génie humain (Twin Fizz Records)
In the same vein than Notre-Dame, Orwell was one of those french hidden treasures we discovered through the Asian channel and the wonderful Quince Records in Japan, with their first album "Des Lendemains" in 2001/2002.
Orwell is the illegitimate crown prince of what we could call the "Baroque pop" dynasty, starting from the precursor Jean-Baptiste Lully to the young ancesters Love/Polnareff/Beach Boys and the more recent Cardinal/Louis Philippe/Divine Comedy.
And perfect "Baroque pop" it remains more than ever indeed with the latest "Le génie humain" : use of many classical or traditional instruments (strings, winds, flute, banjo, piano, organ...), patent development of the orchestral style and lyricism, contradictions and diversity by means of multiple collaborations (Aprilia Sari from indonesian band White Shoes and the Couple Company, Andrew Watt from Heavy Blinkers fame, Médéric Gontier from Tahiti 80, Norwegian wonderboy Alexander Von Mehren...)...
The opus is somehow focused on those differences between circumstances, beings and feelings and this aspect is perfectly illustrated in the following video of the first single "Elémentaire":
Spinvis : Goochelaars en geesten (Excelsior)
2001...After many years experimentation & sampling on his computer at home in Nieuwegein Netherlands, the 41 years old Erik de Jong decides at last to send his DIY 3 songs-demo tape to Excelsior label...Two weeks later, a deal is signed !!
Altough Spinvis is well-recognized in Netherlands and Flanders, the fact that Erik is singing in Dutch is a clear obstacle to further well-deserved international recognition à la Solex...but language is not the only guaranty of course... (e.g John Wayne shot me, Persil, Zea...)
The Spinvis fingerprint is a nostalgic lo-fi meeting pop music, as if Migala was meeting Tindersticks in an Amsterdam kindergarten 10 years ago... On many numbers of this latest "Goochelaars en Geesten" though, the early DIY spirit has left place to more mature arrangements and production, with full orchestration and proper musicians. This is actually not a real album but more a collection of earlier works including b-sides, unpublished tracks (songs done for movies, comps, tv series, public performances ...). The whole bunch is quite homogeneous and fascinating I must say, jumping from one melodic highlight to another!
Erik de Jong...a poet, a pop genius... ==> Spinvis : Op een ochtend in het Heelal
Ever experienced love at first sight ? You know that feeling when just one glance at a stranger across the room sends your heart flying high as a kite, sets your pulse racing and you know he/she is the one for you.
It took me only one listen to the four songs on Finnish band Burning Hearts' myspace page to realize they were just that kind of "stranger". In fact I boldly proclaimed them to be my favourite band ... ever, only on that one listen. You romantic fool you might think, but with those four perfectly formed songs sounding like a poppier early Broadcast sprinkled with some of that magical Scandinavian POP sheen we've come to know and love (think Club 8 or Sambassadeur), what is there not to adore ?
The fact that the band didn't give much away, only describing themselves rather mysteriously as "man woman machine", made them all the more alluring.
However, after some investigating I can now reveal that Burning Hearts are really no strangers at all. In fact they are Jessika from the rather ace Le Futur Pompiste and Henry from the equally brilliant Cats on Fire and they have been making beautiful music together since the spring of 2006. An album should be on our way in 2008, as well as the brand new Le Futur Pompiste !
Go on, let your heart be set alight by these Burning Hearts too ! You will not regret it.
Woww... a band from Philippines that has nothing to do with the Marquez brothers !!! Fraction Discs label is not very prolific but when they have a crush for a band, you better double cross-check it !! Both sides from this debut 7"are pure shoegaze pop perfection ! With its stepped-up Cocteau Twinesques accents, "Still" could have been the next Radio Dept single...as well as the flipside "Talk like this", a kind of missing link between MBV and Secret Shine...Official release very very soon...
01. Cats on Fire : Our Province complains
02. Love Dance : Result
03. High Llamas : Can Cladders
04. Little Name : How to swim and live (also in 2006 list)
06. Pants Yell! : Alison Statton
07. The Clientele : God Save the Clientele
08. Orwell : Le Génie Humain
09. Ferns : On Botany
10. Frànçois : Brother (unfinished album)
11. Tillmanns : A careless Lifestyle
12. Twisted Charm : Real Fictional
13. Lodger : Grown Ups
14. The Mary Onettes : The Mary Onettes
15. Louis Philippe : An unknown Spring
16. Anthony Rochester : Music for in the Spaceship (early version)
17. Club 8 : The Boy who couldn’t stop dreaming
18. Blonde Redhead : 23
18. Tullycraft : Every Scene needs a Center
19. Benjamin Biolay : Trash yé yé
20. Saturday Looks good to me : Fill up the Room
21. The Dreamers : Day for Night
22. Jens Lekman : Night falls over Kortedala
23. Plastic Operator : Different Places
24. Trembling Blue Stars : The last holy Writer
25. Fireflies : Goodnight Star, Goodnight Moon
26. The Icicles : Arrivals and Departures
26. Dylan Mondegreen : While I walk you Home
27. Celestial : Dream On
29. Watoo Watoo : La fuite
29. After School Sports : A short Melodrama
30. Dondolo : Dondolisme
Which one did I miss or forget ???
Recently came accross this young London based label, branch of a well-known online music site of the same name. To date, they have released several exciting new bands launched with some promising 7"or EP's...Here's a selection :
The Chiara L's : "Knives / Kate's Kid" 7"
This is the debut double-A side single (released this 10/12) from this Leeds band who has taken the whole UK by storm with their very energetic sets recently. Deep bass-structures topped with Bikini Kill / Sleater-Kinney-like guitar walls and voices. Definitely worth digging further later on...
Love ends Disaster :"Suzanne / Dinosaur" 7"
The first song is not a Moose reprise but a brilliant power pop gem full of sound hooks and tempo changes. Their second song, Dinosaur, which is said to be a tribute to Elton John (??) is reminding me a lot of Husker Dü...quite engaging...
The Loyal Trooper :"4 Quid with Flyer" EP
Upbeat indiepop à la Lodger for a one-man band (Andy Walker) originating from Manchester (what an accent!). Four infectious and immediate songs navigating between poppy Buzzcocks and a lightweight Wedding Present !
Piero Umiliani : Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso (Easy Tempo)
Best known for his famous "Mah na mah na" song, later featured on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, Piero Umiliani must be one of your easy pop heroes, in the same line as André Popp, Burt Baccharach, Bruno Nicolai or Martin Denny... His "Svezia, Inferno e Paradisio" soundtrack was made in 1968 for an Italian documentary about Swedish life and debauchery (see movie extract below). It remains a true "classique du genre" with such perfect pop moments as "You tried to warn me", "Mah na mah na", "Beer, Vermouth & Gin"" or 'Le Ragazze dell'arcipelago"
"Mattias and the Everyday Mistakes" sounds a bit like the title to one of those wonderful children's stories the Scandinavians are so great at (think Astrid Lindgren) don't you think ?
In fact Mattias and the Everyday Mistakes are yet another of those freshfaced Scandinavian bands who have graduated from the school of perfect indiepop ("the complete history of classic indiepop part 1-15 : from Postcard to Sarah" must surely be part of the school curriculum in
They are the lovechildren of Bid (the Monochrome Set) and
Since then they seem to have broadened their scope (and have undergone a slight namechange) : new songs like the echo and reverb drenched "voodoo drums" with it's lovely Spaghetti Western trumpets show them to be the grandchildren of Ennio Morricone and Love too ! They also do a great Shadows-like take on the Field Mice classic "a wrong turn and rain" giving the song a totally new perspective. Makes you wonder where Mattias and his friends' new adventures will lead them next ...
If David Lynch should ever turn to making films again instead of incomprehensible puzzles he could do far worse than contacting Mattias and the Everyday Mistakes for the soundtrack.
Pants Yell! : Alison Statton (Soft Abuse)
Barely relieved from the "Recent Drama" album, one of the most remarkable essays of last year, with its out-of-time indiepop hymns*, I could not do anything but gloat over the idea of listening to this close follower, named after YMG cult frontgirl...
But don't be misleaded by this red herring, no question of a step into minimalistic hypocondriac music here, Pants Yell! remains Pants Yell! and seeing them accomplish again such miracles with the same ingredients - a bit like Tullycraft or the Lucksmiths you know what I mean - is just fantastic ! Andrew Churchmans's plaintive voice and melancholic topics wrapped into dulcet songwriting still make the difference !
"Of all the places I'd like to be its in a room with no TV, an open window with company and smiling faces to say they've missed me"