31/01/2008

Ballads of the Cliché

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Ballads of the Cliché : Evergreen (Self-released)

The charm of innocent lyrics, the charm of a whispering male voice (Bobby), the charm of a xylophone sound, the charm of Indonesian accent (Ninatika), the charm of cheap harmonies... from folky guitar ballads to upbeat jangly twee  to piano-romantic anthems, this is indeed a quite charming debut album we have here from this Indonesian 8 piece-band, caught two years ago with their "Smiley EP", almost in the same period than fellow-countrybands Mocca and Goodnight Electric. Don't expect Ballads of the Cliché to revolutionate music but expect Ballads of the Cliché to contribute breaking the ridiculously ficticious frontiers of great indiepop !

=> Get the album from Fruit Records or Apple Crumble

=> Ballads of the Cliché : "Love Parade"

J-M

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Japanese Delights (part II)

While japanese billboard is contaminated by poor R 'n 'B and Rap stuff, some great pop stuff keeps being released :

Kyoko Fukada - kimino hitomini koishiteru : Composed by Mr Konishi (Pizzicato 5) himself for this well-known model/actress Idol, this song is a real blaster !!

Archoryme - La douce vie : Behind this new band we find Takanamo K-Taro (ex Pizzicato 5 - again) with singer Nishimura Ikuyo. They released their 2 (!!!) debut albums in the same time one week ago !

Harco - Be my Girl : Written by Harco and Hideki Kaji, this lovely song has been widely broadcasted through a TV commercial
Vanilla Beans - U love Me : Rina and Rika are cute and well-dressed ! In addition to that, they are cute and well-dressed ! Yes really !
Meg - Ok : For this single, notorious Electropop artist Meg has experienced collaboration with Nakata Yasutaka from Capsule and the result is just splendid !
Perfume - Baby Cruising Love : Their recent single "Polyrythm" was a deception but this brand new one is quite good and is already in the charts top 10 after only 1 week ! Viva Perfume !!
J-M

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28/01/2008

Soda Fountain Rag

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Soda Fountain Rag : It's Rag Time ! (Yesboyicecream)

Could we dream of a better way to start the year than having in our hands the first "proper CD" release by Norwegian bedroompop-wondergirl Soda Fountain Rag on the wonderful Yesboyicecream records (SKWBN, The Positions, Saint Thomas ? I'm talking about a "proper CD" to differentiate it from the recent cd-r releases  on Anorak, My Honey and Cloudberry even if it doesn't make any difference practically nowadays...

14 songs in exactly 30 minutes 18 seconds, with the half being "classic" inclusions from previous releases (Army of Silent Kids, Driving in your Car, Angry Girl, The Saddest Boy Again, I was reborn, Don't kill the Clowns, Everything ends...WAWWW, almost a "Greatest Hits"!) and the other half  being released for the first time on "hard support", from the joyful piano driven “The Saddest Boy in Town” to the Undertonesque “You sit and wait for Life” and from the casio-baroque  “I laugh myself to Sleep” to the thrilling indiepop anthem “Go!” 

To put it in a nutshell, if you only have to own ONE SFR essay, this is the one!!! And the incredible news is...she already has sufficient material for another album!

 => Soda Fountain Rag : "I laugh Myself to Sleep"

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23/01/2008

Moto boy

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Motoboy : S/T (Songs I wish I had written)

Imagine a guy -Oskar Humlebo aka Moto boy -alone on a small stage, with an enigmatic glitter imagery, free of any gender-representation, singing a poignant and languid ballad - Blue Motorbike - driven by his single black metalguitar, a bit as if Glam Rock and New Romantic had an intimate appointment at this precise moment and place ...:

This happened one week ago in Jeriko, Malmö, Sweden for the release gig of Moto boy's debut album and I really really wish I was there...And yes indeed, THE album is finally out on "Songs I wish I had written" label (Le Sport, Gentle Touch, Lovekevins...)!

First impression : Moto boy's voice is instantly engaging and I can't do anything but hanging on his every word. The initial comparison with New Romantics goes further  : from time to time, Oskar's range is very similar to Midge Ure's and first song "Young Love", the new single, is reminding me a lot of this "If I was" classic hit ...

Musically speaking, most of the songs are revealing to be achingly touching and disarmingly beautiful in their simplicity, proving the first "Blue Motorbike" single was not a "one -lost- hit wonder". Although clearly embedded in the 80's, the whole bunch is suitable for any decade...don't miss it !

=> Moto boy : U

J-M

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20/01/2008

WeePOP ! arriVAL !

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One Happy Island : Pulaski Park (WeePOP !)

Along with Asaurus Records, the lovely London based WeePOP ! label must be the one with the cutest hand crafted packagings. And as catalog is concerned, the mini-cd label has clearly privileged quality to quantity too ! Another piece of evidence is their first 2008 release by Boston-based outfit One Happy Island, a new band we noticed several months back on Indiepages demo section...Reminiscent of Razorcuts with hillbilly hints (!) featuring squeeze box, harmonicas, ukuleles and handclaps... this will definitely sheer you up and take you to a sort of Old-West campfire popfest,  smelling Granny's green beans and lapping strawberry milk in the same time !!!

J-M

The Motifs : Matches EP (WeePOP !)

I know it's the middle of winter and there is hardly any sunlight about between those all-encompassing grey winterclouds, but listening to Melbourne's the Motifs makes me think about  spring-time or summer already. Could it be because their songs are reminiscent of a sweet spring breeze or the intricate little flowermotifs on a summerdress ? Suddenly I feel like somebody is tickling my face with a blade of grass, there's a melting ice-cream in my hand and the Motifs' singer is whispering her bittersweet lyrics into my ear ... like sweet little secrets between best friends or lovers.
Spring and summer really aren't that far away ...The Motifs released a lovely mini-cd called "matches" on the same Weepop! in December. Like the "One happy Island" EP it's limited to 120 copies too, but as it was released more than one month back, you better hurry up to make sure you can dream about summer in the middle of winter too (sorry for South-hemisphere readers huh) !

Bart

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17/01/2008

Bottle Rocket zine

 

-What's the point in making a cute drawing on paper while you can cut and paste a picture from Google image search ?

-What's the point in enumerating the records you're listening to when you can make a playlist on last.fm or radio.blog ?

-What's the point in using a typewriter when you can write, correct and re-write your text with any police and colour on your computer ?

-What's the point in paying for a paper zine while you just have to follow the links and download full albums (!!) for free on some mp3-blogs ?

brGetting the latest Bottle Rocket zine (issue n°5 already in one year time!) will definitely give you some clues !!

This great issue is including interviews with California Snow Story and The Pains of being pure at Heart,  an interesting article on Grimsey record label, some reviews (Georgie James, Vampire Weekend, Shout out Louds and Jens lekman) and a lot more stuff

=> Get it HERE and check the previous issues as well !

Katy (BR brain) and I agreed to publish the "Pains of being pure at Heart" interview herebelow in its original design, which is also a prelude to further collaborations with other paperzines in both directions !!!

Long life to Bottle Rocket !!!!

J-M

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The Pains of being pure at Heart interview

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Interview by Katy from Bottle Rocket zine issue #5

=> The Pains of being pure at Heart website

=> Buy the S/T EP HERE and check Slumberland Records and Atomic Beat Records for the next couple of exciting split 7" announced.

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14/01/2008

The Luminaire, London, 10/01/08


Indiepopheaven - an evening at the Luminaire in the company of the School/the Would-be-Goods/Club 8

     Last thursday at the Luminaire in London I thought I'd died and gone to indiepop heaven ! When the night starts out with all your favourite recent tunes by such artists like the Bridal Shop, Sally Shapiro, Moscow Olympics, Moto Boy, etc being played at top volume over the soundsystem (courtesy of the Tack Tack Tack ! dj's) you just know you are in for something special, and that's not taking into account that we had yet to witness three of the best indiepopbands play live.                   

The School are the youngest and newests addition to my list of favourite bands on this bill and they do not disappoint. Their easy-going charm and their sweet sixties girlgroup influenced songs full of melodic twists could win over any old cynic (or he would have to have a heart of stone), but just by looking around me I can tell that no such cynic is to be found at the Luminaire tonight : everybody seems to know and love the School already. That's hardly surprising when the songs are so great. They play all the favourites (like "valentine", "all I wanna do") and some songs I hadn't heard yet ("shoulder", "I want you back (?)") but which are sure to become favourites too - actually on one listen they already are. They finish their set with "kiss me in the snow" and it is Xmas all over again !
 
     The Would-be-Goods follow and they are initially a little bit of a letdown, but due to no real fault of their own I must add. Jessica had lost her voice earlier in the week and was just getting it back and the sound was appalling which hardly helped. I mean what is a Would-be-Goods song when you can hardly hear those delicious vocals and those brilliant lyrics ?! But they fight hard against these setbacks and come out shining by the end of the set, which they finish with a blistering version of "Emmanuelle Béart" (actually Jessica is looking so great, she shouldn't be jealous of Emmanuelle at all). The fact that they included one of their oldest songs dating back to those glorious El records days, "the camera loves me", in their set makes me very very happy indeed.
 
     And then it is time for
Club 8. Some argue that their gorgeous bittersweet pop is better suited for daydreaming to on your own in your bedroom then for a live setting, but when they sound this effortlessly cool who is complaining. Not me. And who says you can't daydream among a crowd of likeminded souls ?
They look brilliant of course : Karolina resplendent in a black print dress - a classic Swedish beauty - and Johan doesn't look too bad either. They are expanded to a sixpiece for this live outing, but the band keeps very faithful to the original versions of the songs which is just great (why should they tamper with perfection ? It would be like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa).They start proceedings with "Jesus walk with me" and Karolina's voice is so crystal clear, it is spinetingling. You can almost hear a pin drop in the Luminaire, no mean feat.
     The rest of the set consists of songs from the new album ("heaven", "the football kids", "whatever you want") and songs from their earlier albums ("everlasting love", a deeply moving "love in december", a joyful "boyfriends stay") and is way too short. They could go on for hours and I wouldn't care. I'm in heaven. For an encore they first play "a song which nobody will want to hear but we play it anyway" in Johan's words and by that he means "Saterday night engine". He couldn't be more wrong as the crowd sing along with the footballchant-like chorus and go wild. To close the evening they go back to the glacial beauty of a more accoustic version of the devine "missing you".

     And then the dream is over ... But I've still got a great big grin on my face. Cause Club 8 make me realize I'm the boy who couldn't stop dreaming. And dreams do come true.


Bart

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10/01/2008

Les calamités

cala

One year before The Shop Assistants' birth, two years before The Flatmates' formation, three years before C86 cassette release, came a girl-band from France that, in the same time already, encapsulated the happy sixties pop spirit, everyday girls' innocence and jangling Postcard Records guitar pop...

=> A site : http://www.calamiteux.com/enindex.html

=> A song : "Toutes les nuits"

J-M

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06/01/2008

Fireflies

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Fireflies : "Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Moon" LP (Lavender, Music is my Girlfriend) + "Snowstorm" EP (Twentyseven Records)

"My memory brought me thoughts of you, of me, and of you and me. I Thought of the cherry blossoms in spring. Our hearts fluttered and our eyelashes batted often beneath those quiet trees. Our love was like a dinosaur. We trembled in its presence and no distance was too far for its colossal legs. But your plane landed like a meteor, and now the dinosaur is missing, but not forgotten. My recollection, like some congested museum, proudly displays its skeleton.

I stood there for a while, thinking the breeze on your mountaintops was maybe strong enough to carry you, but as the afternoon carried on, I decided to take a walk back down into the valley. I wanted to be home before dark. I like to watch the sun set into the earth an the stars rise into the sky. It's one thing we can still share."

=> Fireflies : "Summer has gone"

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Danish Pastries

 

While reading about  the forthcoming debut  essay from promising danish band Northern Portrait on Matinée Records site, I realized how much I came accross many other talents from Denmark lately, so here are some videos and links of what I could think of :

The Elephants : "5 Minutes". Fresh Danish buzz !

Tiger Baby " Noise around me". My all-time danish favourites in a live perfomance at Privatclub in Berlin this Summer

Rumskib : "Love at first Sight" from their wonderful dream pop eponym album. Remember Lush, Curve, MBV ? This is what it's all about ! Mmmm love this vid from Godard's "Alphaville"with Anna Karina !

Figurines : "Let's head out", excellent first single from their latest album on Morningside Records

Oh no Ono : "The Shock of the real". Also on Morningside Records, these guys are so funny and decadent !

Also check Oliver North Choir Boy , De Agtige (super 8bit/casio pop !) and Labrador !!
J-M

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01/01/2008

Songs selection 2007 + contest !

 

Here is a selection of songs that embellished my year... In addition of being terrific, they also mean a lot to me, for several reasons ! You can stream them all on the radio !

CONTEST CLOSED : WINNERS WILL RECEIVE A MAIL SOON !!

Wishing you a POPfull 2008, sweet darlings !!!

01 soda1

Soda Fountain Rag : "The saddest Boy again" (My Honey records)

The utmost thrilling bedroom pop you could figure out with innate qualities of bright songwriting !

02 motoboy

Moto boy : Blue Motorbike (Songs I wish I had written)

"One guy with nothing but his guitar and his voice". His first digital (free) single... a true lost summer bilboard hit...

rocca4

Rocca : Baby mine (Unreleased)

A burning anthem that will make you sweat and let your fragile body make all kind of unwanted dangerous moves.

04 moscow2

Moscow Olympics : Still (Fraction Discs)

Pure shoegaze pop perfection from Philippines with stepped-up Cocteautwinesques accents... 

05 fitness2Fitness Forever : Bacharach (Autoproduced)

Italian search for pop perfection...confidentially released in 2006 but only revealed to the - open-mouthed - world in 2007

LBA

Little big Adventure : Ben & Jerrys (Digital dwld))

The 3rd single, "packed with weeping guitars, heartbreaking lyrics and drunken beats...Hopefullness is lost and hopelessness is found"

07 cloettaCloetta Paris : I miss you Someone (Digital dwld)

Simply a great song wrapped in a seducing eurodisco gift-packaging... instant crush guaranteed...                         

07 painsThe Pains of being pure at Heart : This Love is fucking right (Painbow Records)

Magnificent noisy pop gem or "How the Field Mice would sound like if they were coming from New-York..."

09 motocompoMotocompo : Dream flows (Poplot)

Really charming electro pop song à la Ladytron from this Japanese girl-duo, a serious Perfume contestant !

10 smileA Smile and a Ribbon : Baby's Breath (Shelflife)

Vinyl crackles covered with heavenly vocals 'till that sudden tempo change that will borrow your heart !

11 blind

Blind Terry : When Prefab Sprout wrecked my Mind (Cloudberry)

A superb bittersweet piano-driven pop song that could easily fit on the latest Camera Obscura album (thanks for insisting Bart)

12 sproutts1The Sproutts : Hidden Costs (Autoproduced)

A ready-to-eat creamy melody right away from New-Zealand… somewhere between Weezers’ catchy hooks  and a convulsing Pinback…

13 invisibletwinInvisible Twin : Best kept Secret (Le Grand Magistery)

The utmost delicate love song from the ex-Shoestrings duo, taken from the "A very Magistery Valentine" comp         

14 tillmannsTillmanns : Heavy Rotation (Fraction Discs)

Early 80's hypnotic down beat whine...this great single has been in heavy rotation indeed

14 aftersAfter-school Sports : Wind Up (Cosy Den Recordings)

Melodrama song on light comedy DIY music                                                                                                            

16 daring girlHomecoming Party : Daring Girl (Unreleased)

This song is sticking into my head and making me giddy...haven't heard something so hypnotizing since ages !

17 daysDays : Downhill (Shelflife)

An endlessly postoned single that hounded us all year long...                                                                                       

18 mike1Mike in Mono : Euro Eccentric (Static Caravan)

"Electronic analogue pop fudge, with underwater vocoder vocals... It truly is as catchy as turkey cough... Think a casio Debussy no less."                                                                

19 sucrette

Sucrette : Love & Whistle (Autoproduced)

Pure modernism and innocence from this Kyoto duo...Prends ta sucrette, darling, c'est si bon !                 

20 little nameLittle Name : How to Swim and Live (Sleepy Records)

Broken hearts, horns, reverie, sparkling guitars, outmoded melody ...this is what it's all about : a step forward in the pursuit of happiness !

21 DondoloDondolo : J'ai deux amours (La bulle sonore)

Mylène Farmer meets Jacno meets Casino Music...of course it's French and of course it's "trop trop bien"

J-M

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