Throughout the years, Hamburg label Marsh-Marigold has embellished indiepop fans' life. From the early Jesterbells days to the -young- Acid House Kings connection, from the seminal German bands Legendary Bang, Die Fünf Freunde and Busch to the French-related outfits Caramel and Mumbly, they've been truly imaginative dicoverers and an example to follow for all indie labels, all over the world, since exactly two decades now.
Long before the appearance of many Spanish and Swedish follower- labels, Marsh Marigold has been the first to prove that continental-Europe pop, sung in English, German or French had not to suffer any comparison with US and UK's, as far as guitar pop was concerned.
In this respect, their latest 2007 releases Cats on Fire, Love Dance and This Year's Model, are just the most perfect triangle of albums released lately on a single label.
Now it's time to celebrate this, and with the line-up announced (see flyer), this can't be anything but HUGE !!!
=> Get your tickets HERE
In a world of sometimes unbearable ugliness, beauty becomes terribly important. Albums don't come much more beautiful than Cocoanut Groove's debut album called "
Cocoanut Groove : Madeleine Street LP (Fridlyst)
Whereas most recent Swedish indiepop bands all seem to have graduated from the Sarah Records' school of perfect pop, maybe adding a touch of early Factory records' cool or a sprinkle of Saint Etienne-esque pop fairydust, fellow Swede Olov Antonsson (for he is Cocoanut Groove, augmented by some very talented musical friends) delves a little deeper for his influences. His musical universe is that of Love's "forever changes", the Zombies "Odessey and Oracle", Duncan Browne's "give me take you" and the Left Banke.
However, if you'd think this would lead to Cocoanut Groove songs being a mere pastiche, you'd be oh so wrong. Sure, when you hear these songs for the first time, their gorgeous melodies weave such an instant spell you might think you've heard them somewhere before, but this is only proof of Olov's huge songwriting skill. In effect, he is furthering a school of songwriting which has all but disappeared. He is creating a baroque pop for the naughties.
Cocoanut Groove songs are full of longing for that feeling of first love (which you have probably never experienced since), full of reminiscences of seemingly endless summerdays spent outdoors, walking through meadows full of wildflowers, picking wild strawberries, lying underneath swaying cherrytrees, staring at the sun listening to the crickets sing ... They are also tinged with a little sadness, a little nostalgia, the realization that those happier times perhaps won't come back so easily, if ever ...
Highlights include the lovelorn title track with it's regrets over love lost, the almost Clientele like "Lately" with it's nocturnal mood, the harpsicord laden upbeat "the castle" which sees summer turn into autumn, the almost Donovan-esque "shadow", ... ooh, I could go on and on. These songs posses such truth, beauty and purity (Olov's featherlight vocals are a joy to behold) that hearing them makes you realise there really is something good out there worth going through the bad stuff for.
Cherish this beauty.
Emerging from the Montreal francophone electropop scene nowadays is quite easier when you play light parodic eurodance à la Numéro# than dark visionary wave-pop.
With his Philip Oakey look, his analogic keyboards and his true-to-life pessimist stories, Xavier Paradis, aka Automelodi, is definitely closer to the second category.
Formerly known as Arnaud Lazlaud and later as Echo-Kitty, playing since the mid 90's, Xavier released a debut album "Savonchanté" in 2005, including some thrilling anthems like the robotic "Fran Kubilik" or the dance-floor killer "Danielechtaire" in the purest Neue Deutshe Welle and Fad Gadget styles.
In the meantime, he also produced the highly acclaimed 2007 album "L'amour et l'occident" from Plaza Musique, which must be one of the best pop objects coming from Canada lately.
Now the Automelodi identity has surfaced, it's getting more and more obvious Mr Paradis' pop-songwritings' excellence can no longer lie hidden. Listening to "Schéma corporel" (body music in form and in content) or the half electro/half guitar "Buanderie Jazz" won't take a lot of a time to convert you, hopefully...
When the first glorious sunny days of spring come to give us the promise of summer to come, what better soundtrack to chase away the last traces of winter than some sweet bossa nova. Somehow the sound of bossa nova always manages to conjure up images in my mind of a desolate sandy beach with a lone figure walking off in the far distance. Light and shade, happiness and sadness, joy and melancholia ... all collide within the sound of bossa nova.
Now when people think bossa nova, they tend to mention Astrud Gilberto as its prime and most important female voice. Great though Astrud is, I think this is a great disservice to the rather superior Nara Leao who is not nearly as well known.
Nara Leao is (or was, as she sadly passed away way too early in 1989 at the age of 47) probably one of the most important figures in the story of bossa nova (which is why some people have dubbed her "Bossa Nova's Muse"). As a young girl she worked as a reporter by day and at night she surrounded herself at her parents spacious Copacabana apartment with all kinds of creative and artistic people who became the protagonists of bossa nova (Tom Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Luiz Bonfa, ...). But
She also used her art to evidence her social concerns and spoke out against the military dictatorship in
Hari and Aino : S/T LP (Plastilina)
After the very useful "Stars in Coma" and "Second-Hand Furniture" restrospective albums, our favourite South-American label Plastilina Records is staying in the Swedish neighbourood to release this debut album from Stockholm-based quintet Hari and Aino.
Imagine "The Camera loves me" from The Would-be-goods crossed with Blondie's "Parallel Lines" and you'll get a near-to-clear picture of the band's wide proficiency, from sophisticated guitar-pop to cerebral disco. This is exacty the way we wished The Long Blondes would sound like on a full album...