Sunday, May 31, 2009


After some doubts about maintaining the same standard I think this week's podcast ended up really well! New sounds from Bricolage, the already/hyped Cheap Red (Boyracer + Kanda), World Atlas and Help Stamp Out Loneliness. The latter is Colm and Ben from Language of Flowers' new band. Buy their brand new first 7" from Papillons Noirs! But I really want to push Standard Fare, who are a bright and shiny POP group from Sheffield. "Dancing" on their split-7" with Slow Down Tallahassee (on The SPC) is one of the singles of the year, but apparently they were too late to get on the now jam-packed Indietracks roster. But I can recommend this (last!) Lostmusic gig which is pre-Indietracks. Also playing are Indietracks veterans The Smittens as well as One Happy Island. 10 tickets left...

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This one ended up being a lot better than I had hoped, as I heard a lot of new stuff towards the end of the week. New releases on Shelflife, Slumberland and Thee SPC made me excited, as well as Betty & the Werewolves whom I haven't caught up with til now! Also new music from Boy Genius, the newly started Indie-MP3 Records and The Apple Moths. They are indiepop legends, but there are two songs on Myspace that no one has had a chance to hear before. Subscribe in the sidebar or grab the mp3 here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We Stumble Out of the Club At 6 AM

I've had some serious catching up to do, and used my day off for it (instead of doing school work). So the next two podcasts are going to be full of new indiepop fun. First of all I'd like to give a big hand to Skatterbrain, cause Matt's recent posting spree has been great. I've just submitted a track to his All My Summer Songs, which I think will end up being an amazing mixtape!

While I've neglected to write back to Scott, who left a nice and informative comment on my Juniper post, Skatterbrain have been busy praising them, and Cloudberry have even gone ahead to interview Scott and Doug! To be set straight on a few points - just go here. Really looking forward to hearing more of Ampersand too!

Also joining in with the praise of World Atlas, Fred Thomas' new band following his last tour with Saturday Looks Good to Me (now joined in the indiepop family grave by The Lucksmiths, whose last breath will include three gigs with A Smile and a Ribbon - an unheralded honour!). Look out for their first ep soon!

More about new releases in the appropriate podcast posts - here are the details of COIR 014 (for which I've already posted the poster).

Don't Die On My Doorstep Auckland edition
Live Uni & Her Ukelele (US) + Wildwood Lights
Venue Cross Street Studios, 27 Cross St.
When 10 June, 8pm
DJs The Auckland Anorak Massive

I'm excited about doing a new minifanzine again! Uni is also playing at the MUM Club Night at Cassette Number Nine on the 12th. I was supposed to guest DJ there, but 'unfortunately' The Chills have decided to celebrate the 25th anniversary of "Pink Frost" with a very rare gig that date! So I guess that'll have to be later...

Finally just a small note to alert people to the fact that I've now added a link to Summer's Just a Kiss Away compilation. I know people have been waiting to hear this, so I can only hope it's been worth the wait! It's far from summer over here - our house is freezing cold and I was walking down Franklin Road today, among the freshly fallen leaves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today the Doorstep Tomorrow the World

Desperate Bicycles' "The Housewife Song" quickly comes to mind when playing Liechtenstein's FIRST ALBUM, which I just got two seconds ago. Renée and her rhythm section achieve the same level of political consciousness without even rhyming 'sink' with 'think'.

If I had to review Survival Strategies In a Modern World I would simply write: If I had one, I'd bet my copy of Demonstration Tapes that there won't be a review of this record that doesn't mention the almost shamefully exuberant backing vocals of "All At Once".

But I don't have to, thankfully. As I've already told Renée that song is probably their best so far. That was before I'd heard the rest of the album, and now I can see it's got some serious competition. Without donning the Gothic Beauty stereotypes of Ipso Facto, they manage to be twice as enticing and spellbinding on songs like "Sophistication". And they've learned so much from Dolly Mixture's inventive percussion and backing vocals. It's revelatory how effective little touches like the la-la-la's in "All At Once" or the cow bell in "Sophistication" can be. It's all brought to the front by the far superior production on these songs. The sound quality of previous records was enough for eardrum thumpers like "Stalking Skill" and the starkness of "Apathy", but this is almost a different band. A band that seems so real and essential it's hard to recall the day Jörgen told me they had just set up the Liechtenstein myspace and we got to hear Renée's songs for the first time.

Today, Liechtenstein is probably the Swedish pop band that frequents the British indie gig venues the most. Both cause they can take it (the three of them that are left) and because they deserve it. Their next TAF gig flyer will probably say: "Liechtenstein - because YOU deserve it!", if they could afford to crack a joke.

Survival Strategies In a Modern World is about as long as the Vivian Girls LP. I only hope Mike Schulman has decency of pressing the vinyl at 45 rpm. If he does, this will be the stuff of legend. In 20 years time, some forlorn post-indie kid will listen to "Reflections" wishing s/he (if not androgynous) could write songs like that, and maybe come to the conclusion that they can. Just as I do when I hear Dolly Mixture's "Day By Day".

(And of course Liechtenstein still don't sound like Shop Assistants or The Mo-Dettes. It's only your imagination. If you don't mind, I'll get back to my broom now!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Analysis of Creep Curves

So our new assignment for the graphic design course is to redesign the grid system for a boring book. That wasn't actually what it said in the brief, but we basically had to choose a scientific book with lots of chapter subdivisions ( eg), appendixes, tables, graphs, photos, footnotes and stuff. This is mine. Isn't it great? It's from 1968. The existing grid is very simple - just single columns of text on every page and centred objects. I've got a 5 by 10 grid so far, with a baseline grid that divides the 10 rows by 5.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Third one in three weeks! Luckily I've got next week off. I think this is one of the best ones so far - perhaps mainly because of the Very Truly Yours track, which is from their brand new ep. The five tracks on it are much more mellow than say, "Popsong '91". Instead they've developed a creepy resemblance to Camera Obscura. I can only hope they will get as big! Get the Reminders EP from them on Myspace.

Also new stuff from The Bridal Shops classy new record out on Plastilina, it's called In Fragments and contains six brand new songs. And new music too from The Very Most, Eat Skull, The Tartans, Little Girls, The German Measles, Ye Olde Maids and Two If By Sea.

But perhaps more notably there are a couple of new songs by Strawberry Whiplash and Wildwood Lights. The latter are, as you may remember, supporting Uni & Her Ukelele at the gig I'm putting on, and this might be the first opportunity to hear their music in recorded form! "Picture Perfect" appeared on Strawberry Whiplash's Myspace just before the radio show, and promises sugar and spice for the forthcoming Matinée record.

I forgot to say something about The High Windows, it seems. They were an Israeli band who people say released that country's first pop album! It came out in 1967, and was reissued 40 years later. The songs that I've heard have an overbearing psych/folk-rock feel, and on here you can hear one of their non-Hebrew singles.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Just a week between them now! I wonder how long I can keep this up? I've got plenty of stuff for next week, but after that we'll just have to see. On here is new music from The Voluntary Butler Scheme, The Champagne Socialists, Woods, The Hepburns, Chain and the Gang and The Foxgloves (or at least a newly released one in that case!). I've been fascinated with the Malibu U. show for years, ever since finding out that "Malibu U." by Majestic was a cover. The song was actually written by the Addrisi Bothers for a 1967 music show on American tv.

After 10 pm we switched gears and turned the place into a pop club, with me and Mark Parallelogram choosing most of the cuts. You can actually hear the whole set here, and the playlist is on Myspace if you're interested!

If It Kills Me and It Will

I've put most of the photos from the South Island trip online now, and the rest are to follow soon. I liked Christchurch and Dunedin best of course. Great burgers at Velvet Burger in Dunedin, plenty of cool architecture, a purple Cadbury's silo and a shop called Records Records. Christchurch was more my kind of city though with plenty of galleries, perpendicular streets, and the tram. The art gallery had a great exhibition about the architect Warren Miles, who started the Warren & Mahoney business that lie behind many of the most striking modernist buildings in New Zealand. It was a revelation because I realised many of the houses I had already photographed and loved came from his pen, and I kept seeing more for the duration of my trip. Probably most impressive was the town hall in Christchurch, because you could walk in and experience it not only from without. His Central Library was also cool, but I never got a chance to walk in. Psychics Room had a fantastic exhibition called Article 27, and my favourite work in that was Banned Books, pictured above. I went to two record stores in Christchurch on International Record Store Day: Penny Lane and the local Real Groovy. Penny Lane is a bit outside the city centre but rewarded me with cheap copies The Monochrome Set's Love Zomebies and Volume, Contrast, Brilliance... Sessions & Singles Vol. 2 and also Broadcast's first album and Bunnygrunt's Jen-Fi.

Wellington too I liked, but it didn't seem as if there was much there. The Botanic Gardens easily beat those of the other cities, set in the hills and accessible through a very cute cable car. For eating Sweet Mother's Kitchen had some tasty cajun food, as well as staff and interior that reminded me of places like Mono and Glassfabriken. Slow Boat is of course the best record store in town, but I didn't find much in the LP section (apart from Here Come the Hardy Boys). The 45 section proved more rewarding however and I picked up singles by The Royal Guardsmen, Jilted John, Paul & Barry Ryan and H.B. Barnum (I played most of these after HIAYH#5).