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   Saturday, September 10, 2005  
'As crisp and consistent as a Canadian forest,' that's how this blog summed the last full-length release from matt pond PA in the course of ranking it no.2 for the year '04. Swish and superfine indie-soft-rock which has lost none of it's flavour in the intervening year+. Well well, just in time to more or less coincide with the release of their new record, Emblems has finally surfaced officially in the UK. Dopey B-Unique have decided to slip it out without really telling anyone. Go to their site and there it isn't; you can check their A-Z artists roster in vain. It's all Kaiser Chiefs this, those (really very) Ordinary Boys that.. well done, B-Unique! At least they put it under Mojo's nose (4/5 in the lastest ed.) and doubtless Word Magazine will fall upon the band in a 'Why weren't we told' kind of way sooner or later (no sign of it anywhere in the October edition -- wakey wakey, Word guys)...

The new Matt Pond record is called Several arrows later, due Oct 11 and it's 'the most immediate and rocking expression of mpPA's music yet', apparently. Which is fine except it's lead someone into thinking it's a good idea to tie the band into a slew of US dates opening for Liz Phair and Guster. Anyone else hear the faint sound of alarm bells off in the distance? Back in '03 one of this blog's enduring favourites Wheat came out with what was undoubtedly their most direct and, yes, 'immediate' album to date. Per second, per second, per second, every second it was called. Not everyone went with it but reallyrather's right arm was sent a-wheeling with those power chords, oh yes. Thing is, to push the record they were sent out on tour opening firstly for.. Liz Phair and then, yep, Guster. Wheat split up soon after...

[Wheat's best-known song lives on, tho'. Don't I hold you crops up on the soundtrack of the forthcoming Cameron Crowe film Elizabethtown, rubbing shoulders with the likes of My Morning Jacket and Jeff Finlin. Oh, and the movie stars Kirsten Dunst, nuff said...]

And it was a case of deja vu all over again recently when reading Mojo's review of the new Supergrass album. 'There's nothing here remotely resembling a hit single...this is a real grower...glam-psych-pop with a bucketful of elegiac, micro-Sgt.Pepper,' they waxed. Now this from The Observer: 'Those who go to it searching for rabble-rousing won't find it...It takes a while for the deep mechanisms of [the songs] to reveal themselves...a pyschedelic soul record...their attempt to be The Beatles of Sgt.Pepper,' etc etc. Critics coming helpfully to the same conclusions you might think except that The Observer was writing about new Super Furry Animals album. Have these two Supers made the same record? Or maybe they're just at the same point in the cycle..the one where you feel the need to jet off to foreign parts to record (rural France, Brazil respectively) and to raid your dad's record collection for inspiration (with special reference to The Beatles and Neil Young). You know, the point where you start running out of energy and ideas...

And besides, there's bands around who have been quietly doing this 'glam-psych-pop' thing all their days, bands like Oranger. New comes and goes is the sage title of their latest (available Sept 20) and you can hear tracks from it over at their flashy new website...

Scandinavian notes:
::The Pipettes recently played Emmaboda festival in Sweden and over at Tangents Jonathan Falcone from the band tips us all to some happenin' locals: 'Sweden is easily half a decade ahead of us Brits on the music front, storming away with no consideration for our supposedly kudos stuffed Goliaths...' [more]
::Summer's on the way out but, defiantly, here comes a new album from The Legends!!!! Anyone wise enough to snag their fuzzed-out, handclaptastic debut will buy Public Radio blind..
::But Amandine seem to be dealing in the Scandinavian flipside, bedding down for those long winter nights with their debut full-length, This is where our hearts collide. It gets a UK release via Fat Cat Records in November but No Ripchord has already heard it: 'Warm, emotive and wistful, with a quiet power surging underneath..influences from the classics, including The Band and Crosby Still & Nash along with other, modern folk artists, including Candidate, and touches of the alt. country/Americana scene – think of Damien Jurado or even Calexico. But they’re also a band with a strong identity, based around solid, intelligent song writing and unfussy yet powerful delivery of their material.'
Amandine / Fat Cat

The last time this blog saw Gravenhurst (opening for Sufjan Stevens at Lock 17 last year), Nick Talbot ended his mostly spare acoustic set on the floor, totally obscured from view, cranking out 8 or 9 minutes of electronic noise. Non-plussed seemed to be the general reaction. Very plussed indeed seems to be Gigwise's early reaction to the upcoming new record, Fires in distant buildings: 'Razor-sharp guitars..hidden pop chops to the fore..dueling guitars worthy of top notch Crazy Horse'.
Holy crap, etc!
'As radical a departure from the familiar fingerpicking formula that 'Fires in Distant Buildings' initially seems, a closer listen reveals plentiful reserves of the mesmerizing, unique magic that has lifted Gravenhurst miles above his fellow minstrels...'
Phew, that's alright then...
Gravenhurst / Nick Talbot's diary

...meanwhile, in a total other musicsl universe..The Weepies get signed, hurrah! Finally, someone's seen the light and snapped up Deb and Steve, in this case it's Nettwerk Records, home to the likes of The Be Good Tanyas and Sarah McLachlan. Deb Talan's folk-pop finesse has been a secret way too long - hey Nettwerk, how about a Deb compilation? Listen to Thanksgiving, Comfort, Forgiven, Two know it would make sense...
The Weepies / Deb Talan

...particularly, this blog admits, to those of a James Blunt-type persuasion. James Blunt. There, I've said it. No, not merely a flagrant attempt to boost this blog's hitcount but the very horns of an ethical dilemma. To wit, one of reallyrather's favourites of this year, country-twee-popsters The Boy Least Likely To being enlisted to support the bare-chested warbler on his upcoming UK tour! Oh look, it's totally sold out...damn, damn, damn...
   posted by SMc at 9:52 AM |