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   Sunday, April 27, 2008  
For such a modest li'l offering the new album from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin has received puzzlingly hefty kickings in some heavyweight quarters. It's hard to know what were these folks were expecting. SSLYBY's debut Broom was an enjoyable DIY indie-pop effort, if a bit derivative and sonically undercooked, and got them signed to Polyvinyl. The clue to what you'll be getting's right there in the label, one-time home to the indie-rock-lite sorts matt pond PA and Sunday's Best (who would morph into The Little Ones, an even bigger clue). So here's Pershing, again self-produced at home and apparently a blinding let-down. Well, reallyrather has both records and if one had to go overboard as the balloon went down it would be.. Broom, noooo question.
You could argue that ten songs lasting just over 30 minutes isn't much to show for the intervening three years but it seem's the band have - most excellently - spent as much time deciding what to leave out as to what to include. Only one track here doesn't quite work, the relatively rocking Oceanographer; tellingly, it's also the longest. The rest are all smartly constructed, mid-tempo crackers carrying no fat all.
Pershing once again confirms this blog's oft-stated belief that songs with definite endings are all the better for it. Chances are, if you've thought about how it's going to end you've thought about how it's going to get there; these songs are very deftly put together and littered with delightful production/arrangement details. Opener Glue girls is the most structurally restive song here but its still straight-up pop, The Shins on skateboards. Boring fountain sustains the perkiness, it's stompily ace conclusion adding a slight Britpop touch to what's otherwise copybook US indie pop-rock. (Pete & the Pirates' debut Little death might in fact be Pershing's UK counterpart.) Think I wanna die and Modern mystery are definite stand-outs, spry guitar pop and catchy as hell while Macca would doubtless give the double thumbs-up to Heers' bright chord changes.
Yep, these guys have a very cute sense of what they want and how to bring it together. What they want is to pour a little sunshine into your headphones and, to these ears at least, how they bring it together owes more than a nod to Bob Sargeant's sparkling production work on the debut albums from The Beat and Haircut 100. 'Nuf said, surely?

And Boris have just pencilled in a London date, Sept 11 at The Borderline. This is just a day before the End of the Road Festival; reallyrather's tent pegs are firmly crossed...

Centro-matic don't seem to be on the festival radar at all which is appalling and wrong (Cooking Vinyl you know where your duty lies!). To the Windmill in Brixton last weekend to witness Will & co. vibing off a Saturday night full house, modest magnificence abounding as the band crashed and swooned across the years. Had seen them a few times before but having a sizeable slice of your record collection brought thrillingly to life at your local little venue was quite magical, nirvana being reached during the a capella break in Flashes and cables. Hey, if I reach out I can touch the head of Will's Telecaster.. but then 'pop!', the spell would be broken and I'd be back home howling in front of the speakers (again)...

Remember Bunky? It's seems years since their pretty (and pretty whacko) quirk-pop debut (Born to be a motorcycle) which is probably because it has been, three to be exact. But what's this? Signs of life over at their MySpace in the form of the rather gorgeous Wiggle. More where this came from please Emily, Rafter...
   posted by SMc at 9:18 AM |

   Friday, April 04, 2008  
First things first - and they don't get much firster, quite frankly - Centro-matic! Make that Centro-matic+tiny venue+15 minutes away! Yes, Matt, Mark, Will and Scott, Texas' best and longest-kept secret come to The Windmill in Brixton on the 19th. In the no-man's land between indie-rock and alt-c they've marked out their territory over at least half-a-dozen super-consistent albums. Will's dense, idiosyncratic wordsmithing and crashing, leadball-swinging electric guitar anthems are highly distinctive but the most telling motif may be Scott Danbom's keening harmonies. Also appearing as the pair's whisky-soaked alternate identity South San Gabriel and touting new split double-album Dual hawks, six quid ain't gonna buy you anything better all year...
[centro-matic][the new stuff on myspace]

Not sure what website Virb is all about or how long it's been around but it hosts some good music and whole albums in their entirety. There's that Bon Iver record, for instance, and the last from The Weepies, Say I Am You. And, most excellently, there's Little wars, the latest from indie instrumentalists Unwed Sailor. Don't let the 'Alternative / Experimental / Progressive' tags put you off, this is (more) emminently accessible bass-led melodic magic from Johnathan Ford and his latest cohorts. They were spectacular live a couple of years back in Shoreditch and would fit right in at, say, Latitude or The End of the Road (nudge nudge etc)...
[unwed sailor on virb]

And talking of The Weepies, this most perspicacious folk-pop duo put out their third release Hideaway on April 22. The previous full-length has lost little of it's bittersweet clear-eyed appeal over the past couple of years so will Deb Talan and Steve Tannen be able to clear the bar they raised this time round? Their myspace offers a few sample tracks; reallyrather is relaxed...
[the weepies][on myspace]

Songwriters surely know when they've really nailed one - everything falling beautifully into place, the chord changes, melody and structure all just so. Someone like Deb Talan would surely doff her woolly hat to the precious prettiness of Rosie Thomas' Kite song. Proving themselves way more dextrous tunesmiths than kite-fliers, for no particular reason here's the vid featuring Rosie and friends Denison Witmer and Sufjan Stevens:

And in a welcome Denison Witmer update, seems he's bought a pad, a cute little Danelectro and is a-crackin' on with the next album. Nice!

Ace indie-popsters My Sad Captains released another couple of tracks on vinyl last week. This blog tagged All hat and no plans a minor classic a couple of years back - make your own mind up over hear. Meanwhile band leader Ed Wallis' unleashes his overweening ambition in a recent interview with Soundsxp: 'We are yet to make that leap into gratuitous riders. We are usually too pathetic to ask for anything and we need a hard nut manager to force through our unreasonable demands for us'. Phew, etc...
   posted by SMc at 8:02 AM |