Tuesday 27 December 2011

Stocking-Fillers & Stuff To Check Out

We were planning to take a little longer off than this, but like the giant stockings of the affluent upper-classes, our inbox has been continuing to bulge despite our best efforts to just ignore it and concentrate on the footy. Its portliness ended up demanding our attention, and amongst the plethora of clich├ęd, seasonal-based songs were lurking some real treats which we thought we'd share with you here to brighten up those annoying work days that rudely show their face between Christmas and New Year. So get your listening gear around these and enjoy.

Arts & Crafts Winter Sampler 2011

There have been some great releases on the Arts & Crafts label this year, amongst them were albums from Dan Mangan, Los Campesions!, Timber Timbre, Feist, Stars, Chilly Gonzales and more. As a little token of appreciation they're offering a free sampler album of nine tracks they put out this year. It makes for a fine listen but it will only be available until December 31st, so get in quick!

The Darcys - Don't Bleed Me by Arts & Crafts

Memphis - I Want The Lights On After Dark by Arts & Crafts

Free Download: A&C Winter Sampler 2011

Arts & Crafts' website

Kevin P Gilday - Graphite

Releasing a somewhat angry album on Christmas Day, a day when most will be looking for joy and fun, and definitely not looking to see what records are out, seems an odd move. But post-punk poet Kevin P Gilday doesn't do convention, and thus its timing is perfect. Mostly spoken word but at times almost choral, 'Graphite' shows a lyrical wit and dexterity which are perfectly suited to his rich Glaswegian tones.

You can stream or download 'Graphite' for free on bandcamp

Kevin P Gilday's website


Based in Northern Ireland, Documenta make accessible drone pop in the vein of Loop or Spacemen 3, adding a healthy dose of melody to sweeten the repetitions. The plan is to record 24 original songs (plus a few covers) and then call it a day. 'Novak' and 'Melody' are two of these tracks, and along with several others are free to download from their website.

08 Novak by Documenta

05 Melody by Documenta

Documenta's website

Sins Of The Loose Buttons - Slow Burn

Never a city to be short of a guitar band or 2, New York seems to have been as important to this year's music scene as it ever has before. Sins Of The Loose Buttons call the fruitful city home and are successfully jostling for space amongst the crowd following the recent release of two rather fine indie-rock singles in the shape of Retrobox and the lovely 'Slow Burn'.

Slow Burn by SinsoftheLooseButtons

Sins Of The Loose Button's website

Buy the single.

Charles Of The Ritz

Hailing from Carlisle, the quartet known as Charles Of The Ritz make no-nonsense, shouty garage-pop with so many imperfections that it almost becomes perfect. We're not sure if there's actually anything available to buy yet, but there are a few free tunes available, including the superb 'William Blake (Ghost Of Joe Meek Version)' and the twisted, 'Heartbeat' aping 'Butterfly (Trapped In The Net Of My Mind)'.

William Blake (Ghost of Joe Meek version) by Charles of the Ritz

Butterfly (Trapped in the net of my mind) by Charles of the Ritz

Charles Of The Ritz' website

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Wednesday 21 December 2011

Bands To Watch In 2012

*Unpacks crystal ball* Can we see into the future? No we can’t; I can barely tell what I’m going to have for lunch, so I'm screwed when it comes to soothsaying! None the less, after declining to play the game last year, we at The Sound Of Confusion are ready to get back on the donkey and lay ourselves wide open to ridicule, by making a pigs ear of choosing who will be the musicians filling up your iPods in the coming year. After much pencil chewing and furrowed brows our combined brain power came up with an imaginative catchphrase for this feature, are you ready? - the twelve for twelve - oh yes, that's what we're about!!

What you're getting for your time here is six bands or artists chosen by the critical eye of Kev, and six further artists chosen by the sleepy eye of my good self (actually I'm going first so swap that around!). Most, if not all, of those featured will already have been mentioned in either of our blogs at one stage or another, so look on this less as a exercise in revelation and more as a nice stripy packet of refreshers...err only with songs and that.

We're realistic, there's a good chance this lot wont be partying on T4 or singing Sunday on the X-factor, but with a fair wind some of them might reach the dizzy heights of standing in a BBC studio listening to Jools Holland do another 'wacky improv session', or even get to sit on a tree trunk at Glasto and look bamboozled as they try to work out what in god's name Mark Radcliffe is muttering about. Regardless, we love them and think they deserve acclaim, hopefully you will too.

Intro over, we'll try and keep the words to a minimum now and let the tracks do the talking.


Andy's choices:

1) Daughter

Her Facebook popularity increased eightfold over the second half of this year, and anyone who has heard her pair of spellbinding EPs will understand why. Read more here.

Daughter - 'Home' (Taken from 'The Wild Youth' EP) by ohDaughter

Free download: Love

Daughter's website

2) Internet Forever

Social networking never sounded so good, as the blogosphere goes big beat. Read more here.

Centre Of Your Universe by Internet Forever

A free download of 'Break Bones' is available from Internet Forever's website

3) Discopolis 

Hands in the air, this is the sound of your weekends to come. Read more here.

Discopolis - Weekend Burnings by discopolismusic

Discopolis' website

4) The Bilinda Butchers

In the studio right now working on a follow up to the fantastic, 'regret, love, guilt, dreams' EP. They'll have to go some to better that, but they look capable. Read more here.

The Bilinda Butchers' website

5) Dimbleby & Capper

Alice in Wonderland turns her hand to alternative pop with pleasing results. Read more here.

Educated by Dimbleby & Ca

Dimbleby & Capper's website

6) Beaty Heart

Take a trip into their fantasy world, you may not get out alive, but oh the sights you'll see when you're there! Read more here.

3.We're All Friends Here by BEATY HEART

Beaty Heart's website

We've reached the interval; go and stand in line for the toilets, buy a vastly overpriced ice cream or hunt for that wine gum you dropped under the seat, and by the time you're done Kev will be on stage to take you through his six to watch.

Greetings! A decent list there from The Sound Of Confusion's Scottish correspondent, but I think you'll agree that the best six new bands to keep your eye on in the coming year are those listed below. On we go...

Kev's choices:

7) Being There

Precision engineered fuzzy indiepop, packed with melody and wonder. These could be 2012's underground heroes. Read more here.

''Tomorrow'' by Being There by Nadia Young & Lost Club

Being There's website

8) Grass House

The world inhabited by this Yorkshire band band is dark, moody, intense and full of staggeringly good songs. Read more here.

The Breeze by Grass House

Free download: Faun

Grass House's website

9) TV Girl

Genre defying soul/pop/indie/whatever with insanely catchy melodies and beats that are best described as 'big'. Read more here.

Benny and the Jetts - TV Girl by CamelbackMusic

TV Girl's website

10) Sheepy

Wonderfully talented and prolific singer-songwriter from Liverpool, part Buzzcocks, part Teenage Fanclub, all brilliant! Read more here.

Another Day by Sheepy!

Sheepy's website

11) Mummy Short Arms

Psychotic blues/indie/rock collective from Glasgow who create amazing twisted anthems in their own madcap way. Read more here.

MUMMY SHORT ARMS - Cigarette Smuggling by Flowers In The Dustbin

Mummy Short Arms' website

12) Exitmusic

New York husband and wife who make lush, breathtakingly beautiful music to send shivers down the spine. Read more here.

Exit Music - The Modern Age by edin2sun

Free download: The Sea

Exitmusic's website

That concludes our list of up and coming heroes of the future, we hope you like some of them as much as we do! We'll be taking a few days break to indulge in the Yuletide festivities and prepare ourselves for January's onslaught of fine musical treats. Thanks to everyone who's followed our ramblings over the past year, season's greetings and a happy new year to the lot of you! xx

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Five For Free #40

Today 'Five For Free' is going all Never Mind The Buzzcocks and replacing its tried and tested, much loved, regular presenter, with a less than capable guest host....which is me. Best just to get it over with.


Mozart Parties - Memory Thunderstorm

Leading us off in the free stuff stakes, is one Mr James Bennett, currently better known to the world as Mozart Parties. The singer and bedroom producer was recently described as creating a ‘duvet of sound’ but we prefer our own much more erudite description - he’ll make you shuffle to his muffled kerfuffles. Following on from his excellent 'Black Cloud' single, you can now pick up his new four track ‘Memory Thunderstorm EP’ over on The Facebook, as long as you tell him that he is ‘liked’

Memory Thunderstorm - Mozart Parties by Foundofconfusion

Mozart Parties Facebook

Troumaca - Paradise/ The Gems EP

Who's waiting behind door number two? It's Birmingham's dub and tropical pop purveyors Troumaca! They're well and truly feeling the spirit of giving that's in the air, and being doubly good to us new music seekers. Not only can you get their recently released three song ‘Gems EP’ for free from their website, but you can also download their high quality ‘Paradise’ demo with just a little click of the black arrow below; generous or what!

Paradise (Demo) by TROUMACA

Troumaca Website

Pet - Middle Child Syndrome

Earlier this month Kev introduced you to a band by the name of The Machine Room, but they're not the only musical talent to be found walking the corridors of Edinburgh's College Of Art - it's also home to Pet. Their Middle Child Syndrome EP is available as a 'name your price' download over on Bandcamp (and if that price happens to be nothing then so be it!) The lead track is a moodier take on sixties Beatles and Beach Boys psychedelia, while the b-side is an intriguing bit of middle eastern tinged electro - all in all, well worth investigating.

Pet - Middle Child Syndrome by creamteam

Pet Bandcamp

Peppercorn - Wasted Summer

We do try our best to keep our nose to the ground, ear to the grindstone, and our finger atop the pulsing eye on the ball, but very occasionally something good casually slips by unnoticed - but never let it be said that we're too proud to drag it back for you at a later date! 'Wasted Summer' is a five track EP from earlier this year, that can be obtained for no cost at the Bandcamp page of Sydney based indie rockers Peppercorn. If you enjoy the sunny, melodic side of The Vines, then this is one you should explore.

Peppercorn - Wasted Summer - 02 Dreaming by FasterLouder

Peppercorn  Bandcamp

Lion And The Lotus - We Could Be The Fire

We're staying in Sydney for the final free track, which this time comes from a duo by the name of Lion And The Lotus. 'We Could Be The Fire' is electronic pop that's not a million miles in style from Keep Shelly In Athens or Saint Etienne. Whether they have more up their sleeve remains to be seen, but as a starting point this track shows promise - grab it via Bandcamp and make your own mind up.

We Could Be The Fire by Lion & the Lotus

Lion And The Lotus Bandcamp


I make that five, so now I can be on my way, and you'll be relieved to know your normal host will be back next time with more great gratis tunes.

MERRY CHRISTMAS 'Sound Of' readers, hope it's good to you.

The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Various Artists - Shaking Through Volume 2

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

With debates raging about the impact of the digital revolution on the current/future music scene it's heartening to see an independent, not for profit project such as the 'Shaking Through' series being such a success. The aim of the scheme (a joint undertaking between Weathervane Music and Philadelphia's WXPN radio) is to further the careers of up and coming artists by filming the creation of an original song over the course of 3 days in the studio. The high definition video is then posted online with a link to download the finished track for free, with the system being funded by public donations. 2010's 'Shaking Through Volume 1' included tracks from Sharon Van Etten, Twin Sister, Reading Rainbow, Ben + Vesper and more, and now we get the full compendium of this year's labours.

A few of the bands here have already begun to make waves and most of the rest have the potential to follow suit. A Classic Education, Big Troubles and Family Band will be names known by a fair few people already and their contributions here are suitably top-notch (Big Troubles' reverberating 'Phantom' is particularly effective) but there are some lesser known acts providing real quality too. LA BIG VIC's eleven minute electronic dreamscape, 'Musica', is a work of towering beauty, marking them out for a possible breakthrough next year; Sweet Lights' CSNY-go-pop stylings on 'You Let Me Down' expertly reflect the sorrow of a fading relationship in the way that feels like the sun setting on the final days of summer; the icy guitar and wintry harmony of 'Curfews' by Snowmine is a lovely way to round things up.

The ethos behind 'Shaking Through Volume 2' is pretty difficult to fault, and the compilation itself also defies any real criticism; unlike many various artist compilations there's no need to pick and choose which tracks to keep and which to discard, they're all keepers and as a continuous listen they fit together tidily. The whole thing can be streamed or downloaded for free or for a donation. A worthy album from a worthy cause, we look forward to hearing what gems they uncover for us in 2012.

Shaking Through's website

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Saturday 17 December 2011

Out This Week - 19th December 2011

Alabama Shakes - You Ain't Alone

Every man and his dog have been banging on about Alabama Shakes lately, but whereas most bands that get the major label A&R men flashing cheque books turn out to be rubbish, this lot have real power and soul. They signed to indie label Rough Trade instead and their debut EP is out this week. Brittany Howard has a hell of a voice and 'You Ain't Alone' is like a 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'/'Hey Jude' hybrid.

Alabama Shakes - You Ain't Alone by The Vinyl District

Alabama Shakes' website

Buy the EP.

Memoryhouse - The Kids Were Wrong

Wherever you've turned in 2011 there seemed to have been a boy/girl duo making records and the trend could continue into next year. Memoryhouse released a promising EP late last year and since then have been preparing debut album 'The Slideshow Effect', due out in February. First single 'The Kids Were Wrong' more high tempo than before and a real step up. The album should be a corker.

Memoryhouse's website

Pre-order the album.

Bleached - Electric Chair

In this here previous post we gave you one of the tracks from the new single by LA noise-pop band Bleached and the full single is now available to download in the UK (vinyl to follow next month). Joining 'Searching Through The Past' on this release is 'Electric Chair', a fuzzy blast of melodic punk that buzzes with energy. This is best experienced at maximum volume.

Bleached's website

Buy the album.

My Morning Jacket - Friends Again

Kentucky veterans My Morning Jacket recently got festive for an iTunes Session EP and they're now giving us a limited edition 7" single entitled 'Friends Again'. The song has been performed live for over a year now and was apparently written for a Muppets project that never happened so it's taken a while to surface in official form. It may remind you of 'Yoshimi...' by The Flaming Lips.

Stream or download 'Friends Again' by heading here

Buy the single.


Little My - Oh Don't Go Darlin'

Welsh indiepop supergroup Little My (they do/have contained members of The School, Los Campesinos!, Gindrinker, Silence At Sea and The Voluntary Butler Scheme) vowed to make 10 EPs before splitting and this week we're treated to the final instalment, confusingly titled 'Fifth'. Just to prove how indie they are the EP will be limited to 160 vinyl copies but you can download the utterly lovely 'Oh Don't Go Darlin'' for free below.

Free download: Oh Don't Go Darlin'

Little My's website

Buy the EP.

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Friday 16 December 2011

Five For Free #39

New Cassettes - Silent Guns

The 'Silent Guns EP' was originally released at the beginning of the year, but since then Northampton group New Cassettes have picked up the support of MTV's Hype Music (could it be that big sounding British guitar bands are coming back in to fashion?) who have just released an expanded 'deluxe' version of the EP digitally. You can grab the upbeat indie-rock of the title track for free by clicking on the download arrow below.

New Cassettes "Silent Guns" by tijuanagiftshop

New Cassettes' website

Buy the EP.

Miike Snow - Devil's Work

Swedish/American trio Miike Snow are gearing up for the release of the follow up to their acclaimed debut album and the first track lifted from it is this free download single. 'Devil's Work' shows a more alternative, moody edge than some of their previous tracks (including their production/writing work with Britney, Kylie, Madonna etc.) and could be their best track to date.

Miike Snow's website

Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune

We gave you a free track from Canadian indie/folk singer Dan Mangan's new album 'Oh Fortune' a couple of weeks ago (if you missed it, head here) and if that was the kind of thing that tickles your fancy and you haven't been persuaded to buy the album yet then you'd be advised to check out the album's title track which is free to anyone who signs up for his mailing list.

Oh Fortune by Arts & Crafts

Dan Mangan's website

Buy the album.

Seventeen Evergreen - Angels

Things seemed to have gone rather quiet for San Franciscan duo Seventeen Evergreen since they first made waves in 2007 (including an appearance at End Of The Road) but they're back with a new EP, 'Psyentist' which is out now. Taken from it is the slightly psychedelic electro-rock of 'Angels' and the hope that they may release a second album sometime soon.

Seventeen Evergreen - Angels by ThatEricAlper

Seventeen Evergreen's website

Buy the EP.

Whales In Cubicles - Never And Ever

If you enjoyed the debut single from 'Whales In Cubicles' (you can stream it here if you haven't already) then hopefully you will have investigated further and stumbled upon punchy free track 'Never And Ever' which they posted online a few weeks back. Being a bit tardy, we've only just realised that we haven't posted it on here yet. So here it is, dig in!

''Never and Ever'' Whales in Cubicles by Young & Lost Club

Whales In Cubicles' website

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Bikos - Make Your Sound Sound

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

Los Angeles sextet Bikos fit very snugly into the line of post-punk/indie bands that have brightened up our lives for over 30 years now. As such, picking apart their songs to pinpoint the original sources of the music that makes up 'Make Your Sound Sound' would be a lengthy process, and having the input of six people on these tracks not only gives their rickety clatter a strangely rich sound, it means that Gabriel Pearlman's songs are fleshed out with a variety of other influences.

Debut single 'You Want It' channels Gang Of Four's jerky new-wave spikiness in a similar way to early Bloc Party, but in a less clean and more organic manner than Kele's lot. The scratchy riffs and vocal yelps that were so popular a few years ago are used generously over the course of this album and Bikos manage to make them urgent and fresh again, instead of just sounding like a Good Shoes singles compilation. The crisp guitars and snappy drumming are the engine room that powers some great indie-pop songs, ensuring that things remain vibrant and vital. 'Geography Objective' is given a soulful pop vibe thanks to percussionist/co-vocalist Miki's warm Those Dancing Days-ish vocals; the boy/girl trick works a treat here, as it does on album closer 'Palindrome'.

You could easily list another half a dozen bands that Bikos sound a bit like (Talking Heads could happily be thrown in, as could Stellastarr*) but that's kind of missing the point. Whatever their references they've made a superb, solid record that follows in the tradition of many fine alternative guitar bands. Had 'Make Your Sound Sound' been produced by a London band 10 years ago they'd be attracting a mass of UK music press coverage now, but it's 2011 and they're not. And that's a crying shame.

Free download
Bikos - You Want It by buzzbands

Free download
make your sound sound (from the ∆lbum 'm ∆ k e your s o u n d sound') by b i k o s

Bikos' website

Buy the album.

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Thursday 15 December 2011

Precious Jules - Precious Jules

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

In a career spanning well over 30 years, Kim Salmon can lay claim to forming one of Australia's first punk bands, The Cheap Nasties (later The Manikins) in 1976, and playing a part in laying down the foundations for grunge (a term first coined by Salmon himself) with The Scientists. Reaching middle-age hasn't dampened his enthusiasm for serrated riffs, swampy bass and snarling vocals, and on new project Precious Jules (which also features fellow Aussi and Morning After Girls' drummer Michael Stranges) he sticks to what he knows best.

The ragged 'Precious Jules Theme' has a sharp, Lydon-esque bark that pierces through the muddy quagmire of rumbling bass and drums before giving way to the machine-gun intro that kicks off 'A Necessary Evil', a track that leaves you hoping lyrics like "Let's not waste any time, let's just get wasted!" are spat out knowingly, with tongue firmly lodged in cheek; it's not the only point that suggests that this album is to be treated more as a fun listen than as any kind of battle cry. The snappy 'Seein' Spots' is wonderful minimalist garage-punk and its crisp-yet-fuzzy guitar is a real highlight, as is 'You're A Backlash' which is part Cramps, part Pixies and serves as a warning to today's five-minute-wonder scenester bands -"You're a backlash waiting to happen, you've been lapping up everybody's good will".

The overriding impression you get from 'Precious Jules' is that it was an incredibly enjoyable record to make. Is it as enjoyable to listen to? Well, almost. It brings nothing new to the table and 'Cheap 'N' Nasty' revisits the dubious punk spin-off genre 'Oi!', but in general the good outweighs the bad and some of the vigour and energy of Salmon's early recordings is captured here, also with his experience comes a certain mischievous quality. This is the work of a man well within his comfort zone, but if anyone's entitled to retread this ground then surely it's a man who helped invent and define it, and to have stuck to your guns for this long is definitely worth a doff of the proverbial cap.

Precious Jules by battle

Precious Jules' website

Buy the album.

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Wednesday 14 December 2011

Whales In Cubicles - We Never Win

Single review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

This debut single from Anglo-Italians Whales In Cubicles seems a bit topsy-turvy. There may have been several tracks streaming online for a few months now, but surely any band would aim for their first proper release to make a dent upon impact, to be a statement that announces their arrival and leaves a lasting impression, rather than to just blend unassumingly into the background.

It's with a little confusion that the quartet have chosen to assign this task to 'We Never Win', a nice enough piece of jerky, stammering indie that attempts the age-old task of being "a call-to-arms for the forgotten and downtrodden". It may have good intentions and the punchy chorus displays an anger that's all-too-real, yet compared to the thumping, hair-dryer-blast of rage we heard from them on free download 'Never And Ever' this is something of a damp squib.

Before we've had the chance to write this single off as a minor disappointment and hope for better next time, the thundering, quaking drums of B-side 'Across America' grab us by the throat and reel us back in. This is the kind of moody, commanding indie-rock that's constructed to form a crater upon collision, as it hand-picks some of the best bits from 90s alt-rock heroes like Pavement, Deus and Dinosaur Jr. It's the statement of intent they should have given top billing to, leaving 'We Never Win' to fill the role of being a pretty good little flip-side. Whales In Cubicles have the right tunes, but not necessarily in the right order.

We Never Win by Whales in Cubicles

Whales in Cubicles - ''Across America'' by Nadia Young & Lost Club

Whales In Cubicles' website

Buy the single.

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Five For Free #38

Pond - Fantastic Explosion Of Time

A couple of the guys in Australian trio Pond (not to be confused with the 90s US band of the same name) also play with Tame Impala. Much like that band, Pond have a love of the psychedelic rock of the late 60s and early 70s. Their album 'Beard Wives Denim' (?!) is out in March and kicks of with the full-on psych wig-out of 'Fantastic Explosion Of Time' which you can get free by clicking the little black arrow below.

Fantastic Explosion Of Time by POND

Pond's website

The Ice Choir - Two Rings

Kurt Feldman is a member of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and was also in The Depreciation Guild. Two bands we absolutely love. Well now he's unveiled his new project The Ice Choir who've just released their new single 'Two Rings'. It's totally not what we were expecting, being a fairly middle of the road piece of 80s influenced synth-pop. We're not sure what to make of it! Download it and see what you think.

Two Rings by shelflife

The Ice Choir's website

Buy the single.

Internet Forever - Break Bones

We first heard about indie-popsters Internet Forever from our little sister site The Found Of Confusion. You can read what they had to say here. Well since then they've been preparing their debut album which is set for a February release and the demo of 'Break Bones' which we heard a few weeks back has now been touched up and is being given a single release. It's yours for the price of a tweet or a facebook 'like'. Bargain.

Break Bones by Internet Forever

Pick up 'Break Bones' from Internet Forever's website

Pre-order the album.

Roomrunner - Spinning

Baltimore hardcore band Double Dagger spilt earlier this year but we already have an offshoot growing. Roomrunner is the new project by drummer Denny Bowen and judging by this debut single they're a touch less hardcore and a little more melodic. 'Spinning' is out now on limited edition cassette (the kitsch hipster's format of choice) or you can download it free below (the sensible option).

Roomrunner - Spinning by Fan Death Records

Roomrunner's website

Buy the single.

Blonds - Treasure Coast

We posted a track by Florida duo Blonds last week, and they're turning out to be one of those bands that just keep growing on you the more you listen to them. So here's another track from their eponymous, self-released EP 'Dark Roots'. 'Treasure Coast' is a little bit like Tennis and a little bit like The Raveonettes, so as you can imagine, we a little bit like them.

Free download: Treasure Coast

Blonds' website

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Tuesday 13 December 2011

Mark Sultan - Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

When it comes to a record involving Mark Sultan, it's fair to say that you generally know what to expect. From his early bands through to his BBQ alias (including three great albums as part of The King Khan & BBQ Show) he's been a man who's not only looked to the past for inspiration, aping the raw guitar sounds of yore, but he's managed replicated these sounds in a way that somehow transcends mere imitation, carving out a niche of his own. Quite how this is achieved when so much is borrowed is something of a mystery, but listen to 'Whatever...' and it's clearly a Mark Sultan Record. It couldn't be anyone else.

One of the primary reasons this sound is so distinctive is the production (or lack of it, some may say). The general vibe is that of someone counting to three as a cue for the band to launch into song, then pressing down 'play' and 'record' simultaneously on an old tape recorder, possibly in a cave, and handing us the results. Everything sounds gloriously distant and trebley, with Sultan busting a lung to try and be heard above the din. The outcome of this is remarkably effective and a cut above most modern garage exponents. And the songs aren't bad either.

We're treated to a more diverse selection than that offered by others of a similar ilk. As well as some impeccable garage rock 'n' roll numbers such as 'Axis Abraxis', Satisfied And Lazy' and 'Calloused Hands' we're given the ragged doo-wop of 'Just Like Before' and 'If I Had A Polaroid', the psychedelic 'In Future Worlds', the punk thrash of 'Let Me Freeze' and the delightful, scuzzy jangle of 'Graveyard Eyes'. The only real surprise comes in the form of eight-minute closer 'For Those Who Don't Exist' which is the kind of discordant freeform jazz-rock odyssey that you'd expect from Jason Pierce. 'Whatever I Want, Whenever I Want' is the perfect title for this album as it doesn't conform, it doesn't feel forced and it goes in whichever direction it pleases. In a world of two-a-penny garage throwbacks it's a real pleasure to have a talent as gifted as Mark Sultan flying the flag.

Mark Sultan - Axis Abraxas by Wwdis Crew

Mark Sultan - Just Like Before

Mark Sultan - Graveyard Eyes

Mark Sultan - "Song In Grey" by forcefieldpr

Mark Sultan's website

Buy the album.

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter


Monday 12 December 2011

Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP

Album review by KevW

This article also appears on http://www.soundsxp.com

Given the overwhelming work rate of Californian psychedelic rockers Thee Oh Sees (seven albums in the last three years) it should come as little surprise that just six months after the release of their last (and now expanded to a five-piece) they return with another new set 'Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP' (call it an EP as much as you like guys, but to me 10 tracks constitutes an album). It's hardly like they've just knocked up a few tracks in practice and thought they'd stick them out in time for Christmas, either. They're in fine fettle here and this time round there's little in the way of filler as can often be the case with such a high work rate.

Dwyer himself has stated that "This one's meant to pummel and throb." Well, true to his word, from the 'Interstellar Overdrive' echoing jam of opener 'Carrion Crawler' through to the psych-punk stutter of closer 'Heavy Doctor', this unquestionably does pummel and, indeed, throb. 'Contraption/Soul Desert' is a barrage of beats, bass and shrieks which can be considered as ammo for anyone wishing to piss off their annoying neighbours with some late night, speaker-busting tuneage. Dirty, scratchy garage riffs and brawny bass are very much the order of the day, with vocals being ordered to go and stand at the back of the class. This production approach and the odd bit of pulsating drone rock will draw comparisons to Wooden Shjips, especially the intoxicating pulses of 'Chem-Farmer'.

The aptly named 'Wrong Idea' is two minutes of routine thrashing about that should be tossed on the pile marked 'skip button' but generally 'Carrion Crawler/The Dream' is fairly faultless without being overwhelmingly mind-blowing. Instead it's a well executed, solid album that will provide much listening pleasure to fans of garage, rock, psychedelia and beyond (those partial to the odd touch of guitar-shredding will find plenty of fulfilment amongst this batch of tracks). We look forward to hearing from them again soon.

Thee Oh Sees - Chem-Farmer by FBi Radio

Free download
Thee Oh Sees - "Carrion Crawler" by rockedition

Free download
Thee Oh Sees - "The Dream" by rockedition

Thee Oh Sees - Contraption/Soul Desert by Surfing on Steam

Thee Oh Sees' website

Buy the album.

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