Monday 31 March 2014

Chartburst: An Amazing Opportunity For New & Unsigned Bands!

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We're really pleased to have been asked to help out with a new, game-changing platform for unsigned acts. Chartburst is totally FREE to sign up to, is for musicians of any genre, and puts you in contact with major labels, big independent labels, A&R people, producers and more. The list of advisers and contributors is mightily impressive. The best part of all? It's totally powered by the fans! So who does well and tops the charts and gets the showcases isn't decided by middle-aged men in suits - it's decided by you! No tricks; you can't buy votes, it's a totally level playing field for everyone who signs up! So head to the site, read through some of the 'Essentials' section which will help you with advice on doing well, upload your best songs, videos, pictures and link in all your sites. The charts begin on April 1st, and if you do well then you're guaranteed to get heard by influential people! So get creating those profiles! It only takes a few minutes and is totally free! Good luck!

Chartburst's website

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Out This week - 31st March 2014

Lenzie Moss - Let's Take The Day Off

Given that Lenzie Moss is the alias of Finlay Macdonald who's previously been a member of Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and more, we're on pretty safe ground. We can expect well-crafted indiepop and it's duly delivered on new single 'Let's take The Day Off', a summery, jangly hymn to forgetting all your cares and just doing what the heck you feel like.

Lenzie Moss' website

Buy the single

The Singles - Inamorata 

For more uplifting guitar-pop goodness, this time with just a little extra edge, we have The Singles with 'Inamorata', a single from their new album 'Look How Fast A Heart Can Break' which is out this week. It's no surprise that they're a duo from California, because everyone seems to be in a musical duo from California these days, but this particular duo are better than most.

The Singles' website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Apr 08 Drunken Monkey, Fort Wayne, IN  
Apr 10 Martyrs', Chicago, IL
Apr 11 Club 411, Kalamazoo, MI  
Apr 12 The Singles Record Release Party - PJ's Lager House, Detroit, MI
Apr 13 Wilbert's, Cleveland, OH
Apr 17 The Singles Record Release Party - Harvard & Stone, Los Angeles, CA
Apr 19 The Singles - BROKECHELLA, Los Angeles, CA
Apr 23 Billy O's, Ventura, CA
Apr 25 Tiny Tavern, Eugene, OR
Apr 29 High Dive, Seattle, WA  
Apr 30 The Crux, Boise, ID
May 01 Metro Bar, Salt Lake City, UT
May 02 Lion's Lair, Denver, CO
May 06 The Hut, Tucson, AZ  
May 07 Rogue Bar, Scottsdale, AZ

Davidge feat. Cate Le Bon - Gallant Foxes

It's about time Neil Davidge released a solo record. After writing and producing for Massive Attack, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg, Primal Scream and more, he knows a thing or two. That's shown on the trip-hop/alt-pop/indie track 'Gallant Foxes' which features Welsh songbird Cate Le Bon on vocals. His recently released album 'Slo Light' also features Sandie Shaw, Karima Francis and more.

Davidge's website

Buy the album

The Love Barons - Happy Together

"Happy together now we're heading into the sun...". Now if that's not a great way to usher in the brighter half of the year then I don't know what is, because it's set to a gorgeously uplifting indie-rock song from London newcomers The Love Barons. They've only been together for a year, so this track could mark the arrival of another great British guitar group.

'Happy Together' will be a free download from today. Check The Love Barons' website for details


Girl One And The Grease Guns - Veronica

With every pressing plant in the country going into overdrive ready for Record Store Day, the vinyl edition of Girl One And The Grease Guns' new EP 'No Longer Spellbound' has been put back to next week, but the download is available now. It's always good to see one of our tips for the year coming up with the goods, and everything we've heard from the EP would make a worthy OROTW. 'Veronica' is actually a reworking of a song by their former incarnation, The Manhattan Love Suicides, and it's typically great. With retro electronics and a classic indiepop sound combining to make a bite-sized piece of the sweetest ear candy that money can buy, we just can't wait to hear more from these guys. They've already established themselves as stars of the underground, and rightly so.

Girl One And The Grease Guns' website

Buy the EP

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Sunday 30 March 2014

Mummy Short Arms - Face Full Of Sand

Single review by

With Glasgow's Mummy Short Arms it was love at first sight. Those early singles led us to tip them for a sterling album to arrive at some point, and in 2012 it did. 'Old Jack's Windowless Playhouse' was fantastic, unique, twisted and accomplished; it even made our top 20 albums of the year list. The worry of course, is that a band can use up all their tricks in one go and then scrape around for ideas to cobble together a follow-up. Worse still, they can stick to the same formula, but with the ideas gone the songs suffer and a watered-down version of what went before is presented. 'Face Full Of Sand' is the first new material since then, so I guess you could say it's judgement day. We're pleased to report that not only have they come up trumps on the songwriting front, but none of the psychotic madness and individuality has been stripped away or lost its impact. This isn't just a rerun.

With a deceivingly tender, countryish intro, 'Face Full Of Sand' keeps you in suspense for a few seconds, but then it bursts into life with a maelstrom of guitars, drums and strange vocal mutterings in the background. They still sound like they belong in straight jackets, you still wouldn't trust them to feed your cat while you're on holiday, and you still wouldn't trust them to not put the fear of God into more innocent ears. The song is a triumph; it doesn't show a marked deviation in style, but it does show that they can take their trademark sound to a different level; there's plenty more in the tank yet. The B-side is a remix by JMK which doesn't strip away the band's sound and simply stick a vocal sample onto some dancefloor beats like your regular remixers, it adds a trippy, spaced-out vibe which when combined with those harrowing vocal cries adds a different atmosphere, but one that does justice to the original. It's different enough to sound like a totally separate song but similar enough to sound like Mummy Short Arms, and that's no mean feat. Lock up you daughters, pets, car and even yourself: Mummy Short Arms are back and they mean business.

Mummy Short Arms' website

Pre-order the single

Catch them live:

THREE FREE FLOWERS - Mummy Short Arms, Kick To Kill, alansmithee
Sat, April 5, Official 13th Note, Glasgow, United Kingdom

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

Michael Lynch - She's On Her Way

Single review by

With a combined running time of just under four minutes, you can tell it's unlikely that New York artist Michael Lynch will be wasting no time on these two songs. This is affirmed by the fact that the intro to 'She's On Her Way' lasts a whopping two seconds before he launches into the first verse. To summarise the sound of this track you simply have to imagine an early Byrds off-cut, and that's not to say this is below par. It's often the songs that don't get released at the time that turn out to be a band's best work. The wealth of Phil Spector material that's appeared on compilations and boxsets is proof of this. How these were left on the cutting room floor is baffling. So the Byrds comparison is an accurate one and the song is worthy of gracing one of their first albums.

Of course this means a '60s sound with jangly guitars and plenty of melody. There's a touch of soul as well, and that is pulled from the same era. This is traditional garage-pop that fans of indie-type guitar music have been using as reference points since the 1980s. B-side 'This Girl' deserves equal billing; it may be slower in pace and not quite as happy, but the sunny jangle still holds up well. In fact, if you knew no better you'd happily believe that this was a cover of an early Lennon/McCartney song, it's very much in that style. With this single, Michael Lynch gives us something old (in style), something new (in recording), something borrowed (the sound as a whole) and something blue (the sadness of 'This Girl'), and we'd have to say the marriage of these aspects makes for a fine listen.

Michael Lynch's website

'She's On Her Way' will be available from April 7th on Bandcamp

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

Summer Heart - U Got All I'm Looking 4

Single review by

In homage to the track-title, I'm going to conduct this whole review using only the communicative medium that is text speak, K? Get dialled in readers, here we go!

......So it turns out that, now I think about it, I actually don’t know any text speak... no wonder all my messages are biblical in length! They're very well punctuated though (Really? - Overworked Ed) - indeed since switching to a Smartphone barely a single message of mine sets off into the ether without a healthy littering of accidental full stops and out of place commas! It's not all bad though, on the plus side there's always the surging sense of exhilaration when, after ten minutes of puzzled prodding at the on screen keypad, I actually manage to locate the ampersand – YES, THAT'S WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR!

Just how efficient David Alexander's SMS composition skills are, we do not know, but he certainly knows how to put together a tune, and that’s something that he's been doing with great frequency throughout the past three years, crafting sparkling selections of gold leaf chillwave, under his assumed calling card Summer Heart.

‘U Got All I’m looking 4’ (presumably a reference to matters of the heart, rather than the eureka moment when you're reacquainted with the hiding semi colon) is David’s latest offering, the first since last June’s ‘Milano’ and ‘Beat Of Your Heart’ pairing, and a taster for what’s to come from a second album proper, the as yet unnamed follow up to 2012's excellent 'About A Feeling'. It’s a return to the fold that finds the Swede ploughing a familiar furrow, bestowing on us more of his blissful sun-splashed vibes, in hazy and lovingly lazy style. A ding-a-ling guitar line chugs in on board a conga drum-style back-beat, before the "chill" connotations of Summer Heart's chosen genre are well and truly banished by the blast of warm melodic air that ushers in the body of track. From there what unfolds is perhaps David's most conventional pop effort to date, helped in no small part by also being home to arguably his strongest vocal performance. Shimmering and chiming, bouncing and gliding, this is exactly the kind of bright, evocative creation we've come to know and love from Summer Heart, and an essential audio accompaniment for those afternoons spent slurping an ice cream float while splayed out in the sunshine.

There's ("there are", not "there is" or "there's". *sigh* - Ed) not no (Uh... oh forget it - Ed) typing issues in this instance readers, the message is incredibly simple – Summer Heart's got all you’re looking for.

Summer Heart's website

Buy the single on it's April 27th release here

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

Saturday 29 March 2014

Kubalove - All I Want

Single review by

*Looks out of window* Woohoo Sunshine!! I’ve been waiting for you, Summer, let's get this thing going! *pulls on shorts and t-shirt, digs out sunglasses and runs outside.....*

.....*runs back inside* It's expletive expletive expletive freezing out there!!! Honestly readers, it's not even funny how cold it is outside, it's almost April for god's sake, it's meant to be flowers and birds and warm breezes, not squirrels building igloos and snowmen tipping their hat as they stroll by! *sulks* 

Ok I may have exaggerated a tad there, but nonetheless the air outside is still shiver-inducing enough to make venturing over the doorstep an unattractive proposition. Inside however, it's a whole different story, because the temperature round these parts has just rocketed up to stiflingly steamy after a three minute rendezvous with London electro pop practitioner Kubalove and her latest video 'All I Want'.

Guaranteed to rapidly bring a crimson hue to the cheeks of those raised with more innocent eyes, this suggestive slice of short cinema has already been dubbed one of the sexiest videos of the year, but before you all go rushing down the page to click the little triangle inside a square, at least give us a moment to mention what tends to be our primary concern here at The Sound Of Confusion - that being not the visuals, but the all important music that it accompanies, and we're pleased to report that, much like its video; 'All I Want' the tune knows a thing or two about how to be seductive.

Constructed on the back of a steadily throbbing and buzzing base line, this is synthpop that adheres diligently to the genres original early eighties ethos; drumbeats echo with a regimented snap, flourishes are sparse and galactic in nature, and even when Kubalove "la la la la loves" her way through the chorus, it's done less with the pretence of a pop princess and more with the type of detached demeanour that typified Depeche Mode et al. in their formative years. Twists and turns are few, but it's that simplicity that works to the track's advantage, intensifying the sense of single-mindedness that infuses the prevailing mood and narrative.

Sex sells so the say, but so does a good product. That's what Kubalove's got, all she wants now readers is your love.

Kubalove's website

Buy the single

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

Five For Free #276

La Sera - Losing To The Dark

All of those fuzzy, DIY indie bands that seemed to take over the world for a while a few years ago have either faded away as they became irrelevant, or they've upped their game in the way that Dum Dum Girls did. By the sounds of thrashing, propulsive new single 'Losing To The Dark', La Sera have chosen the latter. This single will be on new album 'Hour Of The Dawn', out on May 13th.

La Sera's website

Catch them live:

08-May CA Los Angeles, The Echo
10-May NY New York, Baby's All Right
14-May DE Hamburg, Astra Stube
15-May DK Copenhagen, Huset-KBH
16-May NO Oslo, Vanguard
17-May DE Gothenberg, Pustervik
19-May DE Berlin, Monarch
20-May DE Schorndorf, Manufaktur
21-May BE Belgium, Kultuurkafee
23-May UK London, Hoxton Bar and Grill
24-May UK Leeds, Wardrobe
25-May UK Brighton, Sticky Mike's Frog Bar
26-May FR Paris, Point Ephemere
27-May FR Bordeaux, I.Boat
30-May ES Barcelona, Primavera Sound
31-May ES Barcelona, Primavera Sound

Paradise - Born and Bound

The second album from Portland psych group Paradise is set to be released on April 22nd and is called 'Soldiers Of The Modern Age'. The cover comes adorned with masonic and illuminati symbols, so we're assuming they want to take over the world. They might not be mainstream enough for that, but the classic blues/psych/garage of 'Born and Bound' has won us over.

Download 'Born and Bound' for free by heading here

Paradise's website

Pre-order the album

Unicycle Loves You - Face Tattoo

Brooklyn group Unicycle Loves You have announced details of their fourth album. 'The Dead Age' will be out on June 10th, but prior to that you can download single 'Face Tattoo' which is an energetic bundle of guitar-pop fun that touches on indie and grunge and will generally have fans of noisy guitars and sweet melodies falling for it.

Unicycle Loves You's website

Catch them live:

Apr 03 Shea Stadium, Brooklyn, NY
Apr 17 Cake Shop, New York, NY  
Jun 07 Radio Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

The Phantoms - Revolution

Scottish band The Phantoms could well lead the charge of a new generation of shoegaze/alt-rock bands. With a debut EP available, they've now put out free download 'Revolution', and it comes with a gigantic sound and a steely determination. There's confidence here and a sound to back it up, if there are a few more of these up their sleeves these guys could make a big impact.

The Phantoms' website

Gold Light - True Love Never Dies

'True Love Never Dies' is all classic chord structures, melodies and lyrics, but it sounds absolutely amazing; a warped doo-wop single for modern times. Gold Light are from North Carolina and are unlikely to take the charts by storm, but with songs as beautifully melodic and (despite the slight pastiche element) timeless as this they'll be sure to bring a tear to the eyes of those who've just split from the love of their life.

Gold Light's website

Buy the EP

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

Friday 28 March 2014

Sneak peak at Ummagma’s Lama Remixes LP

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Earlier we reviewed the double A-side single Ummagma released in December on Emerald & Doreen Recordings, with a fiery two thumbs up. The indiepop/nugaze duo has followed-up with a release that's nothing short of fantastic. This 8-track LP won't be out until early May, but our ear-buds are already savouring this output. Ummagma has made its mark over the past two years as an band beyond boundaries, mixing multiple genres in delicious new ways and with a video collection just as intriguing. Like this cluster of visuals which were put together by an international line-up of video-makers, this latest LP brings to the forefront a spangled roster of producers and artists from Italy, Sweden, Germany, Brazil and Russia. Many of them are not directly connected to genres like dreampop, shoegaze or noise rock, launching Ummagma into new beautiful territory.

Take Alexander Robotnick for instance, Italy's original electro/new-wave pioneer. He delivers a spaced-out, chilled remix. Sweden's Copycat wows with synth work à la Giorgio Moroder, cleverly meshing disco with My Bloody Valentine-style vocals and guitars. Germany's Theatre of Delays blew us away with a powerful emo house version of Ummagma's 'Lama'. Irregular Disco Workers add some severe '80s mood and '90s acid feel. Already with a Stereolab feel from the outset, go nogo take 'Lama' deeper into this territory, blending driving beats with ripe '90s-style indiepop.

Finally we find ourselves under the influence of Brazil's Mind Movies, who make this track do back-flips with a winding mechanical breakbeat and synth-pop bombshell. Moscow's Sounds of Sputnik delivers something completely novel, blending influences from four decades – from '70s psychedelic to '80s synth-joy, '90s indie and even 2000s electro wonder. With a song like 'Lama' in focus, Emerald & Doreen couldn't have gone wrong with this release. It was a 200% safe bet for this eclectically diverse remix potpourri. For now, here's a preview for you:

Ummagma’s website

Ummagma streaming & store

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

T.O.Y.S - EP3

EP review by

Can you imagine what would happen if you got Talking Heads, put them in a room with Interpol (on one of their less boring days) and made them listen to Holy Fuck for a week? What I'd imagine happening is them coming out of it all with a record that sounds not unlike 'EP3'. The Leeds trio don't half make a big racket for such a small outfit, and they seem to be improving too. The six tracks here aren't blessed with the greatest amount of variation in the world, but if they were to force such actions then the result would probably be a bit disjointed. 'X-Static' gets things underway and is full of beans but also full of beef. You could describe them as an indiepop band, but they'd be the school bullies at the college of indiepop, having the rest of the pupils hiding their faces behind their cardigans. That's not to say T.O.Y.S are intimidating, more that they're very robust and solid.

There's heavy use of organ and what sound like other analogue electronics in tracks like 'Koko', but this set of songs is one big plateau; there aren't any ups and downs, it's all the same quality, and they've set the bar higher this time around. Given the driving basslines, beats that give off a groove and the use of electronics, these tracks are surprisingly danceable. The brilliant, moody 'Crystal' even has a touch of 'Parts & Labor' about it, and that can't be a bad thing. They keep things coming at a rate of knots, with 'What To Do' using some muscular bass and battered beats to drill home the point, but they couple this with the melody and lightness of the sound effects that become the focal point until the vocals jump in. The piercing 'Indeed, But' keeps up this frenetic pace, and by now you realise that they're going at this thing with all guns blazing, like a juggernaut of post-punk, electro-rock and indiepop all thrown together with a great ear for detail and plenty of ideas. It's with the melodic 'Stay Home And Write' that T.O.Y.S finish, and it has the same energy and determination that has hallmarked the whole of 'EP3'. Personally, my lucky number is four, and if these guys keep progressing like this then the next release might even see them manage to go one better. Then they'll really be a crown jewel of the UK's underground music scene.

T.O.Y.S' website

Buy the EP

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

Thursday 27 March 2014

The Traps - Live At The Lexington, London, 14th March 2014

Review by

Photography by Philip Nash

London-based independent label Fierce Panda Records are in the midst of an exciting few months; for they have been putting on an array of shows here, there and everywhere around the great city that is London in celebration of 20 years of success for the label and the musicians they have been collecting along the way.
On the 14th of March we made our way down to Islington's The Lexington for Birmingham quartet, The Traps 'My Grip'/'Imposter' single launch show as part of Fierce Pandas 20th Birthday shows. As Jamie Berry (vox/guitar) and Nick Berry (bass/vox), James Minhas (guitar) and Daniel Webb (drums) of The Traps took to the stage to perform their 10-track set there was something immediately endearing about the band. Something that demands attention.

Perhaps it was the way that lead singer Jamie Berry is built like a mountain and towered above us all. But not in an intimidating way, not in an aggressive way. In a very down-to-earth, grounded way. Throughout the set Berry's melodic yet gruff, mature and confident vocals reminded us that this is not about image or theatrics, or deep angsty indie melancholy. This is pure and simple alt-pop that combines its influences from all over the musical spectrum. It's rough around the edges with pulsating, throbbing beats, rugged instrumentation from manly men who have spent more time making sure they have cultivated their combined talents instead of how good their hair looks (which, is not to say they looked like tramps, they are a rather dashing bunch!). The guys were also joined by two lovely ladies on brass (sax & trumpet) which gave a sexy, sultry touch to all the testosterone. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, uplifting performance from a really intriguing act who have a hell of a lot to offer, get yourself down to one of The Traps shows. No doubt you’ll be smiling like loons and jiggling away all over the place throughout the entirety of the set, just like we were.  Included are some highlights of the night in photo form.

Set list:
Eyes Open
Moving Pictures
Your Headland
My Grip
The Honey Drip 
Triumphs Cornerstone

The Traps' website

Buy the single

Catch them live:

Apr 15 Sebright Arms, London, United Kingdom
Apr 21 Shacklewell Arms London, United Kingdom
May 08 Great Escape Festival, Brighton, United Kingdom
May 09 The Worlds End, London, United Kingdom

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

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Five For Free #275

The Rich Hands - Teenager

With a surfy-punk flavour, this track from Texan trio The Rich Hands comes out the blocks like something by The Ramones. Taken from their new album of the same name, it's typically great, three-minute guitar-pop that's spilling energy from every orifice and is a relentless melodic thrash that marks off various references points from the 1950s onwards as it completes its journey.

The Rich Hands' website

Buy the album

Omi Palone - Shallow Divide

Having sold out all copies of their self-released cassette and a couple of singles, London quartet Omi Palone are set to release their first label material. A self-titled mini-album is due on April 14th and will be split between Faux Disc and Negative Space. Free taster 'Shallow Divide' is a searing post-punk track that hints at darkness without ever plumbing to the depths of despair.

Omi Palone's website

Pre-order the album

C O L L E C T R E S S - Spell

With the equinox passed and the clocks changing at the weekend, the UK is well and truly entering springtime. This is the perfect moment for C O L L E C T R E S S to release their latest offering, 'Mondegreen'. The aptly-titled 'Spell' is a string-driven, piano-filled soundscape that conjures up all the joys and hope that come with this time of year.

C O L L E C T R E S S' website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

FRI 28 MAR St Johns Church Totnes, Totnes, UK
SUN 30 MAR Little St Peter's Church, Brighton, UK

Earl Boykins - LEGGY BLONDES

Earl Boykins is famous for being the second shortest basketball player in NBA history. This isn't him, this Earl Boykins are a new powerpop group from New York. Taken from their debut album 'FRIENDS', 'LEGGY BLONDES' is all rumbling drums and scuzzed-out guitars that sound as though they're plugged directly into the city's largest electricity generator.

Earl Boykins' website

Stream or buy the album

Pool - Harm

Pool seem to be one of those bands who've given themselves a deliberately difficult to Google name. But given that they're German then we might be wrong. Anyway, the trio, who've been together since they were 14, have made new single 'Harm' available for free. It's a funky indie number that's part Talking Heads and part Two Door Cinema Club.

Download 'Harm' for free by heading here

Pool's website

Catch them live:

Apr 12 Lange Nacht der Museen @ Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany  
Jul 11 Feel Festival, Berlin, Germany

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

Monday 24 March 2014

Out This Week - 24th March 2014

Baby Guru - We Need Some Space

Making good use of analogue-sounding electronics, classic psych-pop and a Beatlesy chorus, 'We Need Some Space' is a little gem of a tune. Baby Guru are a trio who've been around since 2009 and this track is taken from their new third album 'Marginalia'. They state that they're from Pluto, and we'd almost believe them if we hadn't secretly discovered they were actually Greek.

Baby Guru's website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Apr 02 Big Band Café, Hérouville St Clair, France

Should - Down A Notch

Another duo who could easily trick you into thinking they were a four or five piece band, Should are from Baltimore, although their music takes clear inspiration from classic British indiepop. New album 'The Great Pretend' is out this week and single 'Down A Notch' is a lovely guitar tune with chiming guitars and a timeless melody that will tick the right boxes for C86 fans everywhere.

Should's website

Buy the album

The Vickers - I Don't Know What It Is

Although released on reliable Irish imprint Ruby Music, The Vickers hail from Florence in Italy, but you wouldn't think it given their accents on 'I Don't Know What It Is'. Their new album 'Ghosts' is out later this week and includes previous single 'She's Lost', as well as the trippy guitar-pop of this more recent cut. It's a bit like being trapped in a hazy, colourful dreamworld.

The Vickers' website

Buy the album

Withered Hand - Horseshoe

If you're in the UK then you might be lucky enough to have a copy of 'New Gods', the new album from Edinburgh's Withered Hand already. If not, you can buy it from this week. Single 'Horseshoe' is a cut above most Americana-type alt-rock, with lyrics that are heartbreaking ("please don't put a shadow on her lung... so young") and generally exceptionally well thought-out. Brilliant

Withered Hand's website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Apr 17 The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, UK
Apr 18 The Gate Arts & Community Centre, Cardiff, UK
Apr 18 CCA Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
Apr 19 Night & Day Café, Manchester, UK
Jul 25 Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire, UK
Jul 25 Midland Railway Centre, Ripley, UK


Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting On You)

Sometimes it can feel like we're in a world of our own; that the bands we champion should be world-beaters but the rest of the planet doesn't get it. Perhaps they can't see what we can, or perhaps we're just mad and have it all wrong. Some of the best records of recent years have barely been given a look in elsewhere, when they should be hugely acclaimed. Future Islands are now on their fourth album, and they haven't been ignored. They've gained press, have a big fanbase and people have heard of them. Yet they should be bigger. They should be rivalling The National or Arcade Fire for praise and size. Maybe they're just too quirky. 'Cotton Flower' landed at number 16 in out Top 30 tracks of 2012, and the utterly amazing 'Balance' was ten places higher the year before. Admittedly, both of these songs, however brilliant they are, took a few plays to win us over, and this will be due to the individual style of the band. New album 'Singles' is out this week, and finally the press seem to be getting as excited about Future Islands as we have been. With tracks like 'Seasons (Waiting On You)' it's no wonder. Hopefully they'll finally break through. Your turn next, Sad Day For Puppets!

Future Islands' website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album

Catch them live:

March 25 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
March 26 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall SOLD OUT
March 27 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
March 28 - Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club SOLD OUT
March 29 - Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
March 31 - Billings, MT @ The Rallyard
April 1 - Bozeman, MT @ The Filling Station
April 2 - Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
April 3 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile SOLD OUT
April 4 - Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre SOLD OUT
April 5 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge SOLD OUT
April 6 - Eugene, OR @ Cozmic Pizza
April 7 - Arcata, CA @ Humboldt Brews
April 8 - Reno, NV @ The Holland Project
April 9 - Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
April 10 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel SOLD OUT
April 12 - Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 15 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room SOLD OUT
April 16 - Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
April 17 - Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet's SOLD OUT
April 19 - Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 20 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
April 21 - El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
April 22 - Marfa, TX @ Padre's
April 23 - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
April 24 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links
April 25 - Little Rock, AR @ Stickyz Rock'n'Roll Chicken Shack
April 26 - Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree
April 27 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
April 29 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church SOLD OUT
April 30 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall SOLD OUT
May 1 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club SOLD OUT

May 7 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom SOLD OUT
May 8 - Manchester, UK @ Sound Control
May 10 - Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape
May 11 - Gent, BE @ Vooruit
May 12 - Paris, FR @ Le Trabendo
May 13 - Metz, FR @ Les Trinitaires
May 14 - Munster, DE @ Gleis 22
May 16 - Aarhus, DK @ Pop Revo Festival
May 17 - Hannover, DE @ Cafe Glocksee
May 18 - Dresden, DE @ Beatpol
May 19 - Leipzig, DE @ Conne Island
May 20 - Nurnberg, DE @ K4
May 21 - St. Gallen, SUI @ Palace
May 22 - Luzern, SUI @ Sudpol
May 23 - Offenbach, DE @ Hafen 2
May 25 - Koln, DE @ Gebaude 9
May 26 - Munchen, DE @ Feierwerk
May 28 - Wien, AUT @ Flex
May 29 - Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
May 30 - Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby Festival
May 31 - Neustrelitz, DE @ Immergut Festival
June 3 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
June 4 - Glasgow, UK @ SWG3
June 5 - Liverpool, UK @ The Kazimier
June 7 - Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2
June 8 - London, UK @ Field Day

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

Sunday 23 March 2014

Artist To Check Out: Lost Boy?

Article by

Lost Boy? has released a collection of covers, aptly titled 'Covers'. Lost Boy? is one guy, Davey Jones from Long Island, who writes and records songs and then plays live with a full band and Lost Boy? is frankly a pleasure; it's heavy and the songwriting is often perfect. There is a nineties thing going on, which obviously has current appeal, but it's really well done and the songs are great, and I'm the right age to be a sucker for nineties nostalgia. The imagery is all stuff from MTV and early nineties pop culture. Alternative, punk, garage, grunge, lo-fi; I'm sure all of these get used to talk about Lost Boy?: Pixies, The Breeders, Neil Young, The Ramones.

He's a good guitarist and has a great pop sensibility. The guy's voice is super high, the recording is all very do-it-yourself; lo fi, fuzzed-out. Davey Jones plays all instruments on the tracks and has a band for playing live. This guy is getting written up a lot and he's been putting out material steadily for years and at this point maybe he doesn't need me to write about him. 'MTV' and 'USA USA' are the two full-lengths, then there's live material and demos and EPs and whatever. 'She's a Highlight' is a great song, 'USA' is great too, and so is 'Chew'.

Lost Boy?'s website

Buy Lost Boy?'s music

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Saturday 22 March 2014

Five For Free #274

The Crayon Set - Attack

You could say it was very fitting that Dublin collective The Crayon Set are releasing a song called 'Attack' right when we're at the point of a major conflict in Crimea, but then there are always song about war and there's always a war going on somewhere. This highly contagious and slightly elaborate indie-rock track is a bit harder than their recent album and will be on an EP of the same name, released on March 29th.

The Crayon Set's website

Stream or buy the EP

Catch them live:

Saty, March 29, Whelanslive, Dublin, Ireland

Little Racer - Vanessa

Brooklyn quartet Little Racer are back with a new EP for Young & Lost Club who released their debut single in 2011. 'Modern Accent' (out April 8th) draws on influences from "New Order to Cat Stevens", so they have eclectic taste. Free taster 'Vaneassa' does have just a tang of New Order about it but the chiming guitars and strong vocal give it an identity it can call its own.

Little Racer's website

Pre-order the EP


Besides being the bedroom project of a girl from Oakland called ezv, all we can tell you about PASTEL GHOST is that she likes capital letters. 'PRISM' is from her new EP 'SHADOWS' which will be out soon. Despite the shouty typing, 'PRISM' is all soft textures and woozy vocals as she takes us on a journey through wondrous electronic dreampop.

PASTEL GHOST's website

'SHADOWS' will be available soon from Bandcamp

Violet Swells - Jupiter's Garden

More Aussie psych, but with Violet Swells they forgo the deep grooves in favour of catchier guitar-pop songs that have been filtered through a kaleidoscope and make for nice, easy, magical and summery listening. 'Jupiters Garden' is the Tasmanian group's debut single and if you like this, then check out B-side 'Only' which casts a similar spell and is also yours for nothing.

Download both tracks for free by heading here

Violet Swells' website

The Kill Van Kulls - Wishing

It sometimes seems like Manchester has an insatiable appetite for guitar bands. Many of them, including The Kill Van Kulls, have a slightly broader sound that takes in a little electronica or psychedelia. Really though, new single 'Wishing' from their forthcoming album is a great big hunk of top quality alt-rock with a retro feel and is designed to make the most out of your speakers.

Download 'Wishing' for free from The Kill Van Kulls' website

Pre-order the single

Catch them live:


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Friday 21 March 2014

Tilapia - Insteelworks

Single review by

Back in January we were introduced to the wonderful world of Tilapia via their debut EP 'Rawshank'. In light of the impending release of the South London four-piece's follow-up EP 'School' (out on April 7th through Disorder Records), we are very happy to premier 'Insteelworks', the first track to be revealed from the new EP. Available as a free download.

'Insteelworks' is almost three-minutes of dreamy indie-rock with shimmery synth/bass, nostalgic guitar riffs, and eclectic vocals that move from being typically 'indie' to conjuring up similarities between the distinctive gruff, urgent, throaty, theatrical vocals familiar to Tim Kasher (think Cursive tracks like 'The Gentleman Caller') and then reaching the other end of the spectrum with childlike high whispers reminiscent of Claudio Sanchez (Coheed and Cambria). This is a vibrant track full of variety that has your heart pulsating in sync with the discreet chugging of the drum beats. A blinding effort from an exciting act that should see Tilapia (presumably named after the freshwater fish) swim their way through the music scene in no time, leaving nothing but the joyous ripples of new fans in their wake.

Tilapia's website

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Tyrannosaurus Dead - Greatest Hits

Album review by

You'd have to guess there's a slight tongue-in-cheek aspect to Tyrannosaurus Dead deciding to call this album 'Greatest Hits'. The fact that smaller, independent bands such as this London and Brighton-based quintet don't really have what your average musicologist would describe as "hits" isn't really the issue, it's more the fact that these sixteen tracks are more a tying up of loose ends, a bringing together the collection of songs they've released on a trio of labels since 2011. So we don't just get the lead-tracks and most popular B-side and EP material, we get a compendium of everything. That said, most indiepop bands would be proud to release a compilation of this quality as a "best-of" at the end of their careers, so the fact that this is just a few years' worth of scattered recordings makes it all the more impressive.

With a clear penchant for fuzzy guitars and poppy melodies, they're anything but original, but that's not really the point. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a set of lovable songs such as this than have Thom Yorke pissing about with some electronic glitches and calling it art. The flying start of 'Buried In The Ground' is like injecting liquid Pro Plus into your eyeballs, and once you're awake, you're not allowed to nod off again. This might be sixteen songs long, with a track length that ranges from under two-minutes to over five, but it zips by, never allowing fatigue to set in. '1992' could be from then; it could be from any time since about a decade earlier, but it's great fun. It's the energy, vibrancy, excellent use of guitars and surplus of melody that make this record tick. We could be here all day discussing each song individually, but many of them are pretty much the same make and model, (barring the more thoughtful dreampop of 'Always Fine' and 'Banner') yet somehow have enough variation so that you hardly notice.

Boy/girl harmonies are given a good airing on songs like 'Misery Guts' 'Matthew' and 'Silver' (and most of the album to be honest); they aim for a more C86-oriented noise-pop approach on 'Oyster Boy You're A Blast', 'Splinters', 'Bed Dread' and the grungy 'Smiling Politely'. Songs such as 'Soft', 'Sadie' 'Lemonade' and the quick-fire burst of 'Dead Body' are just irresistible if this kind of thing is your bag. They have one final dip into more pensive waters for final track 'Pure & Apart' before leaving us feeling much happier than when they found us. It's difficult to decide whether Tyrannosaurus Dead put the "power" into "powerpop" or whether they put the "pop" into "powerpop". We'd have to say it's probably both.

Tyrannosaurus Dead's website

Buy the album

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Thursday 20 March 2014

The Jezabels - The Brink

Album review by

After forming back in 2007, Aussies The Jezabels have gone on to be big news in their homeland, with both of their albums hitting number two in the charts. But somehow this success hasn't been repeated in the UK yet. Released a few weeks after it hit the Australian market, their second full-length was actually recorded in London, and the band have begun to make more progress in this country, although it pales in comparison to the award nominations and victories they've scored down under. So what gives? Why haven't we embraced them in the same way in the UK? If you have an answer then you're a smarter person than me. My only guess it that because our charts are overrun with the same handful of big US popstars with Pitbull guest-spots that they just don't get the coverage.

You'd have to say that if they maintain this standard then their time will surely come. Comparable in style to bands like Metric or Howling Bells, 'The Brink' is one of those albums where every track could be a single. There is variation, and some songs will appeal to certain tastes more than others, but as a complete body of work this is quite seismic. The band hold nothing back and the production is like injecting each song with whatever Lance Armstrong was on; they make the very most of every asset they have without crossing the line. Be it alt-rock with electro leanings as found on 'Look Of Love' and the poppier electro-indie of 'Beat To Beat, or the powerful and emotive likes of the title-track, 'Got Velvet' and especially the tender 'Psychotherapy'; they don't miss a trick. With the depth of sound and their willingness to embrace different techniques you can even find echoes of the more commercial School Of Seven Bells tracks. You get no half measures here. These are big songs.

It can be a challenge to borrow from '80s rock and still sound good, but it's no problem for these guys, as we quickly find out on 'Time To Dance'. They allow a little more thoughtfulness to creep into 'Angels Of Fire', a song that finds them "getting old and bitter"; they did make it clear this album comes from a darker place than past material, although it's hardly a load of moping, gloomy tunes. The vocals soar and pull the song up high with them. "I've got a Cold War fascination" is another sign of something darker below the surface, especially as it's delivered on love song 'No Country', and more less-than-happy lyrics are scattered throughout. Single 'The End' is still a towering highlight and a must for anyone new to the band: make this your first port of call and you won't be let down. One running theme is just how personal the lyrics appear to be, and singer Hayley Mary has openly admitted that the challenge of following up a successful debut in a different location with a different producer was a challenge, but it was one they overcame with seeming ease. Nothing feels forced in the slightest. By the time you reach pensive yet epic finale 'All You Need' you can be in little doubt. The Jezabels deserve a break here, and a big one. At the moment, Australia has a secret. Please let that no longer be the case.

The Jezabels' website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Mar 20 GEBAUDE 9, Cologne, Germany  
Mar 26 El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Mar 29 Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA
Mar 31 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR
Apr 01 Neumos, Seattle, WA  
Apr 02 Imperial, Vancouver, Canada
Apr 04 The Starlite Room, Edmonton, Canada
Apr 05 Republik, Calgary, Canada
Apr 07 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN  
Apr 10 Lee's Palace, Toronto, Canada
Apr 12 Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
Apr 15 Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Apr 16 Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA
Apr 17 Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
Apr 25 Oakbank Racecourse, Oakbank, Australia
Apr 26 Maitland Showground, Maitland, Australia
Apr 27 The Meadows, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
Apr 28 Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Apr 29 Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
May 02 Palais Theatre, St Kilda Vic, Australia
May 03 Prince of Wales Showground, Bendigo, Australia
May 04 Murray Sports Complex, Townsville, Australia
May 06 The Tivoli, Brisbane, Australia
May 09 Astor Theatre, Mount Lawley Wa, Australia
May 10 Hay Park, Bunbury, Australia
Jul 17 Deichbrand Festival, Cuxhaven, Germany
Jul 18 Tollhaus, Karlsruhe, Germany

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

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Five For Free #273

Canon Logic - IBOK

We're continually reporting on how Brooklyn has some bands who materfully straddle the worlds of the mainstream and the alternative. Well, Canon Logic are one such band, and their single 'IBOK' is one such song. Taken from their new EP 'WYLD', this is big on radio-friendly hooks and also retains an air of innovation that will appeal to the indie crowd. They should be bigger, put it that way.

Free download: 'IBOK'
(Right click, save as)

Canon Logic's website

Stream the EP in full

Buy the album

King Of Prussia - Actuary

If your tastes tend to veer more towards less commercial indie sounds, then you might be well acquainted with King Of Prussia already. The Spanish/US collective have over 20 musicians featuring on forthcoming double album 'Zonian Girls…And The Echoes That Surround Us All' which is out in April. Single 'Actuary' is top-grade guitar music that's embellished by a plethora of wonderful instrumentation.

King Of Prussia's website

Pre-order the album

Catch them live:

THU 27 MAR Flicker Theatre and Bar, Athens, GA, US
FRI 28 MAR The Evening Muse, Charlotte, NC, US
SAT 29 MAR Rockin' Hard Saloon, Murrells Inlet, SC, US
SUN 30 MAR Chapel Hill Underground, Chapel Hill, NC, US
MON 31 MAR Slims, Raleigh, NC, US
TUE 01 APR The Camel, Richmond, VA, US
WED 02 APR Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC, US
THU 03 APR The SideBar Tavern, Baltimore, MD, US
FRI 04 APR Pianos, New York, NY, US
SUN 06 APR Stage on Herr, Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, Harrisburg, PA, US
MON 07 APR Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA, US
TUE 08 APR Howlers Coyote Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA, US
WED 09 APR Wilbert's, Cleveland, OH, US
THU 10 APR Frankie's, Toledo, OH, US
FRI 11 APR The Yellow Barn, Ann Arbor, MI, US
SAT 12 APR Hideout, Chicago, IL, US
SUN 13 APR Daytrotter, Rock Island, IL, US
MON 14 APR The Black Sheep Cafe, Springfield, IL, US
TUE 15 APR Foam, St Louis, MO, US
WED 16 APR Springwater Supper Club, Nashville, TN, US
THU 17 APR Pilot Light, Knoxville, TN, US
FRI 18 APR Emerald Lounge, Asheville, NC, US
SAT 19 APR Under The Couch, Atlanta, GA, US

Rasputin's Secret Police - Kids With No Friends

With news that yet another gritty, grungy '90s band have reformed (Veruca Salt), it really seems like there's a taste for this kind of thing at the moment. So it's the perfect time for the wider world to hear Rasputin's Secret Police. The duo have been making music for years, but never really ventured out of Philadelphia. New album 'Comfortable' should see the word spread further. Here's 'Kids With No Friends'.

Rasputin's Secret Police's website

Pre-order the album

Reveries - Rows

We hadn't featured Swedish band Reveries since a single last summer, and then they deliver us two singles in quick sucession. Firstly came 'Tip Of Your Tongue', and now 'Rows'. This is classic-sounding guitar-pop with a spring in its step and plenty of melody. It's perhaps the strongest track we've heard yet, changing from different dynamics and applying a bit more crunch when needed.

Reveries' website

Buy the single

Benjamin Shaw - Goodbye, Kagoul World

Canadian-born but Blackpool-raised, singer-songwriter Benjamin Shaw accurately describes his sound as "mope-fi". From the forthcoming album of the same name, single 'Goodbye, Kagoul World' shows that he at least has a sense of humour with it. This brass-flecked alt-rock track gently plods along with a wearyness to the vocals, yet still it sounds sparkling and lovable. Rarely has moping sounded so good.

Download 'Goodbye, Kagoul World' for free by heading here

Benjamin Shaw's website

Pre-order the single

Catch him live:

WED 16 APR The Ivy House, London, UK

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