Post War Years, Mechanical Owl, Colourmusic, Stapleton, Hot Silk Pockets - NOW HEAR THIS#3
The last few months have been a time of reflection for Now Hear this, we packed our sunscreen (like we needed it) and shorts and took ourselves off to the beach with our Iphones, and continued our endless shift through the endless amounts of music that the interweb has to offer. The next six acts are the fruits of that search some have already released records, some may be new to you, some may not. But they all share something that made our ears go 'oo' a spark of imagination or individuality, a way with a tune, that means they are the latest to be daubed with the honour of us urging you to give them a try so NOW HEAR THESE: Post War Years, Mechanical Owl, Colourmusic, Salty Pirates, Stapleton, and Hot Silk Pockets.
First up GIITTV ed Bill Cummings serves up two tasty aural delights:
POST WAR YEARS
Lemington Spa, its not exactly renknowned for its musical heritage (unless I'm missing something)Is it? Well Post war years seem intent on changing that, their recent single 'Black Morning' proves that you can be experimental, and ambient whilst producing a hypnotising groove that will have your limps moving, involuntary. Its airy and breathy and subtle, it sounds like it was recorded in a disused church hall. But wait on this evidence they aren't the latest in a long line of fly by night punk funk try hards. These melting vocals paw their way into your head like Pink Floyd given a modern respray, and beginning to
appreciate what it means to be POP. When the funky breakdown kicks in its the sound of Talking Heads flying up shiny post industrial elevators.
Post War Years live together in an abandoned Russian social club hairdressers. Here, they can usually be found creating big beats in the kitchen or just sleeping somewhere. Any noises you hear are triggered by a Live Finger or foot. They grew up together, and enjoy a varied diet.
In a small village in north Wales there's a mechanical owl perched on a tree branch hooting in the dim moon light, his origins are believed to lie in Canada. Mechanical owl is vocalist Mike Patton and his live band, fusing the skewed casio pop of the postal service with emotional the intimacy of Eliot Smith.
The best track is 'Brittle' beginning with a weaving guitar line, into an shuffling Sigur ros esque rhythm, with waves of wah wah synth uncoils through tender unassuming melodies, that envelop you in a warm in embrace. Its purity: subtlety, sensitivity and simplicity of its creation allowing it to grow into something special.
Next up our newly installed Unsigned Sub Ed Owain Paciuszko digs up two treasures from Texas and Sweden:
Austin, Texas band Colourmusic is a product of Roy G. Biv, who isn't actually real, he is a device for remembering the colours of the rainbow, but, also - allegedly - creates wonderful folksy Beta Band-esque chants such as the psychedelic Circles and the absolutely anthemic Yes! So far having only released two flawless EPs (Yellow and Red) Colourmusic are gearing up to unveil their slightly delayed debut album later this year, by which time hopefully critics everywhere will be hollering their praises and - fingers crossed - Roy G. Biv (whoever he is) will pop over and play us some of his tunes.
Sweden seems to produce a great new band every single week, but it's those that endure that matter and Salty Pirates have been filling my ears with funny/bitter pop songs for quite a while now. They met in high school and to 'fight the commercialism that's infecting the music industry today' they put all their recordings up on their website to download for free. Which means you have no excuse not to enjoy the likes of Shark Attack, a skewed story of unrequited romance, and My Academic Beard with its wonderful closing refrain of 'I just want to sleep with you!' (Perfect for romantic mix tapes).
Next up Mark Shields weighs in with a hardworking band he deems worthy of more attention:
The Glasgow scene has always been vibrant and in the late 1990s it was covered with acoustic bands emulating the Travis/Radiohead effect. Born out of this environment are perennial underdogs Stapleton, who have been plugging away for what seems forever looking for that break.
Three LPs, a couple of EPs later and their summery, lofi guitar pop is something to behold, and it really is a surprise that not enough people have heard of the band. Releasing Hug the Coast in 2005 the band showed further maturity, taking their melodies to a place so summery that you can imagine the record hanging out on a beach with a Hawaiian shirt and shades, being the first person invited to every party. Inside this album though there was something else - a bubbling sense of a band trying to stretch themselves into bigger arrangements and bigger things. In May of 2008 they released their fourth LP, "Rest and Be Thankful", through XTRAMILE and it's quite the summer record.
Lastly our new live sub ed and assistant editor: Fliss Collier offers up an alternative to the same old tired trad indie:
HOT SILK POCKETS
When you're tired of same-old same-old trad indie, Hot Silk Pockets are just the panacea. It's barely an option to pin them down, so wild is their bag. I could mention the Velvets tambourines one minute, or the 70s punk snarl of their rebellious teen vocals the next; then the Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz mix of guitars or crackle-addled Comet Gain-esque sonics of production, sounding like a scratchy slice of vinyl from the 80s. But Hot Silk Pockets are a riot all of their own.
It's edgy yet cute; something to sway to, or a soundtrack to drunken resentment (see the defiance of "What's the Matter" with its 'I wanna go out/ you wanna stay in/ You wanna drink tea/ I wanna drink gin' refrain of ace). Hot Silk Pockets' key songs have got a great gargantuan thud of a bass and rhythm section to them that is an underpinning force propelling them mightily - these songs being the marvellously titled 'Ooh Ooh' and 'Panda Eyes', which are a sure shot to fey blandness.
They're something of an enigma on their Myspace, which lacks your standard biog, influences, or giving too much away. So GIITTV dug a bit further and found out that the band are named after camping equipment to keep your hands warm (!), and that some of them live in an old folks' home. Their approach to music is as DIY as it comes across in sound, and the band enthuse about making "scratchy treble and reverb heavy pop" recorded themselves at home on basic equipment -"the echo comes from the high ceiling in the kitchen".
The full line up is: Gayle Thomas - vocal and keyboard, Andrew Free - vocal and bass, David Fairservice - guitar, Anthony Hall - drums, and Ollie Pickering - guitar, and the band formed to play parties in their shed before moving on to living rooms and pub back-rooms in the Reading area. The band have a single coming out in Autumn with Stolen Recordings who they think are great, and Dave is doing a drawing for the sleeve as we speak. "Then," they say, "we will record some more songs in our flat, make the records, and play some more sheds. DIY!" Here's to it!
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