Sad Day For Puppets, Danimal Kingdom, alt track, Witheredhand, Meursault - NOW HEAR THIS #4
Spring is in full glorious bloom and NOW HEAR THIS is back with a vengeance. Never heard of this lil' old feature before? Well it's a monthly (hopefully, from now on) new/emerging/unsigned act piece, that shines a spotlight on acts that are currently exciting us in GIITTV towers. So pull up a pew, get MySpace, Last.fm, Spotify, or your music player of choice at the ready and NOW HEAR THESE!
First up GIITTV editor Bill Cummings plucks out a promising act with a debut album on the way:
Sad Day For Puppets
Sad Day for Puppets Myspace
The name a Sad Day for Puppets makes me think of the Puppet scenes from the film Being John Malcovich, where puppets are used by Craig Shultz (John Cusack) to act out his stilted fantasies and tragic emotions. In reality, they are a Swedish indie-pop act who will catch you totally off guard with their swooning melodies and toe tapping deceptive fuzz pop. Formed by Martin Källholm, guitarist and songwriter, and vocalist Anna Eklund, the band's sound comprises Kallholm's ringing chords and Anna's etheral melodies that slither around them equal parts joy, equal parts heartbreak.
Wisely skirting the well worn (of late) gaze touchstone of JAMC and harking back to fizzing dream pop melodies of 90s act Lush, there are also elements of The Boo Radleys, Chapterhouse, and vaunted FX pedal leg-ends like My Bloody Valentine too. Their layered sound swirls pleasingly with guitar figures intricately weaving in and out of cascading fuzz, whilst the melodies retain a breathy charm. But most of all they appear unafraid of a good pop song or two which probably sets them apart from many more twee outfits. They ain't no one trick puppets either - the clicking seductive swoons of Mother's Tears is redolent of The Knife, only with more fuzzbox effects pedals on display. While their delicious new download-only single, Cherry Blossom (released on May 18) chimes with multicoloured catherine wheels of distortion, and swinging melodies that bring to mind the work of Mazzy Star, it also contains that rare thing: hand claps that don't sound out of place!
Sad Day For Puppets release their eagerly-awaited debut album Unknown Colors as a CD/download through shoegaze label of choice Sonic Cathedral, on the 1st of June. The album includes the upbeat bittersweet fuzz of previous single Marble Gods, which was named Single Of The Week on Steve Lamacq's BBC 6 Music show, no less. To coincide with the release, the band play a host of UK dates. I suggest you check them out, you might just get enveloped by their great big sonic hug!
Next Sel Bulut gives us a new artist that will get your body moving:
Danimal Kingdom Myspace
After his old band Bolt Action Five bit the dust, frontman Dan Murtha decided he was bored of working with others and wanted to do his own thing. Which is a good thing really, because Bolt Action Five were a bit rubbish, whereas Danimal Kingdom is really bloody good. Although with only a few tracks under his belt the promise of these demos really shines, and they are something of an A&R man's wet dream. Girl Boy Girl and Good As Gold are two of the catchiest songs you'll hear this year and are begging to be released with a spot of polish as singles in the future, and if you can't resist moving your body to the grooves of Through The Ice then you're most likely paralysed, or dead. Danimal is joined by two friends for a very special live show, and is/are on the road right now playing a few dates with Esser.
Craig Broad turns the noise up a notch or two with his pick:
ds brett photography
alt track (unsigned)
alt track on Lastfm
alt track Myspace
Since their inception in 2007, alt track, a genre-hopping alternative duo from Bradford, have steadily been kicking up a frenzy in the north of England, part due to constant gigging, and in part due to the maturity in their songs and the politically charged lyrics within. Their debut EP, released in 2008, A Nation is on Fire, is a self-produced, self-funded and self-released,affair which gained respect and kind words from fans and independent publications alike with its mix of Radiohead's experimentation, Muse's theatrics and Rage Against The Machine's political nous.
2009 shows alt track in no mood of slowing with a debut album Silence Is Approval ready for release and a summer UK tour pencilled in for your town.
Lastly, Helen Newbury has a couple of suggestions from north of the border:
I'd like to nominate two stalwarts of the Edinburgh scene, Withered Hand, and Meursault. Dan Wilson, aka Withered Hand, specialises in the kind of songs which break your heart whilst simultaneously making you laugh out loud. His EP Religious Songs is as good an introduction to his music as any, with the title track exemplifying his lyrical approach: 'When I beat myself off when I sleep on your futon / I walk in the rain with my second hand suit on', surely the best rhyming couplet you'll hear this year (or at least in this month's round up - Ed.). His occasionally ramshackle live shows are worth catching for their sense of impending chaos, with Wilson invariably snatching victory from the jaws of musical defeat through his stunning voice and engaging personality.
The second nomination is Wilson's occasional bandmate, Neil Pennycook, who as Meursault released what would have been a shoe-in for one of my top ten albums of 2008, if I'd been bothered to put one together. And although Pissing On Bonfires / Kissing With Tongues showcases the quality and versatility of his songwriting, like Wilson it's his voice which carries the show. It's well worth seeing him live, especially at one of his solo acoustic shows, to fully appreciate his heartbreaking range. Genuinely one to watch.