Saturday, 25 February 2012


Emily – GOLDSPOT (from the album And The Elephant Is Dancing– 2009)
On first listen, Goldspot sounds like a myriad of other West Coast sunshine pop bands but there is a nagging sound in the background. Then you get it – the sound as influences from the East. We’re not taking New York, here, but way east – India, in fact. This may be because Goldspot is actually Siddharta Khosla, and Siddharta loves nothing better than to mix The Beach Boys with Bollywood. Great pop music!

Honey – THE HUSH SOUND (from the album Goodbye Blues – 2008)

We’re staying on a pop tip with this track. Hailing from Illinois, and with a brilliant vocalist in Greta Salpeter, this is another band guaranteed to brighten up the most miserable of days. Greta is a classically-trained pianist, and it shows throughout the album

No Nations – JETS OVERHEAD (from the album No Nations –2009)

Here’s a Canadian band that know their Radiohead songbook backwards and forwards, and have added a little psychedelia into the mix. This is no bad thing. The vocals are just that little bit back in the mix, leaving the actual music at the forefront. Chiming guitars and a great rhythm section. A very underrated group

Monday, 20 February 2012

Eighteen with a bullet

Where Is Bobbie Gentry? (from the album California Years –2009) : JILL SOBULE
We all know Roberta Lee Streeter, right? As Bobbie Gentry she will forever be remembered for the classic “Ode To Billie Joe” but she was a brilliant singer/songwriter. She stopped recording in 1974 and dropped plain out of sight, refusing all offers of a comeback.
Jill Sobule, on the other hand, is not universally recognised but she is the writer of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”. She is also a brilliant singer/songwriter. This homage to Bobbie (think you’ll recognise the tune) is a classic in itself – the title tells you everything about the song.

ComfyCozy – LUKE VIBERT (from the album Chicago Detroit Redruth – 2007)

You may have heard Luke Vibert without really knowing you’ve heard him, as he records under about eight other names besides his own. The album explores pretty much every type of dance music, and one this track we get a very 50s-style jazz track with a drum n bass backing.

Days Like This – SHAUN ESCOFFERY (from the album Shaun Escoffery – 2007)

British soul music has always been, for me, the most underrated musical genre. Especially amongst the British. Fortunately, our American friends tend to acknowledge the quality. This track will bring out the sunshine on even the grimmest days – quality music that easily matches the best of Chicago house

Friday, 17 February 2012


Visiting Day (from the album Dirty Side Down – 2010) : WIDESPREAD PANIC
Even I miss out on bands sometimes! Discovered this lot last year but this is their 11th album and they are neighbours in Athens, GA with the no-longer-with-us REM. Their fans say this is one of their best efforts. A rock / blues / jazz influenced band and an album brimming with great songs from start to finish

The Dead Dog (from the album American Ghetto – 2010) : PORTUGAL, THE MAN
Another band that had previously passed me by. Originally from Alaska, but now based in Portland OR, this is their sixth album and their seventh has just been released. Bluesy guitars and a funky bass over electronic beats is the bands stock in trade. What I loved about this album was its brevity – 11 songs clocking in at under 40 minutes. Now that’s what I call an album!

Threads (from the album Threads – 2010) : TEMPOSHARK
Temposhark is, of course, not a band but a lad from Brighton called Robert Diament. Reminds me a lot of early Pet Shop Boys – great dance songs and brilliant pop songs. Again, not a duff track on this album

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Volume 16

Noli Me Tangere (from the album Open Your Arms – 2010) : THE LUCKNOW PACT

A band! From Sweden! And one going for that epic pop sound that bands such as The Killers (with limited success) and Glasvegas (now we’re talking) have aimed for. A monumental sound, in fact, and aided by swathes of echo, synths and drum machines. A very good debut

Ocean (from the album Falling – 2009) : 2020 SOUNDSYSTEM

Perhaps better known as a production team, this Leeds-based crew surprised everyone when they decided to release an album and do the festival circuit. Their ambient sound went down very well indeed. What do they sound like? Imagine Ian Brown wrote and sang the songs and LCD Soundsystem played them. Yep! That sums it up nicely

 Who Is They? (from the album alone – 2011) : THE MORNING AFTER GIRLS

Originally from Australia but now based in New York, this lot have recorded one of the best albums of 2011. Great songs, soaring guitars, and a real epic sound. I hope the next album sees them breaking big, because they deserve it

Saturday, 11 February 2012


Monolith (from the album Continent – 2009) : CFCF
What a surprise! CFCF is, in reality, Michael Silver from Montreal. Quality dance music as influenced by 80s bands such as The Human League and Heaven 17 as it is by more recent bands such as Deadmau5. The album has a great groove running through it.

Another Day In The Life Of Mr Jones (from the album Tales From Beyond The Groove – 2009) : THE LIMP TWINS
One of the “twins” is actually Will Holland from Quantic and The Quantic Soul Orchestra. Fans of those acts will know what to expect. A chilled-out groove, every song a joy, but with lyrics more likely to be found on an album by Madness. The lyrics to this song are particularly amusing.

The Brightest Beyond (from the album Oh For The Getting And Not Letting Go – 2009) : ALL SMILES

Guess what? All Smiles are Jim Fairchild (guitarist with the late, lamented, Grandaddy) and ... er ... that’s it!
Eschewing the sometimes-complicated song structures of his previous band, he has recorded an album (his second) overflowing with pop songs. The album is also notable for its silky-smooth production. Music that gives you a warm glow inside. This starts loud but stick with it - great song!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Easiest Game (from the album Born On Blue Fog – 2008) : ANDRE ETHIER

French-Canadian balladeer whose musical style is a kind of late-night blues but often with a full orchestral backing and some great sax work. Nothing like the band he used to front, The Deadly Snakes, who were a full-on garage-punk band

Devil And Muse (from the album Begin At The Beginning – 2009) : OUR FAMILY NAME
Oh dear, I do seem to have started this collection with bands that are obscure even by my standards. The band is a trio of youngsters from, I believe, Florida. Giving their influences as Coldplay and Radiohead, their songs have more emotional depth than the former and are more accessible than the latter.  Really difficult album to track down

Night Animal (from the single Night Animal – 2010) : BURNING HEARTS

Taken from their single of last year, we are still waiting for a new album from this duo, who hail from Finland. There is a new EP out, Into the Wilderness, which you can find here.  Great melodies, understated vocals, and a dreamy pop sound not unlike early Belle & Sebastian

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Lucky Thirteen

Sleepwalker – (from the album Permalight – 2010) : ROGUE WAVE

We go jetting back to the States, to Oakland, California in fact, for this next band. After three albums of varying styles of indie music, the band decided on this, their fourth, to go upbeat. Very upbeat it is too, as if the band spent all their time listening to Blur and Outkast records before making it. Very enjoyable

Trust – (from the album Feral Harmonic – 2009) : OLD CANES

And now to Kansas, for Old Canes. An offshoot of The Appleseed Cast, the musicians here wanted to explore a merger of indie and folk music, without smothering it in record studio production. A very lo-fi album, but extremely charming

Belong  (from the EP High Times - 2009) : WASHED OUT

Washed Out isn’t a band (just when did this craze for solo artists giving themselves band names start? I blame The Streets), but the work of one Ernest Greene (ah! perhaps that’s why he chose a different name?) and his laptop

Cannot give you a link to this EP, unfortunately, as this chillwave classic was contained on the above EP and the release was limited to 200 only ... oh ... and that was on cassette.  However, his excellent debut album Within Without is now available 

Great video, by the way

Monday, 6 February 2012


Breathe – (from the album The Orchestra, Sadly, Has Refused – 2004) : THE SILENT LEAGUE
A band that came together from former members of Mercury Rev (of whom they sound eerily similar) and Interpol (and there are traces of that sound as well) and based in New York.  A lush, orchestral, sound under good indie songs, one also gets a flavour of the solo work of George Harrison who, I am guessing, must have been a big influence

A Sobering Thought (Just When One Was Needed) – from the album First Frost – 2008) : THE LUCKSMITHS

Australian indie band who called it a day in 2009 after 16 years together and who never got the success they deserved. Always a band with a sunny disposition, their most striking feature was that the lead vocalist was the drummer, who would stand up whilst simultaneously singing and playing.  A song, and an album, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Now’s The Only Time I Know – (from the album Fever Ray – 2009) : FEVER RAY

We’re staying on a Scandinavian tip for Karin Dreijer Andersson, one half of Swedish electro duo The Knife and a solo artist recording as Fever Ray. A very dark album, almost swamp-like, but one that you want to listen to again and again. For me, this was one of the best albums of 2009 and one I come back to often.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Legs 11

Take Care – (from the album Alt-Ctrl-Sleep –2008) : ALT-CTRL-SLEEP
Now we’re in North Carolina for this husband & wife duo. Very much in the “dream pop” camp (we call in “shoegazing” over here in the UK), this is a lush, highly polished, album full of great tunes and great harmonies

The Mystery Zone – (from the album Transference – 2010) : SPOON
Austin, Texas, is the home of, in my humble opinion, America’s most underrated band. This is their seventh album and shows that they are a band with more than three good albums in them (I have a theory that three decent albums is usually the norm for any band – see Coldplay, etc). Classic, guitar-based, indie music. Great hooks, great lyrics, great band. Try them – I think you’ll like them

Hunchback of Torriano – (from the album The Liberty of Norton Folgate – 2009) : MADNESS
Back to Blighty for this obscure little band ... pardon ... you’ve heard of Madness?

Of course you have heard of Madness. A great British tradition and a band loved by most. However, the purpose of this blog is to introduce you to music that may have passed you by, and this album may well have done. Without doubt the best album of their career (and the 10 minute long title track is the best thing they've ever done), its still the band we know and love, but an older, wiser, more musically-mature band. Brilliant stuff!

Friday, 3 February 2012


Standing In Chicago – (from the album Go West – 2009) : ADAM MARSLAND

Another New Yorker, and a long-time session musician with The Beach Boys, he branched out on his own to create this fantastic double CD covering a range of genres. Has often been compared, by his fans, to Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, it covers a period of his life where he left the security of a huge band, tragically lost his brother, and had most of his recording equipment stolen in a burglary. Out of all that adversity has come triumph

Heartbeat – (from the album Anniemal – 2005) : ANNIE
Annie Lilia Berge Strand, to give her her full name, is a bit of a Norwegian pop legend. She records sparingly, but her albums are always classic pop music but done in a style that has made her a bit of a darling of the indie crowd. Much of this is to do with the air of melancholia her lyrics and voice give to the electrobeat underneath. Can you dance to sad songs? Yes, you can

Lovers Dream – (from the EP Lovers Dream and More Music for Psychotic Lovers – 2007) : ANNA TERNHEIM

Swedish artiste who might be familiar to fans of the Swedish version of Wallander. On this track she teams up with Fyfe Dangerfield of The Guillemots to produce a haunting song that really gets under your skin. This EP is a somewhat smoother sound that her earlier works, but is a great introduction to this unusual singer

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9

Beauty, Beauty - (from the album Animal Feelings – 2010) : RAFTER

American singer-songwriter, hailing from San Diego, who sounds much more like a big band than a solo performer. Its his juxtapositioning of genres that I love – he sings like he’s an indie stalwart, the band swing like they are backing the latest r’n’b fave. This mixture of indie and soul gives you an album that you cannot help but tap your feet to, and sometimes has you up dancing

Brain ≠ Heart (I Need To Know) – (from the album AncientElectrons – 2010) : ANALOG REBELLION

Another solo artist who thinks he’s a band, but this one is from Texas. His name is Daniel Hunter and he has been around several years under a number of guises. As Analog Rebellion, he lays down catchy, electropop, backing and overlays it with acoustic guitar. The effect is to make an album of classic pop songs

Lo Hi Hopes – (from the album Mount Chimaera – 2010) : BRASSTRONAUT

This lot are from Canada, a country that has been producing lots of great bands over the past few years. Its almost as if the country has realised that there is more to them than The Guess Who (70s rock band who were, for years, Canada’s biggest musical export). This was one of the best albums of last year but, like most of the albums on this blog, failed to get the recognition it deserved. The band play rock music influenced by jazz, but it’s not jazz-rock. They are a talented bunch as well, with band members playing everything from trumpet, clarinet, and glockenspiel to saxophone, flugelhorn and even a weird wind-synth called an EWI.


Lorne Toffer (from the album Fractions of Fictions - 2008) : THE SOUND OF SEA ANIMALS

Not sure if the band, who hail from Quebec, still exists as a band, because there have been no new posts on their website for over a year. If they have called it a day, that's a damn shame. This album is so obscure that even Amazon does not stock it, yet it has been one of my favourite albums of the last few years. This track is not representative of the album in mustical style, but then there are no two tracks on the album that sound alike. If I had to put a label on it, I'd say "Abbey Road-era Beatlesque with a French accent" - isn't going to catch on as a genre, though.

The Glimmer Song (from the album Sun Moon Stars - 2009) : A BAND CALLED QUINN

Another Scottish pop band, this one hailing from Glasgow. They've been around a few years and Alex Kapranos (now the leading light in Franz Ferdinand, was once in the line-up. The band's focal point is Louise Quinn, the lead vocalist, who also appears on a number of tracks on albums by Kid Loco. The band, and Luoise's vocals, sound not unlike Goldfrapp

Twelve Fingers (from the album Astronaut - 2009) : SALEM

Not to be confused with the Israeli death-metal band of the same name, Salem is actually Lars Salem Al Fakir. As you might be able to tell from the name, he is half-Swedish, half-Syrian. A bit of a child prodigy (was an accomplished violinist by the age of 4), Salem takes his influences from just about everywhere - blues, soul, psychedelia - and channels them through a rich vein of Swedish pop.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


If It's Good For Me (from the album Good Morning Mother - 2010) : STARS & SONS

Aptly described in one review as "Forty minutes of bubblegum brilliance", you know you are not in for an album of progressive post-rock. No, you are in for an album's worth of very catchy piano pop. Most definitely worth a listen

Sister Sunshine (from the album One Ride - 2008) : PETER MOORE

Never heard of Peter Moore? If you've ever played Guitar Hero or Rock Band, then you most definitely have. He was also lead singer with The Blue Man Group. This is classic pop music, and brings XTC very much to mind

Miss Downtown Sugar Girl (from the album Groovalicious - 2003) : CHRIS STANDING

Afficianados of the genre known as Smooth Jazz will be familiar with Chris Standring, but on this album he explores his soul and funk roots and his love of bands like Cameo, Average White Band and Earth Wind & Fire. Deliciously funky without ever straying away from the jazz groove