Wednesday, 25 July 2012

An Apology and Some Reviewing

Like many other things in the UK, Lobandwidth will grind to a halt during the Olympic period (that includes my radio show), due to ‘circumstances beyond my control’. Radio, blogging, reviewing and all of that will resume from around the 14th August.
Rather than leaving you with a gaping hole in your life/dashboard here are a few recommendations to tide you over:

Playlounge have been announced as support for Johnny Foreigner VS London part 3. Fuzzy guitar mixed with gorgeously melodic guitar hooks, echoing vocals and surreal titles, their thrash-pop with a charismatic lo-fi/bedroom recording feel is set to be the perfect companion to Jo-Fo. Also playing that night are Her Parents, who don’t seem to have anything available to listen to online, but as they’re made up from members of Dananananaykroyd, Internet Forever and Stairs To Korea it’s got to be good.

Gross Magic’s ‘Teen Jamz EP’ is full of 90s indie influences, but it’s clear they’ve also got a strong talent for making their music extremely catchy. Sweetest Touch sounds like the soundtrack to a Freaks & Geeks-esque TV show and it’s taking the nostalgia popularised by Best Coast/Wavves to a new level.

Xiu Xiu are something of a favourite here at LBW (in case you haven’t guessed), they’ve got a new single out on cassette and vinyl. But that’s not what’s caught my eye, a fan-run tumblr has uncovered this recording of Jamie Stewart covering the Pixies’ ‘Gigantic’ (from 1995!). It’s difficult to make a cover stand up to the original, especially with such an incredible song, but Stewart does it marvellously.

Euan Lynn’s brilliantly titled four-track EP ‘She’s So Rad But I’m So Sad’ is a mix of “surfy-punk” and Game Boy based electronica. Starting off with a Scott Pilgrim reference it’s as noisy yet enjoyable as you might expect.

And if you missed it last time I posted about them, make sure you check out The Bronze Medal. Their set at Bristol Harbor Festival was incredible, especially considering only 2/5 were well enough to play, and they only had an hour’s notice. A really great band, worth keeping an eye on.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Bronze Medal - The Bronze Medal

For a while the only tracks by The Bronze Medal available have been a heartbreaking serenade on the importance of calcium for strong teeth called ‘Milk’ and a couple of acoustic videos on youtube (including a beautifully harmonised Frightened Rabbit cover). No more, however, must I listen to the same two songs on repeat to get my fix, as they’ve released an EP.

Only four tracks long, it’s perhaps a little short for my taste, but then that’s only because I could listen to the gorgeous, yearning sound they create for hours. With distinctively powerful and emotive vocals that somehow also manage to sound fragile, and a constant undertone of longing and sadness The Bronze Medal are probably best compared to bands like Dry The River and We Were Promised Jetpacks. But that’s not to say they’re going over old ground musically, the final track of their self-titled EP ‘Womb’ epitomises their Mogwai-like talent for morose guitar music, but with the addition of those soft, mournful vocals, the crescendo-ing waves of sound become yet more painfully beautiful.

Album Review // My Tiger My Timing ~ Celeste

 Read on GoldFlakePaint

Named after a song by composer, singer, musician and disco producer Arthur Russell, My Tiger My Timing have been a few years in making their first album. The band formed in 2008, although this album is (self-) released on their label Snakes and Ladders Records, which has been going since 2005. Given this, you might be expecting something lo-fi or DIY. Not the case at all. MTMT make gleaming electro-pop, gloriously free of the standard dubstep breakdown that pollutes a lot of poppier indie dance music at the moment.

There’s a driving, rhythmic beat as the basis of almost every song, adding movement and an abundant feeling of joy. Third single, ‘The Gold Rush’, is a melodious blend of that beat and Anna Vincent’s sassy vocal delivery, bringing a darker element. There’s a catchy contrast between her swift and memorable delivery of “so near so far so happy you can join us” and the rising “ooh ohh ohh”s, underlaid with a swelling tropical guitar riff. The track becomes addictive and blissfully enjoyable; there’s something very unique and fresh about this album, clearly a band worth keeping an eye on.

Bands like Summer Camp and Class Actress are popularising an 80s nostalgia. MTMT also seem to draw inspiration from this, using it to make their sound distinctive and recognisable yet individual.

Demonstrating an understanding of the need not to make an album solely of cheerful sing-along tracks, ‘Celeste’ has its softer moments. ‘Memories Of Earth’ feels gentle, particularly after the thumping beat of ‘Honesty’, ending with echoing shouts that fade into laughter and that lovely guitar.
‘Celeste’ is appropriately named, it’s a heavenly mixture of ambient electronica, with hints of math-rock guitar and a sheer abundance and quality of vocal hooks you’d only expect from very good chart songs. Like the deceptively sweet looking girl clutching a shotgun on the front cover, ‘Celeste’ reels you in with sugary melodies and then ensures you won’t be going anywhere with an almost aggressively confident, darker layer.