Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Get Me Free #17: The Higher State - Transparent Day

Article by KevW


This cut from The Higher State was originally released as the B-side to 2011 single 'I'll Always Be Around' on Get Hip Recordings, and also appeared on their self-titled compilation album released the same year on State Records, and now, still as something of a rarity, it's been made available for free download. The fact that it's a few years old is hardly likely to make it sound dated, when the whole point of the Kent band is to make "100% authentic folk rock with psychedelic touches, echoing the style of mid 60s West Coast jangle-pop, mixed with harder-edged Texan garage punk and psych".

As anyone who's familiar with their output knows, they take that job description and fulfill it perfectly. In the case of 'Transparent Day', it's really the sound of West Coast jangle-pop that you'll find. It'll be difficult not to mention The Byrds, especially with the adopted guitar sound here, so let's get that out of the way. Harmonies are hardly in short supply either, and, even with the summer currently looking like a bit of a washout, it's almost certain to bring a little sunshine into your life; in fact, it could be made for that purpose alone. A timeless piece.



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Monday, 27 July 2015

The Baron Four - Walking Out

Article by KevW


The latest 7" from The Baron Four finds them on top form, blasting out the kind of crunching R'n'B that The Yardbirds would be proud of, yet if anything, this is even more raw. 'Walking Out' lays on some blistering guitar, especially for the brief solo, and the beat has a swing that goes from being Ringo one minute, to a flailing Ginger Baker the next. There's a sense of urgency here which is quite compelling and gets your feet stomping. Hovering around in the distance are some backing vocals that add some neat harmonies to the snappy, visceral lead.

Things are toned down just a bit for B-side 'Can't Find My Way' where the jagged riff is exchanged for treble-heavy chords and a more expansive sound as a whole. While 'Walking Out' may be an explosive track, this time they opt for twang and melody that's not dissimilar to fellow revivalists The Raveonettes (minus the fuzz that is). Again the tune is strong and again they nail the sound of those original 45s that inspired them. Another couple of nuggets from a band who always look and sound the part.



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The Beatpack - Where The Water Runs Deep

Article by KevW


If you're new to The Beatpack, then both band name and traditional vinyl sleeve ought to give the game away a bit. State Records motto is "making records that sound like records", and they've always remained true to their words. 'Where The Water Runs Deep' begins with an electrifying riff that's a hybrid of early singles by The Who and The Stones, but specifically when they threw out some of those scorching blues/garage/psych hybrids, and it's a sharp as a razor blade. With some fiery harmonica and a slight freakbeat leaning, it might be a deliberate throwback, but it hits the target right in the middle.

On the flip is '(She's) All Dressed In Black' which also has a Jagger-esque intonation. Really it's too good to be a B-side, so you could easily call this a double A. The Beatpack clearly have a good line in garage riffs, and the mid-section blows out into the soaring sound of original psychedelia. This is a single that could have come from the London scene of the early '60s with bands inspired by the blues and rock 'n' roll floating across from the US, and it would have been an underground classic. Using that term for a pair of songs that rely so heavily on borrowing from the past might be a bit much, but it's still a heck of a listen.



The Beatpack's website

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Get Me Free #16: Rey Pila - Fire Away

Article by KevW


For their new album 'The Future Sugar' (out in September), Mexican band Rey Pila teamed up with Julian Casablancas who co-produced a trio of songs for the record, one of which is opening track and free download single 'Fire Away'. After the first Strokes album, and also throughout his solo work, Casablancas has toyed with retro electronic pop and '80s new-wave, and those influences permeate this track. Even the vocals seem to owe a debt to the The Strokes' frontman. This is not, however, one of his songs, and for all the similar influences and his own input, Rey Pila have their own sound.

On this track in particular, it's the darker electro-pop and new-wave groups that they use as potential fuel, borrowing synths from Soft Cell, bleeps and bloops from certain Giorgio Moroder produced material, and an almost industrial coldness that could be inspired by Kraftwerk. When you merge these with those muscular, slightly doughy vocals then you have a patchwork that will remind you of a lot of different things (the intro could even be early La Roux) yet not anyone that you can directly put your finger on. 'Fire Away' borrows from all over the place, but when put into the melting-pot that is Rey Pila's collective minds, they come away with something individual.



Rey Pila's website

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Peluché - The Guy With The Gammy Eye

Article by KevW


Speedy Wunderground have "speedy" in their name for a reason: the label insist that each song they release be recorded in a single day. With Peluché, though, this no messing approach was taken to another level. It was in less than a week that they heard this track from the London trio, caught them live, got them in the studio, and had the tapes off to the pressing plant. You may expect such haste to come at some expense to the music, but that's not so in this instance. 'The Guy With The Gammy Eye' isn't lo-fi, it isn't deliberately demo-like, in fact it contains a lot of depth and attention to detail, so much so that you can find something new each time you hear it.

Classification isn't easy, but if you think along the lines of conventional dreampop mixed with Stereolab and Bjork then you'll begin to build a picture. It's all calm, ethereal, reverberating guitars and heavenly sighs at the beginning, but the guitar motif picks up the pace just before the kooky vocals hit and from there on in the rhythm section clicks into gear and drives the song forward with an insatiable lust to build and build. Strange sounds pepper 'The Guy With The Gammy Eye' and make an already unusual (but quite beautiful) song even more otherworldly. There's more invention here than in some bands' entire back-catalogues.


Peluché's website

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Moxie Kicks - So Alive

Article by KevW


Many bands come with interesting backstories, sometimes they're true and sometimes not. Some bands hype themselves to high Heaven even before they've released a record. It all tends to come out in the wash. A prime example of this backfiring is Razorlight's hilarious first press release (if you haven't read it, it's here, and it's really quite something!). London duo Moxie Kicks also have a backstory and they're also bigging themselves up, with their Facebook bio using words such as "sensational", "exciting", "innovative" and proclaiming them "definitely one to watch". Sure there's nothing wrong with being self-assured, although it can occasionally be a little off-putting, and such statements are usually best ignored until you've seen or heard the artist in question. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

Moxie Kicks haven't got to the pudding yet, they're just serving up a starter, an entrée if you will, but their plan is for each single to come with a proper video, and that every track of theirs will sound like a single. It's quite a task and they've already given themselves a lot to live up to. So, how have they fared with the first course? Pretty darn well, thank you very much! 'So Alive' is confident, it's got a blockbusting sound and a great melody, and thankfully, all the bravado is left on paper; this isn't a song that tries too hard or over-eggs the pudding (Viva Brother showed us exactly what can happen when that approach is taken). Yes, this is fairly conventional indie-rock, but you can imagine a sound like this bringing the pair the commercial success they seem to expect. Time will tell, but we might just have a band who can live up to their own hype. Definitely one to watch? We'd go along with that.



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Get Me Free #15: Timeslides - Get Well Soon

Article by KevW


In terms of sound and melodic style, London band Timeslides are not dissimilar to shoegazers Ceremony, the main difference being that they offer a slightly less jarring attack of fuzz, as though Ceremony's rough edges have been sanded down to become a little smoother. Any comparison to the unsung Virginian heroes generally means the music in question is well worth a listen, and it's no different in this instance, because not only does 'Get Well Soon' boast a great sound, it's also a quality tune to boot.

So you should know to expect: a pounding beat, the continual sound of static humming from the speakers, a vocal that doesn't attempt any ridiculous histrionics, and a simple, classic and infectious melody. Oh, and lots of guitar. There's the merest hint of New Order in places, but you certainly couldn't get the two mixed up. With so little information on the band available (they're two members of Crash Island is all we have), and so few songs posted (just two as far as we can tell), it's difficult to know if the style they've adopted here is their chosen route or a one-off, but they've delivered a wonderful track in 'Get Well Soon', so let's hope they don't go changing too much.



Timeslides' website





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