Friday, 28 August 2015

UK Premiere: The Old Adage - Red

Article by KevW

Brother and sister duo Mimi and Nino Chavez began making music together in 2012, but Mimi & Nino didn't sound like such a good name when they hooked up with James Humason, and so The Old Adage was born. Their first official release was the EP 'MATCHES' last August, and a year on we get new single 'Red'. The early tracks demoed by the The Old Adage were more acoustic, but their sound has evolved to become electric and more experimental with it. They call Detroit home, and that's a city with a long history of pushing music forwards, and a sizable portion of that has involved garage-rock.

There is a garage element to what they do, but as buzzing synths and snappy electronic beats kick things off, it's clear they're looking to take this somewhere new. Crisp and snappy, 'Red' seems like a natural progression, keeping to a more conventional structure, but swapping guitar riffs and 4/4 drumming for synthetic textures hauls their sound up to date, but not so much as to make it seem overly unfamiliar. Stark, sharp beats like this can often result in a cold, industrial sound, but the soulful lead vocal and teasing glimpses of piano (not to mention that ever-present buzzing synth) ensure that 'Red' is warm and accessible while remaining innovative with it. That's no mean feat, but it's achieved with aplomb.

The Old Adage's website

Buy the single

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Owl & Mouse - Departures

Article by KevW

Like twee indiepop? Well a band called Owl & Mouse scream that from their name alone. Australian songwriter (now living in London) Hannah Botting has released solo records in the past, but gradually the band formed, releasing their debut album this summer. Female Australian songwriter fronting London-based band might bring to mind Allo Darlin', well, that band include Hannah's brother Bill, so there is a connection. Proving that there's plenty of talent in the family is sister Jen, also a member of Owl & Mouse, whose line-up is completed by Tom Wade of We Are Aeronauts and Emma Winston and Dan Mayfield from Darren Hayman's Long Parliament. Yep, there's indiepop pedigree here.

With fringes, flowers in their hair, pretty skirts (not the guys, we should point out!) and Hefner records in the summery video, it all begins to seem a bit too twee and nice, but by the end you're smiling as much as they are. 'Departures' is a lovely track, and while it borrows from here and there (I assume they'll give Belle & Sebastian's brass section back at some point) it's still a very strong tune with great melodies and arrangements. You can point to stereotypes easily enough and make comparisons, but this is a song that would make any band of this ilk proud. The chorus is as cute as a picnic hamper full of kittens, but it's catchy as heck and makes you go back for more. Twee indiepop this may be, but it's of the highest standard, and is incredibly easy to fall in love with.

Owl & Mouse's website

Buy the album

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Fresh Snow - Proper Burial

Article by KevW

This quartet from Toronto have been around a few years now, developing their own blend of instrumental music (with occasional guest vocalists) based on post-rock, drones, electronica and other forms of sonic experimentation. It was in 2010 that Fresh Snow formed, and in 2013 their debut album made it on to the POLARIS music prize long-list. So they're not short of experience and their talents haven't gone unnoticed by the press either. With a new EP, 'Won', set for release on September 11th (and featuring a couple of guests, including Fucked Up's Damian Abraham), the group have revealed the spooky and nocturnal video to 'Proper Burial'.

Quaking drums and a meandering bass conspire with vintage organ and electronic pulses to give 'Proper Burial' an instant impact. Seductive (and oddly eerie with it) vocals come courtesy of Carmen Elle from DIANA and Army Girls, and things only get more intense and darker as more layers and clangs are added to the musical backing. Then suddenly the clouds part and strings appear momentarily to give a different ambiance, but it's only a brief interlude. Soon the screeching and thundering backing returns to close out 'Proper Burial' in much the same way as it began; robust, forceful, and almost confrontational. Fresh Snow aren't as clean and pearly white as their name may suggest...

Fresh Snow's website

Buy the EP

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POST LOUIS - 30m Pool

Article by KevW

It wasn't just us who were a little upset that Cajun Dance Party split after just one album, but things haven't turned out that bad after all. While a reunion for a group whose members are still young wouldn't be something we'd disagree with (but is probably unlikely), it seems there was enough talent in that band of teenagers to go on and produce some fantastic music with various other projects. The most prominent of these has been Yuck, but they have some stiff competition from POST LOUIS, a quintet originally formed by ex-CDP man Robbie Stern and vocalist Stephanie Davin who together act as the group's main songwriters.

Following a couple of well-received EPs, POST LOUIS now release '30m Pool', a song that's been a live favourite for some time. Quite possibly their most complete track yet, '30m Pool' uses Davin's vocal as a strong focal point, whilst also making sure that the music is high in the mix without things ever sounding too cluttered. This could have been made into a dreamy, slightly ambient number, but thanks to some gritty guitar it has plenty of edge which means it commands more attention than that. The continuous splashing of drums gives a smoothness as well which makes this a track with depth (no pun intended) and a wide appeal. We'll happily put any hopes of a reunion on hold for now.

POST LOUIS' website

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Get Me Free #44: Little Person - Living In A Silhouette City

Article by KevW

San Francisco band Little Person were formed by twin brothers Nicky and Max Weinbach, both of whom has previously worked in musical theatre, but a shared love of classic '60s pop music made them swap that branch of performing arts for one that involved electric guitars and the clubs of their home city. Now a quartet thanks to the addition of bassist Waide Hicks and drummer Junki Kawasaki, they released their debut EP late last year. New single 'Living In A Silhouette City' is the latest track taken from the self-titled release.

There is a certain traditionalism to what they do that does come from '60s pop music, but the end product is perhaps closer to the indie guitar-pop that took off a couple of decades later. They avoid any stereotypes such as jangle-pop or lo-fi production, instead offering a clean and clear sound that doesn't try too hard to be cool. The songwriting takes a conventional formula, but adds their own quirks, resulting in a lively, slightly kooky track. Along with previous (and maybe even better) EP cut 'Way Ahead Of The Apple', this track is available for free to anyone who gives them a like on Facebook. 

Download 'Living In A Silhouette City' for free by heading here

Little Person's website

Stream or buy the EP

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Thursday, 27 August 2015

MetaQuorum - Midnight Sun

Article by Steve Boniface

A duo from the the North of England who delight in the unusual, MetaQuorum are an act who blend several genres to create something very different from the norm.

Accompanied by single 'North Sea Fret' (below), the album sees the pair pulling together electronic production techniques, sampling, a funk groove and an "alternative" mindset to create instrumentals which boggle the brain. Like the single below, which feeds off the bleak but oddly beautiful surroundings on the North East, each track has a specific inspiration - one idea which then develops into the sprawling tracks that personify the whole release.

But don't let the word "
sprawling" fool you. These aren't disorganised flights of fancy, but meticulously captured musical performances. Of course, it won't be for everyone. But you get the feeling they know that, and if you are the kind of music fan which enjoys a bit of strange then the album can be found on Bandcamp.

MetaQuorum's website

Stream or buy the album

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook

Vaadat Charigim - Hashiamum Shokea

Article by KevW

You can spend much of your life obsessing over new music, but it's not everyday that you discover a band, particularly one from a different country, when they're still in a relatively embryonic stage. It was lucky for us then, that we were contacted by Israeli shoegazers Vaadat Charigim back in 2012 and were able to see those demos progress to form a well-received debut album a year later. Not only did it gives us a new band to get excited about, it opened up our eyes to the previously overlooked (in the west at least) Tel Aviv music scene, something which Noisey have just reported on.

Already available digitally and on CD, Vaadat Charigim's second LP, 'Sinking As A Stone', gets a vinyl release on September 18th, and in support of this the band have released a new video to single 'Hashiamum Shokea' which was shot by drummer Yuval Guttman. Lyrically, the track is (apparently) about boredom and pointlessness, something that's echoed in the actions of the people in the video. Musically though, this is far from pointless, but it is a little slower and more expansive than some of their other work, yet it still shows off some wonderful guitar textures and is definitely in tune with traditional shoegaze, with a louder, more lofty and fuzz-laden chorus. It really is great to see Vaadat Charigim producing the goods and getting the attention they deserve on the world stage.

Vaadat Charigim's website

Buy the album

The Sound Of Confusion on Twitter and Facebook