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Monday, March 28, 2016

Discoverer 140: new indie findings

As we can't go physically (yet, we won't give up) what about taking advantage of the holidays to go tour most dreamt destination? Yes, here's another trip down under, with an incredible trio of Antipodean new bands in our discoverer series. Sure you're going to enjoy!

The Goon Sax. Riley Jones, Louis Forster (son of the great Robert Forster) and James Harrison are still teenagers and hail from Brisbane. The band formed at high school in 2013, when friends James and Louis began recording at James' home as a duo, until Riley joined in March 2014, after a month of drum lessons. First live show arrived at the Zoo in June 2014, and since then have played with Twerps, Blank Realm or Crayon Fields among others. In 2015, after getting impressed by an unsolicited demo, Chapter Music signed the trio. After first singles 'Sometimes Accidentally' and 'Boyfriend' appeared later in that same year creating such an exciting buzz on the group, their heavily anticipated debut album is now here. Under the title of  'Up to Anything' here's a surprising love letter to the magic of The Pastels, of course The Go-Betweens (talent stays in the family), Arthur Russell, Beat Happening and every pop band that should be on your music shelves. Frontrunners for the debut album of the year, fated for greatness.

Kane Strang. Let's go back to Dunedin's, NZ (always Dunedin) to meet young musician Kane Strang who kept self-releasing self-recorded acoustic tunes for a few years, until in 2013, while living in rural Germany he assembled (seems that it was recorded in a WWII bomb shelter) ‘A Pebble & A Paper Crane’, a self-released album or compilation of demos, depending the source of information. One of these songs, 'Winded' was included on the 2014' fantastic compilation LP 'Temporary', put out by our friends at Fishrider Records. After returning to New Zealand, he spent two months housesitting his parents Dunedin home while composed his proper debut album. 'Blue Cheese', out since February 2016 via Flying Nun and Ba Da Bing Records. Intriguing but undeniably melodic and immediate, Strang connects psych-pop with peculiar folkie and garage vibes, like channeling The Chills and The Clean kindred spirits with the most quiet moments of the Pixies. Very special and addictive.

Loose Tooth. And we end in Melbourne with another trio forged on the life-long friendship of Etta Curry (drums/vocals) and Nellie Jackson (guitar/vocals), completed around 2012 with the addition of Luc Dawson on bass, transforming their pop sketches into real hyper-catchy fuzzy tunes. Signed with the great Milk! Records, they are ready to make an impact with debut EP 'Saturn Returns' this April. Mark the date in your calendar, because this band has everything to knock you out. Stomping garage-rock tunes with traces of punk-rock, think on Thee Oh Sees and The Shop Assistants, guitars crunching, erupting vocals, that unstoppable beat... hearts conquered.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 95

Back with another TOP TEN Jukebox! Despite being on vacation we don't miss the chance to bring you our last & favourite discoveries. This week, alongside our regular dose of new findings, we have prepared a playlist heavy on "old friends" and Blog long-time crushes. For starters, more Flying Nun sounds, the great return to action of Be Forest, followed by Charlie Darling from Les Bicyclettes de Belsize, plus another ace tune of Why We Love. But the main highlight is the special comeback of Monkey Shallows the Universe, with a new version of one of their greatest tunes. Pretty amazing, you'll hear. Happy holidays and remember: all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

'The Big Short', the real ship of fools

The Big Short

The Big Short’ is one of these rare occasions when, after watching a movie, you go looking for the book and, let’s admit, the film beats it (probably because Michael Lewis’ work, despite being absorbing and dynamic, demands a very high level of concentration and knowledge of banking, financial products and American economy). Praise director Adam McKay’s ability to build a film that doesn’t hide the complexities and dramatic consequences of its subject. It has plenty of information, dense yet important information. But manages to remain engaging, enjoyable, thoughtful and, at times, truly vibrant. I left the theater wanting to talk about it: about Ryan Gosling breaking the “fourth wall” and being obnoxious, but also about how the most absurd and blatant fraud ever made by capitalism, out of any control, provoked a global economic disaster based on incompetence, greed and stupidity. But it's worse than that. After all the mess caused, we are still worshipping the market, like fanatics believing on a God with their feet completed covered on blood and mud (how appropriate, right?). Obedient lambs in our way to the slaughterhouse...

The Big Short’ tells the story of how the market crumbled down in the US in 2008, causing the major breakdown worldwide, whose consequences we are still facing. But McKay is not interested on a documentary deep on analysis, facts and figures. No, he wants way more than that. He wants a movie of vital pace that entertains while explains you how we got robbed (never forget, it wasn’t a crisis but a gigantic scam). And he delivers, thanks to a script that takes it time to descript sub-prime loans, CODs and other vile financial products, but through the actions and challenges their main characters have while the movie develops. And, when it’s needed, requesting a pretty surprising yet simple and effective resource: pop culture, meaning celebrities. Speaking directly to the audience, detailing economic aspects our regular persona might not be interested to listen to (it’s really complicated & boring) but that a famous star can make understandable and even cool. Brilliant.

But make no mistake, behind all its lush, state-of-the-art surface perfect for Millennials and people who can only watch series, ‘The Big Short’ encompasses all the rage, the hypocrisy and pathetism the story demands. Through the groups of traders who discovered that the housing market, specifically their loans, major pillar of American economy (Spanish too) were actually a bunch of utter crap in the form of repackaged bad loans that, thanks to the freedom of Wall Street, the big sharks’ of the banks and the agency ratings (a true mafia), were about to ruin us all. As they did. And, McKay points out clearly, could very well do that again...

The road to perdition, a real one, is developed here in a poliedric way, so the puzzle shows the most complete picture. Here’s the pioneer, the ultra-freak aka genius Michael Burry (performed by Christian Bale, in my opinion the most dubious performance, too heavy on mannerisms, too 'weirdo' to entirely believe is a real person, as Burry is), the first wager against sub-prime loans, and the guy who discovered the housing marked was built on trash while managing awkwardly his hedge fund. Here’s the trader who detects Burry shocking bet against the “most solid marked in the country”, a posh asshole named Jared Vennett (based on Greg Lippman, and smoothly, easily played by Ryan Gosling, by far the funniest & caricaturesque character of the film, but also including a poignant dose of merciless realism), also in charge to interact directly with the viewers about how unstoppable, but foremost completely dumb, was the whole financial system. Here’s the one Vennett tries to get money from, Mark Baum (based on Steve Eisman and played by Steve Carell who, in my opinion, deserved an Oscar nomination and becomes the real presence of the film, a character so personally damaged and enraged it hurts, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t suffer from a heart attack while he swallows his bile and keeps his educated manners). A troubled person that knows corruption rules the world and joins the seemingly crazy path Vennett is offering him… because he wants to believe him. He wants to be right about his pessimistic look at life… Until he realizes he was right, but the disaster was even bigger than he ever imagined. And there’s a fourth inter-linked story, probably the weakest one (one of the few flaws of the film), about two young entrepreneurs on finances (played by Finn Wittrock and John Magaro) who, almost by pure chance, also discover Vennett’s plan (then we are allowed to know that’s all fiction) and, with the help of a retired trader tremendously critic on Wall Street (very restrained and solid Brad Pitt), get into it.

The film is full of memorable moments (the aforementioned with famous faces making simple explanations of CDOs and “creative finances”) but the best are the ones that, behind the smile or the laugh, also show the cruel, depressing consequences of such a demented and despicable system, as well as highlighting that our “heroes” are far from being nothing more than a group of smart hypocrites. Baum and his colleagues interviewing a couple of over-the-top, insufferable hotshot traders bragging (that’s the key word) about how they worked with the people with lowest incomes. Baum and Co. talking with Standard & Poor's on how the ratings were still so high, despite the economy indexes falling. Brad Pitt reminding his young pals what the banks accepting their “bet” against the housing market means if they are right for the people. The ship of fools. Real fools. The tragedy behind the farce. We should praise movies that are brave enough to talk about the times seriously while taking risks trying to adapt to the times. And, of course, we should never forget. For our own good. Or next time we will have a fascist billionaire running for U.S. president. Oh, wait...

SCORE: 7,5

Monday, March 21, 2016

Discoverer 139: new indie findings

Looking for a soundtrack for your Eastern holidays? Check the trio of our latest chapter of the discoverer series and get seriously amazed!

Frankie Cosmos. Born in New York City, Greta Kline, the daughter of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, got into music (and cinema, she appeared in the films 'The Anniversary Party' and the great 'The Squid and the Whale'). by her family, getting involved in the Westchester music scene. By 2009, when she enrolled New York University. she began performing and recording independently under the alias Ingrid Superstar, releasing a bunch (a huge bunch) of lo-fi recordings via Bandcamp. while she was introduced to the Double Double Whammy record label. In late 2011, she started performing under the Frankie Cosmos moniker (name coined by boyfriend and, until 2016, drummer Aaron Maine of the band Porches). First proper release (with a proper band that also includes Gabrielle Smith of Eskimeaux) arrived in 2014 with debut studio album 'Zentropy', with the digital EP 'Fit Me In' following last year through Bayonet Records. Now everything is ready, and expectations couldn't be higher, for 'Next Thing', sophomore LP scheduled for April 1st. Confessional indiepop, brittle, honest and charming. Frankie is fated to be your "next best thing".  
Great Lakes. Formed in Athens, Georgia in 1996 (and initially aligned to the Elephant 6 collective), but based in Brooklyn, NY, since 2002, this ensemble leaded by Ben Crum has released five albums and several 7" and EPs to date. Initially a trio, they debuted in the year 2000 with self-titled LP followed by 'The Distance Between' in 2002, two albums with a distinct, light-hearted psych-pop. But Crum, the only original and founding member along the years and Co. kept evolving towards a more introspective, enduring American folk-rock with their next releases, 'Diamond Times' in 2006 and 'Ways to Escape' in 2010. Now the quintet is back with 'Wild Vision', out since this January through their own label Loose Trucks. Moody, confident, warm, the tunes are the perfect proof of a musician and a band in total command of "their game", summoning the spirits of Gram Parsons and Alex Chilton, and making a work of art of every song. Serious stuff here.

Peaness. One of my biggest crushes recently is this female three piece band hailing from Chester, UK. Formed in late 2014, the trio began playing during the final years at University before heading to Orange Sound Record Studio to record debut EP 'No Fun', released during the summer of 2015. Radio airplay ,gigs and festival slots are spreading, with the promise of new material arriving very soon. We need it, as their whole EP are impossible to resist. Sweet yet punchy, melodic but crunchy, ridiculously catchy and immediately charming on the surface, nevertheless hiding a depth and smart lyrics to keep you buzzing while your smiling and dancing to the music. A most promising indiepop act.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 94

Yesterday we didn't post our regular TOP TEN Jukebox. A pretty busy day, but compensated with the enjoyment of Invisible Harvey and The New Raemon's gigs. And to continue with the excellent, charming, poppie mood we are in, we have prepared the best soundtrack for this Eastern vacations. Starting with the great David Kilgour or our friend The King in Mirrors, this are a fantastic companion for whatever plan you have on the forthcoming days. Take care and remember all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

These Go to 11: interviewing California Snow Story

It has been a while since our last interview, but we are coming back big! Ladies and gents, it's our pleasure to have David Skirving, the man behind the great (and happily reactivated) California Snow Story answering our questionnaire. No time to waste, These Go to 11!

David Skirving, California Snow Story
Finally, we're heading back to California
Hailing from Glasgow, David Skirving formed California Snow Story after leaving our beloved Camera Obscura in 2001. Heavily influenced by Sarah Records (just check his answers below) the first release of his new, dreamy indie pop project, was the EP 'One Good Summer', out in 2002 by Shelflife, a year later appearing on the unmissable label's compilation 'You're Still Young At Heart'. On 2006, after a hiatus of three years, Skirving returned to action with a full band including Sandra Belda Martínez (Superété) on vocals, Madoka Fukushima on keyboards and Alan Skirving on drums. During a year the group worked on their first length, 'Close to the Ocean' released by Letterbox Records in 2007. The band vanished again, but out of the blue, David announced last year on social networks a new album was on the works (with exciting collaborators as my dear Mel Whittle from Hermit Crabs or Lupe from Amor de Días). Now we know the LP it's called 'Some other places' that will be out this May via Rallye Label and Shelflife and, judging by its first tune available, the gorgeous 'Motorway' the wait was worth it. But in the meantime, here we go!
The synth ballad of the 80s

1.First record that you bought (be honest)
Ultravox's 'Vienna' and Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'. Can’t remember which was first but they are both classics.

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)
New Order ('Technique' era), Roddy Frame (playing 'High Land Hard Rain'). Honestly!

Simple Minds, did you forget about them?
3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Simple Minds.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
Maybe some Sarah Records 7” singles like 'Crush the Flowers' by The Wake and 'Paris'/'Last September’s Farewell Kiss' by Northern Picture Library.

5.Favorite lyrics (not yours)
I was listening to Prefab Sprout last week and I’ve always liked 'Life’s not complete till your heart’s missed a beat' combined with the missed beat in the music. Clever!

Bobby Wratten, our hiding hero
6.Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Not sure I want to meet any more musicians but I’ve been lucky to talk online to three different artists from Sarah Records (Bobby Wratten, Caesar and Mary Wyer). They were very friendly and unassuming people and I’m sure I would enjoy meeting them. That label seemed to attract nice people – musicians and fans.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
When I was young I loved the 'Psychocandy' cover by The Jesus and Mary Chain. It seemed really strange when I first saw it and I didn’t understand it but it was striking and fitted the music. I saw where they nicked it from later but that’s art!
'Kokoro',  solitude's standing

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both) 
Books. I’d recommend ‘Kokoro’ by Natsume Soseki.

9. Release (of yours) you are most proud of
Maybe ‘You’ll Go Places’ and ‘Outliers’ from the new album.

10. What does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
That things don’t have to be crap and that you don’t have to go along with what’s in fashion. When I first heard ‘indie’ music it seemed like a door to a secret world where things were better.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
Ready to release the third album (it usually takes a while).
 Zillion thanks David!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 93

We are in the middle of a very intense weekend with books presentations, a most promising new edition of our dear Minifestival today and another book related event tomorrow. No time to waste indeed. But we couldn't miss the chance to offer you our TOP TEN Jukebox, as its full of new, exciting discoveries, and the return of Bleached and our beloved Pale Spectres with a shimmering tune. See you around and remember all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

International Women's Day Playlist!

Today is the International Women's Day, and to celebrate this very special & important we have prepared a playlist with 41 songs created/performed by amazing female artists & female-leaded bands (all Blog favourites). Why 41? Because its the number of years the Day has been held (since 1975, when the United Nations proclaimed it). Of course, many many more superb women have been left out of the playlist. But do not worry, we have every day of any given year to celebrate, as everyday is Women's Day. Thanks for your wisdom, your talents and your songs!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Discoverer 138: new indie findings

Three gigantic female musicians proposed to you in our today's discoverer series. Keep it coming!

Eskimeaux. We begin in Brooklyn, NY, to meet Gabrielle Smith and her arresting music. Founding member of The Epoch, an art and songwriting collective, around 2007 Smith began to use the Eskimeaux moniker in 2007, releasing in diverse formats experimental and noise albums through 2008 and 2010. Her music production keep increasing as well as her sound was developing over the years, like the moody and gorgeous LPs  'Two Mountains', out in 2011 (and re-released by Yellow K Records last year), and 'Eskimeaux' in 2012, where subtle and darker electronic music found her way. But the best was yet to come, arriving last year with the mind-blowing bedroom pop record 'O.K.', out via Double Double Whammy Records, a haunting collection of modern, disarming, soothing, utterly affecting folk-pop tunes. Now the expectations couldn't be higher for forthcoming album 'Year of the Rabbitt', scheduled for April and, judging for the first couple of songs available, the confirmation Gabriell Smith's music is fated to be very close to you.

Two White Cranes. Jump to Bristol, UK, in order to meet Roxy Brennan, a musician active for more than a decade now, mostly known as a member of Joanna Gruesome, Grubs and Trust Fund. But she also has another project, one that under this moniker reveals a softer but still bursting side, warm and intense, approach to folk-pop. First songs surfacing at her bandcamp in 2013, but her official debut, in the form of a self-titled album, arrived in September 2014 via Stitch-Stitch Records. In August 2015 she released sophomore LP 'Radisson Blue' through Odd Box Records to overwhelming praise. Raw, pure and honest blend of indiepop and folk, heartfelt and melancholic. A thing of beauty.  

Julien Baker. And we end in Memphis, Tennessee, to meet this very young singer-songwriter and guitarist. Born in Murfreesboro, she learned guitar and got interested in punk music, forming the alternative  rock quartet Forrister (previously The Star Killers) alongside Matthew Gilliam in 2010. While performing with Forrister, she met musician Ryan Azada, who introduced her music to 6131 Records. Later on, while Baker was in her freshman year at MSTU left the band and began writing her own songs, First songs appeared at her bandcamp in an EP form in the winter of 2014, becoming the bulk of her debut studio LP 'Sprained Ankle', out since October 2015 through 6131 Records. Heavy tunes, full of emotions delivered thanks to the spare instrumentation, yet hard-hitting, arresting vocals, plus a very rare, genuine and intimate connection with the listener. Looking forward to her gig at forthcoming Primavera Sound.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 92

A constellation of stars gathered to please your ears is what we have prepared today in our TOP TEN Jukebox. Along with a couple of discoveries we have a line-up of most exciting comebacks and most promising new adventures from musicians we love: Beth Orton! Fear of Men! Rose Elinor Dougall as as a member of the Innerspace Orchestra! California Snow Story! Kate Jackson (remember the great Long Blondes, she's back)! Postal Blue! Sorry for the amount of exclamation marks but this weekend's playlist is mesmerizing, so what are you waiting for? And remember, all this songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!)