Indie rock had seen power duos before: Guv’ner, Royal Trux, Buckingham-Nicks, the Carpenters – but they’d never sounded like Quasi. Drumming like a controlled detonation; mutant blues coming out of an electric harpsichord or guitar by turns. Backwards through the backwoods of AM pop and Pebbles psych to create a new form: bar-room baroque. Honey-golden multitracked vocals and some of the bleakest, black-eyed, black-hearted lyrics put to paper since Lou Reed woke up in a bad mood. And all played with the kind of ramshackle ease that only comes from weeks of practice, months in the van, and serious chops.
Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes first collaborated in 1990 as Motorgoat, but by 1993 they had become Quasi. These initial excursions would later be re-released as Early Recordings, but 1997’s R&B Transmogrification is where they define their double act. On drums and harmonies, Weiss is all low-key Bonham-ie, power with poise. On top Coomes’ Roxichord makes you wonder how the electronic harpsichord never took off, its low-end crunch with top notes sounding like Ray Manzarek with a Superfuzz.
From Weiss’s opening salvo, and the first action-painting splatter of Coomes’ keyboard on ‘Our Happiness is Guaranteed’, Featuring “Birds” is Quasi at their peak, melding jams-kicking rock’n’roll, punk action, and chord shifts that feel like the change of a season. The success of Weiss’s other group, Sleater-Kinney, in the meantime was clearly only firing up, rather than undercutting Quasi.
Closing in on the millennium, both feet on the pedals, Field Studiesarrives in 1999. Organ edges out the Roxichord, making for a sound less jagged and more floating – like the protagonist of ‘The Star You Left Behind’, drifting out into an infinite void. Does Field Studies have an Elliott Smith turn to the harmonies? They do share that heady hit of sweet-sour power-pop – or maybe both Quasi and Smith have a Heatmiser influence, given that’s the Portland band that Coomes and Smith had played in together.
Ulrika Spacek return with the release of their second album, Modern English Decoration. Much like their debut album The Album Paranoia released in early 2016, the band chose to record, produce and mix the entirety of the record in their shared house – a former art gallery called ‘KEN’, so named because of a cryptic inscription found above the front door. Not just a studio and home, KEN is essentially the band’s hub, a space in which the surrounding ephemera of videos, artwork and even band photos are all created.
The band are sharing the first single 'Mimi Pretend' from the record online now. Listen above.
Laucan will release his debut LP 'FramesPerSecond' via Sunday Best. The album follows last month's debut EP Up Tomorrow. Laucan (lor-can), aka Lewes-raised Lawrence Galpin, impressed with the release which featured his dreamy folk ode of the same name.
Now Galpin's unveiled dark, string-addled track "Symptom", with visuals from James Heaphy.
All We Are are Guro Gikling from Norway (vocals, bass), Luis Santos from Brazil (guitars) and Richard O’Flynn from Ireland (drums/vocals). It hasn’t escaped them that the world seems to be spiraling into a period of darkness and through their music; they want to say it’s ok not to belong and it’s ok to feel different.
Last month, All We Are teased their return with the blistering ‘Burn It All Out’. It was the Liverpool-based trio’s first new music since their self-titled debut in 2015 and today, they share the news about their forthcoming second album and a video for the single ‘Human’.
Sunny Hills will be released on June 9th through Double Six/Domino, produced by Kwes (Solange, Kano, Loyle Carner) it finds the band with a new sense of urgency and a new sound - one that takes in psychedelia, krautrock and post-punk.
Directed by Eoin Glaister, the video is part one of a trilogy about a small village having to face a developer building a motorway through the middle of it. At first, it causes issues between the residents but they begin to learn that by joining forces they stand a better chance against the developers. The video stars Thomas Gray as the motorway developer.
The resulting Sunny Hills is an irresistibly danceable, dark yet uplifting record about what it means to be alive right now and the power of friendship and togetherness in a world intent on driving us apart.
Political, poetic, danceable and affirming - for all the proud citizens of nowhere, All We Are give you Sunny Hills.
Electric Lines is all about connections. The title refers to the colourful cables that link the modules in his Eurorack synthesizer and to the invisible wires that run between all the different kinds of electronic music that he loves. An apt title for a record which brilliantly unites the strands of his prolific career: a member of Hot Chip and the 2 Bears, songwriter, producer, DJ, Grammy award nominated remixer and co-founder of the Greco-Roman label. Designed to share his stories directly with fans prior to Electric Lines’ release, the site is an extension of Goddard’s playlist of the same name - which he’ll continue to curate throughout 2017. Charting his musical influences, passions and the friendships that inspired the creative process when making the forthcoming album, the interactive site uses Spotify’s API technology to power a radio show style experience with original audio commentary from Goddard.
London-based Toby Mortimer (George Fitzgerald’s ‘Crystalise, Loyle Carner’s ‘Stars & Shards’, King Creosote’s ‘You Just Want’) created a set of bespoke illustrations for the site, with audio responsive loops animated by design collective People.
Peter Perrett - former frontman of The Only Ones - releases his debut solo album How The West Was Won through Domino.
Perrett, whose incisive songcraft and sardonic drawl made him one of the most distinctive voices of the Seventies hasn’t released any music for 20 years. Bearing in mind his most famous song began “I always flirt with death” (‘Another Girl, Another Planet’), this is one comeback that nobody saw coming.
In the hands of certain songwriters, a story of resurrection and redemption might ring a little hollow, but when the songwriter is Peter Perrett, the usual rules have never applied.
Perrett makes each song on How The West Was Won sound natural and effortless, as though he were continuing a briefly interrupted conversation rather than picking up the threads of a solo career that faltered two decades ago. He claims to have barely touched a guitar in the decade between The One’s 1996 album Woke Up Sticky and the 2007 reunion of The Only Ones; with Perrett, a hiatus could so easily turn into a hibernation. Yet Perrett’s familiar voice sounds like it simply stepped out of the room for a few minutes and popped back in again.
Perrett has shared the title track and album opener. It finds him railing against American imperialism and celebrity culture. The video is directed by Focus Creeps (Arctic Monkeys/King Krule) and features Peter’s band with whom he recorded the album. Watch above.
Australia's Middle Kids debut self-titled EP was released on February 17th, 2017.
The three-piece, led by vocalist / guitarist Hannah Joy, and producer / multi-instrumentalist Tim Fitz, with Harry Day on drums, first came to public attention with the release of their debut single 'Edge Of Town' in May last year. Sir Elton John declared himself a fan of the song, added it to his Apple Music playlist and aired it on his Beats 1 radio show. Triple J placed the song on high rotation, while in the US, the song has had airplay support on over 30 AAA/Alt stations. To date, 'Edge Of Town'has accumulated over 3 million streams on Spotify. Not bad for a band that, when they recorded the single, hadn't played a single show.
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