Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A round up of great albums and singles with: The Pinecones, The Recordettes, The Bottle Kids, The Black Roses and Ivory Daggers.

I have received a ton of e mails lately and, sadly, I have fallen behind with the blog,  due to work and other things, but the bands that have written to me are so good that it would be criminal not to share them with you.  Hopefully, after the summer I will be able to get back on track with the blog, but for now, I will offer up a round up of some of the albums/Singles/videos that have been forwarded to me.  Many thanks to all the bands that have submitted e mails to me.  Please continue to send me your great music!  ICM.

"Ooh!" by The Pinecones is a sublimely beautiful piece of work, jangletastic tunes and some beautiful harmonies, this is definately a summer album, it is a truly wonderous piece of work, loving this one loads as I am sure you all will.  Also note that this is the Toronto outfits 3rd album, I know I will be checking out the first two very soon too!

You think The Pinecones smiles are big, you want to see mine when listening to this absolute gem!!!!

Stream and buy the album here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like, love and sing along here: Facebook


This band from Brooklyn are sure to get pulses racing, another superb band, jeez, I feel like I am really spoiling you all today with this selection!
"The Recordettes are a primed, well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine and on this killer 7” mesh together punked up three- chord power pop and exuberantly sweaty garage rock with 50's Happy Days hooks that would make even Richie Cuttingham proud. You need this badly. Get it, throw a party and get it sooooon.''  

Expect great things from The Recordettes!

Stream and buy the EP here, available in different flavours, well, colours, but I bet you will want to eat it and digest it too!  Bndcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Recordettes here: Facebook


As soon as I heard the tracks offered up by The Bottle Kids, I was reminded of great, old school power pop and wasn't surprised to learn that main man Eric Blakely had played lead guitar on Paul Collins "King Of Power Pop" album.  Now, when I call Eric the main man, he literally is the man, playing everything on this album himself, recorded it and produced it, and, he will quite possibly personally deliver your copy of the album when you order it, although I can't guarantee that!

Check out more at the bands official page here: www.thebottlekids.com

Buy the album here: Kool Kat Records

Contact, follow, befriend, like and love The Bottle Kids here: Facebook


Next up is a young band from Illinois who have only been together since last October but who have made quite a splash on the scene with a support slot opening for Paul Collins Beat,  supported 60's garage rock band "Gonn," released an EP and played at the prestigious "International Pop Overthrow festival" in Chicago.  All of this in such a short space of time shows that we have a band here who are biting on the bit and getting it out there, I think we can expect some exciting things from this band in the future.

Shout to the top!

Stream and buy the bands EP here: Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Black Roses here: Facebook


New York band Ivory Daggers say, "We're Ivory Daggers -- four friends with a mutual love for indie powerpop and hard-hitting rock.  Sunny harmonies, catchy pop rock hooks, gutsy, no nonsense guitar, infection melodies and unashamedly heartfelt lyrics."
We say, yes, you are hard hitting rock, have sunny harmonies, catchy pop rock hooks, you are gutsy with no nonsense guitar, infectious melodies and unashamedly heartfelt lyrics and we love it and want to hear more, absolutely adorable!

Stream and buy the EP here (and check out more): Bandcamp

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Ivory Daggers here: Facebook

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Young Sinclairs - Engineer Man b​/​w Problems OUT JUNE 10th

This sparkling piece of 60's styled power pop in the vein of The Who and Powder, is being released on 7" vinyl, strictly limited to 300 copies in a cool hand numbered picture sleeve.
Regular readers may recall our favourite guest contributor "Interplanet Janet" raving about the bands previous EP, "We Spoke Our Minds," suggesting that The Young Sinclairs would have been the produce if The Beatles and The Kinks had love children, calling the songs catchy and clever.
Well, I am happy to say that the 2 songs on this EP are also catchy and clever and certainly go to the top of my favourite singles list for this year so far, as I am sure that it will yours too!

The single is being released on the "Market Square Records" label, a small DIY label, which is coincidently run from the Ice Cream Mans own home county, West Sussex in England in a small market town called Billingshurst and run by underground musician Paul Messis, whose latest album I will be featuring in the next few days.
The aim of "Market Square Records" is to release a succession of cool 45's for many bands over a period of time, whilst keeping true to their musical integrity and their original aims.   Keep an eye out here for new releases from the label in the future.

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love The Young Sinclairs here: Facebook

Stream and buy the limited edition 7" single here: Market Square Records Bandcamp

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Souvenir Stand - Wherever You Go. Name You Price.

The fantastic Souvenir Stand are back with a new single, this time it is sitting amongst the stylings of The Ronettes and The Crystals  and just as they did of their first EP, they take you right back to the height of the 60's, sunny days and great music, which is exactly what "Souvenir Stand" make.
I absolutely adored the bands debut EP, "Days I spent with you" and I absloutely adore this too, the band have really crafted the essence of the sixties into their sound, it feels like they are literally taking you time travelling and I am happy to follow on the journey.

Of course there is a downside to this single and it is one that really upsets me, unfortunately there is just the one track, I am absolutely aching to hear a long player from this band and hopefully I won't have to wait long?

Stream and download the single for a "name your price" fee here: Bandcamp
(Be sure to download the FREE "Days I Spent With You" EP too)

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Souvenir Stand here: Facebook

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Ocean Hounds - Thank God Someones Making Waves

The Ocean Hounds formed 20 years ago, signed to a Spanish indie label and released their debut album, "Thank God Someones Making Waves." The album took them, on the crest of a wave, to number 5 in the Indie Charts.
Listening to this album reminded me a lot of one of my favourite albums called "Keroscene Hat" by a band called "Cracker."  It too has a fantastic atmosphere throughout the album and tracks like "Heroine" are absolute classics, this album plays through 17 tracks of well written, well constructed songs with all the hooks, jangleness and tunes that you could wish for.
Sadly, after the initial success of the album and before things really took off for them, the band split and went there seperate ways and that is where the story ends.........well, no, after a long hiatus the band decided to reform and get back out there and continue performing their blend of new and original material, that, in my humble opinion, promises to be something really special and I think that it would be prudent to keep your eyes peeled for this outfit and see just what nuggets they will unleash upon us for our listening pleasures in the future, I for one, shall certainly be keeping a beady eye out for their next body of work, with twitching ears as well!

The Ocean Hounds - Market Town

Contact, follow, befriend, like and love The Ocean Hounds here: Facebook

Listen to more here: Soundcloud

For a physical copy of the album, contact the band or download the album on itunes

Friday, May 17, 2013

Phenomenal Cat - Pop Wasteland

Down in a quiet corner in the garden of England lives a band that are the most quintessential of English bands to grace our presence since The Kinks, I am referring to Phenomenal Cat, of course, a band that aren't happy to rest upon their laurels after releasing a single a month for the whole of 2012, all of which were stunning pieces of work and songs that gained them positive critique both home and abroad. Now they are back with a new project entitled "Pop Wasteland."

So, what exactly is "Pop Wasteland?"  Well, it is a rock 'n' roll soundtrack with an accompanying graphic novel of which installments will be released throughout 2013/14 until it reaches, from what the first edition suggests, a climatic ending, eventually.

The graphic novel follows the life of a character called "Albert Blood," the title of the first accompanying single, a legend, a man who's life is about to be turned upside down by love, death, fear, murder and rock 'n' roll.

I think this is a really great concept and having read the first addition, I can honestly say I am eagerly anticipating the next installment.  Phenomenal Cat continue to impress me, I am sure that it is only a matter of time before the band become well known and respected for the great musicians that they are, their concept/lyrics about modern Britain really harks back to some of Blurs conceptual work in the 90's, but time flies and that was all ages ago, this is new and updated for the UK in recession and I love it!

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Phenomenal Cat here: Facebook

Stream the "Albert Blood" single and order a physical copy with copy #1 of the graphic novel here: PC Bandcamp
(Also be sure to check out the collection of singles from last year, now all neatly packaged onto one album)

Phenomenal Cat will be appearing at this years International Pop Overthrow festival in Liverpool this weekend (18th May) playing both The Cavern Club and The Cavern Pub, if you are in the area, you really should catch them live, they put on a fantastic show!

* Thanks to "Interplanet Janet" for some inspiring words about the band which I have used in this feature.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Attic Lights - Super De Luxe. OUT NOW

One of my favourite albums from 2008, if not my favorite album that year, and one of my all time favourites, was Attic Lights - "Friday Night Lights."  The album was an immediate power pop masterpiece with beautiful four part harmonies tinged with a country feel and slide guitars and now they are back with their second album "Super De Luxe" which is every bit as exciting and brilliant as the first, but, I had a few questions about the album, so I decided to drop Kev Sherry, singer and guitarist an e mail which he very kindly replied to.  But lets have a song first!

ICM: Can you tell be why there was such a long break between "Friday Night Lights and the new album?

KS: A few answers to this. Amidst other things, I think it's a case of 'life getting in the way.' Initially, during the promotional campaign for our first album, the head of the record label (who had been instrumental in signing us) left Island Records to go to EMI so we kind of lost an ally. We were always a risky proposition for a major label to sign (let's face it, we don't sound like a major label band) so I think there was some confusion over what to do with us. Just as we signed to our publishing label, Island records told us they weren't going to go do a second album with us (this would have been about mid 2009 I think.) Which was a bit bizarre as we were really only beginning our album campaign. Speaking to our new publishers about it, the general feeling was that the record label had lost their nerve a bit - or maybe by that point they just didn't quite know what to do with us. 

Our publishers and management were confident we would get another label so we pressed ahead and started work on the 2nd album. Spent about a year writing tracks for it, a few false starts and different sounds and avenues were pursued. We recorded half the album in late 2010 and the other half in Spring 2011. As we were finishing the record, Jamie, our lead guitarist told us he was leaving the band. His wife was about to have a baby and he didn't fancy being on the road away from his family. My mother passed away around this time after a long illness (which also perhaps influenced the album in terms of lyrical content and darker sounds)  so it wasn't until a while later that we started looking for another guitarist before realising that the answer was right under our noses. Jim Lang, who had engineered and co-produced the second album turned out to be the ideal guy for the job. Colin then got married and had a baby of his own. By this time it was 2012 and our management had placed the new album with Elefant Records. When you hand an album to a label they need a good four months or so of prep time to plan for release (Unfortunately, this lead us up to Xmas 2012 and the only people who release records in the last quarter of the year are the big major label artists cashing in on xmas.) So, we held off on release until this year.

To the general public it looks like 5 years (2008-2013) since our last release, but to us it's only really been 3 years since our last single released on Island and this new album coming out. Kinda weird the way it works out!

ICM:  What have you planned for the promotion of the new album, live dates etc? 

KS: Currently sorting out gigs, festivals etc, shooting videos, doing interviews, acoustic sessions etc... There will probably be a tour later this year after the festival season has finished. We are just enjoying being back doing the thing we love. It's early days so we dont' have the full marketing plan in action yet but I imagine we will be working on pushing this new record for the next year  and a half or so. Looking forward to playing at Benicassim Festival on July 19th. Doing a wee show in Glasgow in Nice'n'Sleazy's on May 26th to test our live legs.

Looking forward to shooting some videos for forthcoming singles (lots of daft ideas), organising gigs and festivals and doing radio and online wherever we can. We will have specific tour dates further down the line, all of which will be on our new website which is almost complete. www.atticlights.com

ICM: I read on your website that we won't have to wait so long for the next album, can you tell me a bit about that, I saw that you have many songs ready to go for that which is great.

KS: Colin and I are always writing songs both together and seperately. Since we finished recording the 2nd album in 2011 we have been writing solidly and have tons of tracks. Colin sent me a song last week that broke my heart, solo piano and vocal, like a Neil Young  song, just beautiful. He is without doubt the most naturally gifted songwriter i've ever met. However, that gets my competitive blood up so now I need to knock one out to equal it. It's a friendly rivalry that gets the best out of both of us (I hope)

ICM: I also read that you are related to David Byrne of Talking Heads which I didn't know before.

KS: Yeah, David was my mum's cousin. They grew up together in Scotland before he emmigrated to Canada and then America. Whenever he was playing in Scotland we would always get on the guest list and go to the gigs and he would come up for lunch to my parents house before shows. I remember being a kid and watching Top of the Pops and my mum telling me that I had a cousin who did that job and pulled out the "Remain in Light" LP and put it on the turntable. I remember thinking.."Oh.. so that's a job that normal people like us can actually do.." It sort of brought it out of the TV and into reality for me. So, it was never this unobtainable thing. It was always something that was possible.
"Say You Love Me" available as a single release.

Many thanks to Attic Lights and Kev Sherry for his time and the information kindly provided.

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Attic Lights here: Facebook

Attic lights official website: www.atticlights.com

Buy the album here: Amazon

Official Press Release:

Attic Lights were one of the biggest surprise hits of 2008 after debut album Friday Night Lightsappeared on Island Records to rapturous applause. The Guardian described it as “Chiming 12-string perfection”, the NME claimed how Attic Lights “comes on like The Eagles lassoing Fountains Of Wayne to The Beach Boys” and Artrocker classified Friday Night Lights as “one of the finest guitar pop albums this year.” The Fly called it “spellbinding” whilst Uncut noted how it was “truly infectious”. Q could barely contain themselves when mentioning the “sumptuous harmonies”. Tastemakers Mojo exclaimed, “These lads really knock together a perfect tune.” 
If the major label success was not to continue, a slightly modified Attic Lights signed with Elefant records in 2012 and released the Say You Love Me EP. The four songs lovingly melded indie pop with everyone from Big Star to sunshine pop ’60s legends Harper’s Bizzare and The Cyrkle. “Since our previous single in 2009 we've changed labels, lost one guitarist, gained another, written countless new songs and recorded our second album,” states vocalist and guitarist Kev Sherry matter-of-factly. “I guess, if anything else has changed, as songwriters we feel we've got better at our craft and that we have come in to our own a little bit more and shaken off our early influences to develop a more unique sound.”

On Super De Luxe (produced by Teenage Fanclub’s Francis Macdonald) the band take the cleanest pop to even higher levels whilst adding new flavours along the way. Named after the very same jukebox brand that guitarist Tim Davidson has at home, the album itself serves up short, sharp doses of pop nirvana akin to a dream 45 collection. “We were all massive fans of Weezer and The Lemonheads growing up so that has really driven our desire for catchy melodies mixed with loud guitars,” says Kevin of things that have inspired this new outing. “The Beach Boys and Beatles/Paul McCartney are of course key but we have also recently been listening to a lot of classic soul, Motown and disco, which you can hear in tracks like ‘Future Bound’ and ‘Stay Before You Leave’ while there's also a touch of anthemic rock thanks to some Bruce Springsteen and Death Cab For Cutie.” ‘Say You Love Me’ (the album’s opening track) really is solid proof of the band’s perfect pop sensibilities; reminiscent of Camera Obscura yet more wide-eyed and innocent with a ’50s bobbysox feel about it, ‘Mona Lisa’ has an unforgettable chorus in the same school as The Cars and Red Kross and ‘Don’t You’ has something of an early ’90s buzzsaw guitar stylistic and the kind of soaring to-die-for harmonies that may well draw Teenage Fanclub and Fountains Of Wayne comparisons. “Orbison” , the aptly named tribute to Roy Orbison, has a classy foot to the floor mid-70s powerpop vibe, somewhere between a burning Elvis Costello and a red hot Raspberries, pushing the euphoria up to unknown levels. Album closer ‘Gabrielle’ is majestic, proving the Scottish band’s ability to sound tremendously contemporary and also show their love for circa 1970 Paul McCartney.  It’s as if Elliott Smith is still with us.
It’s been four years since Attic Lights breakthrough yet they still maintain that very same timeless Scottish pop sensibility in an era of One Dimension, synth pop and so on. “The musical landscape is such a vast canvas these days and in general people seem to be listening to ever wider types of music,” says Kevin. “I don't think it's the same as 10 years ago when you would find exclusive little musical tribes. Nowadays the kinda thing we do sits alongside everything else...” But clearly chiming guitars will always have a place whatever the weather, won’t they? Even in cloudy Glasgow. “It’s a strange thing that coming from such a grey, rainy country so many bands are drawn towards sunshine harmony indie rock. I don't really know why it's so popular in Scotland,” laughs Kevin, “other than maybe it's the best escape from the appalling weather. And obviously we all are influenced by our local heroes so bands like Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian showed that there is an area of music there worth exploring.”
From big label money to hip Spanish indie pop mecca Attic Lights are certainly continuing to explore the possibilities of sunshine driven chiming pop and in doing so it almost sounds as if they could appeal to that whole landscape: the 10-year-old girls that follow today’s sanitized pop, daytime Radio 2 listeners and of course the gently beard stroking fans of Big Star.  A light shineth!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Camera 2 - Just About Made It. (And More!)

I am not a big fan of electronica in music but every now and then a band comes along and shift the boundaries of my perception in this genre and Camera 2 are one of those bands, I really like this, every aspect of this bands music lifts me and makes me smile and that is what music should be about, right?
The bands music isn't strictly electronica, there is the usual instruments included as well and I happen to think that it sounds pretty damn neat, as always, let's let the music do the talking!

Brooklyn foursome Camera2 is made up of producer-songwriter-vocalist – Andy Chase (Tahiti 80/Juliana Hatfield/Smashing Pumpkins), guitarist – Michael Jurin (Stellastarr*), bassist – Aric Gillis (Teenage Kick) and drummer – Mike Williams (Teddybears). The band came together in mid-2012 and soon after completed an album Andy wrote and produced in his home studio with co-production by Blondfire’s Bruce Driscoll. Camera2 is a decidedly new direction and a departure from the sounds of the previous projects for all the members who have now stepped into a harder hitting, darker, upbeat and more electronically driven indie-universe.

The music quickly caught the attention of former Morning Becomes Eclectic host, Nic Harcourt, who took the new band under his wing as a mentor and has begun championing them at his new radio home, KCSN in Los Angeles. Over the past 6 months Camera2 has been making music videos for every song on the album, in locations as broad and diverse as rural Pennsylvania, Martha’s Vineyard, San Francisco, and their hometown. In each video the band takes a back seat to a striking nine-year-old boy who walks, (or runs), the music through a series of twists, turns and interweaving themes.

The bands videos are part of a nine part project so there are more to come so keep 'em peeled and keep up to speed with this band, I think they have a refreshing sound that will appeal to many and will hopefully go on to make more breezy, delightful pieces of music like the three songs included here.

Contact, befriend, follow, like and love Camera2 here: Facebook

Official website here: Camera2

Listen to more here: Soundcloud

Buy the songs here: itunes