Introducing: Sex Hands

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Formed by three childhood friends from the North Wales coast, Sex Hands, then relocated to Manchester where, Alex, Dylan and Edwin were joined by bassist Joe and since 2011 they’ve been gigging and releasing top notch material steadily, culminating in the release of their debut album, Pleh, in July of this year.

Their songs rarely stray from a trusted, noisy formula and Sex Hands are a band with a pretty clear idea of what their sound achieves. It’s a rough, ragged and grainy lo-fi sound of all fuzzed up guitars, barely in tune instruments and often indecipherable lyrics which are generally garbled or screeched. Combining these alternate strands together, they create a whirlwind of energy that falls somewhere between boisterous, motorik punk and hooky garage rock. The repeated use of melodic hooks, a tendency to chuck in everything but the kitchen sink and to hell the consequences, leaves us with a big, jangling, perfectly-imperfect sound which is, needless to say, absolutely marvellous! Their debut LP is not just loud and brash, it’s fun, brazen, catchy, infectious and sweet (and filled with a pile of Friends references too), of which ‘Pivot’, ‘Rembrants’ and ‘Gay Marriage’ are fabulous examples. These are by no means solitary examples, there’s plenty more where that came from on what is a great album and a joyous jangle.

You can check out some choice selections below and Pleh can be yours from here. It won’t let you down.

Boxed In – ‘Foot Of The Hill’

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Boxed In has made quite an impression the past 12 months, with ‘Run Quicker’ and ‘All Your Love Is Gone/Legacy’, a couple of phenomenal pieces of driving, propulsive alternative-pop.

Releasing two singles in a year is hardly prolific but quality should be favoured over quantity and so far, Boxed In doesn’t appear do anything other than astoundingly brilliant. Adding further weight to this testimony,  Oli Bayston & Co. are back with a brand new single, ‘Foot Of The Hill’, which precedes (drum roll please) the London trio’s as-yet-unnamed debut album, due out on January 19th 2015 via Nettwerk Records. ‘Foot Of The Hill’ is a vibrant, hypnotic and driven sliver of alternative-indie-disco, with a hint of LCD Soundsystem-esque funk, albeit with less of a dancefloor flavour. Light synth keys shoot across doodles of instrumentation as it is propelled forward relentlessly by a combo of meaty basslines, deep, earthy, and organic percussion and a hypnotic motorik rhythm, over which is laid a flow containing shades of the Jamie T ‘s to it. Yet another top quality track from Boxed In, on the form to date, their debut should be one to keep a look out for come the new year.

You can listen to ‘Foot Of The Hill’ below and will be released on November 3rd. The new single precedes, as mentioned previously, their as-yet-unnamed debut album, due out on January 19th

Yelle – ‘Complètement Fou’

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French electro-pop trio Yelle have released their new single ‘Complètement Fou’, the first track to be taken from their forthcoming third album of the same name, which will be out on September 30th.

Happy-go-lucky, fun and playful electro pop is the order of the day with ‘Complètement Fou’. A full on blissful sensory explosion with an inescapable energy and cheeky flamboyance, sees choppy production, incessant synth stabs, sparkling synths, sequenced blips and beeps and heavy hitting bass all combine for an undeniably catchy and fun track. There is something rather nice in hearing lyrics sung in French too, and Julie Budet’s sensual vocals would be sublime in any language. Well there you have it, simply magnificent electro-pop that’s so much fun, which bodes rather well for the new record.

Completement Fou will be released September 30th through Kemosabe Records and you can sample the album’s first single below.

Yelle play the Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, on October 25th – full tour dates here.

Run The Jewels – ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’

 

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Run The Jewels, the sublime rap duo of El-P and Killer Mike, are back with news of a second album RTJ2, which is released on October 27th.

To coincide with this most excellent and exciting news we’ve been served with an offering from the forthcoming LP, entitled ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’. 2013’s self-titled debut demonstrated the incredible chemistry at work between these two rappers and ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’ is a timely reminder of just how good El-P and Killer Mike are together. It’s a gritty, aggressive, bass-booming track, as the two MCs take turns spitting sharp rhymes at a relentless pace, matched only by the devastating booming bass and flitting samples, courtesy of human soundboard Michael Winslow (of Police Academy fame). Utterly brilliant but did we expect anything less?

RTJ2 is out on October 27th, get a taste of what’s coming with ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’ below. And for those of you back home, Run The Jewels play Dublin’s Opium Rooms on December 21st. By all accounts they were utterly amazing when they played Vancouver last month. Not to be missed.

Albums Roundup : Teleman, Hyde & Beast and Gulp

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Notoriously shite at keeping on top of albums, or moreover, reviewing them – here are three albums that have been entertaining my ears over the past while.

Teleman – ‘Breakfast’

Teleman‘s debut album, Breakfast, is a charming yet bittersweet bundle of a indie-pop songs with a instantly loveable quality, which like all Saunders’ work (Tap Tap & Pete & The Pirates), has substance to match the immediacy. A master class in guitar pop, they eke out a sweet spot between pop and indie, in a not too dissimilar in class to Blur at their very best. From ‘Lady Low’, a limpid, loungey and airy number sporting a full on devilish saxophone solo, to the sparse and paranoid fuelled ’23 Floors Up’, with light, gentle almost floating melodies, accompanied by minimalist synth tones, this sublime standard never falters. Nor with ‘Steam Train Girl’, ushered in by pulsating guitars before the rest of band gradually filters in, layering psychedelic-tinged synths over rhythmic drums or ‘Mainline’, where colourful synths dance with ragged guitar riffs to stunning effect. Amid the beautiful sweeping guitar-pop, psych textures and Teleman’s splendid crystalline pop sensibilities, Sanders vocals are strikingly fantastic as ever. As is his dazzling knack for descriptive lyrics that effortlessly conjure of vivid scenes. It may be still too early to tell but perhaps Breakfast will help shine a brighter light on Saunders’ talent and provide him with the credit his talent deserves – third time lucky and all that jazz.

Hyde & Beast – ‘Keep Moving’

For their second album together Hyde & Beast, drummers Dave Hyde and Neil Bassett (of Futureheads and Golden Virgins respectively) have strutted back into view with a set of rootsy late-’60s/early-’70s inspired jams. Heavy on a retro vibe, it bears comparison with stellar names from those eras – The Faces, T-Rex, Wings & The Kinks to name but a few. Given that the pair have apparently endured a pretty rough time of late, you’d be forgiven for expecting album number two to be a maudlin affair on the back of bereavement and breakups. Yes the lyrical content is overwhelmingly tinged with sadness but it is strangely uplifting. At times heart swelling, blissful and almost psychedelic, ‘Like I’m Grass’, ‘Forever Your Own’ & ‘BA BA BA’ and at others harsh, gritty and rumbling, ‘Keep Moving’ & ‘Blue’, with bouts of gentle, classic pop ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘Blown Away’ & ‘A Dark Mistake’. The confidence and ambition of both the arrangements and songs, mean that Keep Moving a overwhelmingly joyous listen as they borrow from all the aforementioned bits and pieces, blend them together to create a stunningly diverse collection which vastly surpasses it’s predecessor. It should also go some way to dispelling all those drummer jokes.

Gulp – ‘Season Sun’

One of the upsides to Super Furry Animals’ hiatus has been the impecable side-projects it has spawned; Gruff Rhys has been in sparkling form as has Cian Ciaran. Not to be out done, SFA bassist Guto Pryce having teamed up with Lindsay Leven for side-project Gulp, has delivered a bewitching debut in Season Sun. A wonderfully charming mix of interesting sounds and textures, the pair distil flashes of psychedelic sunshine, shimmering pastoral pop and breezy psych-folk. In doing so they create a rather unique sound that, while quite summery in essence, you couldn’t quite say it’s ‘happy’ such is unease in the fabric of the music. Leven’s sultry vocals take centre stage, floating over analogue synths, woozy guitars and fuzzed up bass guitars through the waltzing ‘Game of Love’ and ‘Grey Area’, and spaced-out dreamer ‘Hot Water’. And steering the LP away from a potential course toward the sickly sweet, are the hypnotic ‘Clean and Serene’ and the rumbling, rambling bassline, hypnotic rhythm and Django Django-eque stomp of ‘Vast Space’. Two inspired moments of sheer brilliance that like the rest of the LP will grow and seep into your senses, and leave you better for it.

 

The Lost Brothers – ‘Derridae’

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The Lost Brothers are set to release their brand new album New Songs Of Dawn And Dust next week, September 22nd to be precise. Ahead of the forthcoming release, Irish folk pair Oisin Leech and Mark McCausland, have unveiled ‘Derridae’ and it’s Gavin Wood directed video.

We’ve already had one taster, the gentle, soothing and sombre ‘Silver and Gold’, like it and their previous three albums, ‘Derridae’ has a rich, earthy quality. As they softly croon in tandem, it is nigh on impossible to resist the sweet and beautiful harmonic pairing, as the gentle acoustic strums illuminate their tender song-writing, bound by an emotional weight and vividness. The Lost Brothers are continuing to do exactly what they do best, making timeless acoustic songs, and once you open your heart to the pair, there’s no end to the rewards headed your way. There is just something so pure, honest and downright brilliant to what they do. Since the first time I saw The Lost Brothers live at Hard Working Class Heroes back in ’08, where me, my Dad and two other blokes were treated to a show befitting of a full house, I’ve been left with an indelible mark. And one I’ll gladly carry with me.

You can check out ‘Derridae’ below and if you fancy a sneak peak at the new album, New Songs Of Dawn And Dust is streaming on Clash Music.

The Lost Brothers have a string of live dates coming up across Ireland and the UK and if they’re calling at a venue near you, you’d be mad to pass them up. The full tour schedule is here.

Foreign/National – ‘Life Tourist’

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Melbourne five piece Foreign/National are readying their debut EP, ahead of which, they’ve released their latest track ‘Life Tourist’.

Now if there was ever a track to get you excited about a forthcoming release, it is ‘Life Tourist’. A breezy and chilled out track, it drifts and swirls on its merry way, elevating your head toward the clouds in under three minutes. Sun soaked, hazy and incredibly lush, from the moment it begins, it is impossible to resist being pulled you into its psychedelic swirl. Nimble cymbal work combines with smooth vocals, generous doses of reverb and all manner of fizzing psychedelic sounds, to deliver an irresistibility joyous coming together of sounds. It should go some way to alleviating the anguish of knowing that we’re still a few days from the weekend. There are certain similarities with Foreign/National and compatriots Tame Impala and Washed Out and Unknown Mortal Orchestra too – not bad company to be in at all mind.

If ‘Life Tourist’ is anything to go by, their debut EP is going to hard to resist when it’s released at the end of this month. Check it out below and behold is majesty.

King Tuff – ‘Black Moon Spell’

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California outfit King Tuff, the brainchild of Kyle Thomas, has announced a third studio album entitled Black Moon Spell, will be released on September 23rd via Sub Pop Records. It serves as the proper follow-up to his 2012 self-titled album.

Ahead of the album’s release of the forthcoming LP, King Tuff has graciously presented us with the title track, ‘Black Moon Spell’, and it’s a full-blooded rock ‘n roll monster. Revolving around a brain-obliteratingly brilliant riff, which swells and swerves to carve through a blanket of instrumental noise, distortion. As do Thomas’ vocals – clean, nasaly and channelling his inner T-Rex (as in Mark Boland) – thee finds some way through the heady blitz of noise, encompassing swirling guitars, psych-pop, glam, garage and classic rock-inspired leads. A total beast of a tune, which you can get a load of below and Black Moon Spell of the same name is out September 23rd.

King Tuff plays the Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, BC (w/La Sera) on October 23rd. Full list of tour dates here.

Attaque – ‘Change Your Mind’

UK producer Attaque continues to tease us ahead of the forthcoming release of his new album, Only You. First off we had the dazzlingly infectious and meticulously crafted title track ‘Only You‘ and now he’s presented us with the bliss-filled sounds of ‘Change Your Mind’.

Majestic and melodic, it builds slowly through a woozy mix of beats and sounds, drifting towards the dreamy and magical realms of electronic music. A breathlessly atmospheric song, aided and abetted by some wonderfully hazy vocals from Adam Pleass of Qtier, it meanders through these braising blissful sounds, intoxicating every fibre of your being. A truly beautiful song that ekes out a sweet spot between woozy shoegaze and ambient electronic pop. Things are shaping up nicely for the release of Attaque’s new album, a change of pace, direction and style but the class remains.

Only You is released on October 27th via Bad Life. For now there is ‘Change Your Mind’, if you’re not already convinced, it’ll do just that.

Springtime Carnivore – ‘Sun Went Black’

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Springtime Carnivore is the musical moniker of Greta Morgan, whose preparing to release her eponymous debut album. Produced by Richard Swift (Foxygen, The Black Keys, The Shins) it is penned in for release on November 4th.

First of the presses is the dazzling first single ‘Sun Went Black’, a buzzing, giddy burst of psychedelic tinged indie-pop. Employing ambient washes and hooky fuzzed guitars, she arrives at a blend of multi-coloured lush sounds that crackles with warmth and serves as a consummate companion for Morgan’s breezy mellifluous cooing. Morgan’s psychedelic interpretation on pop goes far beyond the hazy vocals and catchy beats, arriving at a sound that’s both danceable and dazzlingly colourful display of exuberant, synthesised pop. If this is an indication of what we can expect from her album, we’re in for a treat.

The album is out in November but for now it’s time to whet your appetite with ‘Sun Went Black’. Check it out below. Springtime Carnivore has a string of dates across North American throughout Oct/Nov (full list here), including Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret (w/ Generationals) on November 17th.