Introducing: Smith Westerns

Right, I’m a little late to the game with Chicago quartet Smith Westerns, who since the release of their eponymous debut in 2009 have attracted many column and blog inches to discuss their merits.

Their glam-fused indie sound is deeply, deeply rooted in early 70’s glam rock and garage punk of the T. Rex and David Bowie ilk. So much so that you would be forgiven for thinking they had been commissioned to make the soundtrack to retrospective BBC sci-fi/police drama Life on Mars.

Of their two albums the debut record is the stronger. It’s very much a lo-fi fuzzed-out-glam affair of hooky heartfelt grooves, bound by reckless youthful energy. 2011’s follow-up Dye It Blonde while polished and detracted slightly, retains that youthful exuberance and recklessness which make the debut so captivating.

A brazenly honest band who wear both their heart and influences on their sleeves. At the age of just 20 and two albums in, the future is looking pretty bright for these guys.

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Smith Westerns – Girl in Love via Transparentrec

Smith Westerns – Still New via Scarferella

Smith Westerns – Weekend via popgunbooking

Download: Clark ‘Phrenic’ Mix

Warp announced the return of Clark (Aka Chris Clark) today, dropping an absolute belter of a mix via their website.

The Phrenic Mix showcases some new material as well as some choice cuts from elsewhere. It’s apparently the first in a series of MPC mixes which got premiered on Tom Ravenscroft’s show on BBC 6Music last Friday.

Clark and Warp have kindly made it available to download for free via soundcloud.

Clark will play the Button Factory, Dublin on February 4th. Doors @ 11pm/€9 (seriously?).

 Clark – Phrenic Mix


Clark – Dulceria Remix
Neil Landstrumm – Index Revisited
Cajmere – Only 4 U (Instrumental Edit)
DJ Hyperactive – Teeter-Totter
Thomas Kroner – Woodcarver
Surgeon – 9 Hours Into The Future
Actress – Let’s Fly
Paris Mitchell – Ghetto Shout (Clark Edit)
Waxmaster Maurice – Tha Wop
Dorian Concept – Trilingual Sex Experience
Bernard Purdie – Disco Beat
Clark – Dirty Pixie
Clark – Untitled

The Quarter Inch Collective: Quompilation #1

The Quarter Inch Collective’s is set to release Quompilation #1, a compilation of 13 Irish artists performing re-worked and re-imagined renditions of favourites from 2010.

The bands and guys from Quarter Inch Collective have outdone themselves – take a bow. The quality is ridiculously high throughout and it is simply littered with excellence, Hipster Youth, We Are Losers and No Monster Club.

A guys gotta have his favourites, yeah? Ahead by a nose are Squarehead, Kid Karate, Ginola and Spies tackling Adebisi Shank, Tinie Tempah, Rihanna and The National respectfully. A lot of love and care has gone it to this, fingers crossed it is the first in a long running series.

To stream the album/more info pop over to The Quarter Inch website. Here’s a couple of tasty morsels to get your mouth-watering.

Squarehead – (-_-) (Adebisi Shank Cover)

Kid Karate – Pass Out (Tinie Tempah Cover)

Ginola – Rude Boy (Rihanna Cover)

Spies – Terrible Love (The National Cover)

Quompilation #1 is launched in The Lower Deck on Thursday (Jan 27th) with seven of the bands playing on the night. €10 entry w/a free cassette/download.

New: The Vines – ‘Gimme Love’

Aussie rockers The Vines were once heralded as saviors of rock ‘n roll before being unfairly derided, in my opinion, by the very same media.

The Vines were never going to the musical trailblazers, hopping genres and defying the odds but they always had a knack for short, snappy, fast paced guitar driven music.

Anyway, they have returned with this signature sound in the shape of ‘Gimme Love’. It’s taken from their forthcoming album, Future Primitive, out in April.

The Vines – Gimme Love via Lanuevaescuela

Rewind: Weezer – Pinkerton

For the most part Weezer‘s career has been a sporadic mix of brilliance and mediocrity, one record stands head and shoulders above all else, Pinkerton.

The recent acquisition of the ‘deluxe edition’ of the album has seen my fondness for this record rekindled. The story behind this one is pretty well-known at this stage, best to keep it short.

In 1996 the release of Pinkerton seen a move away from the band’s original power pop sound which made their name, toward a darker and more abrasive sound.

Initially critics especially didn’t get it, branding it “seething and self-indulgent”, “juvenile” and it “clearly shows Weezer is headed to the graveyard of forgettable bands”. How wrong they were, such harsh criticism put off the punters ultimately rendering it a commercial failure.

Despite the rough start it rose in stature in the intervening years slowing winning over legions of fans. Soon cult status ensued and coming full circle it soon began securing posthumous like acclaim.

It may be clichéd to say but I don’t really care, this is by far Weezer’s best work and remains one of my favorite records of all time . If you don’t have it already make sure and get your hands on a copy, you’re missing out!

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Weezer – The Good Life via Jhowlett

New: Bright Eyes – Shell Games

Following escapades with Mystic Valley Band and Monsters of Folk, Connor Oberst returns to the Bright Eyes moniker with a new album The People’s Key.

It’s been suggested the new record will slightly more “rocking” than more recent outings. All we have to go on as yet is ‘Shell Games’ and whatever his intentions the well renowned angst and deeply personal lyrical style remains intact, thankfully.

It’s still a mystery how this managed to remain elusive up till this week – The People’s Key is due out in February.

Bright Eyes – Shell Games via Pretty Much Amazing

The Lucky Dip Escapade – ‘Learning to Count’ EP

The Lucky Dip Escapade is the moniker of UK ex-pat Oliver Smith who now resides in Sweden where along with his trusty acoustic guitar, makes heart warming and touching folk/rock.

Proclaimed as writing “the best Billy Bragg song that Billy didn’t write”’. The Bragg comparisons are probably inevitable due to the commonality with his work and more recent contemporaries such as Frank Turner. It’s not bad company to be in really.

Few musicians possess the talent to flip between sincere political subject matter and personal, heartwarming love songs. This is executed elegantly throughout Learning to Count. ‘Camp Fire Song’, an eloquent inditement of modern life and mis-rule sits comfortably alongside the touching ‘Tired Eyes’ or ‘Life Boat’ effortlessly.

It’s refreshing to hear folk music which is unashamed to say something deeply personal, political or otherwise. Folk music is about stories and telling them, like his aforementioned contemporaries he has this ability in abundance.

The Lucky Dip Escapade – Campfire Song

The Lucky Dip Escapade – Rabbit Holes

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