Helen Love – ‘Pogo’

Helen Love Pogo

Swansea punk poppers Helen Love are back and will release a new limited edition red 7″ single, ‘Pogo’, on September 1st through Elefant Records.

Although they’ve been around for more than two decades and establishing a dedicated cult following in that time, Helen Love’s music has a youthful philosophy and attitude, always giving off a carefree and fun air. The new single, ‘Pogo’, is in keeping with this tradition. It is a sumptuous slice of synth pop with some punk undertones and laced with some fabulously tongue-in-cheek lyrics: “Pogo pogo, hey my Italian boy .. The first punk boy in Rome…” and “Pogo pogo, hey my Italian boy, pogo pogo, I’m gonna pogo with you”. Combine this with a crazed rhythm, frenetic beats and all the colourful sounds, giddiness and fun that has become a Helen Love trademark, and you’ve got one hell of an infectious and addictive racket.

‘Pogo’ is out on limited edition red 7″ vinyl on September 1st via Elefant Records. Check out the video and b-side ‘Julie’s Got A New 7 Inch Single’ below.

 

H. Hawkline – ‘Salt Gall Box Ghouls’

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If H. Hawkline isn’t a name familiar to you, then you shouldn’t waste a moment more before acquainting yourself with this enigmatic and supremely brilliant artist.

Taking his place in a lineage of great talent that seems rather particular to Wales, his music sits nicely alongside the likes of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals, Sweet Baboo and Cate Le Bon, to name but a few. There is something utterly enchanting, unique and unusual to his exceptional brand of psych folk (which encompassed forays into garage rock from time to time too). The allure lies in it’s slightly rough diamond aesthetic and charming oddity fused with experimental whims, and a remarkable ability for a great melody and obviously, a phenomenal tune. Having just signed to Heavenly Records, H. Hawkline has released Salt Gall Box Ghouls, a free album that serves as a ‘best of’ compilation from his output to date.

Structured chronologically to include tracks from previous albums and EPs on Shape Records, Thrash Aesthetics and Turnstile Records, it offers the perfect introduction to H. Hawkline or for those already aware of his genius, a neat, trim compilation of some of his finest work. There’s so much brilliance on show that it’s a rather onerous task to pick out particular tracks for singular praise. Personal high points would be the delightfully melodious guitar led, laid back and sunny ‘Ghouls’, the the 7-minute melodious folk rumble of ‘Black Muck’ that exhibits his penchant for veering off into a slightly warped, oddball territory. And last but not least, the complete and utter brilliance of ‘Kiss Me On The Lips’. The intro will have you bounding around the room as it hurtles along at breakneck speed, vocals charging at you, before morphing into a haunting folk ballad that will have you in complete wonderment. In short: This is a sublime introduction to a supremely unique talent.

Salt Gall Box Ghouls is out now & available to download FREE from here. You know it makes sense.

 

 

 

Guest Post: Johnny Feeney Picks 3 Albums [Timber Timbre, Brodie Dalle & Total Control]

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The ever insightful Johnny Feeney pops up now and then to share his thoughts on some albums which have caught his eye, always adding extra flavour to the blog. Without further a due, here are three albums have been taking his fancy lately. Thanks as ever to Johnny for taking the time to do this and with that, I’ll leave you in his very capable hands.

Timber Timbre – ‘Hot Dreams’

The fifth album from Canadian outfit Timber Timbre is a rather dark affair – twisted, cinematic country/Americana accompanied by vocalist Taylor Kirk’s dulcet tones, baritone guitars, snapping percussion and luscious string arrangements that feels like a perfect soundtrack to a disparate spaghetti western noir. This album is certainly one that requires multiple listens before it fully reveals itself. The dreamy title track is the lightest thing on offer with layers of synth-strings and woozy saxophones but is an exception rather than the rule.

The sinister ‘Bring Me Simple Men’ sounds like Portishead gone country fronted by Roy Orbison. ‘This Low Commotion’ is an album highlight with its sweeping strings and tinkling keys. The supreme ‘Run From Me’ plods along before slowly building and bursting unexpectedly but welcomely into life. Instrumental ‘The Three Sisters’ mirrors all what’s gone on before it and closes the album with one final ride into the sunset as the darkness envelopes all around. Hauntingly beautiful.

Brody Dalle – ‘Diploid Love’

Perhaps better known as the former frontwoman of punk-rockers the Distillers and wife of Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Brody Dalle’s rock credentials are certainly plain for all to see on here. On her debut solo album, she takes on production duties along with QOTSA collaborator Alain Johannes and although guests on the album include the Strokes’ Nick Valensi and Garbage’s Shirley Manson amongst others, there’s no doubt that the star of the show is Dalle herself.

There’s no shortage of thundering hooks or spiky attitude with Dalle’s snarling vocals driving the songs along. The strongest track on the album, ‘Meet the Foetus/Oh the Joy’, is a paean to motherhood with an ending so impossibly catchy that it can lodge in your head for days. ‘Blood in Gutters’ is fantastic – the scuzzy guitars and Dalle’s raw vocals providing the perfect foil for each other. There are some weaker moments towards the end such as the tame ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’ but shouldn’t take away from what is an excellent rock album.

Total Control – ‘Typical System’

Melbourne quintet Total Control is not an especially easy band to pigeon-hole into one specific genre – new wave, post-punk, alternative rock, krautrock are some of the terms they’ve been labelled as. Their second album runs the gamut of all these and bends and contorts them into a weird and wonderful, heavily psychedelic sound. Founding member Mikey Young is also a member of garage-rockers par excellence Eddy Current Suppression Ring so it’s no surprise to see some rollicking, spiky punk rock appear throughout such as the fabulous ‘Expensive Dog’.

In other places you get something approaching straight-up garage rock like ‘Systematic Fuck’ and the much darker psychedelic sounds of ‘Liberal Party’ and the brilliant ‘Two Less Jacks’. The synth-rock of ‘The Ferryman’ is a further departure, while the chorus of the sublime closer ‘Safety Net’ evokes Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. All this interchanging keeps the listener guessing as to what’s coming next which makes the forty minute listening time fly by. Truly exceptional.

Introducing: The Careers

 

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The Careers are a garage- rock band comprised of four young men – Luke O’Neill, Eoin Conway, James Moone & Fergal Hennessy – from Cork.

They’ve a certain penchant for the past and sound as though they were raised on a steady diet of ‘6os rock and roll and garage bands. There’s a very definite influence from The Kinks, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles and The Strokes, the latter of which looms largest, O’Neill’s often sounds eerily similar to Julian Casablancas. They’re a rock ‘n roll band, plain and simple. To date, they’ve released one EP, Atomic Cosmosaurus, recorded in the drummer’s shed, it’s filled with lively and stomping gems of the fuzzy, garagey variety. These scratchy, rough and ragged home recordings are endearing in their unique imperfection, and pleasing to the ear and an eminently repeatable experience. While there is a scrappy imperfection and absence of glossy production to their sound, the execution is tight, as any number of examples from the EP are testament to – from the bashed kickdrums and turbulent guitar riffs of ‘Won’t Go Far’ to the slinking swagger of ‘Try [Try, (Try)]’ or stomping retro-fitted rock ‘n roller ‘All The All The Whiles’. Combining a clever use of great riffs, driving rhythms and catchy hooks and melodies, The Careers have struck an incredible balance between sounding familiar, yet wholly original at the same time. Hopefully we’re hearing more from them soon.

There’s a few choice cuts from their debut EP below, and if they’re to your liking you can pop over to Bandcamp and download it for free. And if you’re going to Electric Picnic this weekend, you can see them play the ‘Body & Soul Stage’ at 4pm on Friday.

 

 

Only Real – ‘Pass The Pain’

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We’ve been keenly keeping tabs on Only Real for quite sometime now, and it’s been an enjoyable one at that. He’s not put a foot wrong since introducing himself with woozy slackerish, surf-rock inspired tunes, produced in his West London bedroom.

In keeping with this convention, Only Real is back with another unbelievably excellent new track, ‘Pass The Pain’, taken from his forthcoming debut album. The young Londoner continues to bring the feel good summer vibes, blending jangly guitars with helpings of fuzz, some woozy atmospherics and a nod to the psychedelic. Add to that, skippy percussion and malingering basslines, which combine for a charming, upbeat and woozy tune, Only Real’s signature sound if you will. All a perfect backdrop his witty, off the cuff and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. The delivery of which alternates between more traditional fuzzed-out ‘indie’ vocals and a sort of half-rapped vocal style, in which words trickle from his mouth with a free-flowing fluidity. Another top notch gem from Only Real and further reason to be truly enamoured by his music. ‘Pass The Pain’ is a perfect indulgence for the last glimpses of summer sunshine.

‘Pass The Pain’ is released September 29 on Virgin EMI (UK) and Harvest Records (US) and comes ahead of Only Real’s debut album which is penned in for release in early 2015.