Saturday, 31 March 2012

Mascot Fight - Played a Hand (Cassette County)/Allo Darlin' Europe (Fortuna Pop!)

I'll admit to still being hooked on the amazing Tigercats album, but I took a break yesterday to listen to something else for a few hours.

Mascot Fight are still going, and thank heavens for that. Their brand of awkward pop deserves to be heard by more people than a few people in the East Midlands, but the band seem terminally ignored even after their last breathtaking album 'Pantomime Hearse'. This new download-only single is out on Monday, and if you're tired of the same old chords played in the same old order then you should chuck a few pennies their way.

'Play a Hand' again mixes Pavement-ish pop with a genuine sense of the maudlin, and makes for reliably cuddlesome listening, whilst 'Moderate Man' comes on like Blur doing a Kinks song if they had even one atom of creativity. Lucikly, the Fight (yeah, that's right) have it in spades. Lastly, 'You Said a Mouthful' reminds this listener of mid-period Morrissey. That's a compliment, by the way.

Have a listen to 'Played a Hand',

Whilst Mascot Fight continue to battle apathy, Allo Darlin' are flying, of course. Their second album, 'Europe' could make them and Fortuna Pop! a small fortune if they don't spend it all on breakdown recovery.

Their next single, the title track of that album, is all about their traumatic European tour last year when they traversed the continent running on empty - metaphorically and listerally. It's a pretty frank admission for a band who are on such a steep trajectory; yeah, sometimes touring can be dreadful, it seems.

'Europe' doesn't stick out to me a single, but it's a fine song all the same. It has lilting strings and Elizabeth's voocal is as perfect as ever. Then in the last forty seconds or so, the handclaps come in - almost as an act of defiance. It's a happy ending.

'Europe' is out on 23rd April on Fortuna Pop!

I'll leave you with Mascot Fight live in a radio studio in Nottingham.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Leicester indiepop all-dayer, The Firebug, 24/03/12

There are times throughout this excellent gig when you feel like you've crashed someone's house party, but that it doesn't really matter because everyone is so bloody nice and welcoming that it feels like you've known them for years.

This is a coming together of Leicester's indiepop community. There are some old faces here, some new ones, and some from out of town - and the atmosphere is perfect. There's none of the studied cool you can sometimes get at London shows, for example, nor the reliance on a bunch of people playing records inbetween the bands to try and inject some happiness. Nope, people are here because they want to be - not because they think they ought to. And most of the crowd do that crazy thing of watching all the bands, instead of standing outside smoking, or talking at the back of the room. A good 75 per cent of the 100 or so here are here before the excellent Sunbathers play their first note.

The Sunbathers, who have a new single out of Dufflecoat, seem perrenial outsiders. Perhaps because they don't make the sort of foot-stomping pop songs that others do, but that doesn't mean those songs they do play aren't worthy. Whilst their not instant, there's a pulsing pop heart between these two - as there has been for years and years now. The Sunbathers deserve a wider audience.

I've seen August Actually many many times now, and I've always been impressed by someone who can play drums and trumpet at the same time. Laura's voice is as pristine as ever, and she really should be allowed to sing more songs. Frontman Alex has a monkey face mask hanging off his micrphone stand, which, from where I was standing, makes him look like he's wearing the world's worst thong.

My last band of the day (I had to go home early because of a sick infant - rock and/or roll) were The Sweet Nothings. I often gush to anyone in this band who will listen to me that the last time I saw them was the best I'd seen them play, and this time was no different. Still shorn of keyboard player Vinnie, the three-piece still manage to make an almost Buzzcocks-like pop rattle.

Before they go on stage, singer Pete learns that Grimsby Town have equalised in an important match at Luton Town. By the end of The Sweet Nothings' set most of us in the crowd feel like we've won the FA Cup. I made my way home happy.

Big thanks to Simon at the excellent Sweeping the Nation blog for organising such an ace day. I'm sad to have missed MJ Hibbett & the Validators on home turf, and the excellent (and friendly) Just Handshakes (We're British), but there's always next year...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

If you like Go Sailor, you'll love this

Oh, such serendipity! I follow up a post about Standard Fare and Indietracks with a post about... Standard Fare and Indietracks.

Here's the full information fresh off an email from those highp-ranking officials at Indietracks Towers.

Go Sailor, Standard Fare and Gordon McIntyre of Ballboy have been added to the line-up for this year’s Indietracks Festival, which takes place on July 6-8 at the Midland Railway in Ripley, Derbyshire.

Go Sailor are the early indiepop supergroup of Rose Melberg (The Softies, Tiger Trap, Gaze) and Amy Linton (The Aislers Set, Henry’s Dress) and this will be their first ever appearance in the UK. They recorded three 7" singles and a full-length album in 1996 but, after the band broke up, their songs "Ray of Sunshine" and "Together Forever in Love" were made famous when they were included on the soundtrack to the film “But I’m A Cheerleader”. The band reformed in 2010 to critical acclaim and released a compilation album on Slumberland Records in 2011. Singer Rose Melberg will also be giving a solo performance at Indietracks.

Indiepop trio Standard Fare released their second album “Out of Sight, Out of Town” in January this year. They have been described as having the “The best and most loveable aspects of indie guitar music” by The Guardian, and were voted Sound XP’s Live Act of the Year in 2010. Gordon McIntyre is singer with John Peel favourites Ballboy, and co-author and composer for the widely praised play Midsummer.

Indietracks are partnering with American indiepop label Slumberland Records for this year’s festival, and Girls Names and Liechtenstein have also been added as part of this collaboration. Also announced today is White Town, whose song “Your Woman” reached number one in the UK charts in 1997. Other bands added to the bill include The Rosie Taylor Project, Liechtenstein, Joanna Gruesome, Proper Ornaments, Velodrome 2000 (one-off reunion show for the John Peel darlings), September Girls, Mikrofisch, The Silver Factory and The Making Of.

Other bands announced so far include Allo Darlin’, Veronica Falls, The June Brides, Tender Trap, Evans the Death and Tigercats. For the full line-up announced so far visit the Indietracks website at

Monday, 19 March 2012

Share the pain with Standard Fare

It's in dark days like this, when this piss-vicious fuckpig of a government is now planning to PRIVATISE THE FUCKING ROADS, dismantle the NHS even further, and in the Budget this Wednesday launch another round of attacks on the working class, that your mind springs forward to happier times - namely Indietracks.

And what's brought today's hand-rubbing at the thought of three days in Butterley? Why, it's the video to Standard Fare's soaring '051107'. I really, really love this song.

I have to write about the Budget as part of my job on Wednesday afternoon. I might have to play this on loop to number the pain

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Remember, remember...

Just a very quick post (no, please, put the hanky away) to update you on our Nottingham all-dayer on 29 September. The most brilliant Fireworks have been added to the bill, so if you like your indiepop Subway Records influenced rather than Sarah Records bedwetter-lite, then you may as well come along.

In the meantime, take a look to the left of your filthy screen for more information on who's playing, then out 15 minutes aside to set your laptop (or whatever new-fangled thing you're reading this on) speakers alight.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

That was the week that was

I've been all over the shop this week (well, Birmingham and Manchester), but I've heard so much exciting new music that there's hardly been a day recently when I've not though: well, go to the bottom of my stairs; as if these lot aren't my favourite new band.

I don't really think like that. I'm not Ena Sharples. Not yet.

First up, Joanna Gruesome. That name is the first thing you should love them for.

The next thing is this; six tracks of the sweetest, noisy pop music you're likely to hear. I want them desperately to come and play our all-dayer in September, or before. I hope they somehow read this, or the desperately shy email I sent them and grant me my wish.

Young Romance are from London, and have receiving rave reviews from them what's in the know down there. I've put off listening them for a while for fear of being let down - something which i'm sure happens to us all - but their coyly-named 'Bedroom Demos' is a thrilling game of two halves: one swashbuckling pop triumph; t'other sweet and introspective. I want both of their children without any gas, air or lager.

Next, Rex or Regina, from Florida, who plough the same furrow as Evans the Death with a touch of The Meeting Places thrown in. They're playing in Orlando tonight, but I can't get a babysitter and I'm thousands of miles away in Nottingham, which is a shame because they're pretty wonderful.

Lastly, those spunky Tigercats have released a quite amazing video to accompany their forthcoming single 'Full Moon Reggae Party'. If you don't fall in love with the hero of this little film you have a heart made of stone and a brain to match.

I'm off to the listen to some new Strawberry Whiplash songs.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tell me lies

When you're down, and in trouble, and you need a helping hand, just watch the new Evans the Death video. Tuesday: saved!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

All day, and most of the night

I'm still reeling a little bit from the magic that Shrag, Tunabunny and Horowitz brought to The Chameleon on Friday night. I didn't even have a hangover yesterday, despite drinking my own bodyweight in cheap lager for the entire evening. Perhaps euphoria is the best way to avoid feeling like death. Which sort of goes without saying...

A big thanks to all three bands on Friday, all those that came down for the gig (except the twat in the jacket, jeans and boating shoes who came leering at woman all night, but who didn't quite have the balls to shout "get your tits out" too loudly. What a fucking hero you are) and to Mike from Happy Happy Birthday to Me records who piled me high with records... and a Sourpatch mug! You really are a hero.

Owards! This year's Nottingham pop all-dayer will be on Saturday 29th September at The Chameleon in Nottingham. This is the fifth year of the all-dayer which started after taking some inspiration from a really drunk few hours at the London all-dayer in 2007. I have no idea where it was, but I remember The Cut-Outs being excellent.

Enough of the drunken reverie, because we've already got some bands booked for the all-dayer in September. They are: Standard Fare; The Whatevers, The Hobbes Fanclub; Sock Puppets and Tigercats. There'll be five more bands, and it'll be £12 to get in again. We're not doing tickets up front, because we can't afford to, so it'll be pay on the door. And we promise it won't as hot as it was last year, so those of a fragile constitution might be able to wear their cardigan all the way through this time around.

Oh, and Tobi from Riots Not Diets will be DJing for us.

Right now, I'm off to tuck into that new Sourpatch LP.