More from Skittle Alley

skittlesFor a long while now, we’ve been praising the work of Skittle Alley, and they are slowly unleashing early versions of the tracks that will fill up their new LP. It’s light-hearted indiepop, filled with jangling guitar work, precision percussion and a really warm vocal.  These are the kinds of songs that true indiepop fans dream about.  The French act haven’t released much information on their upcoming LP, but the songs they’ve been leaking out are nothing short of superb…get acquainted.

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Indiepop Joy from Skittle Alley

10523116_10152579979492091_287849880994909169_nGotta throw a nod towards my friend at IPSMYL for pointing out this great new track from Skittle Alley; it’s made my day just to know this track is out there.  I’ve written about the French group before, and they’ve lived up, and perhaps surpassed my expectations with this tune, even if it’s labeled as a demo.  I honestly don’t think it needs much more…the vocals have that indiepop softness, the guitars jangle in all the right places and there’s an overall emotional appeal that makes the song worth repeating over and over again.  Can’t wait to see what’s next from these guys.

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Brand New Music from The Bankees

bankyThere are some band’s you really root for; the Bankees is that band for me.  I’ve been a huge fan of the group, as this site can attest, and I’ll continue to support their consistently solid musical endeavors.  They’re prepping for the release of their new EP, Gizmo, and the first single is definitely a relaxing tune; it’s actually the first time I really feel like there’s a bit of a French inflection on the vocals (which makes sense seeing as they’re from France).  There’s a smooth little guitar cut that gives some swagger, while the rest of the song takes on a groove that warms the soul.  Look for their new EP on March 21st.

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Pleased To Meet You: Isaac Delusion

isaacPerhaps I’ve been hiding under some strange rock, but a friend was raving about the recent release of Issac Delusion, and apparently the group has quite a following.  I might have to consider myself one of those after discovering the French band’s debut album for Cracki Records.  The label just uploaded one of the singles, “She Pretends,” and it’s hard to deny its ability to weave itself into your subconscious.  I loved  that little guitar line that opens the track, and there’s something peculiar about the vocals, though I can’t quite describe it, I don’t hate it.  The tune’s got little electronic touches, as well as a little disco noodling…you should definitely give it a listen.

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New Music from Dead Horse One

deadhorseDiscovering a song that’s inexplicably moving is always a joy, especially when it comes offering a different view at music than what one typically gets during their day. I’ve been loving this tune from France’s Dead Horse One, who’ve just completed the finishing touches on their new album Without Love We Perish, which was recorded by Mark Gardener of Ride.  This opening tracks is a sprawling number that slowly builds, waiting for the softly spoken vocals to move in beneath the mix.  I’m sorry, but you’ve gotta listen to this song on repeat at least four or five times.

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Sweet New Pop from Blanche as a Name

blancheFeel like it’s been a minute since I last heard the work of French group, Blanche as a Name, but today things are a-changing as they just released a really special new single, featuring the track below.  You’ll get sucked into the switch between the soft opening and the minimal explosion into pop bliss.  Admittedly, these sorts of songs aren’t for everyone’s ears, but you’ll find yourself tapping your toes softly, escaping your daily doldrums, albeit for just four brief moments.  You can pick up the single now from Bleeding Gold Records.

Brand New Music from The Bankees

The Bankees VLong have I championed The Bankees, a band that deserves far more appreciation than perhaps they’ve gotten.  Honestly, everything they’ve done has affected me in some manner or another.  I got great news today that the band has completed work on their 5th album, completing some of their best songs to date.  They remind me a little bit of a dreamier version of Comet Gain, perhaps including a little bit more psychedelic elements too.  I’ve spent the afternoon listening to V, the new album, and I’m offering up one of the many great tracks featured on the record.  If you’re looking for something that encompasses pop elements whilst still challenging your ears, then grab a listen here.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/07-Miley.mp3]

Download: The Bankees – Miley [MP3]

New Twee Garage Pop From Beat Marks

I’m not sure if anyone has ever used the term twee garage pop before so I plan on coining it as my own if it has yet to be claimed.  That’s the term I’m using to describe this relatively new Paris based outfit Beat Marks.  Their sound combines the twee elements of POBPAH with some of the indie garage bands like Yo la Tengo or even a touch of Sonic Youth.  Those comparisons may seem a bit bold, but I find the band might just be worthy.

You can check out a new 5 song EP by the band over on their bandcamp page coming your way from Soft Power Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/01-Between-My-Teeth.mp3]

Download: Beat Mark – Between My Teeth [MP3]

Murky Number from Dead Horse One

You know, I don’t think too many people talk about the scene over in France, aside from a few acts.  So when I got this heads-up on Dead Horse One, I was a bit intrigued, and then I was pleased.  The band has crafted a blend of early shoegaze with hint of psychedelia, creating a heavy sound that begs your attention today.  Earlier this year they released their Heavenly Choir of Jet Engines EP, and while it might be a short affair (4 tracks), it’s been really rewarding listening to the wash of guitars coated in this odd pop approach.  It’s clear that the French aren’t worried about pretense here, aiming to craft their own unique sound.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Dead-Horse-One-Heavenly-choir-of-jet-engines-01-Dead-Horse-One-Alone.mp3]

Download: Dead Horse One – Alone [MP3]

 

The Bankees – Home

Rating: ★★★★½

Occasionally you encounter a band and a record that fits perfectly into who you are or where you are; these are the sorts of albums that you’ll always find endearing, no matter who tells you otherwise.  Home by The Bankees, just might be that album, reaching beyond my expectations and finding its way straight into the core of my being.

Admittedly, I’m not in the same place as the lyrics on “Single Life” by any means, yet I’m drawn to the songs emotional appeal.  I love the way there’s some restraint in the delivery of the verses, which is only strengthened when the chorus comes through with a bit of brightness. The cascading electric guitar solo nicely ties the song together as it continues through the track.  And then you come into “Days,” one of the standout tracks from the Home.  For me, the quality of the recording is what does it; it’s not overblown with production, allowing the craftsmanship of the group to shine through.  The lyric of “I don’t have that much to say, no one listens anyways” seems perfectly fitting to my wandering mind.  This track is perfect.

The Bankees put songs together so well that you have no idea what hit you until the track is over, so you rush to play it again.  Every time I listen to “Big Fish” this is the exact sentiment I get, hitting that repeat button.  Quietly strummed guitar, stomping drum beat and male/female vocal duo all feature on this jam, warming my spirit with each play.  Mid-track the song seems to come to a halt for just a moment, then carries off again as the cymbal is used for extra bits of emphasis.  But, making songs like this surely can’t come easy, even if they sound so incredible.  “Home” creates nostalgia personally, though it’s not just in the lyrical material, but also in its likeness to Arab Strap.  Similar to the Scots, this French band seems to strip things down to such simplistic moments that you sometimes aren’t even aware of the musical quality, despite how moving it is as it comes out of your speakers.

There’s hardly a misstep on Home, which alone makes it worthy of your listening pleasure.  More importantly, it’s hard to write about one song, or even several, as each song seems to deserve some attention.  “Under the Sun” closes things out in a softer space than where the album began, relying mostly on the guitar work and the vocals.  It’s almost a personal farewell from The Bankees, although the subject matter might not lead you that way.  That’s precisely why I’ve annoyed everyone playing this record over and over again: it’s extremely personal.  Whether you relate to the lyrics or your drawn to emotional appeal of the tracks themselves, you can’t help but feel enwrapped in the whole of it all.  In my mind, that makes for a memorable record I vow not to put down anytime soon.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/02-Days.mp3]

Download:The Bankees – Days [MP3]

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