One of the acts I discovered this past weekend while doing my own personal music trolling was The Felt Tips. Everything about their sound immediately caught my ear; I can’t say if it was the way the guitars dueled or the affecting tone of the vocals, but I know that I’ve just been playing this song on repeat for several days. The group has a new album titled Symbolic Violence ready for your ears this coming Spring via Firestation Records–that label alone had me scrambling for pen and paper to bring you news of great indie pop. Sometimes I just like simplicity and cleanliness, both which come to mind on this joyous listen.
The year of 2013 is shaping up to be quite a nice one already, and one of the leaders of the pack is Slumberland Records. Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls get things going on February 26th with the release of their self-titled record, filled with eleven gems that will surely help wake you from your winter slumber. For me, the interplay between male and female vocal parts is reminiscent of the purest time in indie rock, when melody and playfulness went hand in hand. I also think you’ll like the way there’s just a hint of jangling guitars coming from the three piece as the drums bang out a steady groove to keep your toes a’ tappin’.
Man, you’ve got to give it up for quirky art-pop bands like We Are the Physics, especially when they embrace the pretense in order to maximize the fun potential for fans. They’ve just unleashed their album, Your Friend, the Atom, sticking with the science theme. I like the latest single, which sounds like a nerdier version of early Les Savy Fav. It’s got that knifing guitar work moving around angularly, and the vocals are emphatic–even allowing a bit of a dancing stomp. This isn’t your average Glasgow act, though we’ve scene some ferocity coming out of the city recently, so let’s praise another act pushing forth.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/04-Napoleon-Loves-Josephine.mp3]
We’re almost a decade into the excellent career of The Hermit Crabs, a Glaswegian group specializing in jangling guitars and sentimental melodies. They hit 2012 running with the warming Time Relentless EP, crafting timeless pop songs that every listener will surely find endearing, no matter how many times you play it on your stereo.
We find the group opening with “On The Spectrum,” and Mel opens with a steady vocal that attaches itself to your inner ear from the moment she joins in with the carefully choreography of the guitar. As she sings of her favorite fella a light backing vocal warms your heart, illustrating the relevance of The Hermit Crabs in everyone’s personal indie pop collection.
“Time Relentless” continues the pop barrage, using a heavy drum beat as the backbone of the song. Once the guitars take on a more prominent role in the song, you’re going to find it hard to ignore the fact that this group can clearly match any of the work of their compatriots Camera Obscura. I know it might seem like hyperbole, but each little added touch deepens the emotional appeal, such as the added keyboard wash that hangs far off in the distance of this track.
Perhaps my favorite track on the Time Relentless EP is also its shortest, “Stop This Now.” It begins with a strummed guitar, and Mel coolly singing atop it, but the song blossoms into pop beauty when the lead guitar begins to noodle its way in and out of the track, all the while the rhythm guitar still carries with it a steady strum. Again, you’ll find the perfect backing vocal assuring you of the pitch-perfect melody in Mel’s voice. Such a wonderful track.
Closing out the EP is a more melancholy number, which comes to you via “So Blue.” Instead of revolving solely around the guitar and Mel, they use a bit of piano to provide the slowing mood. For me, I keep hearing the guitar cutting in, as if it’s crying with the emotion of the track. While it definitely has a change of pace, this is the sort of song that indie pop fans fawn over.
While The Hermit Crabs aren’t necessarily a household name as of yet, you can be assured that those of us in love with the group are begging to share the group’s music with you. It might not seem otherworldly, but the perfect execution of blissful pop songs makes the Time Relentless EP a must have for all fans of the genre.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Stop_This_Now.mp3]
Download:The Hermit Crabs – Stop This Now [MP3]
Time Relentless EP is available now from Matinee Recordings.
FatCat really has their hand on melodic noise rock from the British Isles. Not only do they have our favorite The Twilight Sad on their roster, but they’ve just picked up PAWS to release their album, Cokefloat!, on October 9th. There’s a great bit of exuberance in this track, with a youthful vocal attack dominating the song from the get-go. I like how things are slowed down just a touch towards the end of the song, giving you time to capture your breath before they blast off in an angst-ridden fashion. Definitely an exciting track from these Glasgow lads.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/10-Miss-American-Bookworm.mp3]
Download: PAWS – Miss American Bookworm [MP3]
Up until now, everything coming out of Glasgow, at least in my mind, has come across with this calm beauty to it, that is until I ran into this new tune from Holy Esque. Singer Pat Hynes has this stuttering vocal delivery that gives off a weird sort of tension, as if the group’s about to explode. I don’t know really how else to go into detail, as Hynes has the standout performance on this track. You can find this number, as well as others when the band releases their Holy Esque EP on April 23rd…should be more than just your run of the mill Scottish rock.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/02-Track-02.mp3]
I’ll give you that this is a little bit abrasive, compared to the music I usually post about, but I still have a penchant for the heavier side of things. Unlike most bands in their area, Glaswegian group United Fruit are here to give you a swift kick to the teeth. The guitars are shredding and the vocals are reminiscent of the olden days of Trail of Dead, so you know we Austinites are going to have a liking for that. These kids have just released their new album, Fault Lines, and aside from one track (“Three”) it’s a rocker through and through. Perhaps it’s to your liking too?[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/United-Fruit_01_Kamikaze.mp3]
Download: United Fruit – Kamikaze [MP3]
Glasvegas is the newest Scottish band to hit the United States, and they are expected to make big waves on our shores. Their debut self-titled album has been floating around the Internet for months, but it finally hits records stores here this week.
From the moment that the first song actually kicks in, a minute or so into the song, you hear one of the staples of this band, as they surround the entirety of their songs in swirling atmospherics, coating the songs in a certain denseness that adds layers of emotion to their songs.
Immediately following the introductory song comes one of the better singles from 2008, “Geraldine.” The percussion drives this song perfectly, pounding in your ears as angular guitars cut the landscape or the rest of the album. This is a song you’ll want on all mix tapes you make this year; it’s just a perfect song.
The band doesn’t let up here, as the next five songs are all uniquely wonderful. The crashing chorus of “It’s My Own Cheating Heart” is definitely one of the joys of this little intercession, as cymbals crash in your ears and guitar blasts encourage a little light head-banging. This middle section is the highlight of the record, as the songs never seem to stagnate or come off as copies of the previous tunes. It all ends with the great “Daddy’s Gone.” This is a slower number, but one that showcases the bands capabilities as true songwriters.
Then the band winds the rest of the album down, a little too slowly. The pounding drums and atmospherics dissipate, settling into the softer side of things for the ending. It leaves listeners to contemplate the two weaker elements of the album. One, the lyrics are ridiculous at points. “You are my sunshine/My only sunshine,” is actually used as a lyric? It’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek, but some people will be turned off by it. Also, while the vocals are definitely interesting due to vocal inflection, the Scottish tones will eventually wear you out, as you struggle to understand the spoken word at points.
Still, at the end of the album, most will be pleased with the outcome. They will see promise in a the new young band, and we can expect a big year from Glasvegas.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/07-daddys-gone.mp3]
Download: Glasvegas – Daddys Gone [MP3]