• Penpal - Penpal

    3 Nov 2011, 14:07

    My relationship with mid-90s emo and emo-revival is a very loving one; since graduating from university (and a tiny bit of time before that), I've been gradually becoming more and more obsessed with twiddly guitar passages, lyrics about Dungeons & Dragons, and jumping up and down on beds in your late 20s. penpal are my latest fix, combining their melow-yet-technical American Football-esque sound with their own level of originality funtime to make me a very happy boy. Their self-titled album (entitled Penpal, if you hadn't guessed) was their debut release, and they've since released an EP with more wonderful loveliness for our ears.

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  • Tunturia - Maps

    30 Oct 2011, 11:50

    A couple of months ago, I went on a bit of a frenzy and bought myself an entire playlist's worth of music (I felt like I'd been neglecting the genre a little in favour of poppier things) and Tunturia's Maps was part of that bundle. Despite being a playlist made up by around twenty different artists, Tunturia stood out most for me; maybe because they're Canadian, maybe because they have beards, but most likely because this record is mind-blowingly amazing. The opening track, Panic Attack, is upbeat and wonderful, and sets an amazing tone for the album to come. My favourite track by far, however, is Cast Shadows on Clouds, which uses harmonics and sampling to a profoundly wonderful effect. It's a spine-tingler, that's fo' sho'; it's just a shame it's their only album to date. Hurry and make another, y'hear?

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  • The National - Boxer

    26 Oct 2011, 23:20

    I have too many things to say about The National; about how I love their bluesy riffs, Matt Berninger’s sublime baritone voice, or the fact that I’ve been wishing I was married to them since I was eighteen. I first listened to Boxer in my first year of university, I remember playing PS2 with my flatmate and putting it on on repeat. He’s a fan of video game music and I couldn’t tell if my indie-hipster-awesome was annoying him, but that’s tough. This was also actually the first vinyl record I received with my new turntable, which was a birthday present from my one-time-missus when I turned twenty-one; needless to say, it’s extremely well-played.

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  • Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden...

    26 Oct 2011, 21:24

    is one of those genres that seems to have become somewhat saturated with countless bands, all working towards the same goal, and all ending sounding somewhat the same in the process. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it just means it takes ages to sift through all the samey to reach the awesome. Take Explosions in the Sky, for example; for many, they are a post-rock staple, for others, they are pioneers, for me, they are one of the defining bands of my late teens and early twenties. All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone is probably my favourite record of theirs, and the title track, The Birth and Death of A Day, is one that will stick with me forever.

    Genres: post-rock / ambient / instrumental
  • Candy Hearts - Ripped Up Jeans

    21 Oct 2011, 12:11

    Another recent discovery of mine, Candy Hearts came about, for me, as a result of a love of all things girly-punk; P.S. Eliot, Little Lungs, Waxahatchee and the like. They have a very 90s vibe about them - power-chordy passages embellished with twiddly guitar bits and melodic vocals; it's all very happy indeed, with just a pinch of teenage angst to sweeten the deal (hearing a lyric about being the youngest member of the band and having an 'X' drawn on your hand at the door to signify you're underage made me stifle a chuckle). Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams is the band's debut full-length, and is utterly spectacular. Here's hoping for more funtime from this lot.

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  • Plumtree - Mass Teen Fainting

    20 Oct 2011, 20:14

    Being a member of that infamous group who’re just that teeny-tiny little bit too young to have appreciated them when they were first around, I got into Plumtree as a result of Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comics. From the very first listen of the track from which the series takes its name (that’s Scott Pilgrim from Predicts the Future, if you weren’t sure) I knew this would be a love affair lasting many moons. I’ve just recently picked up the band’s first record, entitled Mass Teen Fainting, and it’s wonderful. Full of jingly-jangly guitars, harmonised vocals and a little bit of angst and awkwardness, it’s one of those rare records that makes your feet do that thing wot they do sometimes… I think it’s called ‘dancing’, but don’t quote me on that.

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  • Haisuinonasa - Child of Imagination

    19 Oct 2011, 10:57

    Japan is my thing; anime, sushi, samurai - if it pertains to the ol’ land of the rising sun, I’ll probably like it. That said, Haisuinonasa (or ハイスイノナサ in Japanese) are my most recent discovery from that there far east. This modest little math/electronica band seem to have captivated me with their lovely melodies, soaring vocals and catchy beats. Their second EP (or, as they’re referred to in Japan, ‘mini-album’), The Child of Imagination and the City, conjures up images of rice paddies, city light and bicycling in the rain. Veh nice.

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  • The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck

    18 Oct 2011, 10:02

    It’s fairly common knowledge that The Mountain Goats, musical troupe and former-solo project of literary wonder John Darnielle, have been my favourite band since I first discovered them just before university, which was almost five years ago now. Ever since then, I have continued to love them, and build on that love ever so slightly; it’ll not be long before I explode with the love. I got to see them in London last year - it meant that I had to miss my graduation ball, but I hear it was overrated anyway. Their new record, All Eternals Deck, is spectacular, and has a much more refined sound, what with our John employing some friends for make recording goodtime.

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  • This Town Needs Guns - Adventure, Stamina & Anger

    17 Oct 2011, 20:12

    I got into This Town Needs Guns on a recommendation from my old flatmate whilst we were studying at university, and instantly fell in love (with the band, not my flatmate, although we did have something of a bromance going on). Some months later, I saw them play at Nottingham's The Social - it was a revelation. I met the drummer, bought a t-shirt and vinyl copy of Animals from him, and became a teeny bit starstruck. Their new 7" release, going by the name of Adventure, Stamina & Anger, contains this, the title track, and another named Mnspector Iorse (lawl). Needless to say, I'm addicted; twiddly guitars aplenty. I'm just gutted that vocalist Stu has left, although copious congratulations to him and his missus on starting a family.

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  • Codes in the Clouds - As the Spirit Wanes

    14 Oct 2011, 10:24

    I've been a fan of post-rock since I was about seventeen and my friends and I used to sit around in our college's music tech. department listening to Ghosts & Vodka, Don Caballero, Mono and Explosions in the Sky, but I feel like I've been neglecting it for a couple of months. Codes In The Clouds were recommended to me by a friend who is a fan of Cloudkicker (the name is literally the only thing these two bands have in common with one-another) and boy was I glad when I actually got this record. Maybe it's because I'm English, and I remember walking through the countryside as a child, but their music doesn't half remind me of fields.

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