For some time now I have been receiving a steady stream of e-mails from labels, promoters, bands, and artistes, each one extolling the myriad virtues of their latest oeuvres. However, I have been terribly remiss in going through them all - this bothersome thing called "offline life" keeps intruding. But this weekend I actually sifted through some of the backlog and listened to a whole slew of rather nifty, new music. Well, I found most of it rather nifty. To be totally honest, some of it struck me as rather pedestrian, and a clutch of it I thought was downright cringeworthy. But dwelleth we not on the pedestrian and cringeworthy - life is far too short. Instead, let me focus on a few tracks that, I'm pleased to say, stood proud from the crowd.
Despite their Quebecois roots, the francophone members of Harvee sing largely in English. Criff de tabarnouche mautadine! However, to date most of their publicity has been in French. Truth be told, methinks they deserve to be praised in each and every language spawned since that darn Tower of Babel came crashing down. Harvee spin wonderfully evocative, urgent pop perfection that soars and swoops from your speakers. As it flies around, you hear much that is familiar - angular-jangular Futureheadsian or Wedding Presentish guitar licks, some Go! Team shoutiness, a reedy 198os Casiotone synth line, harmonies worthy of The Beach Boys, and are those really the bells from The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping??" But put it all together and it sounds so upliftingly gorgeous and fresh that it'll make you fit to burst with joy.
Harvee - Father Was A Gambler
(EDIT: Now dedicated to Colleen cuz she's feeling glum. Cheer up, m'dear!!)
Harvee - Hiding Julia
(Buy their album, "Sink or Swim," directly from the band here)
Snowden grabbed my ears with their epic, reverby, guitar-driven sound. The funny feeling I get in my chest listening to "Anti-Anti" is akin to the ache that seizes my heart each time I hear Killing Joke's "Love Like Blood" or "Ceremony" by New Order. And the relentlessly compelling cadence evokes Gang of Four. Their lyrics leak beautiful anomie and disillusionment: "We are anti-movements, we are anti-anti / One time we believed but now we don't even try / And I can't cut a rug, without my fashion drugs / Inebriation leads revelation." Oh, this is so coldly glorious!
Snowden - Anti-Anti (Buy from the label here or virtually here)
And herewith some of those reference points I mentioned. Just so you can see whence I am coming.
Wedding Present - California (buy here)
OK, last Weddoes track for some time. Promise. I hear the Armadillos in Cali are lovely ;)
Beach Boys - Help Me Rhonda (buy here)
Killing Joke - Love Like Blood (buy here)
Gang of Four - Damaged Goods (buy here)
"The Girls' Tapes - Help Wanted!"
12 hours ago