The Bedroom – Birthday Cake

The BedroomIt’s great when the support act surprise you – in this case, the main act were Gainsville, Florida band Hundred Waters, on tour promoting their second album, The Moon Rang Like A Bell (streaming in full on their SoundCloud page if you haven’t heard it yet!).

Got there an hour or so early, there being Oslo, Hackney, to have drinks with the meetup folks and headed upstairs, not expecting much but figuring we’d go and support the support acts – and we discovered Olan Stephens, a.k.a. The Bedroom.

If you’re looking for comparisons – think Breton, or Tom Vek, disconcertingly unnerving vocals, quirky, glitchy synths and and a laid back, rhythmic “Too Cool For School” nonchalance… this is my favourite – (the disappointing transience of) “Birthday Cake”:


The Bedroom – Birthday Cake

He played a lot of not-yet-released material that night, but I went hunting and found The Graveyard of Ambition – his self-released debut EP, which is currently available at “name your price” on bandcamp.

Snap it up. He won’t be the support for much longer…..

 

Young Magic – You With Air

“Intense” and “trippy”. Those are the first two words that come to my mind when the intro to Young Magic’s “You With Air” hits. With its off-kilter beat and confused, questioning tone it strikes me as a couple’s erupting argument – accusations flying back and forth with each taking their turn in a flurry of psychedelic sounds.

Which is funny, because that’s what the lyrics seem to suggest as well.


Young Magic – You With Air [last.fm]

Young Magic

Young Magic - Melt (2012)

The track’s been around for a while, as you’ll see if you click through the soundcloud, released as a 7″ in Feb 2011, but it features on the Feb 2012 album from the New York-based Young Magic collective, Melt, released on Carpark Records.

Steady tempo and beats throughout provide a stabilising constant to the myriad of accompanying motifs that texture in and out to add chapters to the vocal story.

I’ve been known to play a track on repeat and tell everyone about it when I think it’s something special. You’ll see from my last.fm profile – this is one of those.

 

Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep - Noah and the Paper Moon EP

Stealing Sheep are one of those bands I wish I could take credit for discovering. Unfortunately, when I came across their music, I was actually at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to see someone else – Sea of Bees.

It’s been a while since the support have been the standout.

The band are Becky, Emily and Lucy – three girls from Liverpool, on Heavenly Recordings. From the moment of the first drumbeat, I was mesmerized. Well, it may have been a drumbeat, it may have been a guitar chord, it may equally have been an acapella vocal harmony – I can’t quite remember, I was mesmerized.

They have a 70s folk style – although they’re not exactly folk – that looks as though it pre-dates the hipster as we know it, and seem like a genuinely humble trio, saying a couple of times how honoured they were to be supporting label-mates Sea of Bees.

Each of them with their own distinct place in the lineup – Becky provides the strength in the vocals, Lucy steady and intense on drums and Emily the dreamscape on guitar – they play with a surety in their sound that belies their year and a half together as a group.

Full length album out on Heavenly in a couple of months but in the meantime, here are a few of my favourite tracks:


Stealing Sheep – Bats


Stealing Sheep – I Am The Rain (hear the 70s folk and Scandinavian influence)


Stealing Sheep – Noah’s Days
 (ascends into a cacophony of noise)

I’m hoping for big success for this band – I haven’t reacted this way since seeing Warpaint at the Luminaire in 2010. Playing the alternative escape in Brighton on the Saturday – 17.30 at The Hydrant.

Watch out for them. More on their Soundcloud.

 

Hundred Waters – Boreal

Hundred Waters - Boreal

Hundred Waters - Hundred Waters (2012)

The closest I’ve come to this sound in the past is Wye Oak – but “Boreal” by Hundred Waters has more of a mystical quality to it, underwater civilisations rather than a journey through the skies.

The song tells the story of a boy’s journey across the waters (or at least I think it’s across water) to lesser-trodden parts with no quest other than to experience the beauty of the lands themselves.

Perhaps it’s the steady rhythm behind the rippling introduction and the sparkle of the synth supporting the vocal harmonies – or the fact that the name Hundred Waters has subliminally affected my interpretation – but the song conjures images of a magical aquatic adventure.


Hundred Waters – Boreal

The band are from Gainsville, Florida and released the full album is available to stream from their site at the moment,  www.hundred-waters.com. Sometimes almost troubadour-like in “Sonnet“, at others more dreamy electronica with an eastern tinge in “Visitor“, even sounding Scandinavian-influenced (“Thistle“) or tribal (“· · · — — — · · · “) at times, Hundred Waters’ bewitching electronica has drawn comparisons to the likes of Julia Holter and Braids.

Their self-titled album is currently out on California-based label Elestial Sound.

Celebration – Battles

This song starts with the words “I feel the force” – it’s by Baltimore-based band Celebration and it’s perfect for mornings like this.

Celebration – Battles

Celebration - BAttles

Celebration - Battles (2011)

Available for free download from the label’s bandcamp, it was released on Friends Records back in February 2011 on full album Hello Paradise. I haven’t heard anything about them since they embarked on their Electric Tarot project in early 2011 and it doesn’t look like they’ve released any more music since that completed.

The song is emphatic, dramatic – a purposeful beat provided by the striding percussion with a commanding yet beautiful vocal from Katrina Ford and slow-building, drawn out guitar riffs. I can see it soundtracking the climactic scene of an epic sports game or some kind of….battle.

Nothing at all like the experimental electronics of New Yorkers Battles.

Ghostpoet – Love Confusion

Ghostpoet - The Sound of Strangers EP

I haven’t been to a hip-hop gig since NERD in 2009. And even that’s not really hip-hop in the sense I mean, is it…more of a crossover genre. It isn’t because I don’t want to go – more that most of my friends who are into hip-hop don’t go to gigs and most of my friends who are into gigs don’t really like hip-hop.

But I’m going to one in April – and this is why:

Ghostpoet – Love Confusion

Lyrical prose-smith Obaro Ejimiwe was born in Coventry and recently moved to London – he caught my ear with this re-work of A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Electric Relaxation (Relax Yourself Girl)’ but held it with the regret-filled musings of ‘Gone‘ and odd electronic haze of ‘Morning ft. Micachu‘.

All of these are from The Sound of Strangers EP, out in September 2010 but he recently signed to Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings who released his full-length, Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam in February this year.

It’s a lot more electronic than Love Confusion – so I probably won’t get the hip-hop I was intending this time, but listening to the album I’m hopeful of big things.

Full album available to stream on Spotify.

Deerhoof – Qui Dorm, Només Somia

Deerhoof - Deerhoof Vs. Evil (2011)

It starts with a Dirty Projectors “Stillness Is The Move”-style riff and then drops into a determined and measured movement – alternating between harmless innocence and a bit menacing so you’re not quite sure where it’ll go next.

Deerhoof – Qui Dorm, Només Somia

The song is the opener to the latest and 11th album from experimental rock band, Deerhoof.

Looking at the list of bands who cite them as an influence on their Wikipedia page – Sleigh Bells, Grizzly Bear, St. Vincent, AutoluxDirty Projectors – and they’re lined up with The Flaming Lips at Alexandra Palace in July. It’s no wonder this has come up.

This isn’t actually the first one I heard from the new album, Deerhoof Vs. Evil, which was released track by track through various online means on ATP Recordings in the UK. The first was The Merry Barracks – equally frenzied and fuzzy.

Oddly hypnotic.

Björk – I Miss You (Dobie Rub Part One – Sunshine Mix)

This mix was on in the office the other day (tracklisting here). It’s by Romy from the xx and features tracks from Massive Attack, Elastica, Smoke City and… Björk. So last Friday a week ago I decided to go through her back-catalogue – or at least what we had of it on our system (which is a lot) – and managed to remind myself just how much of her music I love.

Aside from the remix here:

Bjork – I Miss You (Dobie Rub Part One – Sunshine Mix)

I thought I’d post up links to a few others from her first two albums. This track is from Telegram, a full-length remix album released in 1996 and other favourites are…

Björk - Telegram (1996)

From Debut (1993)

Human Behaviour
Venus As A Boy
Big Time Sensuality
Violently Happy

From Post (1995)

 

Army of Me
It’s Oh So Quiet
I Miss You

I love it when that happens.

White Hawk – Forest Cry

Forest Cry - Whtie Hawk (2010)

This track has such a latin feel to it… but not in an obvious way. It’s the percussion loops, mostly, and the vocal samples. And I know this isn’t what’s being said, but in my mind…the repeated lyric is “The Emirates”.

What more could a Gooner Girl want?

It’s a track by unsigned Icelandic artist Forest Cry and he has, at present, 70 plays on last.fm (for a remix and 3 other tracks)

Forest Cry – White Hawk

There’s only one track on his MySpace page (this one) but I actually found it on the dipped in dollars blog about a month back. I would like some more but all I can find are:

Summer Lie

and

Rhythm & Fire

Similar repeated vocal sample and percussion loop tracks but disappointingly nothing to do with Arsenal.

I’m waiting to see if there’s a release coming soon voicing further support for Arsene Wenger’s Red Army…