Plum – Calluna Vulgaris

Feel-good psych rock from somewhere in the United States – this song would feel right at home in a 70s coming-of-age hallucinogenic haze… or something starring Joaquin Phoenix (!!), but the term “throwback” just doesn’t do “Calluna Vulgaris” justice.

It’s only their third single release yet the Denver-based band sound like they’ve been doing this for years.

This track has a distinctly 60s/70s sound, as does the more Beatles-sounding “Behind Your Man” – and their online following seems to be in its early days, in the low ’00s rather than ‘000s, one can only feel, and hope!, that there’s much more to come from Plum…

Here’s the track:

Plum – Calluna Vulgaris

Listen and then go watch Inherent Vice.

TV – The Returned (Aly, Walk With Me)

The Returned ("Les Revenants", 2013)

The Returned (“Les Revenants”, 2013)

If you haven’t seen it yet – it’s one of the latest imports for British television audiences, this time from France – The Returned (“Les Revenants” – literally, “the ones who came back”).

After The Killing and The Bridge it feels like we’re in a 90s / 00s out-of-control “The” bands names frenzy (The Vines, The Hives, The Killers etc,…), but this time instead of bands,  it’s thrillers conceived on the Continent.

I’ve only seen the first episode of the eight, so I’m not entirely sure where it’s headed yet – but the premise of the opener was the reappearance of loved ones who had died several years ago, not as ghostly apparitions but as fully corporeal…well, people, just not having aged since their passing and with no recollection of it happening.

We’ve had Vampires and Werewolves fairly frequently recently….but here: Zombies.

Aside from hearing whisperings of great reviews before the first episode aired over here, the promo played a significant part in my deciding to watch the show. Uneasy and mysterious shots of a rural french town, a re-animating butterfly breaking free of its glass display case and – a perfect and eerie accompaniment to the supernatural themes suggested by the trailer – a soundtrack provided by another “The” band, Danish rock duo, The Ravonettes.

This is “Aly, Walk With Me” from their third album, Lust Lust Lust (2007, Fierce Panda):

The Ravonettes – Aly, Walk With Me [amzn]

What was most intriguing about that first episode for me, was the range of emotional reactions from the people whose loved ones had returned – I say “loved ones”, we obviously don’t know the backstories yet and the episode titles suggest they follow along the lines of Heroes and Skins, focusing on a different character in each episode, the first one “Camille“, whilst building up the main cast – from joy, to fear, to denial all with an underlying sense of bewilderment alongside the expected disbelief – how could this be happening?

These mixed reactions were, I’m hoping, indicative of the differing relationships between the characters and maybe, for some, direct involvement in their passing?

I’m intrigued to say the least and will definitely be watching at least the next episode. Catching up tonight.

If you’ve been watching, would love to hear what you think – about the series and the music, which, in general, was penned by Mogwai, whose album Les Revenants [amzn] soundtracks the series.

Findlay – Your Sister



The way I described Wild Belle’s Natalie Bergman in my last post might lead you to expect an arrogant, bitchy, over-the-top contrast in this next one….more sassy, confident, full-on garage rocker.

The chequered playsuit she wore at Brighton’s Blind Tiger for her set at The Great Escape this year could be seen as a bit of a slight of hand.

She carves out a stage presence that belies her 21 years and sings with a snarl and a sultry swagger to her vocal.

Confidence clearly isn’t something Manchester-bred Findlay struggles with.

The set was sweaty, intense, electric and pretty much tied for best of TGE2013 for me, with Belgian indie-pop five piece, Balthazar.

The track that caught my attention – heavy guitar, Mancunian strut and cheeky lyrics, from the EP of the same name, released on Manchester / Dalston label Joyeux Anniversaire Records last November.

Findlay – Your Sister [amzn]

Aspirations for world domination – check out Natalie Findlay, interviewed by Blue Corner TV here:

Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

Some psychedelic surf-rock daydreaming music to wile away the post-Christmas turkey-stuffed lethargy. This is “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” from Perth-originated Australians, Tame Impala:

Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

Tame Impala

Tame Impala - Lonerism (2012)

The track is from their second album, Lonerism, released on Modular Recordings in October – the mild objection wrapped in a floaty “what is there to worry about?” haze makes this a perfect track for days like this…we can deal with the daily humdrum tomorrow.

The other standout track from NME’s album of the Year for me is “Elephant“, which is equally hazy but more along retro psych-rock lines with its pounding guitar riff, and actually reminds me of the Airwolf theme tune in places…complete with chopper sound effects.

“Tame Impala make psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music” says the meta-description for their official website – yes they do.

Alberta Cross – Lay Down

Alberta Cross - Songs of Patience (2012)

Alberta Cross - Songs of Patience (2012)

Enough with the dreaming – this one from Alberta Cross is good, solid indie rock. Think Band of Horses, Lifehouse, Remy Zero, Augustana – yes, I’m drawing on my knowledge of Smallville and One Tree Hill and other US TV show soundtracks for these comparisons.

Alberta Cross – Lay Down

But they’re not American – they’re from London. Admittedly, now based in Brooklyn, but Petter Ericson Stakee (vocals, guitar) & Terry Wolfers (bass) are FROM LONDON.

With clear blues and country influences, their sound is heartfelt, emotive, epic – you can see why they were picked up by ATO Records, founded by Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band.

This is one from their 2012 album, Songs of Patience, released a full three years after their previous full-length, Broken Side of Time. No UK dates planned at the moment but I’ll be keeping an eye out for them. Definitely one for the gig diary.

In the meantime – a session.

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.

WATERS – For The One

Waters - Out In The Light (2011)

New month, new direction – well, back to one of the old directions at least.

When I was reading up about this track, I found out this is Van Pierszalowsk from Port O’Brien, a Californian folk/acoustic/indie band that Van left in 2011 in search of noise. And ended up in Oslo. The result:  WATERS.

WATERS – For The One

Dirty, noisy rock that needs to be turned up loud – as is the whole album, “Out In The Light”, released on City Slang in September.

This is my favourite track from it, just because it’s upbeat and uplifting – some of the others are a little more melancholy.

Good driving album.

EMA – The Grey Ship

EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints (2011)

Looks like Pitchfork knew about this back in December but I just came across it on a blog recently – and her album, Past Life Martyred Saints (Spotify link) was released on Souterrain Transmissions in May of this year.

She’s a cross, for me, between Anika‘s dirty, underground rock and CoCoRosie, who are also on Souterrain, eeriness.

EMA – The Grey Ship

EMA is solo artist Erika Anderson and she’s from South Dakota.

This song, especially, could be the soundtrack to the final battle in Braveheart if they ever needed a vocal version (!!) – the build, supported by the strings, sounds like the backdrop to an epic battle scene. It doesn’t go where you think it will from the start.

She’s going to be at Cargo in September. Reckon it’s worth checking it out.

Abbe May – Mammalian Locomotion

Abbe May - Design Desire (2011)

Received the album from a PR company (thank you!) and it reminded me I found this track on a blog a while back – been meaning to post it, so here it is:

Getting back into the rock lately – from this song alone Abbe May exhibits the sass of “Trick Pony” by Charlotte Gainsbourg or “Get Some” by Lykke Li – in a similar fuzzy sultry-rock style, with a soft edge on the vocal.

Abbe May – Mammalian Locmotion

She’s Australian, from Perth, and her full length, Design Desire, was released on 8th July on Source Music.

Funnily, her Myspace says she was influenced by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins!

Lead single from the album is “Taurus Chorus”, which has a similar swing to it to this track, and “Carolina” is a little more sinister.

Taking me back to proper rock.

Looking out for news of London gigs…official site here.