First up we have Douglas Hall, a London-based singer songwriter. He describes his music as “a blend of aggressive acoustic folk, soul & blues”, which about sums it up really. Not really that aggressive though, though he does seem to have some passion in what he’s doing. He almost put me off by having Paolo Nutini in his top friends list, but he made up for it by having Jamie Lidell too.
He’s playing a gig tonight at Leonard’s Bar if you’re in London town and looking for something to do. He’s also at the Good Ship in Kilburn on 16 September. More details on his myspace.
Download: Douglas Hall – Man of the Century
Saint Paul, Minnesota band Amasser seem to think that they’re a bit more avant-garde than they actually are. Their myspace description reads indie/ experimental but that’s a bit of an exaggeration. So is their slightly pretentious description of the inspiration behind their new album Legal Wall – they’re trying just too hard to make themselves seem artier than they are. Instead, they trade in melodic indie-electronica, more along the lines of Stars and The Postal Service instead of anything more leftfield. But what’s wrong with that? Sure they have burbling synths and slightly distorted beats, but doesn’t everyone these days? Still, it’s decent enough stuff, and worth a listen. They should just be less afraid to play it straight.
Download: Amasser – Kilo Binge
Download: Amasser – Green Like the Sky
I got an email from Rumraket records, the label run by Danish band Efterklang, telling me about their latest signing, an American bloke from Nashville called Daniel James who goes by the name Canon Blue. Not a great name then, but the music is intriguing, and certainly nothing like his hometown might suggest. On this track Pilguin Pop, he’s got a fine ear for a melancholy melody married to decent electronics, beats and a bit of distortion. He’s one of these guys who records absolutely everything himself, but has roped in some impressive and better-known names to mix the album (Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear) and master it (Christian Vogel). The album’s called Colonies and is out in September.
Download: Canon Blue – Pilgun Pop
The Whiskers aren’t really what I expected. I almost never bothered to listen to them, as a committed feline-o-phobe, the name was more than off-putting. Even getting beyond that, I was thinking twee indie-pop (you would, wouldn’t you?). But no. Instead, listening to the first track on their self-titled debut and most importantly free download album, I heard vocals that reminded me of The Killers. But thankfully the vocals were over the top of pleasing electronic beats and droning organ sounds instead of rock bombast. They’re an interesting lot, this band who hail from all over America (as per the graphic above - they have no real pics of themselves). The email I received simply said “You’ll dig this”. And I do. There are more oddball beats, wry lyrics and even guitars to be heard across the nine tracks on this album, which brings to mind a lo-fi Animal Collective. I think I can really get into this, and I can’t say any better than one of the comments on their myspace:
“Where did The Whiskers come from, fully formed, making this scary hairy music? You're precocious all over. Like a baby with a moustache. Super.”
Now they just need to sort out their rubbish name.
Download: The Whiskers – Roses
Download: The Whiskers – I Know