Category Archives: Indie

The Raveonettes ‎- The Christmas Song (2003)

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I nearly forgot myself. Rather than correct yesterday’s premature release of a Bowie classic, I give you something more festive (and it’s not ‘Little Drummer Boy’ thankfully). This quirky take on Christmas was released by the Danish duo The Raveonettes in 2003. ‘The Christmas Song’ features Sune Rose Wagner on guitar and vocals and Sharin Foo on bass and vocals. Happy Christmas Eve!

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9 of the best – sounds of 1985

A day to myself and I’ve spent the last few hours reminiscing about 1985… nine of the best sounds from that year:

Prince – Raspberry Beret

Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2

Tears For Fears – Head Over Heels

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary

Prefab Sprout – Bonny

Kate Bush – Cloudbusting

The Cure – Close To Me

Felt – Primitive Painters

New Order – Elegia

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Honourable mentions also go to: Propaganda for ‘Duel‘; Tenor Saw for ‘Ring The Alarm‘; The Cure for ‘In Between Days‘; Kate Bush for ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)’; U2 for ‘The Unforgettable Fire’; Lloyd Cole And The Commotions for ‘Brand New Friend‘; Prince for ‘Pop Life‘; Prefab Sprout for ‘Moving The River‘; Love and Rockets for ‘Saudade‘; The Pale Fountains for ‘…From Across The Kitchen Table‘; Pet Shop Boys for ‘West End Girls’; The Wake for ‘Melancholy Man‘; The Cars for ‘Heartbeat City’; and The Style Council for ‘Walls Come Tumbling Down’.

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Catfish and the Bottlemen ‎- Kathleen (2014)

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Good morning! Ryan “Van” McCann and William “Billy” Bibby founded Catfish And The Bottlemen in 2007 from a bedroom in their shared hometown Llandudno. Before Billy Bibby left for “unforeseen personal circumstances” in 2014, the band had secured a deal with Island Records and had released the Jim Abbiss-produced single ‘Kathleen’. Abbiss had previously worked with Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and Adele. The standout single provided three of the band with their platform for success. Have a great week.

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Doves – Black And White Town (2005)

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Good morning! This week, I kick things off with one hell of an indie anthem. With ‘Black And White Town’, the Doves managed to channel Northern Soul, Joe Jackson and Tear For Fears to create an incredibly uplifting sound, despite their affirmation that it’s colourless up north. Have a great week.

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Palehound – Room (2017)

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On release of Palehound’s A Place I’ll Always Go in 2017, I featured the song ‘Carnations’. In retrospect, the beating heart of the album is the single, ‘Room’. The guitar treatment and Ellen Kempner’s vocal delivery remind me of the best of Broken Social Scene – and that’s no bad thing.

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Fog Lake – I’ll Be Around (2018)

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In 2014, Aaron Powell (aka Fog Lake) signed up to Orchid Tapes, the NYC-based label run by fellow Canadian Warren Hildebrand (aka Foxes in Fiction). In November 2018, he released the the nostalgic sounding EP Carousel. At its heart is the song ‘I’ll Be Around’ and its keyboard rhythm, which is so reminiscent of a classic soul sound from the mid 1960s.

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Matt Costa – Jet Black Lake (2020)

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Californian Matt Costa tasted early success with his first first full-length album Songs We Sing. He spent the the summer of 2005 opening Jack Johnson’s summer tour and went onto tour with Modest Mouse, Oasis and Ryan Adams. Thereafter his musical forays became more sporadic during a time of marriage, travel and reflection. Today he’s back and his most recent release ‘Jet Black Lake’ is a welcome return, all indie folk and velveteen croon. The single has been released in advance of a new album Yellow Coat, which is set to see the light on 11 September via Dangerbird Records.

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9 of the best – sounds of 1986

I caught up with some good friends last night and we got talking about the sounds of 1986. I now know that some will disagree strongly, but my take on the best of that year is as follows… a gift from me on the best day of the year:

Mr. Fingers ‎- Can You Feel It?

The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

The The – Out Of The Blue (Into The Fire)

Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes

Beastie Boys – Hold It Now, Hit It

It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune)

The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene

New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle (Shep Pettibone Remix)

Run-DMC – Peter Piper

 

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Honourable mentions also go to: Desireless for ‘Voyage Voyage‘; R.E.M. for ‘Fall On Me’; Dinosaur L for ‘Go Bang! #5 (Francois K Mix)’; Nitro Deluxe for ‘Let’s Get Brutal‘; Steve Winwood for ‘Higher Love’; Metallica for ‘Master Of Puppets’; Spacemen 3 for ‘Losing Touch With My Mind’; Depeche Mode for ‘Stripped’; Run-DMC for ‘Walk This Way’; and Crowded House for ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over‘.

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The Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait (1985)

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The Replacements’ classic album Tim will turn 35 this year. Released by Sire Records, it debuted on 18 September 1985 to critical acclaim but to moderate success. One measure of its strength is a song that never made the final album cut. ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ was first recorded for the album, with Bob Stinson on guitar. By the time a version was released on the following album Pleased to Meet Me with Big Star’s Alex Chilton on guitar, the song and band had become more pop-oriented. The song’s lyrics are about suicide for goodness sake – the distorted original sounds right.

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Cavalier Rose – Atom Bomb (2010)

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A decade ago, the four-piece band Cavalier Rose were based out of Brooklyn. They came and went which is a real shame because their shtick was a good’un. Built around the bluesy sound of singer-pianist Heather Christian, they released the energetic and distorted ‘Atom Bomb’ in 2010. Her warble is impressive. Today, Christian sings and plays with The Arbornauts. Have a great weekend.

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The War On Drugs – An Ocean In Between The Waves (2014)

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In 2014, I was smitten by The War On Drugs. It was the year that they released Lost In The Dream on Secretly Canadian. One of its standout songs is ‘An Ocean In Between The Waves’ – close your eyes, picture a coastal train journey and hear the echoes of Dire Straits and Tom Petty.

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Midlake – Kingfish Pies (2004)

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In 2006, Midlake released their brilliant sophomore album, The Trials Of Van Occupanther. Two years before, they had already trailed their pastoral yearnings about the olden days. Less of the 1970s soft rock than Van Occupanther, but with more than a spoonful of 1960s psychedelia, ‘Kingfish Pies’ tells a story of a smalltown common man. The band hail from Denton, Texas, but got their break when associate and former Lift to Experience drummer Andy Young sent it to  Simon Raymonde (ex Cocteau Twin). He offered to master the album at Abbey Road Studios, to which the band agreed. Have a great week.

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Dave Thomas Junior – Little Piece of Nothing (2018)

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David Robert Thomas Jr. is a British singer-songwriter and producer based in New York. In 2018 he released the LP Echo, which closes with the beautiful ‘Little Piece Of Nothing’. There are echoes of Sufjan Stevens; and that’s no bad thing.
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The Thrills – Saturday Night (2004)

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I’ve said it before on this blog… The Thrills sounded like California via Dublin. Inspired by a trip to L.A., they released their second LP Let’s Bottle Bohemia in 2004. The radio waves were awash with their sound and sun-kissed scene setting: “Is this what they call love?/Is this what they call love?/Is this what they call love on a Saturday night?”

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Early Eyes – Marigolds (2020)

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Early Eyes remind me of so many funky indie bands that have passed before – and in a good way. The Blow Monkeys, The Thrills, Phum Viphurit… This up-and-coming five-piece hail from Minneapolis and bring an upbeat sound to accompany Jake Berglove’s vocals:”I can tell it’s you by your footsteps in those shoes/Someday I’ll find the time to see marigolds bloom/I can tell it’s you by your footsteps in those shoes/Someday I’ll find the time to see marigolds bloom.”

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