Monday, April 6, 2015

Another Rattle Through My Inbox

Sometimes, people send me their music. I'm very grateful for this - after all, free music! - and if I think an email looks particularly promising, I make a point of flagging it to ensure that it doesn't get buried under a bunch of other emails and forgotten about.

Well, those little red flags were really starting to stack up, and so I thought it might be time for another whistle-stop tour through some of the most interesting-looking items that have been emailed to me in recent weeks. The original 'Rattle Through My Inbox' blog is here.

The Hangman's Door by Moses Luster and the Hollywood Lights
(Album, Out Now)

This album wields an odd blend of old-timey blues and heavy synths, and while the latter element is utilised less and less as the tracks tick by, it still gives the whole thing a slightly unusual feel. Moses Luster has a fantastic voice - kind of like an evangelical Guy McKnight - and female backing vocals are employed to good effect on several tracks, putting one in mind of Leonard Cohen classics like Tower of Song and Ain't No Cure for Love.

That being said, most of  these songs are too generic - lyrically speaking - to truly merit comparison with Cohen and other obvious inspirations like Nick Cave. The title track, heavy in sound and thick with desperation, is my personal highlight, but even this song lacks the rich characterisation and psychedelic poetry with which this type of music pairs best. If you're going to drop names like Waits and Bukowski in your PR emails then you need to deliver some truly singular songwriting, and while The Hangman's Door is a very cool listen, Swordfishtrombones it ain't.

For fans of: Nick Cave, as mentioned; Mr Luster has Cave's bluesy gothic sound down pat, although his lyrics still have quite a long way to go. None of these songs are exactly Higgs Boson Blues.

Friends/Flowers by Tape Runs Out
(Single, Out Now)

Comparing yourself to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is a risky move in my book (Days of Abandon was my Album of 2014), but while neither Friends nor Flowers are pop masterpieces on a par with, say, Life After Life, this double A-side single certainly ain't no let-down. Friends - short and sweet, with a gleefully abrupt ending - has a wonderful guitar hook that could easily have been teleported here from shoegaze's golden age; Flowers is longer and more complex, starting with Slowdivey restraint and seaside ambience before building to something more intense. At its peak, this song puts me in mind of nothing more than the theme music from House (i.e. Teardrop by Massive Attack). Overall, very promising - I shall be keeping an eye out for this band.

For fans of: The Cocteau Twins. Not so much The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, unless you wished that Days of Abandon had been just a little less energetic.

Let's Go by Macajey
(Album, Out Now)

Ah, an eight-tracker! Wonderful. Let's Go is a dancey album with a splashy, summery sound - opening track Rrrumpus, for example, sounds like Peace signed a deal with James Murphy's DFA label and were ordered to replace their lead singer with a cowbellist. Other tracks are more laid-back (this is exactly the sort of album my former housemate Cliffey would listen to while writing university essays), and occasional guest vocalists (on tracks 3, 4, and 6) keep things fresh throughout.

I particularly like Macajey's use of electric guitars - The Fall's squalling, distorted hook is fantastic, as is the solo that brings Out for a Run to vibrant life. Let's Go is a rainbow coalition of the organic and the synthetic whose primary ambition is simply to make you smile and have a little dance. Keep it in reserve for the warmer months.

For fans of: Um...Simian Mobile Disco, maybe? I listen to very little dance music so I don't really have any frame of reference for this. It's good, though.

Arrive Alone, Leave Alone by Girl Friend

Girl Friend - two words - make the sort of high-gloss pop music that lives and dies on its hooks (or lack thereof). This EP's first track, Monte Carlo, is an absolute knockout; it comes on like a Daft Punk disco, then delivers this big, sparkly chorus that brings to mind vast crowds of beautiful people with glo-paint on their faces and drinks spilling out of their hands as they bounce up and down in unison.

The other three tracks I can take or leave. They're less immediately catchy than Monte Carlo, and while each one managed to worm its way into me before the end (this is the kind of music with which it's hard not to wiggle along), I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that "Stay with me in Monte Carlo" was the only real stunner of a singalong on this EP.

For fans of: Daft Punk's Get Lucky. No, Monte Carlo isn't that catchy, but it's certainly waiting by the same set of swings.

Want me to listen to your music? You can reach me via email on I can't promise that you'll appear on the blog, but I'll certainly have a listen if your accompanying blurb catches my attention.

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