Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I keep a folder on my desktop named “Look-In” into which, until recently, were placed any random new tunes that seemed appropriate for that week’s radio show. Now that the show is no more, the drag and drop reflex has remained, and I’m still dropping tunes into the folder.

So rather than occasionally assemble them into a Look-In style mix, I thought it would be good to post up the links to (mostly) the blogs from whence they came, so you can check them out individually. (This also gives me a chance to plug some of the excellent music blogs that keep my headphones humming happily during the day :)

First up is an acoustic stompy shouter from Jaguar Love, “Bats Over The Pacific Ocean”. You can find it over at Fluxblog, who claim (far more eloquently and knowledgably than m’self) it sounds like a couple of bands I’ve not yet heard. It’s a good first-thing-in-the-morning track tho, and it’s Got Glockenspiel, which is always a major plus point in my book.

Next into instrumental atmos land with Balmorhea‘s “San Solomon” (find it at Shake Your Fist), which has me swooning in the first thirty seconds with an inspired combination of family pool (or is it beach?)-side fun sound effects combined with a beautifully dignified chord change. Great piano dynamics gently tail the track off into the distance, leaving you (or me, anyway) with the kind of gentle grin you get after watching “Life Is Sweet” or something similar.

Also on the same post at Shake Your Fist is an interesting groover from The Pinker Tones, who hail from Barcelona and have already garnered some Latin Music awards – The tune “Worker Bees” (find it here) from their new album “Wild Animals”, doesn’t sound that Latino to me, more of a mid-paced summery 90s funker with a taste of easy listening and some tech twists – reminding me of Towa Tei, who did all of the above with aplomb. If you’re put off by the initial falsetto, keep going, it’s worth perservering…

A far tastier falsetto comes from Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater on “Rooks” (find it at Side One Track One along with a live review and pics). This is from their new album of the same name, which is being heavily pushed online at the moment and for good reason, as it’s an Indie Blog Delight – The backing is played rather over-straight, but the simplicity makes a fine plateau for the luxurious melody and lyrics to spread out over the top like champagne marmite, putting millions of humdrum indie crooners to shame (The vocal swoops at the end immediately bring to mind the late great Billy MacKenzie). I shall be off to grab the full album at first opportunity for sure.

Another gentle groover comes from Nobody Presents Blank Blue, “All The Shallow Deep” (find it at Pasta Prima, although I forget where I grabbed it). The vocal isn’t over magnifico, but the backing gets plus points for the flicking back and forth of it’s time signature, and the floating psych guitars towards the end.

Last up, from Norway, is Ulver’s “Christmas” (find it at Paper Thin Walls) which again ups the swoon quotient (can you tell my current taste/mood yet?) with some strings that sound ripped straight from No-Man‘s “Days In The Trees” before bulldozing into some attention-grabbing heavy-duty indie-progging (3x hyphen bonus :). Freakishly, Wikipedia claims that this lot started out as a “folk-influenced death metal outfit”, but now seem to have ended up as Of Montreal’s really scary older brothers. Who knows? Another one for the “find out more” list though.

That’s it for now – there’ll surely be some more of these in a couple of weeks (although, reading back, I might reign in the verbosity a bit!), but in the meantime, don’t forget that if the links run dry, you can probably catch a cached listen to any of the above at Hype Machine. In the meantime, comments and recommendations always welcome.