New Home

The blog can now be found and its new and improved home at seewhatyouhear.com, which is a bit more web 2.0. I plan  to implement some new features that will encourage interactivity and soon this address will direct you there directly.

Grizzly Bear – Cheerleader

Normally when an album has been as anticipated as much as Veckatimest has, it inevitably sinks under the weight of expectation. In the case of Grizzly Bear, everything they have done since 2006’s Yellow House has signalled a band nearing their creative peak. Continue Reading »

circlesquare polgaroid hey you guys

Circlesquare – Hey You Guys

As scruffed electro-pop inspired by comedowns, Songs about Dancing and Drugs simulates that dark Sunday morning tug-of-war between jaded paranoia and the twitching physical urge to keep dancing. This is the third album from Jeremy Shaw, a Canadian living in Berlin, and an outside contender for underground release of the year.

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Cymbals Eat Guitars – Cold Spring

Why There Are Mountains, the self-released debut from this Staten Island quartet, is an album where every track is a field trip: full of carefully crafted songs that take their time to streamline a post-rock dynamic into something accessible, soothing and gratifying. A pleasant surprise with plenty to absorb.

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John Fairhurst – Obnox Stomp (Remix)

Updating the sound of John Fahey for the 21st century and bringing it to a new audience, Wigan’s John Fairhurst learned to play guitar from an unnamed Indian master, honing his skills in south east Asia for a number of years before bringing his blend of raga and blues back to the UK folk scene. The video for this song (posted below) is well worth checking, if not just for the surrealnes of an ‘I Am Kloot’ poster hanging in the background.

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Starfucker – Iaadeedaa

Fun-fuelled dance-pop from Portland’s Badman label: so catchy it had IBM writing a cheque out for use of  “Holly” from their self-titled debut album and so energetic that the group impressed all at SXSW last week. Next month the band will release Jupiter, an EP highlighting their ’80s-inspired live shows, which will contain a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (below).

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Memory Cassette – Asleep at a Party

Anonymous figure/collective from New Jersey, possibly Philadelphia – all we know is that the listless space pop of Memory Cassette is well worth a place on your playlist, right alongside Ariel Pink, M83 and Ulrich Schnauss. You can download a handful of his/her/their excellent EPs for free here along with a fantastic mixtape of personal favourites.

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Gang Gang Dance interferance…


Emperor X – A Violent Translation of the Concordia Headscarp

Free music! Racing pop songs  sprung from the prolific creativity of a science teacher and reigned in by the touch of some experimental digitisation. This is Chad Matheny, whose collected works (including Blythe Archives Vol II, from which the above track is taken) can be downloaded at his official site.

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Virgin Passages – Distance

Shifting from melancholic dissonance to a dreamy, wordless chorus, this six-piece from Staffordshire are as capable of creating short and sweet burst of pop brilliance as they are drifting into unrestrained psyche sequences. Currently touring America, they have a new tour EP, The Is Not The End Of The World Again, which includes a cover of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

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The Phenomenal Handclap Band – Testimony

NewYork’s The Phenomenal Handclap Band (principally Daniel Collás and Sean Marquand) freewheel through half a dozen genres and style on each track while still managing a sultry funk. For their self-titled debut, released in June through Friendly Fire recordings, they’ve drafted in members from bands as diverse as TV on the Radio, The Dap Kings, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Honeycut, making this an act to keep an eye on. HT to The OMCD, who caught their act at SXSW last week.

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Yppah – Gumball Machine Weekend

Yppah (‘happy’ backwards) is Joe Corrales Jr, a rock musician turned ambient artist who combines elements of shoegaze, psyche and breakbeats into hypnotic scores that have earned him a spot on the Ninja Tune roster. The above track is from his second album, They Know What Ghost Know, which will be released on 11 May.

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A considerable number of people want to see Donal MacIntyre dead.
Whether it’s being shot at in Burma or finding his car painted with
the insignia of neo-Nazis, repeated death threats have seen the
investigative reporter move house over 40 times. Yet after 15 years,
he still hungers for new challenges. Yesterday it was the ghettos of
Washington DC; tomorrow it will be kidnapping in Mexico City. But
tonight it’s the Ultimate Ice Disco in Guildford. Continue Reading »

Local Natives – World News

These guys feel like an exciting find – and I fully expect them to catch plenty of attention during their eight shows this week at SXSW. All the right ingredients are there: soaring singalongs, thumping drums and simply great tunes. If their recent Daytrotter session wasn’t enough evidence that they’ve got a great live presence, check out their take on Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia in the video below.

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Mirrors – Look At Me

Pop-noir from Brighton, of all places, cruises along at a tempo just short of dancefloor pace but idea for the melodramatic posturing of ’80s-fixated style martyrs. John Hughes would be proud. Continue Reading »

Years – Kids Toy Love Affair

This is the opening track from the first solo record by Ohad Benchetrit, Do Say Make Think’s multi-instrumenalist, who will be releasing Years on 5 May through Arts and Crafts. The Major Lift, another song that can be streamed on his MySpace, is well worth a listen but I settled on this one for its grandiosity – particularly those foreboding horns at the end that remind me of Zappa’s Peaches En Regalia. You can see why he hopes it will allow others to “make a connection and use this music to soundtrack the changing seasons to her/his own Years.” Continue Reading »

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Attack in Black – Leaving Your Death in a Flowerbed

I can’t tell if I’m drawn to this song because it reminds me of an Olivia Tremor Control track or whether this four-piece from Welland, Ontario have cracked a similar understated genius with their fourth album, Years (by One Thousand Fingertips), which came out this week on Dine Alone Records. I think it’s safe to say the band have been a little overlooked until now but maybe their stint at SXSW next week will provide up their profile somewhat.

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The Barbaras – Day at the Shrine

Five best friends from Memphis, Tennessee excelling in the current trend of lo-fi basement pop – the kind of which is irresistably catchy. If this doesn’t get your head nodding, I fear for the fate of your day… Continue Reading »

Three babyfaced siblings from North London who’ve formed a throwback novelty act with their mum and dad,  jivin’ to the sounds of the ’50s in ther Sunday best.

Obits – Pine On

When A bootleg of Obits’ first live show made its way on to the Internet, Sub Pop were so impressed on first listen that they pursued the band for a record deal. You can still hear a couple of those recordings on MySpace – which sound utterly indebted to The Stooges – but the studio material sounds sharper, distinctive and yet still retains that hammering ferocity. The band hits SXSW next week, just days before their debut I Blame You is released. In the meantime, this mp3 can be downloaded for free here.

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Sleepy Sun – New Age

The staple adjectives applied to bands like Comets on Fire (thunderous, swirling, etc.) will be mindlessly trotted out when Sleepy Sun’s debut album comes out in May, but though there are plenty ‘raw, high-energy jams’ (cringe), Sleepy Sun are also refreshingly diverse – as a quick listen to their MySpace will reveal. Embrace will be released in May in a limited run of 1,000 coloured 10″ vinyl, shortly before they play ATP as part of the Fan’s Strike Back line-up. They’ll also be squeezing in five dates at SXSW next week… Continue Reading »

The Soundscapes – We’re All Made of Star Stuff

These two brothers sound convincingly bigger than any other guitar-drums duo I think of, but what makes them stand out if their melding together of canonical US and British indie influences from the late ’80s and early ’90s. Normally it’s either one or the other when it comes to indie emulation, so perhaps their upbringing in Brazil is responsible… Their debut album Freestyle Family is out now. Continue Reading »

Beirut vs Ghostface Killah – Save Me Concubine

An inspired pairing: one of the Wu-Tang’s finest lyricists worked into my favourite track from the recent Beirut/Real People double EP. It’s one of the latest in a long line of mash-ups from prolific mixers The Hood Internet, though this may be their best one yet. I think the true measure of success for a mash-up is making it so good that the hip-hop artist in question is  forced to check out the back catalogue of his counterpart – and in this case I very much like the idea of Ghostface kicking back to Beirut. Continue Reading »

The Soundcarriers – Falling for You

Just in case the song below wasn’t enough soothing psychedelia for one day, this track provides the perfect way to bring the day to a close, a blissful goodnight from Nottingham, of all places. Their album Harmonium will be released on 25 May through Melodic.

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Speck Mountain – I Feel Eternal

Marie-Claire Balabanian and Karl Briedrick met by chance in Norway, hitting it off and relocating back to the US to form an “ambient soul” band that blends the hypnotic psychedelia of Spacemen 3 and the crystal clear vocals of Mazzy Star. I dare say it works. Their second album, Some Sweet Relief, will be released later this year through Carrot Top records. Continue Reading »

Special birthday dedication to Iris! Joyeux anniversaire!

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Cass McCombs – Twins

This is a very John Lennon-esque tune about gut-wrenching deception and the recriminations that fly when two people realise they really shouldn’t be together (“You lied to me and I to you, I guess we deserve each other, though I’m damned if we do”). Poignant, soulful and gently despairing…all for a b-side track recorded in London!

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The New Yorker’s full-length debut on Asthmatic Kitty, ready to overcome the burden of being dubbed the next Antony & the Johnsons/Jeff Buckley. Continue Reading »

Bruce Peninsula – Shutters

Whether you’re feeling sorrowful or perfectly refreshed, this is ideal Sunday listening. A huge-sounding ensemble of singers, yellers, whisperers, whiners, garglers, gentles and goons from Canada deliver a burst of modern day gospel. A Mountain Is A Mouth is out now on Bruce Trail. Continue Reading »

Phoenix – 1901

To glance down the Last.fm entry for this song is too see a stream of users posting the samw two words over and over: “perfect pop”. It’s a synth-buzzing electro number that online tastemakers are guaranteeing to be a hit for this band from Versailles, whose fourth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out on 25 May, shortly followed up by an appearance at London’s KOKO. In the meantime, you can download the track for free from their official site.

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Cocteau Twins – Cherry Coloured Funk

This is one of the most beautifully cohesive mixes I’ve heard…and I listen to a lot. Download it, stick it on a CD or a USB stick, take it to a nice café and insist they put it on, then sit back and wait for something special to happen. It’s entitled “Top 10 Great Songs to Fall Asleep to, or to be a Sad Son of a Bitch to, or Both” and has been carefully compiled by Mckenzie Smith, drummer for Midlake, as part of When You Awake‘s excellent mix tape series.

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Foreign Born – Vacationing People

The lack of financial backing, mismanagement, no PR, bad timing…sometimes I wonder what keeps a great band from breaking through. French Kicks and Jonquil are good examples (both favourites of mine), as is Foreign Born’s 2007 album On the Wing Now, which appeared on myseriously few radars. But the good news is they have another one on the way, entitled Person to Person (out on 23 June through Secretly Canadian), of which this track provides the first listen. Continue Reading »

Girls – Lust for Life

An undeniably catchy song about being fucked in the head, perfect for a Friday afternoon when the week has taken its toll and relief is just around the corner. Since last posting about Girls, the Californian duo seem to have become the toast of every indie act asked about their favourite new band…and they haven’t even released their debut yet! But in the meantime, you can download the two tracks featured on this site from here and catch the video for Morning Light below.

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A swing of the hips towards Lollygagger – his inspired kebab-rating system brought this catchy tune to my attention

Papercuts – Future Primitive

It’s been two years since we  heard from Papercuts’ Jason Robert Quever, when Can’t Go Back emerged from under the wings of Andy Cabic and Devendra Banhart’s label Gnomosong. Since then, Quever has working with Beach House, Cass McCombs and Vetiver. But this track, from the forthcoming You Can Have What You Want, sounds like a refreshing step forward for Papercuts, the r’n’b bass line and mumbled melody suggesting that something from his time with the aforementioned bands has rubbed off.

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Deerhunter’s hour-long set* from last week’s Noise Pop festival, featuring four new songs, all recorded in high quality.

Previous posts: I’ll Be Your Mirror: An Interview with Bradford Cox

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Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Doubt Hope

I’m quite blown away by these guys, a singer and drummer from Sweden, and wish I’d known more about them just a week ago -just  so I could have seen this live! Maybe there’s something about their name that doesn’t sound all that appealing, but once you listen to them it seems perfectly apt. I’ve nabbed what are apparently two of the last tickets for their show in The Luminaire in April and I’m now after their most recent album, Heartcore. Below you can watch them perform Doubt Hope live – incredible.

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I was supposed to be there…it was only down the road from me…but I became a casualty of other people’s tardiness.

Bear Hands – What a Drag

Giddy pop-rock in a similar vein to Born Ruffians and Young Coyotes; this Brooklyn quartet (why is every second band from Brooklyn these days?) have been touring the UK with Passion Pit to promote their Golden EP. Already the toast of mainstream music mags, could well feature in adverts for Orange Mobile or Halifax by the year’s out (just kidding).

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Casiokids – Fot i Hose

Bearded Norwegians master the art of put-putting synth sounds to deliver a three-minute instrumental of irresistible, foot-tapping funk. Cacth the song’s excellent video after the jump…God, I can’t beieve I indugled in techy online slang.

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Beach House – Play the Game  (Queen cover)

When filtered through Beach House’s characteristic aesthetic, this song sounds like it was written for them. According to GvsB, it was left off the recent Dark Was the Knight compilation, which surprises me. Not just because it’s a quality trac, but because my main quibble with the release was that it seemed like they didn’t leave off anything. For the time being, you can download this as a bonus track on iTunes and watch the video for the original below.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

cover version of MGMTs electric feel

Cover version of MGMT's Electric Feel

David Porteous – Electric Feel (MGMT)

Another unusual cover: here, Canadian songwriter David Porteous makesthe MGMT hit into something slow and serious, using just a grungey blues guitar sound a la The Black Keys. Although the lyrics don’t really stand up without MGMT’s falsetto, this works surprisingly well.

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Chris Thile – Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)

Chris Thile (formerly of Nickel Creek) gives this White Stripes classic the bluegrass treatment, rendering it almost uncrecognisable by replacing guitar and drums with mandolin and violin, racing away with hootenanny-like excess. Check out Thile’s current project, Punch Brothers, at MySpace.

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