After a debut EP that got noticed in France and rippled overseas in 2016, Indie Pop band Good Morning TV finally unveils a new single “Insomniac”, taken from their first album Small Talk to be released early 2021 on Géographie (Marble Arch, Paper Tapes, Born Idiot).
If the sonic imprints seem familiar, it’s with its introspective and sensible approach that the track catches us off guard. Guided by the almost lullaby-like piano ritournelle, “Insomniac” evokes those thoughts that come troubling the mind when trying to fall asleep. Delicate at first, the song pulls us crescendo towards an intense release, teasing an album of maximalist production.
Directed by Antoine Magnien and freely inspired by artist Martin Creed’s “work n°2811”, the video clip accurately depicts the song’s duplicity.
“Insomniac” carefully reveals more and more of its countless reflections with every listen, a gentle reminder of the beauty of losing oneself for a moment.
Philadelphia Shoegazers Highspire are pressing their debut Your Everything on vinyl for the first time and it’s up for pre-order now.
“This release will mark the first time Highspire’s Your Everything has been put on wax. Your Everything is Highspire’s debut album and was originally released via Clairecords and Alison Records (Europe) nearly 20 years ago.
Highspire was one of the key active shoegaze bands during the “dark days” or now known as the shoegaze revivalist period that helped drag the genre into the 21st century. Along with label and/or tour mates such as Skywave, Malory, Airiel, Pia Fraus, Resplandor, the Emerald Down, Air Formation, Astrobrite, etc, the international shoegaze scene at the time was rather small and relied heavily on sites such as MP3.com and Myspace to connect with each other and audiences. When Your Everything was released it spent months atop the best-selling list of places such as tonevendor, which was THE go-to store for shoegaze releases at the time (even now).
Since its release, Your Everything has garnered a lot of praise, perhaps even having flown under the radar of the newer generation of fans of the scene in which it played a part in reviving. Soundsbetterwithreverb.com’s popular list of the “100 Greatest Shoegaze Albums” includes Your Everything as well as many essential guides on the internet, to even being featured in one of the few books (Japan) on shoegaze.
The album clocks in at over an hour and the preferred time of a side of wax is a max of 22 minutes making it clear that it needed to be on double vinyl to work. That left some time to fill. So included on this pressing are the tracks Believe and See the Lines from both editions of the CD pressings and added are the songs As the Crow Flies as well as a very new, old stock track (finished just for this release) titled Take Me Apart. This takes this 2x wax release to 16 songs, 4 tracks per side.
Also, a track reordering has been made to better keep the synergy of the music and keeping the release to 4 tracks per side. As such the 4 tracks with a slight trip-hop influence are consolidated to side 3 with the more guitar-heavy material making up the other sides.
And of course, a splatter wax that shares the aesthetic of the cover was chosen that befits a first pressing. In the event there is a repress, it would be black vinyl only.
So there you have it. After many years of inquiries on vinyl, it is now happening. Limited to 200 copies it is sure to become collectible quickly as some of Highspire’s CDs now go for some jaw-dropping prices on discogs and auction sites. There may not be stock left for wholesale, and we need the help of everyone who wants this album on wax to get to its presale goal so production can begin. Our friends at Digger’s Factory will be taking care of orders, production, and fulfillment, all information confidential with them. We are happy to share this with everyone interested as we want copies ourselves.
Swervedriver has released on Bandcamp the previously unreleased, original recording of their debut Son of Mustang Ford EP. Also, pressed on vinyl!
The versions/recordings of these four songs on this EP have never been released before except for one. It’s a must for any fan of SWD or late 80s / early 90s guitar heavy alternative rock.
Adam also wrote up a great essay explaining what happened and how they got here:
In 1989 there was much change in the air – the Polish “Solidarność” Solidarity movement won that country’s first free election which triggered transformation all across Europe and the world but it occurred on the very same day that Chinese combat troops crushed the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Within months Czechoslovakia had its Velvet Revolution, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had been overthrown and of course the Berlin Wall fell – remarkably the future Swervedriver bass player Steve George had been in Berlin on that day playing a show with his band Eight Storey Window and they had walked to the Wall where someone handed him a hammer and he got to take his very own chunk out of it.
Meanwhile back in Oxford – ‘England’s Dreaming’ personified, where the future Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cronies in the ‘Bullingdon Club’ would occasionally be spotted “rah-rahing” it up in pubs in town before being driven to restaurants in the Oxfordshire countryside where they would swill champagne and taunt “the plebs” before smashing the place up and pulling out their chequebooks to ask what the damage was – the band Swervedriver had barely formed.
We had grown bored of our musical style as Shake Appeal and had decided to split up after a forgettable opening slot for World Domination Enterprises at the Poly followed by a special guest-strewn farewell shindig at the Zodiac playing a set of our favourite covers, only to then get back together when Adi Vines heard a couple of songs coming through my bedroom wall and enquired as to what they were. I told him these were new songs I’d written and he announced “we’re getting the band back together to play these songs and you’re the singer now.”
It was an open secret in Oxford that local young whippersnappers Ride had been signed to Creation Records but that the label was going to wait until January 1990 to release their debut record: the first month of the last decade of the 20th century. We decided we needed to get our skates on and get a record deal and the clock was already counting down.
Creation was actually the last label to whom we had handed a tape of our demo – Blast First being the first because they had released Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr records; Glass Records second because they had put out Spacemen 3 – but we had one tape left over and thought ‘what the hell?’ and so Mark Gardener took it and he gave it to Alan McGee.
McGee was in Los Angeles in the back of a car with Guy Chadwick from the House of Love when he finally got round to listening to it and putting the tape into the vehicle’s tape machine and blasting it loud, he decided there and then to sign us and on the 21st March 1990 we found ourselves playing our first show with new drummer Graham Bonnar, surrounded by crib sheets, opening for the House of Love at Liverpool Royal Court – Liverpool Football Club were about to be crowned English Champions for a record 18th time.
At the beginning of April we were in the House in the Woods studio in deepest, darkest Surrey recording our debut EP for Creation Records with recording engineer and good mate Tim Turan who had not only recorded the demo that got us signed but had also recorded Shake Appeal. Taking a dinner break on the Thursday night we received a call from our manager “check out Top of the Pops tonight – Ride have made the Top 40!” This was insane.
We finished the recording and I took a copy with me to Seville in Spain where I was having a week’s holiday with my girlfriend. There was strong weed and oranges everywhere and I remember sitting by the ocean listening to these songs while looking across the water at the haze in the distance that was Morocco – I was looking at Africa while listening to our first record!
I wasn’t sure about the recording. Certain passages were sublime, other parts I wasn’t totally convinced by but perhaps I was just a bit blown away by ..the oranges and everything? When I arrived back in London a week later there were messages flashing on my Ansaphone to say that McGee wasn’t knocked out by it either and we were to re-record it, this time in London – to keep us lean and mean – which we did and on July 15th 1990 the debut Swervedriver EP would be unleashed upon the world.
However, that original House of the Woods recording still resonated with us and we decided to put it away to one side and vowed to ‘probably’ release it one of these days. Ten thousand, nine hundred and fifty days later – a full 30 years to the day – and here it is.
In truth those bits that were good were really good – the guitars on Volcano Trash; the slower, more thoughtful Juggernaut Rides with Graham’s hypnotic closing drum pattern; the weightless denouément to Kill the Superheroes is still as good as Swervedriver has ever sounded. And then Son of Mustang Ford itself, with the guitars of Adi, Jim and myself crunching gears all over the shop. This was the only song of the four that has seen the light of day before now, appearing on a circa 1991 NME/Creation cassette.
What I realise now listening back to this is that it’s almost like Shake Appeal playing Swervedriver songs.The sound is dry and clear but tentative, particularly with the vocals where I hadn’t yet found a singing style of my own and was caught between my natural singing style and the more rock’n’roll stylings that had come so naturally to my brother Graham Franklin as singer of Shake Appeal. Furthermore Graham had appeared on the recording of the original Son of Mustang Ford demo, singing the “petroleum spirit daze” call-and-response lines which were inexplicably left off of this version but reinstated for the eventual Creation release. We were actually never that enamoured with the sound of the final re-recorded EP that came out on Creation but McGee had made the correct call and the record that came out did have the required ‘X Factor’ that led us towards the first recording we were truly happy with – the Rave Down EP that followed in November of 1991 – and everything that followed after.
But the spirit of Swervedriver was in there. We weren’t overly angry young men – we’re arguably angrier old men – and we didn’t write so much about the things that riled us up, preferring to conjure up a sense of magic, excitement and escape – to other places, other planes, even other planets – and we mixed up guitar experimentalism with our own peculiar brand of power pop and songs about cars, love and UFOs.
So thirty years later, what has changed? A populist government has this week been installed in Poland which is looking to curb freedoms and particularly LGBT rights while China and Russia are both eyed suspiciously by the West as spies and colluders against western democracy. The reunited Germany is now leading the way in Europe, its government easily outstripping all the other European countries in its response to the Coronavirus pandemic while the floundering British government – led by that same privileged, prostitute procuring, pathological liar Boris Johnson from the Oxford days – deceives its citizens into jumping off a Brexit cliff and the USA is run by a racist, many times bankrupted former Reality TV star and narcissist who can’t spell or read and certainly not lead, abdicating its role as world leader in the process. And Liverpool FC have finally just won their 19th English Championship.
It’s been the longest and shortest thirty years ever and it flew by in a heartbeat.
So here is the original Son of Mustang Ford EP, rechristened ‘Petroleum Spirit Daze’ and lovingly remastered in 2020 by Tim Turan who originally recorded it.
Last year British alternative band Doves teased that they would be releasing a new album in 2020. The current economic/coronavirus environment likely delayed it a bit but they’ve finally released the first track, Carousels.
There is also a video on Youtube but it may be blocked in your country.
Tame Impala has released their (really his) 4th full length, The Slow Rush. Out on 2/14.
The closest something gets to average it offends fewer and fewer people. Budweiser is a good example of this. It appeals to the most while offending the fewest.
While this may come across as nonsense it’s what I think of after giving this album a week.
I can’t help but listen to this album and think how safe it sounds. Musically I find it a bit too bland and it doesn’t have any real interesting music hooks. Most of it is quite forgettable really. Danceable, electronic-like drums washed over with vocals and mostly repetitive filler keyboards.
Lyrically nothing really stands out as that special, though Tame Impala has never really been known for ground breaking lyrics.
In its defense though I don’t find it as cheesy and poppy as much of Currents, which I also didn’t care for except for Let It Happen which is a banger of a tune.
It’s like a completely different band from Innerspeaker and Lonerism even though it’s the same singular guy, as odd as that is. It’s not like they lost the main song writer, or a key guitarist. Tame Impala went from hypnotic, psychedelic rock with warmth and personality to bland and safe, even boring, pop. It’s missing the eccentricity that Innerspeaker and Lonerism had.
It’s not all lost as there are some good moments. Tomorrow’s Dust is not far from something you might hear from Radiohead. (Weird Fishes or Reckoner)
We’re in a world where Post Malone and The Chainsmokers sell out large venues so I’m not surprised that this will be popular. Budweiser sells a lot of beer too.
Time to put to bed the idea that Tame Impala will release any new music that appeals to me like Innerspeaker and Lonerism did.
Recommended if you like: The Fall, Arctic Monkeys, Ought
“Pop culture is cyclical, and every now and then a generation of bands coagulates around a particular strain of influences, whether it was Blur and Oasis channeling The Kinks, Wire and The Beatles to create Britpop, or The Strokes and co dusting down Television, Modern Lovers and Velvet Underground” [NME]
Do Nothing is playing SXSW 2020.
They have released 4 tracks and, so far, only a single 7″. Here is their latest, ‘Lebron James’.
As many of you who followed the 90s British alternative rock scene know, many of the great bands from that era have reunited and released fantastic new music. (Ride, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine) Some have simply reunited for a weekend in order to, “rewrite their ending.” (Adorable)
There is one band, The Catherine Wheel, that many have been waiting for and a reunion has seemed less and less likely. They were unofficially ‘parked’ back in 2000.
Well, it seems like something might be fermenting.
I attended 4 of the 5 Adorable reunion shows last week, only missing the first one on Wednesday night in Hebden Bridge. I instead spent that Wednesday night in Manchester and saw the Leeds’ band Mush, which are quite good. (Recommended if you like Television, Velvet Underground, Pavement)
I arrived into Hebden Bridge early afternoon on Thursday and was fortunate to be able to watch the soundcheck which lasted over an hour.
Music On Vinyl is reissuing The Catherine Wheel’s 4th album, Adam & Eve, on vinyl. English alternative rock band Catherine Wheel was evolving quite fast to a band which made an impression in both the shoegaze as Britpop scene. Their fourth album Adam & Eve didn’t sound like any of the band’s previous albums. It was a new beginning, both musically as artistically. This unique record strikes a balance between the alternative rock, guitar pop and the dreamy world they created. They’re constantly shifting in volume, keys, and guitars, but every song is connected with the next. It is one of the most underrated albums of all time, as this can compete with ’90s records by Radiohead and Spiritualized. Just take your first spin and you won’t be disappointed.
“Lovesick finds Tennis System channeling years of determination, frustration, and musical and personal growth into a collection of songs that achieve the band’s full potential and chart new sonic territory.
Made up of Matty Taylor (guitar/vocals), Sam Glassberg (bass), and Garren Orr (drums) Tennis System are a power trio with an emphasis on power, capable of conjuring a storm of noise and melody that would make Kevin Shields proud.
While uncertainty and self-doubt are common lyrical themes on Lovesick, there’s also conviction–the desire to make the most of the time we have and follow the most fulfilling path, even if it’s an unconventional one.”
I was born with both the love for music and a mild hearing deficiency. (Which I suspect has become ‘moderate’ as I’ve gotten older and attended hundreds of concerts.) This makes it challenging because I appreciate the finer details in music but the law of diminishing returns, with regards to audio equipment, is even steeper with me.
I recognize some qualities in live music that others may miss (reverberation, the mix) but I miss the details in high tones that someone with normal or better hearing would appreciate. It would be a waste of money for me to go out and buy a top of the line home stereo setup to squeeze out a negligible improvement that only someone with excellent hearing could notice.
I’ve played around with various solutions to help me hear the things I’m missing and some work quite well while others are less than ideal or downright awful.
For your computer, you can add an operating system level EQ, which generally works quite well, however you can’t take it with you. (Audio Hijack, Airfoil, Boom, eqMac, iTunes built-in EQ) These require you to either know enough about equalization to customize the EQ bands yourself or use a built-in EQ setting, which won’t be customized for your own hearing ability.
On an iPhone you can use the built-in EQ but this is not customizable either. You’re limited to options like ‘Rock’, ‘Bass Reducer’, ‘Treble Booster’, ‘Pop’.
I read about Even headphones and their marketing tagline, “glasses for your ears.” I was suspicious but curious.
While glasses can be worn everywhere and correct your vision for all situations, Even headphones aren’t hearing aids and are designed for recorded music mostly but work with movies at home, tv, and videos as long as you can broadcast the source device with bluetooth. They don’t replace hearing aids, obviously.
The latest model of Even headphones is named ‘H4’. (Not to be confused with Beoplay H4 from Band & Olufsen)
Beryllium coated 40mm drivers (new type compared to the previous model which supposedly brings more definition and clarity to the table, especially in the higher frequencies)
Black or Wood ear cups
20 hours of battery life
The headphones and app run a hearing test that tests 8 frequencies on each side, from 125 Hz to 14 kHz. An audiogram performed by a licensed audiologist also test for 8 frequencies. (125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, 3000Hz, 4000 Hz, and 8000 Hz.). Even calls this an EarPrint.
The test is very intuitive and easy to perform. You can create as many EarPrints as you want. Presumably for different household members who may use the headphones.
It’s not clear how many different levels they test for within each frequency. The EarPrint graph shows ranges from ‘soft’, to ‘normal’, to ‘loud’. It looks like they might play 9 different volume levels, based on looking at my test results, but it feels like they move through each one fairly quickly. The entire test only takes a few minutes.
It won’t let you modify an existing EarPrint setting and won’t let you fine tune each frequency. I would prefer to be able to dive into each frequency individually and configure it to my liking. I realize they likely want to simplify it and remove the chance for user error. However, I might be able to hear a tone at a particular volume if I had more time to respond and to realize what I’m actually listening for. The only way to change a setting is to repeat the whole test over again.
I’d love to know more about what they are doing to alter the sound for my hearing ability. It would be nice to be able to replicate their EQ in other situations where I have access to an equalizer but perhaps not these headphones. Looking at my custom EarPrint, I can guess but don’t know to what extent they’ve modified each band.
After the hearing test, I had to pair the headphones with my phone. I successfully paired the headphones the first time but no apps would see them. I had to power them off, on again, and re-pair them a second time for any applications to recognize them. I did experience some additional bluetooth goofiness during the next week as I played with the headphones where my phone wouldn’t connect to them. Sometimes this was due to the headphones already being connected to a different device but not all the time. It was always fixed by re-pairing the headphones. I don’t blame the headphones for this necessarily but I’d like to pair them with multiple devices (phone, Apple TV, Roku, bluetooth transmitter) and being able to reliably and quickly connect the headphones to the desired device would save a lot of annoyance.
Occasionally I experienced issues where the music would start but stop after a split second. I would select a different track and it would do the same thing. I don’t know if this was due to interference from other devices but I would expect them to work reliably once connected.
My first album to test was Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’. I was initially very impressed with the difference. When I turned off the EarPrint to test it without the adjustment, the audio sounded comparitively muffled and almost sounded like they could be intentionally downgrading the quality in order to give the impression their EarPrint technology is better. I had the same thought when I tried their free online demo. I know this is ridiculous but it occurred to me.
I grabbed my Sennheiser HD 650 cans and compared the difference between both headphones. Aside from expected characteristic differences in the headphones (open back, etc) the unmodified sound of the Even H4’s were not that different from the Sennheisers. I performed the same test with Audio Technica ATH-M50s and the results were similar. Color me impressed, but also disappointed in my own handicap.
Overall, snares have more snap, high hats are crisper, guitars are brighter.
Some of these may be obvious but are worth mentioning:
If the batteries are dead or if you want to listen to a source that doesn’t have bluetooth, you can use a cable but the EarPrint is disabled. There is no way to listen to any source using a cable AND have the EarPrint function. Even is planning on releasing a studio monitor version that allows this but not until 2020.
No touch enabled controls on the side of the headphones like some competitor models.
No hinges to collapse them down smaller.
Can’t control which source the headphones are connected to from the headphones or app.
Overall I’m quite pleased with them. They are comfortable and the sound improvement, for me at least, is like night and day.
You can buy them direct from Even or at Amazon for $150. (Now on sale for $49, this is an incredible deal!)
Australian shoegazers Flyying Colours played a few songs live on Australian radio this week on PBS 106.7 FM. They played a few new tracks which can be heard here. (Hit ‘play’ and skip to 10:22:15)
Unfortunately, the radio station’s studio audio quality isn’t as professional sounding as some you’re likely used to (KEXP, etc) but it’s a good listen if you’re anxious for new tunes.
They’ve finished recording their 2nd album and are in the last stage of mixing. No date was given for when we can expect the release though.
They’ve been playing live in Australia, with major acts like The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Black Angels, with new tunes in their sets. So if you’re in Australia then you’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see them and hear new tunes.
Hopefully they will make their way to the west coast of the US after the new album is released.