Monday, 27 April 2009

Twiggy Frostbite

As I stumbled across the charming video for the track 'Heroes' by Swedish five piece Twiggy Frostbite, I was immediately seduced by the cute animation and the bitter sweet nature of the story line. It's a real quivering lip heart breaker and guaranteed to move even the most hard bitten cynical music blogger to tears. The music is beautiful and reminds me of that seminal track by Stina Nordenstam, Little Star, with it's delicate vocals and sweet but sad delivery.

Twiggy Frostbite are from Gävle have been together since 2006 and contain members of blogland darlings The Deer Tracks along with death metal punksters Grizzly Twister! The current line up is Elin Lindfors on vocals, Anna Karin Berglund on keyboard, Emma Sjöberg on bass duties David Kramer on drums Joel Thedéen on guitar and input from Joakim Westlund on guitar.

According to the promo blurb they're inspired by the smell, the acoustics and everything to do with The London Underground. Presumably, they romantically mean, the eerie lights zipping through tunnels and spooky echoes bouncing off chambers rather than smelly armpits in the rush hour, sick stained seats and the caterwaul of out of tune buskers, which will be the more familiar images conjured up by the majority of average London commuters.

Right here comes the factual bits: The debut album is called Through Fire and was released via Despotz Records in Sweden on February 18th 2009 It's currently scheduled for a U.K release on 1st June 2009.

Here's a breakdown of the inscrutable lyrics for those of you wanting to have a singalong...

Seconds before the end,
The final moment is ours to make
If it matters
This is the time, or it'll be too late
In present tense
Attack or defense

None of us are heroes,
we just sing their songs
I wish you would fight for me,
I wish you were strong
Just a first attempt
No second chances will come our way
It requires bravery
More than any of us can say
In present tense,
Attack or defense

None of us are heroes,
we just sing their songs
I wish you would fight for me,
I wish you would hold on
None of us are heroes,
we just steal their words
I wish you would fight for me,
though the idea is cursed
Because none of us are fighters,
we just start the fights
And then leave it to ease off,
leave it to die

Twiggy Frostbite - Heroes - Video: Ina Steinnes

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Record Store Day

The powers that be decided that this Saturday(18/04/09) is "Record Store Day" The aim of this is to event is to re-engage the music loving public and get them out in their droves to buy some product and in turn keep this rapidly disappearing sector of retail commerce from becoming extinct.

Here we Scratchy Towers are happy to pitch in with our support, particularly as it's more difficult to find a worthwhile record shop that's left open round these parts. It was such a part of growing up for me, heading into town on a Saturday, holding my hard earned money in my grubby little mitts ready to splash some dosh on whatever platter mattered on that particular weekend. It started a love affair with music that has lasted the best part of three decades and it would be a tremendous shame if the next generation of music lovers were denied the opportunity to hang out in a dingy shop surrounded by like minded souls (abet some with questionable hygiene habits) perusing the racks and finally experiencing the thrill of making that choice as to which record was going to annoy the parents in the following week by playing at full blast over and over again.

I have completed visual tribute to all the wonderful record stores still keeping their open signs hanging on the door. I have also posted a piece of artwork by my all time favourite comic artist, Jamie Hernandez, who is backing the campaign with his considerable talents. Jamie, along with his brother Gilbert (and to a lesser extent another brother called Mario) are the creative force behind some of the finest comic art in the history of the medium. It's hard to convey just how much of an influence the 'Los Bros' have been in my own cartooning and how essential reading their Love and Rockets comic is. If you haven't dipped into this very special indie punk American-Hispanic magic realism saga, I'd recommend the "The Death of Speedy" storyline as a good place to jump on.

Note for Eighties goth rock music lovers, the band of the same moniker came after the comic and indeed one of the funniest stories features the day to day travails of a rubbish punk band of spotty teenagers called Love and Rockets, the real band couldn't complain because they nicked the name off the Hernandez guys to begin with!

Jamie at Fantagraphics the comics publisher

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Qudos for vinyl blogs in the mainstream media...

From the pages of the Grauniad...

The blogs that act as modern-day cratediggers

& some handsome-sounding chap has posted our URL in the comments section!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Rosebuds

The Rosebuds are a duo Ivan Howard (vocals/guitar/ drums/ bass/keyboards/programming) and Kelly Crisp (vocals/keyboard/drums/guitar/accordion) who have four full-length albums of electro indie folk/pop, plus a digital-only album of remixes, under their belt. They operate out of Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.A and have been doing their musical thang since 2001 They have also contributed to a couple of compilation tribute albums for The Pixies and The Cure so their musical taste is impeccable.

The video for the title track from their latest album Life Like is an absolute corker, with a stripped back to nature feel and a touch of blue wode Green Man tribalism within the visuals. However these dalliances with Pagan imagery always puts me in mind of The Wicker Man film (original 1973 version) which has to rank in my top ten films to see EVER! as well as having a great soundtrack that is well worth tracking down. Though I never tire of watching those jolly sun worshipping island folk hunting down Edward Woodward, as an unreconstructed city dweller, this horror romp with our rustic cousins always leaves me slightly uneasy.

Another detail that left me slightly perturbed was that our antler and fur wearing chums are suspiciously beautiful, in a way that smacked of a model casting agency booking for an overpriced perfume advert kind of way. 'Rutting Stag pour homme' anyone? Nevertheless, overlooking that minor glitch, it's a killer video for a killer song.

Check out the alternative version on their myspace, it's a reworked version involving T-Pain, Lil Wayne and our very own Rosebuds. I believe the youth of today call it a "mash up" or something like that Listen here I especially like the vocoder vibe on on vocals which makes it sound super cool. It's always the sign of a strong song that it can be subjected to very different cover versions yet still hold up.

The Rosebuds - Life Like - taken from the album Life Like (2008)

Released via Merge Records Buy It Here
Executive Producer: Steve Choo Director: Daniel Garcia

Upcoming Gigs

09-04-09 Pizza Lucé, Duluth, MN
10-04-09 Whole Music Club at Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
13-04-09 Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON
16-04-09 The Bellhouse, Brooklyn, NY
19-04-09 KiDROCKERS at 92Y TRIBECA, New York, NY
24-04-09 Golden Belt - Benefit for Durham Arts Council, Durham, NC
14-05-09 LaSalle Power Company, Chicago, IL
06-06-09 Band Together for Lucy Daniels Center at Lincoln Theatre Outdoor Stage, Raleigh, NC

Sunday, 5 April 2009


Arborea are a duo who create spectral haunting psych folk from their Lewiston base, deep in the Western Maine woodlands. Since forming in 2005 they have released two full length albums and have forged a growing reputation within the 'freaky folk' genre.

Arborea is also a mystical plane in the fantasy role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, described as a peaceful environment of natural beauty dominated by vast tall forests. This could be applied to their music as well, though I suspect they were inspired by their local surroundings rather than the adventure game. Arborea have encapsulated that pastoral setting with a sprinkling of bittersweet atmosphere, hanging over the songs like a mist of melancholy.

Their latest album, House Of Sticks, snuck out of the undergrowth on February 23rd 2009. It’s a mixture of old and new, with five tracks reworked from their 2006 debut album Wayfaring Summer (released on Summer Street Records) along with three more songs. These were originally recorded in the parlour of a 160-year-old family cabin that Shanti’s great grandfather built during the Great Depression, that lies amongst the Western Mountains of Maine.

A quick run down of the instruments used on this album gives a fair indication of the field of music we are batting in here. Shanti Curran, she of the hair stand on end vocals plays banjo, percussion, guitar, bowed strings and the ukulele. Her husband Buck Curran is on acoustic guitar, steel/slide guitar, electric guitar, flutes, vocals, bowed strings and the inevitable banjo.

House Of Sticks

Rivers and Rapids
A gentle shimmering river’s edge of a tune with a menacing rip current for those unwary bathers dipping their toes into it's icy waters.

This is a straight forward lovely mournful track exemplifying Shanti's pure vocals.

change of mood with Shanti's delivering a smokey vocal performance to accompany the tumbleweed slide guitar, think of Mazzy Star setting up camp in a glade on humid summer evening with crickets chirping away in the distance.

Dance Sing Fight
This is the stand out track of the collection, it starts off as a spare delicate whisper of a song which then blooms into a chorus lifted and tweaked from Aussie agit eco-rocker’s Midnight Oil biggest hit Beds are Burning with a potent reworking of the call for reparations for the Aboriginal community and a call to look after the planet (note: this was back in the Eighties before it was fashionable for every floppy haired rocker to jump on the green bandwagon)

How can we dance when our earth is burning, how can we sleep when our minds are turning,

The time has come, to say fair’s fair, to pay the rent, to pay our share...

Look Down Fair Moon
This is a simple instrumental song stripped down to the bare bones.

House Of Sticks
The nursery rhyme simplicity of the introductory segment, opens up into a vista of epic big sky sound territory, occupied so successfully by Ry Cooder on his celebrated film soundtrack Paris Texas.

On to the Shore
The calming mantra like vocals gently laps on to the shore of the tune that has a psychedelic/ eastern influence.

In The Tall Grass
Your ears will tingle when that wheeze of a harmonium kicks in on the final new track.

You can buy House Of Sticks here It's distributed by Darla Records in the U.S.A .You can get it from Spanish Label Borne Recordings and Acuarela Records, and via Amazon in the U.K . A record that follows in the footsteps of the likes of Vashti Bunyan, John Fahey and Sandy Denny and a contemporary of Alela Diane and Devendra Banhart.

There is also an Arborea inspired compilation record project called Leaves of Life which aims to help with important relief efforts in Africa. All the proceeds will go to the World Food Program and Not On Our Watch agencies. It includes artists such as the aforementioned Alela Diane and Devendra Banhart as well as Marissa Nadler It's due for release in the summer of 2009 through Borne! Records. More information on this project can be found at

- Black Mountain Road - taken from Arborea (2008) released by Fire Museum Records Official Video (directed by Francesco Paolo Paladino)

It’s ghostly vocal whispers ease us through the song which features EspersHelena Espvall chipping in on the cello.

Upcoming Gigs
17 Apr 09 Guthrie’s as part of the ’Neighbor by Neighbor’ Film Showing Lewiston, Maine U.S.A
18 Apr 09 Montague Bookmill w/Nuda Veritas Montague, Massachusetts U.S.A
07 Jun 09 Unity Centre with Eric Carbonara and Paper Hats Unity, Maine U.S.A
27 Jun 09 Space Gallery with Alec K. Redfearn TBA