Sunday, 28 June 2009


If you like your post-pop rock to be angsty, folksy, dramatic and lovely all at the same time, then ioktember, have recorded some songs in the basement of an old mental institution, that should get your hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.

I was ear wigging a conversation, during my weekly supermarket shop at the weekend, between a security guard and the till assistant. They began discussing and analysing their attempt to chat up two Swedish ladies, who had chanced upon the checkout of these budding romeos, which became the highlight of their day. The gist of the conversation was based on how the guys' charm and smarm could have been more finely honed, as their tactics evidently bombed. The opening gambit of asking the girls "where are they from?" quickly followed by a "Where's Sweden?" then culminating with the killer lines "Isn't that the country full of trees? no wait! are we confusing it with the the land of lakes?" the outcome of this charm offensive was a miserable strike out and the guys were left ruing their opportunity and lack of geography knowledge, as they contemplated the rest of day processing the meagre food rations of hordes of poor, disposed, music blog writers and middle class credit crunch refugees. I yearned to interject, that Sweden actually should be currently be known as 'the land the great bands' and here's another one..

Hailing from Stockholm, ioktember, risen from the remnants of a previous incarnation known as Infinite Regress and have leanings towards the big commercial sound of say Snow Patrol with the finely crafted songwriting of The Blue Nile and finely wrought offerings of This Mortal Coil.

The band list My Bloody Valentine, Godspeed you! Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, Joy Division, Wu Tang Clan, Johnny Cash, Chris Isaak, Einsturzende Neubauten and The Pixies, so as influences go, you can see an interesting mix going on there.

The collective names of ioktember are Emil Henricson,Johan Augustsson, Daniel Andersson, Hanna Eklöf, Hannes Holmqvist and Max Håkan Holm. They describe themselves as "People gathered behind the old dumpster, randomly at first, to play the organ and have themselves an occasional sing-song" Actually, judging by the songs on their site, they're creating something very mournful but marvellous.

There are just the four tracks up on this website: Shine, Be There, For The Last Day Of Spring and My Love Something, of which the latter is the stand out tune for me, making good use of the boy/girl duet vocals singing an emotionally wrought tune, with a with a lilting horn arrangement.

The only significant blips on the blogging radar so far come from and

Friday, 26 June 2009

Sky Saxon - The Seeds - A Tribute

Sky Saxon, chief sower of the fantastic Sixties garage punk rockers, The Seeds, died yesterday. This is a modest tip of the hat and shake of the pudding bowl mane of hair to one of the leading lights of the psychedelic garage rock scene, that emerged in the mid to late Sixties in the U.S.A and briefly burned very brightly. A genre of music later masterfully chronicled by the Pebbles and Nuggets compilation series of records.

The raw energy of the songs, combined with primitive beats, oodles of guitar fuzz and howling vocals make The Seeds still sound incredibly fresh today, even forty years after these tunes were recorded.. Sky made music that put a smile on your face, a spring in your step and that's what this music loving malarky is all about really...

If the first track below 'Can't Seem to Make You Mine' seems familiar, it's because it was recently used in the Lynx body spray advert in Spring 2009. Hopefully his very considerable contribution to music won't be overlooked, amidst the passing of another, slightly more famous pop star on the same day. So long and thanks for the music! R.I.P Sky Saxon.

The Seeds - Can't Seem To Make You Mine - From their debut album The Seeds 1966.
As performed on 'American Bandstand'

The Seeds - Mr Farmer - Taken from their second album 'A Web Of Sound' released in October 1966

The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard - Taken From their debut self titled album, released in 1966. (official site)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Birdpen - Live Review

Act: Birdpen, The Bays, LCD Soundsystem (DJ Set)
Location: Southampton, U.K
Venue: Orange Rooms
Date: 11/06/09

The beautiful and bewildered came together for a highly anticipated evening of throbbing rock and rave.

I was looking forward to catching the opening act, Birdpen, as they had impressed me earlier in the year, after seeing a performance of theirs, thus warranted further investigation. Going under the nom de plumage of Dave Pen, Mike Bird and James Livingston Seagull, this trio create a deep dark dank storm of edgy layered riffs that build up a menacing head of steam. The looping rhythms make it clear that this ain't no 'Tweety Pie' chirping away in a guided cage, but more of a merciless vulture circling ominously in the unforgiving desert, eyeing up your sun blistered face.

The guys peck a stage presence, that is reminiscent of their moniker, heads relentlessly agitate up and down, as the riffs slowly build up to an incessant threatening pace, forcing you into submission with those beautiful but brooding songs. There are aspects of Birdpen's song writing, that flutter towards a more mainstream indie pop sound but I sense they most enjoy investigating sonic experimentation and perhaps their birdpenremixes site points the way to the this group's next stage of development. This is a sinister Slowdive sloshing around with Spaceman 3 sensibility, pluming marvelous!

A self released debut album 'On/Off/Safety/Danger' was released back in October 2008. The second single from this collection, titled Off, is due for an August 2009 release, go and get it from i-tunes buy it here, the early bird catches the worm as they say!

One downside at live events I've recently picked up on, is the insistence of certain sections of the audience to gabber on to their mates, even though the act has begun playing, show some respect! it ain't no hotel lounge bar and show some etiquette, no one wants to hear you babble. we paid our hard hard earned dosh to listen to the band, so shut it or move to the bar; moving on from the mini-rant onto the main live act of the evening.

The Bays are Andy Gangadeen (drums), Jamie Odell (keyboards), Simon Richmond (samples, keyboards) and Chris Taylor (bass) The project was meant as a one-off performance in London back in 1999, but they have been gigging intermittently since, gaining a reputation as an improvisational, instrumental dance band, who together deliver a mish mash of menacing electronic dub throb. Apparently part of their manifesto is that they refuse to sign to a record label, release records, sell merchandise or even rehearse.

Each gig is a unique event with a combustible mixture of techno, house, drum'n'bass and special effects thrown into the counter cauldron. The interaction between the quartet was intriguing as they adjusted their music according to the feedback vibe of the crowd and how the mood takes 'em. Each band member trotted off on their own exploratory path yet the performance hung together, an archipelago of four volcanic islands seemingly independent but inextricably linked underneath the surface, pummelling yet pleasing the crowd with a diverse set of pulsating beats.

LCD Soundsystem: I'm not going to comment on the relative quality of this D.J Set as it is a subject I know little about (it's never stopped you writing before, I hear you cry) suffice to say that, as we left the scene early due to it being a school night, the floor was crammed with a packed hot and sweaty crowd bouncing away and getting "jiggy" as the modern verbal vernacular goes, so they tell me!

- Breaking Precedent - Official Video, directed by Simon Gesrel

Monday, 8 June 2009

Lex Land - As Much As You Lead

The monthly tune changeover on my mp3 player changeover prompted this post, as this was one of the standout tracks from the constant loop of tunes demanding attention in my lugholes.

Lex Land is twenty two year old Californian who possesses a voice which has stickability, with a soulful languid resonance, that draws the listener in. When combined with a sure fire killer tune like the 'As Much As You Lead' tune, this becomes a deadly combination, which hooks you in.

Recommended, especially for those precious moments of the day, when we pause for breath from the twenty four seven madness of modern living, put our feet up, and take stock of surrounding everyday joys, like catching a few rays of sunshine whilst resting those weary bones.

The song is taken from her 2008 album Orange Days on Lemon Street, cannily named after her time, living on Lemon Street, in the town of Orange in Los Angeles composing this collection of songs. It is released via Intelligent Noise Records.

The song “As Much As You Lead,” has been featured on television shows such as “Private Practice,” “Brothers & Sisters,” and “One Tree Hill.” so she's obviously making waves in the right circles. I've noticed that these youth orientated dramas, usually imported by Channel 4 in the U.K and watched by Scratchy on a weekend morning, whilst recovering from one too many pints of 'Ole Grumblebelly' occasionally have cracking tunes to accompany the dramatic moments. The story lines wash over me but if they keep picking up on talent like Lex, I shall keep tuning in.

She also does a commendable version of the Joni Mitchell classic River from her Blue Album, which I had previously placed in the "cover versions shouldn't be attempted file, it's untouchable" so unfasten your seat belts, we're heading for a gentle landing!

Lex Land - As Much As You Lead - live at The Airliner in Los Angeles, CA on March 17, 2009

Lex Land - As Much As You Lead - Studio Version (No visuals)

Lex Land - Could've Had Me - live at Nashville's 3rd and Lindsley on June 22, 2008.

Upcoming Shows
18/06/09 in Long Beach, CA at Viento Y Agua
20/06/09 in Los Angeles, CA at The Mint
26/06/09 in Los Angeles, CA at Los Angeles Film Festival
01/08/09 The Lodge Ventura, California