Friday, 17 October 2008
Francois Virot releases his debut album in the UK next week.
Landing somewhere mid-point between Animal Collective, Elliott Smith, David Bowie and The Shins. ‘Yes or No’ is a lo-fi freak pop masterpiece, and remarkably full sounding, considering it’s only guitar, voice and handclaps!
"Lyon's own guitar strummer and hand-clapper extraordinaire Franois Virot is the latest in line to step up to the freak-folk throne. Original and full of magic beans, Virot's voice has that distinct childlike lilt to it that is not too dissimilar to the familiar trilling tones of one Joanna Newsom. However, like the Yin to her Yang, he transfers the whimsical wailing of his vocals to a much more jovial place, a place close to the crazy, energetic offerings from the likes of Animal Collective and Deerhoof. Virot, used to providing his talents on the drums to bands No Snow and Clara Clara, is taking some time off from his work in the background. 'Yes Or No', Virot's debut solo LP, is a little ball of lo-fi wonderment; lusciously experimental while still managing to retain the delicate quality of childlike neofolk. 'Cascade Kisses' could be 'Toothpaste Kisses' after its initial opening, but the rhythmic handclaps and louder acoustics turn it into something so much bigger and better. Album opener 'Not The One' is an unrestrained freak-folk stunner, while softer tracks like 'Young Sand' invoke similarities to Devendra Banhart; gentle, surreal and uncomplicated. 'Yes Or No' is an essential addition to the already blossoming freak-folk genre, and it is clear that Virot has finally found a place where he belongs."
Francois Virot is wonderful and so is this record. Imagine Animal Collective released a Syd Barrett covers EP-whilst it probably won’t happen ‘Cascade Kisses’ gives you a pretty accurate reading of what it could no, should sound like. Yet it’s not fair to make such a comparison-it’s not fair to compare anyone, even in ripping off someone else you’d put your own stamp on it right?
Elsewhere ‘Say Fiesta’ is a lo-fi interpretation of ‘Come on Eileen’ but it’s not, it’s just the closest I can come to describing the gaiety offered up on ‘Yes or No’. Each song is crafted carefully, the ramshackle tenderness of the guitar and the nasal yet endearing heck, maybe great vocal performance. Francois Virot is an enigma, his songs have a sense of mischief and ingenuity and perhaps on this occasion the clue is in the artwork; stark yet cute. This is cool as, end of.
Check out his Blogoteque session here from which this video of 'Say Fiesta' is taken
Buy the album for only £6.99 from us here
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Fucked Up played a 12 hour gig in New York's Lower East Side this week, with guests including J. Mascis, Cromags, Vivian Girls, Tim Harrington from Les Savy Fav etc etc.
Vampire Weekend's Ezra played too. Singing on covers of the Descendents, and Blitz.
Fucked Up & Moby 'Blitzkrieg Bop'
Head over to the Brooklyn Vegan for more.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Friday, 10 October 2008
The Clean were a New Zealand based band, formed in 1978. They were one of the quintessential Flying Nun bands, alongside The Verlaines, The Chills, The Bats etc.
Their debut single 'Tally Ho!' surprisingly reached number 19 in the New Zealand charts followed by a few number 1's. Despite this the Clean are little-known outside of New Zealand, although their influence is surprisingly far-reaching. They became a staple of US college radio in the 1980s, Stephen Malkmus of Pavement cites them as a major influence, and the band's droney 80s output is a direct forerunner of bands such as Yo La Tengo and Camper Van Beethoven.
I played 'Tally Ho!' at a club once, clearing what few people were there and scaring the loitering few outside. Skills.
'Tally Ho!' (1981)
It seems their influence is coming back around once again. Bands like Times New Viking, Shocking Pinks, The Thermals etc taking bits from them.
Having heard the new single by Love Is All ('Wishing Well'), you can't help but notice it sounds just like 'Tally Ho!':
Love Is All 'Wishing Well' (2008)
I recently got in to Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts, the first song on their EP 'Crippled Croon', sounds a lot like the Clean too. Although they're good enough to admit their influence on their myspace page:
Crystal Stilts 'Crippled Croon'
Buy this Anthology. Does all you need.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Back at the end of last year I stumbled across a band from Brooklyn, New York called Mirror Mirror.
After some emails went back and forth they kindly sent me an albums worth of demos, which we took 'New Horizons' and 'Lock Up Your Sons' from to put out as a UK only 7"
Head over to the Half Machine shop to buy it.
Sounding like Syd Barrett if he'd joined the Moonies, nothing else sounded like this single in the UK 2008.
20 Jazz Funk Greats called it "pagan drone psyche folk"
The Times called New Horizons "A floaty, spaced-out intro to this US collective’s Syd Barrett-like kaleidoscopes."
Drowned In Sound - "this is a strangely unsettling double-A in the way that Brian Eno or even Robert Wyatt’s childlike intonations occasionally suggest suppressed trauma – spooky, in short."
Stills from the 'New Horizons' video:
Read an interview with David on the Dazed website
There's loads of really good bands coming from New York this year - Telepathe (who MM's Ryan also plays guitar for), Crystal Stilts, High Places, Chairlift etc etc.
Mirror Mirror's debut album The Society Of The Advancement Of Inflammatory Consciousness is out now on Cochon