from the listening nook

vinyl thoughts for an analogue life

Knew You’d Never Been There / Secret Sister – Seize the ChairĀ 

August 19, 2017
fromthelisteningnook

Format: 7″ black vinyl 

Side A: a supreme slice of lo-fi melodic angst that channels the best of 90s indie poetry and mixes it into a tasty pie of glittery guitar and up front bass. A knowing mid to the Charlatans brings back happy 90s summertime. Melancholic but ever so melodic

Side B: a top tier punk indie stomper with oodles of ethereal floaty vocals and smashy crashy drums.  Toe tapping beach flavoured big hitting tune that never stops invading your brain

Score: 8/10

Final Thought: an oh so superior soup of super tasty indie poetry seasoned with delicious beats and an umami of 90s vibes

Info: Too Pure Singles Club 

STILL LIFE – LITTLE CUB

July 28, 2017
fromthelisteningnook

20170728_081559

Format: 12″ LP gold vinyl

Whilst visiting Domino Records to grab a copy of the amazing Middle Kids EP, my eye was caught by a beautiful gold LP. The band behind this glorious piece of spinning wax was Little Cub, and after some investigation I chose to take the risk and order the LP.

Boy oh boy, am I happy that I did. Not only is it one of the most gorgeous LPs I’ve ever seen, but what lies within its grooves is sheer synth heaven!

The best way to describe this South London trio is soft indie lo-fi synthwave pop…I know, it is a mouthful, but it sums them up perfectly. Every track on the LP is a masterpiece of modern synthwave composition, evoking actual and assumed 80s nostalgia. Then layered on top is a vocal style that is relaxed, pulled-back, lo-fi but engaging and oh-so-wonderful. There’s a bit of Morrissey, New Order, Talk Talk, Pet Shop Boys and Lightning Seeds in here…but it is much more than mere homage. This is a very modern indie take on what made those 80s synths and mournful lyrics so important. This is revelatory street-level storytelling with rhythm and swagger. This is synthwave poetry, making you think and boogie in equal measure. Each and every track takes you on a journey…albeit it in a Lamborghini Countach whilst wearing a big shouldered suit and Aviator shades!

Here’s a few thoughts on some of the majestic tracks:

  • Too Much Love (1/1) – perfect soft indie pop merged with classic synthwave electronica and New Order-esque vocals
  • My Nature (1/2) – slow driving rhythm with deep pulsing synth bass, a wide landscape explored by engaging vocals and lyrics
  • Breathing Space (1/3) – dancy trippy upbeat synth contrast with lo-fi vocals and introspective lyrics, soothing storytelling at its best
  • Hypnotise (1/6) – fully expansive synth vibes with beautiful evocative Joy Division-esque vocals. 80s noir builds to epic synthwave dance beat
  • Closing Time (2/1) – low throbbing rhythm complemented with gloriously chorused vocals and a Neil Tennant style mixed with a Del Amitri story – fantastic sense of movement and speed against an ever-changing electronica noise backdrop
  • Snow (2/4) – a real change of pace, ethereal and whispery, toned down and melancholic vocals. A mournful contemplative hymn to lyricism and simple yet accomplished composition

I love this album, am overjoyed at taking the risk of buying something unknown, and hope Little Cub keep evolving their sound and releasing incredible music for decades to come. The LP is an astonishing piece of vinyl, the gold colouring is eye-catching, and the sheer weight of the thing (almost like two traditional LPs glued together) is shockingly pleasing. Thumbs up to the band, the label and the manufacturer!

Score: 10/10

Thoughts: driving at speed down an 80s highway, shades on, padded shoulders bopping to the tunes, brain engaged by the lyrics – sheer synthwave bliss

Info: LittleCubband

band

WASTE OF TIME/JOHNNY – THE COSMICS

July 2, 2017
fromthelisteningnook

20170702_173141

Format: 7″ white vinyl

Side A: a gorgeous slice of pure garage punk, swimming in it’s early Blondie influences. Massive rolling drums and bright rhythmic guitars play happily with the raw attitude of the storming female vocals. Thrumming, slashing guitar work brings thoughts of 70s US punk bands. Modern punk-pop doing it old-school! Where are my DMs? I feel the need for some punk-club carousing!

Side B: extremely raw sounding punk-club vocals pogo their way around simple chord-progression guitars and stomping drums. A drastically short sharp pure-punk perspective, sadly dragged down by too-distorted and reverbed vocals. Trying so hard to be authentic 70s punk it comes off as retro-kitsch rather than required listening. Accomplished playing across the board, but just too close to the original punks to sound relevant.

Score: 7.5/10

Vinyl Thought: proper punk played to perfection, but maybe one too many feet in the past

Info: @cosmicsband @flying_vinyl

20170702_173102

LATE AT NIGHT/WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER – JOY ROOM

July 2, 2017
fromthelisteningnook

20170702_173025

Format: 7″ black vinyl

Side A: grungy loud guitars strike hard at the heart of this student punk-pop masterpiece. Fast and frenetic vocals sung with passion and real soul strutting style. A dichotomy at the soul of this track…it is so raw yet equally beautifully refined. An in-the-studio-with-the-band feeling grows with big drums pumping energy and fun out of the speakers.

Side B: a student-bar floor filler from start to finish, with grimy gritty guitar noise splattering across the soundscape. A Hard-Fi sound, a cold hard slap of lad-rock featuring super-tight playing and ‘we’ve found a new indie rock star’ vocals. Riff heavy anthem to stomp along to and bring the damn house down!

Score: 8/10

Vinyl Thought: its getting rowdy in here, but don’t worry, you’re invited to join the fun

Info: @joyroommusic @flying_vinyl

20170702_172952

WHAT YOU WANT/GET OFF – ZUZU

July 2, 2017
fromthelisteningnook

20170702_172920

Format: 7″ blue vinyl

Side A: a full-fat punk pudding of indie rhythmic gorgeousness. Super-powered female vocals slide effortlessly over upbeat, striking and solid instrumentation. Paramore meets Blondie, this easy-on-the-ear storytelling offers in-your-face honesty mixed with energetic passionate lyrics.

Side B: chow down on some countrified vibes as powerful & fun vocals slip and slide over the top. Pop stylings merged with slightly dirty guitars, there’s a hint of Mutt Lange production and Bryan Adams lyricism here, and a voice redolent of early Joan Osborne at her finest. Bouncy, insistent and just what you need to boost your day.

Score: 9/10

Vinyl Thought: astonishing vocals and thought-provoking lyrics with added glitz n glamour and bouncy-as-heck musicality

Info: @thisiszuzu @flying_vinyl

20170702_172849

TAKE ME BACK/LOVE YOU STILL – SEEING HANDS

July 2, 2017
fromthelisteningnook

20170702_172818

Format: 7″ black vinyl

Side A: slow driving beat underlines mystical esoteric vocals. A Tears For Fears sound excites as dreamy epic vistas are drawn before you. Beautifully picked guitar throw serious shapes as layered pads and harmonised vocals vie for attention on the bouncy castle of musical genius. Indie-rock-pop with a hazy lazy 80s vibe.

Side B: an ethereal layered Charlatans/Inspiral Carpets-esque tune. Distant misty vocals flirt with summery guitars and goth-like bass notes. It takes you underwater to a realm of North Eastern psychedelia. Swirly bubbly alt-pop at it’s very best.

Score: 9/10

Vinyl Thought: a seething cauldron of indie-pop brilliance and braggadocio

Info: @seeinghandsband @flying_vinyl

20170702_172705

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.