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The Big Announcement

It’s true that I haven’t been around and posting as much as I’d like to in recent months. I’m pretty sure I said in one of the few posts I have managed to put up that I have a good reason for this. And I do. It’s not so much that I haven’t wanted to post or haven’t had anything to post about. But my mind has, admittedly, been elsewhere.

You see, since June, I’ve been working on setting up a record label. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to start a record label, especially by yourself, but it sort of takes over your life. It’s one thing to threaten to start a label—something I’ve done periodically over the last few years—but actually doing it is quite the undertaking, especially if you’re the sort of person, like I am, whose mind tends to run off in about 15 different directions when it ought to be trying to figure out how to register a trademark.

Now, this may not come as a surprise to many of you since I have, several times, alluded to it in not-so-subtle terms on Twitter. But the next part is news.

The first 7” is on its way. The test pressings are due any day now. Once I’ve heard those, I’ll be able to be more specific about a release date, but for now, we’re aiming for some time in January. But now, I suppose you’ll also want to know what that 7” is going to be.

Do you remember Possimiste, the absurdly talented 19-year-old Estonian folk pop composer I wrote about back in April? We’ve spent the last several months working on a little EP for you. And not just any EP, a storybook EP! You read that right. Some of you who are children of the ’80s will remember these. Not only will it include the newest single by Possimiste, but a new fairy tale, written and recorded (with musical accompaniment, of course!) to complement the new song, all packaged inside a companion picture book!

It’s been a long, exciting (and sometimes terrifying) road getting to this point, but I’m so excited for you to hear the final product. I’ve listened to the song at least 200 times by this point, and I still love every second of it. I hope you will, too. And, at the risk of building your expectations too much, I’ll also mention one last thing. The single was (masterfully) mastered by producer/engineer/composer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Nico Muhly) at Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik. Yeah, that’s right, Valgeir Sigurðsson.

So, people, get ready, there’s a label comin’. (And some additional details, as they become available…)

For now, here’s an old Possimiste song.

I had something else scheduled to post today, but in light of recent events, I think there are more pressing issues at hand. By now, you are probably at least aware of hurricane Sandy and the damage it’s done in New York and all up and down the Eastern Seaboard, if not still soaking wet from it. Even I’ve been blown around a fair bit by the storm this week and I’m a good 500 miles away from the worst of it.

Among the New York neighborhoods hardest hit by Sandy is the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, which also happens to be the home of New Amsterdam Records. If you’ve read my stuff before, chances are you’ve at least heard me mention them. I think they are, by far, one of the most innovative labels around. According to an email I received this morning, the NewAm headquarters were devastated by four feet of sewage and seawater that flooded the converted warehouse space earlier this week. Among the casualties were many instruments, vintage synthesizers, and nearly 70% of their catalog of CDs (CDs which are officially owned by the artists, not by the label).

A swift cleanup will be vital, but expensive. In order to offset some of the cost of the recovery, NewAm have set up a Facebook page where you can learn more about exactly what happened, see photos of the damage, and donate to the recovery effort. Since NewAm is a non-profit, all donations should be tax deductible as far as I know (at least in the US).

Note: I’m sure New Amsterdam wasn’t the only small label severely affected by this megastorm. If you know other small labels or artists who suffered severe losses, let me know (email: the.indiehandbook@gmail.com). I’ll at least post a list or something.

Right, so I kind of disappeared on you there—a point which was made abundantly clear to me after Dani Charlton mentioned it on Amazing Radio a couple of weeks ago. Sorry about that. Rest assured, I have a good, blog-related excuse. Some of you may already know—or think you know—what it is, but I’ll make a formal announcement soon enough. There’s a lot to get caught up on—new stuff from NewAm (including Missy Mazolli’s new chamber opera), two new September Girls singles, and new stuff from Northern Portrait due out in the coming months. If you’ve sent me something to listen to in the last few months and haven’t heard back from me, I’m sorry, I really am trying to get to everything.

So, while I get caught up, here’s the new single and video from Lissi Dancefloor Disaster to keep you occupied. You may remember the kitty masked Swedish electro duo from one of last year’s posts. “Kill the Winner”, a new single out today, is the follow-up to their first single from earlier this year, “Singing My Heart Out”. The single, with it’s synthy blips over a strutting, minimalist ’80s bassline, is a solid offering from a band who received a great deal of attention for their remixes before ever releasing a single of their own.

Since they are so clearly related here are the videos for both “Kill The Winner” and “Singing My Heart Out”.

Check out Lissi Dancefloor Disaster on:  [Facebook] [Twitter] [Spotify] [Soundcloud]

 

A few days ago, in an attempt to find something new to listen to in the car, I pulled out a few Brazillian bossa nova CDs I grabbed when Tower Records closed it’s Chicago stores in 2007. I loved them at the time, but, to be honest, I haven’t really given them a second thought since June of the following year. Now, I don’t put much stock in these things (even if I did watch My Dinner With André last night), but when I opened my email the following morning to find a trio of new Elefant EPs, including the newest single from Giorgio Tuma with Lena Karlsson (Komeda), it was almost as if my sudden inclination to revisit my post-collegiate Latin leanings was meant to prepare me mentally for the present single. The two-track EP is the Italian songwriter’s third Elefant release and reflects strongly the instrumental influence of Latin jazz, Sergio Mendes, and the various Gilbertos with seventies soul harmonies and the glitchy charm of Stereolab.

Also currently available from Elefant is a 10-inch mini-LP, If Words Could Kill, from Leicester indiepopsters The Silver Factory, a follow-up to their first EP released on Elefant only a few months earlier. The band, though named in honor of Andy Warhol’s pop arthouse, is far from a rehashed Velvet Underground. Clearly rooted in the British Invasion (see “I’m Alright”) is likewise decidedly steeped in ’80s indiepop (Close Lobsters; Soup Dragons). Really, it sounds like the kind of record you might expect to find on Matinée (which is just my subtle way of saying that this is the sort of thing that will appeal to fans of Math and Physics Club). Drop the needle on this one, and it’s only a matter of seconds before you’ll feel the overwhelming desire to don your favorite wool jumper and stare at your shoes.

While I think it has been fairly well-established that a great many Elefant releases will ultimately prove to be something special, occasionally, a release leaves even me stunned. Try as one might to write them off as just the latest in a string of girl groups built by male songwriters to recapture the ethos of a bygone era (e.g. Monster Bobby and The Pipettes), there’s something particularly irresistible about The Yearning. Created by songwriter/producer Joe Moore, The Yearning’s aptly titled EP, Jukebox Romance, was recorded in a cupboard underneath a staircase in Moore’s home. But where other such groups with similar origin stories seemingly aim to conjure up Spectoral shades, The Yearning recall a time when mad old Phil was just another Teddy Bear. So much so, you half expect singer Maddie Dobie’s boyfriend (no doubt the spit of James Dean) to hop on his Triumph and go skidding off of Dead Man’s Curve. In fact, the legendary screeching tires sound effect even makes an appearance on “Boy Racer”. In fact, for the most part, Jukebox Romance is doo-wop down to the “shoo-wop-doo-wah-oo” background vocals and spoken interludes, right up until the moment “Don’t Call Me Baby” has a passionate fling with a James Jamerson bassline. (And all of it with that misty hue you find wherever British artists adopt American vernacular styles.*) Where The Yearning are concerned, I think the first track on Jukebox Romance says it best: “You Make Lovin’ You Easy” and I can’t exactly say why (—well, I probably could, but that’s a topic for another time). Jukebox Romance is available now from Elefant Records.

*This is not a bad thing. It’s not even easy to explain. It’s just what happens—sort of like the way every time Americans touched C86, it turned into grunge.

I don’t know how many of you were listening to Amazing Radio on Sunday afternoon. If you were, and you happened to catch the second half of Bethan Elfyn’s show, you may have also noticed the part where Beth took a break and some weird guy started talking about Dutch indie music. Well, I was that weird guy. In case you missed it and would like to hear it for yourself, you can listen again on the Bethan Elfyn Show page on amazingradio.co.uk (I start talking just before the 96 minute mark).

On the show, I covered some Dutch indie bands and one of my favorite Dutch labels. I only had time to talk about two bands, but if any of you remember our Dutch Week we had here a few years ago, you probably also remember that there are far more than two good Dutch bands. So, I promised I would write a post to highlight some of the other artists who, sadly, had to be left out of the final broadcast.

The first track I played was “Destroyers of Worlds” by The Sugarettes. Some of you may remember The Sugarettes from Dutch Week, at the time, they were pushing their first LP on Subroutine Records call Love and Other Perversities (a good album, which I still own, and one you should pick up). Earlier this year (March, I believe) The Sugarettes released a new LP, Destroyers of Worlds, which I’ve been listening to constantly for a couple of months now. If I were to pass judgment on it (which I will), I would say it’s a more mature work than Other Perversities was. They’ve really got the girl-fronted nerd rock thing down, and it’s working out nicely for them—kind of like if The Coathangers formed a Blondie tribute band. And if this sort of nerdy indie rock is your thing, you’ll definitely want to check out the various other projects The Sugarettes are involved with. Joep van Son has a few of them. We covered the boy-girl indie rock of The Very Sexuals a few years ago, but Joep is also a member of Nikoo a noise pop ensemble. He has also recently launched Waste No Fun, a collaborative indie pop project with Sydney-based illustrator Bas van Genugten, releasing a free lo-fi single every six weeks, which also offers limited edition prints of the artwork. The Sugarettes’ lead singer Mariska Louman also has a shoegaze-inspired band of her own called Iskaa and the Red Cars, who just recently released their first EP.

And while we’re on the subject of Subroutine Records, they have recently released the first LP from noise rockers Space Siren. When I first heard Space Siren a couple of years ago, they had only ever released a seven inch, and that several years before I heard them. I just assumed that they had disbanded. I never expected to see an LP from them, nor did I expect it to be so well-worth the wait. The band’s debut LP, Mr Wagner, Please Give Us A Call, is on the noisier side of the Subroutine spectrum, certainly more so than The Sugarettes, but it’s far from being noise for the sake of noise. There is almost a sort of shimmering violence with a glamorous tinge about the ten tracks that make up Mr. Wagner, which is apparent in the video for the single “Oh My God, Someone Killed Kelly”, for instance. It’s sort of a shoegaze ethos with a post-riot grrrl attitude (think My Bloody Valentine covers “I Think I’m Paranoid” by Garbage).

Of course, it’s an unfortunate reality of the guest appearance business that you never have as much time as you want (or even need), especially if you’re as prone to enthusiasm as I am. (Seriously, I’ve written 600 words so far, and only really talked about two bands.) And one of the most heartbreaking cuts I had to make was an entire label, namely Snowstar Records. For those who prefer the softer side of DIY, Snowstar is a great place to look (though not always—you’ll also find things like the mid-’90s inspired indie rock of Lost Bear). We covered the lo-fi electronic folk of The Secret Love Parade a couple of years ago. Since then, in February, the girls released their second LP on Snowstar, Mary Looking Ready, which builds promisingly on their previous work, achieving a fuller and more singular sound than ever before while still maintaining the relaxed, almost conversational feel of their self-titled debut LP.

Also on Snowstar, you’ll find the frighteningly prolific and equally talented I Am Oak, who seems to have a new single or album out every time I check the label’s Bandcamp page. Usually, turning out music at such a pace would send up red flags all over the place, but there’s something about I Am Oak that keeps me coming back for more. Maybe it’s the melodies and sparse textures. Or it could be the harmonies and haunting vocals. Very rarely do you see someone do so much with so little. Here is a the first I Am Oak track I ever heard, “Gold and Porcelain”, which you can find on this free Snowstar compilation:

Which brings us to Kim Janssen of The Black Atlantic, whose most recent solo record, a beautiful folk concept album called Ancient Crime, which draws on the character and ethos of the northwest of England, was released on Snowstar Records in March of this year. And, speaking of The Black Atlantic, I have to come clean and admit that they released a new EP on Beep! Beep! Records early this year which I have failed to review here or even make sufficient public mention of. Which should not, in any way, be considered a reflection of the EP itself, which is, in fact, absolutely gorgeous. If you were listening to the Bethan Elfyn Show when we played the title track “Darkling, I Listen”, you have, most likely, already figured this out. If you missed it, head over to amazingtunes.com or to the band’s website. You can listen to the whole thing there and it’s well worth your undivided attention. The five tracks on Darkling, I Listen fit together so seamlessly, they function best as a single piece of music, featuring all of the lush harmonies that were the hallmark of the band’s Reverence For Fallen Trees, Geert and company also make fine use of the sort dramatic, subito dynamic changes that characterize the longer form choral works of Arvo Pärt, for instance, and which jar the listener to beautiful and hypnotic effect.

I should probably start wrapping this up. Congratulations if you’ve managed to read this far. You actually have an attention span, which is an increasingly rare thing. (You’re practically a collector’s item!). There’s plenty more to cover, but I’ve already kept you too long. If you’re curious, go back and read some of those old Dutch Week posts. There are a whole lot of other tips and leads in there that I didn’t even bother to rehash in this post (as much as I would have liked to). But as it stands, I’ve already given you about a day’s-worth of music to check out, and that’s enough for one night.

My new radio pen pal

You may have picked up on this if you obsessively track everything that happens on Twitter (not that that’s something I’ve never not done), but I’ve got a new pen pal. A radio pen pal, that is. Every few weeks, I’ll be doing a bit on Bethan Elfyn’s Amazing Radio show along with Rich from The Line of Best Fit and Mélanie from CISM 89.3 in Montréal (we’ll be taking it in turns, one each week). I’ll talk for a couple of minutes about what I’ve been listening to (which won’t always be stuff from the blog) then we’ll play a couple of songs.

I’ve already recorded my first thing, which will air this coming Sunday (the 15th of July). This time out, we’ll have some new stuff from some old friends, which I think you’re really gonna like. I know I can’t get it out of my head. And I apologize in advance. When I get really enthusiastic about something, I have a tendency to speak somewhat quickly (because I want to tell everyone ALL THE THINGS!). But this is my first real radio thing. I promise I’ll get better.

Beth’s show airs at noon (UK time) on Sundays. But no worries, North Americans! For those of you who, like me, prefer not to drag yourself out of bed before 2PM on a Sunday, the show will be available to listen after the broadcast. I’ll get you that link when I have it. I hope you’ll check it out. If you’re not already familiar with Amazing Radio, it’s a pretty great format with a lot of fantastic music and Bethan Elfyn is one cool lady who always knows what’s up.

Oh, and since this is a music blog, here’s some music for you. Have you seen these live videos of Allo Darlin’ in San Francisco a couple of years ago? I didn’t know they existed until last night, but there are, like, six of them and the sound quality is really good. Also check out the new Allo Darlin’ album, Europe, if you haven’t already. I’m listening to it right now and it’s great, which is no surprise, since greatness is pretty much all Elizabeth Morris is capable of.

I like Knickers

I don’t know how often you folks clean out your spam folders. Personally, I try to do it a few times a week. Granted, 85% of the time it’s Central African solicitors and Irish Lottery winnings, but occasionally, something slips through. (I often wonder how many of the indecipherable Korean and Chinese mailings are actually press releases for fantastic new bands I’ll never hear because I made the mistake of not learning every language ever.) But it’s the most recent number to be dug from the depths of discarded pyramid schemes which left me nearly breathless from the potential magnitude of such a near miss.

Knickers (I don’t think I need to explain to you why Gmail filed this where they did), are the latest effort from Simon Love (The Loves). According to one interview, by the time The Loves retired on Valentine’s Day 2011, Simon already had plans for Knickers. Still, as the story goes, Sarah answered an ad Simon had posted on Gumtree.com reading “French Girl Wanted”. A few crude demos later, Knickers were formed. To date, the band have only played a handful of gigs (including one last week with Elefant labelmates The School), but word is spreading fast. On my recent trip through the UK, the chat around the record shop circuit (Rough Trade, Spillers, Monorail, Avalanche, etc.) was about Knickers (the band…I checked). I even met a man here in terminally uncool Columbus, Ohio this week who asked me if I knew anything about them.

The word is out, kids – and so is the record – a four-track EP on Elefant Records, that is. And if you’ve ever loved anything on Elefant, it’s an EP you’re going to need – four pop gems inspired by French yé-yé, ’60s garage, and the Velvet Underground. Lead off track, “My Baby’s Just a Baby” is a catchy ode to melodic dirty garage rock. Between a strong stomping melody and a clever video [below] in which Sarah gives the boy bandmates the RealDoll treatment, the lead single makes a compelling case that Knickers are onto something here. And the follow-up tracks are far from filler.

What follows is a fitting tribute to the golden age of pop. “Are You Ready, Girl?” is a crooning cover of what is essentially a lost Kinks tune (written by Dave Davies for an unreleased solo album) and finds singer Sarah channeling Nina Persson at her swooning best. In fact, the hallmarks of the Cardigans’ frontwoman are also a major part of what makes the current EP such a resounding success. Sarah is obviously a woman who knows her way around a hook. It’s her ease of delivery coupled with Simon’s masterful pairing of fuzzed-out and jangly guitars that drives the charging duet of “A Thousand Ways” (a duet that cleverly mirrors the pairing of clean and dirty guitars). And elsewhere, it is the juxtaposition of purity of tone and melody (and doubling glockenspiel) with those same dirty guitars in “Darling” that makes such an indelible impression on the listener and will leave you singing that final hook for days (unless, of course, you’ve left the EP on repeat, as I have, in which case each memorable hook is supplanted by the next, ad infinitum).

Knickers debut EP, My Baby’s Just A Baby, is available digitally and as a limited seven-inch on red vinyl from Elefant Records.

Check out Knickers on: [Facebook] [Twitter] [Bandcamp] [Tumblr]

Tracklist:

  1. ‘My Baby’s Just a Baby (But I Love Him So)
  2. ‘Are You Ready Girl?’
  3. ‘A Thousand Ways’
  4. ‘Darling’

Reading Too Much Into Things

Handclaps, sweet harmonies, and a little bit of soul—it’s not the formative years of a nascent Motown, but the newest LP, Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything, from Cardiff’s indiepop mini-orchestra, The School. And it’s not just early Motown that’s in play here. Whether it’s echoes of Lesley Gore, Del Shannon, or the Supremes, classic textures from pre-British Invasion American rock ‘n’ roll are ever present on the band’s latest effort.

It’s nothing new, of course. The School have always been a band rooted in the ’60s, but Reading Too Much finds the band on firmer footing than ever before. Where the debut LP, 2010’s Loveless Unbeliever, was assembled over the course of several years and lineup changes, the current lineup has been together since early that same year and remained consistent through the composition process of their sophomore release. It’s that consistency which has helped to build a more cohesive album than the first LP. They say you have a lifetime to make your first record. Well, time is one thing. Vision is something else entirely. Loveless Unbeliever was (mostly) the brainchild of a single person with a rotating cast of players, and, while Liz Hunt (vocals, keyboards) may remain the prevailing force, Reading Too Much is clearly a group effort, and music written with the players in mind, and which plays to their strengths will nearly always prove more successful than music written in a vacuum.

While the album is frequently driven by the keyboards which have been so prominent in their previous work, The School are at their best (at least in the context of this album), when the standard keyboard sound is traded in for a digital organ and clean guitars give harmonic vitality to already irresistible danceable rhythms, as on “Why Do You Have To Break My Heart Again” and the lead single “Never Thought I’d See The Day”, where their use in combination with handclaps, upbeat background vocals, and the classic early ’60s drum beat result in what could be a certified dance hit, vintage 1963. In other places, such as “I Should Do” and “Where Does Your Heart Belong?”, trumpet breaks prevail in such a way that will no doubt please fans of early Belle & Sebastian. One of the biggest, and most pleasant surprises here, however, is the melodic, bass-bolstering baritone sax on “The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side”, a driving number with such a firm grip on the Motown sound you’d think Mr. Gordy himself had a hand in it. The same could be said for “Stop That Boy” which, at least in my mind, evokes frequent flashes of early Supremes.

As a band, The School are living proof of the enduring relevance of that first decade of rock ‘n’ roll. More importantly, Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything, makes a strong case for the belief that a good beat and strong melody can get you anywhere, even if the place you want to go is 50 years in the past. Listening to it, you may as well be cruising down Route 66 in a ’59 Impala. It’s just a shame Dick Clark couldn’t be here to see it.

Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything is available now on LP and CD from Elefant Records.

If you take a look back to the glory days of C86 (if a aesthetic so famously and intentionally shambolic can have ‘glory days’), one of its defining characteristics is the consistent lack of LPs—if you stop to think about it, the C86 catalogue is probably 90% EPs and Peel Sessions. It’s a common tale, really, not simply reserved for 80s indiepop (just look at all those now priceless 1960s garage and northern soul recordings, or the Oneders), but it’s long since become a hallmark of the DIY aesthetic. I’m happy to say, however, that it is not a trait that has been passed on to their more recent descendants—a trend most recently defied by Glaswegian pop proponents, Strawberry Whiplash.

Over the last few years, Strawberry Whiplash have released a string of picture perfect EPs on Matinée Recordings, most recently the unforgivably catchy Stop, Look and Listen 7” (December 2011). With nearly every recording a sure pop hit (if, in an autotuned universe, it were actually possible for this sort of thing to become an RIAA-approved ‘hit’), it would be entirely possible for Laz and Sandra to hang their hats on the occasional cluster of fuzz pop gems. Instead, much to my delight, they have released their first LP, appropriately titled, Hits In The Car.

Hits In The Car is a collection of 13 mostly new tracks that tell the story of a relationship from the initial spark of attraction to the eventual decay and dissolution. I say ‘mostly new’ because, tucked in among a baker’s dozen sparkling fuzz pop gems are some tracks from previous EPs, like the aforementioned ‘Stop, Look and Listen’. They serve, of course, to further the narrative, but hearing the irresistible melody of the once eponymous ‘Picture Perfect‘ in a new context also serves as a pleasantly unexpected reminder of just how much you’ve always loved Strawberry Whiplash.

[Download: “Stop, Look and Listen” mp3]

Alongside the classic Whiplash are several others destined to assume their rightful place in the cannon. The opening one-two punch of ‘Do You Crash Here Often’ and ‘Everybody’s Texting’ offer the perfect hybrid of late 70s post punk and the shoegaze classics of the late 80s, while the crunchy guitars of ‘You Make Me Shine’ set up what proves to be a glistening duet between Laz and Sandra which includes a short but oh-so-sweet solo guitar bridge. The pivotal point in the album narrative, ‘What Do They Say About Me’, is the sweetest bit of paranoia you’re likely to hear on a pop record, and, like all good forms of doubt and suspicion, it’s infectious. The penultimate track, ‘Sleepy Head’, once again sees multi-instrumentalist Laz McCluskey assume lead vocal responsibilities. It is also, fittingly, a far cry, stylistically, from the vast majority of Strawberry Whiplash tracks, being driving, dissonant, hard-hitting bit of shoegazing and the perfect foil for Sandra’s resolute and oddly soothing closer, ‘First Light Of Dawn’.

Strawberry Whiplash could have easily contented themselves with being a phenomenal singles band like so many of the acts from the flash-in-the-pan scene whose torch they bear. And, up to this point, they have been. But with Hits In The Car, the band have proven that they can be—and are—so much more than that. This blog has, in many respects, grown up alongside Strawberry Whiplash, so they will, of course, always have a special place in my heart. But with a band so consistently easy to love, I suppose it was bound to happen.

Hits In The Car is available on CD from Matinée Recordings.

Tracklist: Hits In The Car

  1. Do You Crash Here Often?
  2. Everybody’s Texting
  3. Now I Know It’s You
  4. Picture Perfect
  5. You Make Me Shine
  6. Looking Out For Summer
  7. What Do They Say About Me?
  8. Dining Out In Paris and London
  9. Stop, Look and Listen  [mp3]
  10. Another April
  11. It Came To Nothing
  12. Sleepy Head
  13. First Light of Dawn

New Music from Isobel Campbell

Earlier this evening, Isobel Campbell, Mark Lanegan’s frequent collaborator and co-conspirator (formerly of Belle & Sebastian) announced via Twitter that fans could download for free her reimagined version of Franz Ferdinand’s “Walk Away” in exchange for an email address.

Though her work with the former Screaming Trees frontman has been turning several heads over the last half-decade or so, and the tour for their Hawk LP (2010) remains the most properly brooding and seductive live show I have ever scene, Bel, as a solo artist, has remained sadly elusive. The current cover of “Walk Away” is, I believe, the first we’ve heard from her since Milk White Sheets in 2006. Those familiar with the Franz Ferdinand original should take note, this is a complete reimagining of the urtrack—more closely related to the great French chanteuses of the ’60s and ’70s than any Glaswegian guitar pop you’ve ever heard—more Françoise Hardy than Franz Ferdinand.

While Milk White Sheets, blew me away by frequently applying adventurous, contemporary melodic counterpoint and harmonic colors to traditional songs and folk melodies, “Walk Away” recalls an earlier vein in the enigmatic Ms. Campbell’s body of work. Built on the foundation of a subdued jazz drum kit, simple bass line, and sustained chordal string harmonies, a fairly prominent glockenspiel countermelody to complement to her soft, sweet, and breathy vocals provides much of the textural interest here and hearkens back to her first post-B&S album, Amorino, or, even more so, to her days as The Gentle Waves.

If you follow her various social media outlets, you understand how elusive Bel can be. With only some 70 tweets to her name, you’d be forgiven for believing she’d given up on the music thing entirely. But with a recent uptick in Twitter activity (including this promising post from just over a week ago), and now the offer of this new track, it seems likely that there might more for us Isobel Campbell devotees in the relatively near future. Until then, head over to her website and trade your email address for a glimpse of what’s to come. Then, tell all your friends to do the same.

Follow Isobel on Facebook and on Twitter (@Isobel_Campbell)

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