Fashion Plate Daddy

Monday, August 27, 2007

'One broken plate and a big hunk of cow'

So I found this funky looking band on myspace, they looked pretty swinging in their photo so I asked them for a song or two. And how nice of them, they obliged by sending me four tracks. We shared some more dialogue and I managed to get a bio on the band. Fashion Plate Daddy thanks so much, I needed to do this so badly.

Like I said, four songs, what a mixture of retired decade-old shit. Originality, nil; hooks, nil; cliches, heaps. For a bunch of hip-looking Londoners how could it all go so wrong? Easy, just listen.

Trotting back to myspace for a second, it was a myspace ad that first brought the band together. A match made in heaven, "an art punk guitarist who wants to play soul meets a soul singer who wants to scream her bloody head off." Well yeah, they got that bit right. The funniest thing about Fashion Plate Daddy is that it's so bad, it's so fucking good. You know how you get those bands that are excruciating, but for some reason you can't help but listen? try it. It's so fucking good Fashion Plate Daddy can be proud of their achievements. A limited edition single in June with 'Lipbite', 'Boots' and 'Tit' started my obsession. They assure me something is coming before the end of the year and have plans for an album next year. Whoopee, I can't wait!

If you think I'm just an underachieving fuck-wit who doesn't deserve an opinion then listen sunshine, this is chaotic crap of the the highest quality. 'Hangman' may be one of the most excruciating songs ever made, but it certainly shows those other psychotic maniacs The Noisettes how soul punk should really sound.

Fashion Plate Daddy- Hangman: MP3

Fashion Plate Daddy- Boots: MP3

Fashion Plate Daddy- Myspace

The Radio Dept.

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Like an Iceberg: Dense and Frigid."

Radioavdelningen is one of Sweden's best known and well-loved Indie/shoegaze/experimental/electronic collaborative projects. Johan Duncanson (vocals, guitar), Martin Larsson (guitar), Lisa Carlberg ("love of Martin", and bass/vocals), and Per Blomgren (drums) make sweet, glistening melodies scorned with romantic maladies (ha). Now on one of Sweden's most respected labels and with a few songs on Sophia Copolla's Marie Antoinette soundtrack, the band have found favour with many fans of the eternally underrated My Bloody Valentine/Jesus and Mary Chain-esque haze.

Their gauzy, hazy, dreamlike songs perfectly suit the ponderous climes of the film, as Kirstin Dunst (sigh) and Jason Schwartzman (double sigh) fall about eachother and try to get along. Or something. The songs are more structured, to that effect, but their hopeless/hopeful songs seem shaded in mist and covered in mourning dew.

It's doubtless you'll want to listen to The Radio Dept. every day all the time, unless you're a very sleepy person who doesn't do much... their densely layered songs take some effort to listen to, but the melodies are strong and simple and beautiful. Always hidden under a heightened topography of soft, distorted fuzz and gentle, breathy vocals, whispered and sighed out from underneath drum echoes and the like. Overall they're an amazing, beautiful band, far more rant-worthy than this or any post can attempt to do them justice.

The Radio Dept.- Pulling Our Weight: MP3

The Radio Dept.- Keen On Boys: MP3

The Radio Dept.- This Past Week: MP3

The Radio Dept.- Website


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Legs sticking out of South Pole,
torso sticking out of North Pole.

Intense layers of vocal melodies crooning and swooning laid down over repetitive musical loops (apparently built on custom software!) are the meticulous details etched on Menomena’s hardened catalogue. Their magical majestic pop songs are not your typical C4 fare, however there’s was the medium that first made me really take notice of Menomena’s unique storytelling nature.

The video for Wet And Rusting is a wonderous subconscious adventure, trawling through the philosophy that inspires, explains and justifies the band, not that they need any justification. With organ donation checklist and calls for Kanye West to produce the next album, the vid is a veritable parodic heaven. Primary blueprints are pointed at with sticks and suddenly they're bursting, Alice in Wonderland style, down the rabbit hole to an abysmal urban landscape, via a backyard playhouse. Throughout the absurdist excursion, the band's dying wishes are presented, scribbled straight onto the screen. "Send my casket to the top of Big Ben," one asks. "Send my casket to Westminster Abbey," says another. "Send my casket into space".

Trampoline cars are fuelled by the band jumping on them, and Neon-ite speech bubbles placed over their heads serve to illicit a sense of comic irony in the plot. Commonly about death, their suave soiree is reminiscent of the Unicorns’ morbid sense of humour. The nasal twinge will also remind of that, too.

This video seems to perfectly illustrate the fantasyland that Menomena’s music would inhabit, if it were static. Fortunately it’s not, though. Ever changing and moving, the layers of sound and noise are a testament to their constant exploration, both literally and figuratively, through sound and metaphor. And their peculiar structures and Battles-esque rhythmic stronghold are relentless. Menomena’s is a five star album, beg borrow or steal Friend And Foe.

P.S. They look good in a bath, see:

Menomena- Wet And Rusting: MP3

Menomena- Weird: MP3

Menomena- Muscle'n Flo: MP3

Menomena- Myspace

Menomena- Wet And Rusting: video

Rio en Medio

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Bride of Brooklyn

Based in Brooklyn, New York; Rio en Medio is the musical alis for New Mexico native Danielle Stech-Homsy. The daughter of a gay Syrian painter and a Ukrainian flamenco dancer, her life has been one colourful adventure. One that laid the foundation for a move into the world of folk music and expressive art.

Predominantly composed on Ukulele, her classically trained skills perfectly complement her delicate vocal style. Her slow softly spoken melody creating complete calm, providing the perfect supplement for a night of red wine and bree. Accompanied at times by an intricate array of sampled electronica and a hint of percussion, Medio's songs display a enchanted whimsical quality of a women completely at peace.

Her debut album The Bride of Dynamite, serves more than just the contemporary folk market. It's folk music on the electronic boundary, with roots in 1990's trip hop and contemporary jazz. Best served on a cold night cuddled in bed, it's the perfect complement for a night of intimacy.

With a debut album that brings together good and evil, her reputation has already flurished on the Brooklyn music scene. Home to some of the most innovative talent in America, Rio en Medio joins The Lisps in waving the flag for contemporary American folk. After concluding a recent tour with the similar sounding, slightly more electronic CocoRosie, Medio is no longer an artist to watch but an artist being watched.

Rio en Medio- Everyone is Someone's: MP3

Rio en Medio- Tiger's Ear: MP3

Rio en Medio- Myspace


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Na Na Na Na Na Batgirls!!

As if it was still 1978, girl punk lives on in Sweden. These four Goteborg assassins are hear to charm your pants off, with attitude, a little bit of angst and a whole lotta love. Their debut 7" has just been released and is ready to be an instant hit with indie fans world wide.

The most obvious hook attached to Liechtenstein is their similarity to some of punks finest girl bands. Mixing it with the best throughout time, from The Shags to The Shop Assistants and Sleater Kinney, Liechtenstein's name will soon be added to the list.

With basic pop licks syphoned into a melting pot of gentle bass and percussion, Liechtenstein prove they can keep as good a melody as anyone. With a simple guitar cord played to repetition; a formula that's worked for decades already and will work forever, the girls are a most welcome addition to our ears. Obviously indie, and obviously craving a slice of fame.

Liechtenstein- Stalking Skills: MP3

Liechtenstein- Cravings: MP3

Liechtenstein- Myspace

Grey Power

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Winston Peters You Old Grey Haired Bastard!

In my opinion Grey Power are one of Wellington's best kept musical secrets. The four piece band are relatively new to the scene, but have already gained a reputation for their manic live show. Blending surf, swamp rock and shoegaze with a much grander big band sound they command attention, and can intimidate even the roughest communist audience.

Fronted by vocalist/ keyboard player Sam Bradford, his shy nature off stage serves as a entree for the main course. Give him a microphone and he becomes a ranting shaman, shouting slogans of anti capitalism and denouncing the conservative strong hold on society. He has the complete act going, from body gestures to his clothing; often dressed in a silk bathrobe over stubby shorts. It's a bit weird, a bit creepy, almost sleazy creepy but somehow it's fucking cool.

If your a fan of the mildly grotesque then a trip to a Grey Power show might unbutton your night shirt. If you just want to see something unusual and be entertained that'll happen to. Fans of the Pixies and early post grunge should definitely find something to like about the unpredictable, explosive nature of Grey Power.

The band will be putting out an EP in the coming months through there own label Sailor Mouth Records. Meanwhile, catch them on tour throughout New Zealand in August. This highly entertaining, unpredictable band will not disappoint, so be one of the first to jump on the wagon.

Grey Power- Shopping For Jesus: MP3

Grey Power- Ambassadors' Wife: MP3

Grey Power- Making Chains: MP3

Grey Power- Myspace

Best Fwends

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Have good times til time runs out, this is what we're all about!"

It’s funny when a band puts out a song so heinously bad that it almost puts you off their music entirely. Even though AAWW-SOME is one of few songs that I’ve thrashed in recent times, there came just one other song by Best Fwends that looked set to tarnish all their others.

So it was fitting that once again a song title rang true: Tarnished Words is the one available-for-download song on Best Fwends’ myspace, but I strongly recommend you skip even streaming it. Because other than that piercing feedback-laden track, their remaining catalogue is diverse and different. You could say the withering death of Tarnished Words adds to their obnoxious, devil may care attitude that stands them apart from most Atari-rockers who are content to play the game fairly nonchalantly. But Best Fwends have power in numbers (two, to be exact), with which to blissfully assault you, and it’s this kinda extreme-wtf!?-ism that makes them so cool.

And fortunately AAWW-SOME lives up to its name. Its epic brevity is addictive – just watch your playcount rise! A seeming testament to their intensity, I’m pretty sure they are insane, but damn do I love them for it.

The duo are adept at rap-screeching over iPod backing tracks and dancing in front of what looks like a Twister mat (but upon closer inspection it’s some sort of Ed Gains-esque illustration), whilst shredding up James Gang and Spin Doctors covers.

That said, they’re pretty fucking AAWW-SOME.

Just see if you can resist the persistent thumping Nickelodeon breakbeats chugging along with background noise (though not the kind you’ll find in a restaurant), that gives way to a blippy-heaven chorus, laid down with some old schoolyard chants and ecstatic synth.

Also, check out the Bacardi commercial that uses their song Bedroom Music; it has to be seen to be believed!

One anonymous internerd said of the band on another blog, “the knife blade between annoying and hilarious is a sharp edge to walk on.” But the Vice Worst Album of the Month winners are proud of their geeky heritage, and rightfully so; they kick total n00b ass!

Best Fwends- AAWW-SOME: MP3

Best Fwends- House Ghost: MP3

Best Fwends- Funk 50 [by James Gang] live: MP3

Best Fwends- Myspace

Vermillion Lies

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Halfway between the Theatre and the Stars

When Mrs Boekbinder gave birth to twins all those years ago, no one really knew the sisters would one day end up one of the world's most talked about live musical acts. Born two days apart in the state of California, the sisters Zoe and Kim ultimately lead very different life's. Zoe's path of discovery lead her to the jungle of Central America, where she lived for a small section of her life.

In 2004 Zoe returned from her jungle adventure, reuniting with her sister in California and teaching her to play guitar. This was the start of a magical connection that lead the sisters to explore the depths of musical experimentation. With guitar in tow, the sisters quickly started messing around with household objects. A typewriter quickly became the latest cool thing and when pots and pans were added it started to get serious. It all pieced together when the girls discovered they could use anything, broken pipes, a flour sifter and even a lobster have at one time been part of a Vermillion Lies arrangement.

Their strange instrumentation and expressive stage antics have lead the duo to be tagged as one the world's most exciting live acts. A unique mix of broken, pop, crash instrumentation and half spoken lyrical poetry have all the makings of a contemporary folk cabaret act. Fitting into this unusual genre may mystify a few people, think of a playful silly Dresden Dolls slowed and twisted upside down.

After releasing their debut record in 2006 titled Separated By Birth, several songs subsequently featured in a number independent films. Their latest release is the Scream-A-Long EP, featuring the hit single 'Global Warming'. The song is a quirky, playful spin on the biggest problem facing the world today. The sisters have asked fans to download the song for free and send it to all their friends. It's an amazingly crafted piece of performance poetry that will help raise awareness about a crisis so many have ignored.

Vermillion Lies- Global Warming: MP3

Vermillion Lies- Shark Serenade: MP3

Vermillion Lies- Myspace

The Hungry Caterpillar

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Vitamin X vs. Riboflaven: the race is on!

Talented graphic designer Benjamin Thompson has many hobbies; lucky for us one of these is The Hungry Caterpillar. Currently the whereabouts of the rumoured second member remains uncertain, however this phantom edge of unsolved mystery only serves to illuminate the indescribable awesomeness of the music.

Like one of those inexplicable forces of nature – a sporadic tsunami or horrific avalanche, The Hungry Caterpillar devours your attention from the onset, unrelenting in its iron grip. Trilling keyboards and mountainous effects are pummelled into you with the freakiest of live drums I’ve ever heard, and will fast become the soundtrack to your dreams.

The genius ADD of the Caterpillar’s first full-length lost-in-suburbia madness is available for download in full here. It displays an exciting palette of Prince, Lightning Bolt and Roots influences, though you would hardly guess that from a cursory listen.

Tracks like Slip Into The Mould and Relentless Tide Has Won will win you over with their crisp originality and excitement, often lost on many people post-childhood. The Hungry Caterpillar keeps the sandpit dreamz alive with his playful, intricate melodies explored via a range of midi devices and rhythmic overhauls.

The catchiest experimental midi-pop/electronica/breakbeat/sports techno/wtf!? I’ve heard in forever, it pretty much takes the cake. Well, it takes those conventional genre terms and aborts them with lustful, synthtastic irony.

Of course to try and apply static genre terms only denotes an element of derivativeness, and the Caterpillar does not adhere to any of these crimes. Just add Flamboid3000 to your diet and see what happens. Conventionality is ripped apart with joyous fervour unheard anywhere outside of Lightning Bolt.

Though largely instrumental, there is the occasional shy blend of vocal musings on the Chinese communist party and unicorns, all bathed in Cher-esque vocoder. This is not only endearing but plain awesome. Name one other person who is doing that today? For realz.

This may hide such inspired lyrics and make even more ambiguous the underlying tones of corrupt capitalism and escapism, but much like his visual artwork, the interpretation is left up to the audience; an honest intention.

These songs are incredibly exciting and addictive. And the ecstatic reception here is accurately reflected in the fragmented nervosa of this blog. Just download the album already!

Another testament to the beauty and myth of multitalented artists – the constant collaboration of creative desires producing fruits as varied and exhilarating as this. The Hungry Caterpillar is fully mind-blowing, and has to be heard to be believed.

The Hungry Caterpillar- The Observer: MP3

The Hungry Caterpillar- Why We Fuck: MP3

The Hungry Caterpillar- Destroy This Before God Finds Out: MP3

The Hungry Caterpillar- Myspace

The Virgins

Thursday, August 02, 2007

If you type 'The Virgins' into Google you get all sorts of weird stuff. I discovered there's a hell of a lot of sites about the Virgin Mary, but fuck all on New York band The Virgins. I'd hate to see what an image search would reveal. So I have to let the music do the talking. The four piece, soul branded new wave band have many likable characteristics. Like all your drunken emotions of lost love and unfinished affairs, they're a sad bunch. Take a stroll in the rain, find a park bench under the trees, plug in your ear phones and you'll understand what I mean. The guitar wobbling back and forwards, the bass jogging at half pace trying to keep up with the electronic mixer, it's enough to make any park bench a cosy little fort. And yes The Virgins have a little Cure about them, To My Boy could be their cousins.
They have an EP out now, it's possibly available through their myspace page but I can't be sure. You might just have to message them and ask.

The Virgins- Tequila Alley: MP3

The Virgins- Rich Girls: MP3

The Virgins- Myspace

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