Blood Red Shoes

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blood Red Blues

Straight forward punk never sounded so good. The Brighton, UK, duo consisting of Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter never wanted to be big stars, they just wanted to be in a band.

One of those all-too-common random browses on Myspace a couple of years ago brought me to Blood Red Shoes, it must have only just been after they even made the thing. I remember they didn't have many friends, but I liked them. I played their early song Meet Me At 8 over and over on my computer, even put it on mix CDs for people, though I eventually forgot about it and moved on.

But the band kept on going, gigging and writing and recording nonstop – their website's bio boasts they've worked with five labels now! And they've been touted by NME... Yet they still continue to make spirited, biting, inspiring post-punk prettiness for our ears, which is why I still respect them, and still dig their anguished songs. In fact, they're only getting better, and they still don't care about fame or glory. Wicked! Here's to you, Blood Red Shoes! The band nice enough to email me – a spirited little fan back in the day – personally, back and forth, for the pure fun of it.

Enjoy some of their stellar songs...

Blood Red Shoes – Meet Me At 8: MP3

Blood Red Shoes – Can't Find The Door: MP3

Blood Red Shoes – You Bring Me Down: MP3

Blood Red Shoes – Bless His Heart: MP3

Blood Red Shoes – Myspace

Secret Knives

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New From A Low Hum

Cloudberry Records may be one of the coolest record labels in America...but here in New Zealand we have something just as awesome; A Low Hum (we love you!) Ian Jorgensen aka Blink, the man behind almost everything cool in this country's music scene, has just announced his latest signing. Secret Knives is the label's third signing, joining Disasteradio and The Enright House. In an example of Blink's generosity, we have been given a free advanced download.

We can report that the Secret Knives are super duper fantastic, channeling cleanly-driven guitar rock with a hint of electronics. The result is smooth and sombre, bordering on romantic but with a mysterious, intriguing quality. Fans of Death Cab for Cutie and Over the Atlantic should delight in Secret Knives' catchy, idyllic, indie lashings.

With Blink's permission we can allow you to download two tracks, both from the upcoming seven-track EP The Wolves. The full EP will be released on March 1 as a free digital download from

We can all show our support for A Low Hum by going along to two gigs this weekend, one in Auckland and one in Wellington. Organised as Camp A Low Hum fundraisers, the gigs are to help pay for damage done during this year's four-day event.

Secret Knives- The Wolves: MP3

Secret Knives- The Skeleton: MP3

Secret Knives- Myspace

Cloudberry Records

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nothing Matters When We're Dancing!
Keeping itsy-bitsy indie community spirit alive, the Miami, Florida-based Cloudberry Records has taken to releasing some great underground music from around the world. Our very own Gladeyes are one of the lucky bunch to have three of their beautiful pop ditties put on 3-inch CDR, gatefold and hand-numbered to 100 copies. Their Die! Die! Die! cover is amazing!

The Gladeyes – From The Prospect Palace Practice Tapes (Cloudberry # 71)
The Gladeyes – Shyness Will Get You Nowhere (cover of Die! Die! Die!): MP3

Open the alluring black and white cardboard cover and you'll see a neat transformation within the window pictured there. It's just one of many gems.

The Pristines – The Pristines EP (Cloudberry #59)
The Pristines – Numb: MP3

While many have sold out, Cloudberry's popularity is only growing, so jump in quick if something tickles your fancy, cos soon they may all be gone.

The Occasional Flickers – Cloudberry EP (Cloudberry #70)
The Occasional Flickers – When the Sky Looks So Gray: MP3

Komon is by far my favourite – sounding kind of like Golden Axe vs The Gladeyes, their heavily sunbleached electro pop washed up on the rocks, with pop-rocks on the tongue of the sugary sweet singer – it's glorious drum-fill style girl-sing-along!

Komon – Punk EP (Cloudberry #56)
Komon – I Made New Friends: MP3

Featuring also fanzines and t-shirts with the label's dusty logo (see above), it's a charming wee site. They describe themselves as an "indiepop label purveying the sound of jangly guitars".

Afternoon Naps – Can't Stop the Weather (Cloudberry #72)
Afternoon Naps – Can't Stop The Weather: MP3

A tight as nails release schedule keeps everyone in check: singles are released on the 1st, 15th and 21st of every month.

Indurain – Cloudberry EP (Cloudberry 31) SOLD OUT!
Indurain – Hornstull Cinema: MP3

Stating their ethos, as if you needed anything else to push you over the edge into straight-out, unabashed swooning, they state their beliefs:

Cloudberry believes in
+ unrequited love
+ systems of resistance
+ sense of community
+ DIY ethics
+ international socialism

Oh worddd. Check out the rest of the sweet bands that are on the label. With adorable plastic zip-seal bags and a little picture of the flags of the bands' countries of origin on the back cover, they're so so cute and will make CDR collectors go "squee!".

Cloudberry Records – Website

Sharpie Crows

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Once Bastard Sons, Now Sharpie Crows

What started as a quick post on The Bastard Sons of Grey Power has now become a post on Sharpie Crows. I wish they could have told me they'd changed their name, it would have saved me twenty minutes searching myspace.

A few weeks ago, Sam, the postman at my work, dropped his bands LP on my desk. I've always been interested by Sam's music; it intrigues me how such a shy person on the surface, can write and perform such passionate, black comedic songs. There are a few songs on We Fought the Great White Whale that have really hit a chord with me. Hearing someone insulting Rupert Murdoch so passionately is so inspiring, "Rupert Murdoch, fuck off". I'm not really sure what 'Fiji Ginger' is about (maybe I should ask Sam), but I can't help but listen for the reference to Frank Bainimarama.

I've always wondered why this band has never gained more attention. Despite having tracks played on both Radio Active in Wellington and bFM in Auckland, they are still relatively unknown on the local scene. Maybe the name put a few people off, but should that really matter? They put on a wicked live show and are indeed one my favourite local bands.

Bastard Sons of Grey Power on Einstein

a faulty chromosome

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Very rarely does a writer get sent a press release on someone who they haven't heard before but is compelled enough to click on and listen to. We are spammed so much these days that we often become immune to the plethora of artists vying for attention.

Much like with NME or NW, we just let it go. But the familiar fluro spasticness of the collaged faces of a faulty chromosome, in a disarray of mud-smears and childlike scribbles, coaxed me into clicking 'OK'. And oh, they turned out to be great.

The PR is apt too. They've been described as "a slopbucket of shoegaze tremolo, hand-claps, 8-bit blips, water-damaged Mister Rogers records, mashed casio chords and drum machine’d beats – all bundled up in a warmish childhood memory of hiding beneath the kitchen table in 1986 with their uncle’s overweight cocker spaniel (what was her name? keebo? keeno?)."

Sounding like The Radio Dept with more spunk; Jesus and the Mary Chain with squished keys; unshaven Raveonettes; Pavement on speed; My Bloody Valentine in the rain; Yo La Tengo out of their mold or Belle and Sebastian on a roller coaster.

With layers of shoegaze fuzz and earnest-but-not-annoying vocals backed by fuzz-box bass and squiggles of Moog in the fade out, they're like a glorious hazy nap right after you've woken up from an 8+ hr sleep. Especially their John Mellancamp cover of Jackie O. While not entirely breaking new ground, they are undeniably LOVELY.

Eric, Mike and Matt reportedly can't wait to leave their barely-above-minimum wage day jobs (I hear that!) to tour. But Eric, Mike and Matt: we would love to have you!

So if you, dear reader, were/are "the quiet kid who hides in the library at lunch time drawing pictures in textbook margins", this is your soundtrack.

Stream the whole amazing album here!

a faulty chromosome- Jackie O: MP3

a faulty chromosome- Them Pleasures of the Flesh: MP3

a faulty chromosome- Myspace

Be Your Own Pet

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Be your own Pet are BACK!!! Their sophomore album is set for release in March and contains more pussy killing, tongue poking, and dirty, raunchy punk rock. Jonas, John, Jemina and Nathan's music is true punk; angry, uncontained and spitting in the face of the establishment. Forget all the post punk bands you have heard over the past few years (except the Mint Chicks), because nothing, NOTHING compares to Be Your Own Pet!

The band has described making Get Awkward as a nervous experience, but one that saw them mature greatly. Writing and recording Get Awkward was the first time the band had done it from scratch. Previous releases contain songs written and performed live long before they were put down in the studio. It allowed the band to be more open and honest about things when recording Get Awkward, resulting in a more structurally sound final cut. And while the rudeness has remained, each song is a little tighter and harder to interpret first time around.

You should still expect to be shocked by this album, Jemina may look pretty innocent but she's still prepared to claw your eyes out and scream at the top of her voice 'GET FUCKED'. Likewise Jonas's guitar gives x-ray specs like bondage, belting out 'Up-Yours'. Fast, furious and as confrontational as their first, Get Awkward is one of the most honest punk albums of 2008.

Be Your Own Pet- Food Fight: MP3

Be Your Own Pet- The Kelley Affair: MP3

Be Your Own Pet- Black Hole: MP3

Be Your Own Pet- Myspace

An American Chinese

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clap Your Hands Say Philadelphia

Every year or two Philadelphia seems to produce another great indie rock band. Following on from Mazarin and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is An American Chinese; another band experimenting within the realms of guitar-driven pop that's cutting edge and again reinforcing Philadelphia as an indie pop mecca.

An American Chinese is slowly gaining momentum; in 2007 they won a slot at the CMJ Music Marathon after beating several bands to win the Zig-Zag Live Band Competition. This all came off the back of their stunning debut EP Panic Pilgrim, released mid-way through 2007. Pilgrim still hasn't been given the coverage it deserves, but like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, it takes a few listens to decode and tune your imagination to the skewed melody and tangled guitar.

Pilgrim's four tracks are wrapped in cuteness but when the paper's ripped off, there's a sprinkling of ugliness that reveals itself as a beautiful, mutated mess. Over time, the shredded chaos of 'Panic Pilgrim, Quick Grab Your Suitcase' and 'Jersey Claw' starts to weep and only then can the chaos be understood.

Once the teething is over, An American Chinese should emerge as one of 2008's hottest new bands. Panic Pilgrim is available from the band's official website for just $5.

Ray Davies

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Powerman is coming!

Not long ago, the legendary Kinks frontman, Ray Davies, who once sang raucously about wanting to be with his girl all of the day and all of the night (gasp!); who freaked out the status quo and was banned from playing in America, was announced to be playing in New Zealand. The 63-year-old rocker will play Auckland's plush Civic Theatre on Monday 24 March. It will be amazing. A-may-zing. Punters who attested the greatness of John Cale's show here last year will likely concur with the sheer anticipation and giddy excitement – the same excitement that saw fans of the Velvet Underground gush over Cale that'll see fans of The Kinks cry with joy over the Powerman's deft return.

Davies' hugely influential and grossly imitated band from which he sprung this solo career, The Kinks (you oughta know that though), also featured on the soundtrack of Wes Anderson's latest hilarious installment, the engrossing and unconventional road trip comedy, The Darjeeling Limited.

The man of cool himself has also just released his second solo album, the brilliant slowburning Working Man's Café. The politically aware opener 'Vietnam Cowboys' is like a modern day 'Powerman', as is the power-rocker anthem 'Hymn For A New Age'. The cutest little gem 'Morphine Song' has backing vocals that bring to mind Connan and the Mockasins' cutesyness, and shows that only the finest improve with age, and Davies, with his worn and weathered voice that is at once cripplingly powerful and epic, is, in the best possible way, proof that he is still leading the pack.

Ray Davies- Vietnam Cowboys: MP3

Ray Davies- Morphine Song: MP3

The Kinks- Powerman: MP3

Ray Davies- Myspace


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vision for Kittens

Expansive, adventurous fantasy-pop band MGMT have a sound as ecclectic as their name. Layers of shoegaze fuzz and glam, understated, 80s vocals have a sedative effect as the drums click and clack through the synthetic symphony they create.

The boys, Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, purportedly take influence from "the implications of the hallucinatory power-twee of the Incredible String Band, the roaring subway minimalist electronica of Suicide, the silky pop-soul of Hall & Oates, the pulsing narcotic trance of Spacemen 3, the avant-garde industrial romanticism of Royal Trux and much more" – we couldn't have said it better ourselves.

They say on their bio: "We were trying to be obnoxious and somehow people got into it. Some songs we wrote just because we wanted to learn how to be really bad within a certain genre and then people started liking the song because they liked the genre. It was an accident that people started liking us."

Now their rising profile has seen them signed to Columbia, after initially being released by fans who created a label (Cantora Records) for their first, six-song EP, Time To Pretend. With a bevy of upcoming tour dates and mentions on such high profile blogs as Nylon magazine's Spacey Tracy, its just a matter of time before the general public catches on.

Their glistening early-Stones nostalgia on 'Weekend Wars' competes with a Beatles cadence and rocketing synth in the vein of Edgar Winter Group, in a bittersweet journey through space and time. And the bio makes the boys behind the music equally as interesting:

"Kids are going to be inheriting their parents MP3 collections," Ben predicts. "And, in that aesthetic, corrupted MP3 files will be like the way people glorify scratched-up records now. In 20 years, people will listen to these 30th generation MP3s and say, 'I love that sound!'"

Their latest video sure shows other designers a thing or two (hundred), and makes me want to surf through a rainbow, fight giant cats with archery and compete in a drum battle with a rubix cube head – all at once!

MGMT- Time To Pretend: VIDEO

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