Friday, 21 December 2012

KPL003 - Pop Kept Loud - Free Download

Merry Christmas from Keep Pop Loud!

As a festive treat for you all we're really happy to bring you our third ever release and present it to you as a free download to say thanks for a terrific 2012!

This compilation EP features a selection of the bands that we've covered and loved over the past 12 months and can be streamed and downloaded below.

Bordeauxxx open the EP with 'Headlights/Fireflies' from the Keep Pop Loud released mini-album Only Fiction. It's one of our favourites from the record and really show what our indiepop sensations are capable of.  

Menace Beach feature members of You Animals and Sky Larkin and released the Dream Out EP at the beginning of this month. The title track is featured here and is a fantastically fuzzy sample of what can be heard in full here.

Formed from the ashes of Kidnapper Bell, Summer are a band we've had our eyes on since the beginning. Their track 'Stay Where You Are' is a fantastic slice of modern pop with a darker edge. A taste of very special things to come we think...

One of our favourite bands of the year Paintings of Ships followed up on the promise of their singles with the great album English Weather. 'Summer Love' is one of many highlights and possibly their most instant track. A band that we think you really need in your life.

As you may have seen, we named Dinosaur Planet by the legendary MJ Hibbett & The Validators as our favourite album of 2012. What a pleasure it is then to bring you our favourite track from this album. 'The Battle of Peterborough' sees space dinosaurs lay waste to the Cambridgeshire city.

Closing our compilation is the delightful Olympians, whose Book Club series of singles has provided us with many wonderful moments in 2012. 'Nova Scotia' is a more measured way to end the year and rounds off this release beautifully. We hope that you enjoy the release and would love to see you share it.

If you like what you hear then please support the bands by investigating their music further or going to see them at a show. And once again, thanks for making 2012 the start of even bigger things to come for Keep Pop Loud.  

Keep Pop Loud

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Top 20 Albums of 2012: #10-#01

#20-#11 was yesterday. Find out what you missed. Bordeauxxx haven't been included because you'll think it biased. It's covered here anyway.

10) Field Music - Plumb
Plumb will be the Field Music album that, in decades to come, will be pointed to as the best place to start when getting into such a legendary band. Containing everything that's made previous FM albums great and working as a whole grand piece, it's one of the only albums I've ever come across that's works so well as a whole that I'm utterly unable to point to any one song from it. Every good thing that's been written about Field Music is true and Plumb is them at their best.

09) This Many Boyfriends - This Many Boyfriends
The rough production meant that This Many Boyfriends début wasn't instantly set for a high placing in my end of year list. Still, a similar issue never stopped Los Campesinos! from triumphing on their first album. And like LC! the songs here are all fantastic. With many familiar to me from previous singles/EPs and a short running time (under half an hour!) This Many Boyfriends found itself easily on repeat. Time and again in 2012 I'd find myself singing these songs to myself – both the hits and the album tracks. And that's exactly what I expect from an album in my Top 10 of any given year.

08) Maxïmo Park - The National Health
Maxïmo Park were one of the few 'old hands' from the last decade's indie rock boom that have never seemed to loose it. That said, The National Health still felt like a return to form. It's because this record, which mixes their more avant garde influences ('When I Was Wild') with classic brit-guitar-pop ('The Undercurrents'), leaves Quicken The Heart seem a little lacking. On full throttle tracks like 'Banlieue' and lead single 'Hips And Lips' they sound ballsier than ever, and still retain their bookish charms. As good in 2012 as it was in '05.

07) Future of the Left - The Plot Against Common Sense
Ah, the fickle music press. All over FotL around Travels With Myself And Another, but now they're onto album 3 the NME doesn't want to know. Foolish! The Plot Against Common Sense sees the band come out of a period of personnel change stronger than ever with an album that's just as vitriolic, aggressive and funny as they've been given credit. Even without the amazing song titles ('Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop', 'Sorry Dad, I Was Late For The Riots') The Plot Against Common Sense would still be the best punk album of 2012.

06) Taffy - Caramel Sunset
Perfectly formed shoegaze britpop from Tokyo, Taffy have delighted us ever since we first laid ears and eyes on them. Caramel Sunset fulfilled all of the promise heaped on them from the preceding singles and has ensured that I've spent the year with their fizzy pop zapping through my brain. From the shimmering pop of opener 'Between' to the chugging Elastica-esque riffs of closing number 'So Long' there's not a moment that can't be savoured. If you've not come across Taffy this year then treat yourself this Christmas.

05) The Darkness - Hot Cakes
Ah, a bit of anomaly this one. Sorry about that. Still, at least I've no need to try and justify it. You likely made your mind up on The Darkness nearly a decade ago and whatever I think is not going to change that. Still, in harking back to their debut The Darkness have crafted a mighty fun stomp of a rock record. It's silly and novel, but I honestly couldn't give a damn.

04) The Winter Olympics - Profit & Loss
The Winter Olympics would have had to go a long way to fail in my eyes this year. Compiling a string of brilliant singles and packing in great new tracks is the perfect way to go when getting an album together and this is the best example from 2012. The songs are memorable and packed with character (in such a way that riled the Guardian somewhat), but what keeps me coming back to Profit & Loss is the fact that it's clearly made lovingly by people who are huge fans of music. Like with Art Brut it's this level of connection that makes it impossible for me to say anything against The Winter Olympics. A real highlight of the year!

03) Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Somehow I managed to avoid Japandroids until this year. It really wasn't deliberate, but it was incredibly silly of me. Visceral two piece rock and roll has been in vogue of late, but it's yet to be done any better than this. Mixing blue collar desperation with a hard-partying attitude that Mr WK would be proud of this excellently named band have provided us with THE rock album of 2012. No argument. If in 2012 you've felt downtrodden or trapped, in need of escape or a beer or simply pissed off at the world then it's been articulated by Celebration Rock.

02) Allo Darlin' - Europe
So close to taking the Album of the Year award, Allo Darlin's superb second pop masterpiece has been trumped due to an album from 2011 getting a delayed release. Not that this detracts from the quality here at all. With Europe (and it's bonus disc of cover versions) we're all reminded of how no matter what gimmicks bands employ, or what technology they deploy to create their music very little can capture the heart like beautifully crafted honest pop.

01) MJ Hibbett & The Validators - Dinosaur Planet

OK, I've spoken up for both gimmicks and a lack of them in previous entries. By putting a indiepop-opera about Dinosaurs from space laying waste to Peterborough I'm surely siding with novelty right?

Well, yes and no. Because although this is the most unique album you're going to have heard in 2012 this alone wouldn't carry it. It's in fact the universal appeal of such oddities that makes Dinosaur Planet the best album of the year. It's an album that promotes good scientific practice, working together and doing yr little bit to make the world a better place. It delivers these ideas with a solid plot and songs that are as catchy as they are fun. Nothing is forced here and it's as far away from po-faced as possible. As such if there's no part of you that can appreciate Dinosaur Planet I'm really not sure that we can be friends.

Keep Pop Loud

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Top 20 Albums of 2012: #20-#11

No pre-amble. Just albums. Bordeauxxx haven't been included because you'll think it biased. It's covered here anyway.

20) Jack White – Blunderbuss
This is the album we've all been waiting for Jack to make since Elephant. Reigning in White's esoteric tenancies it delivers a full album of cracking tunes that, whilst in line with all of the blues reference points that we expect, manages to feel at home in 2012. Stick a pin anywhere in the Blunderbuss tracklisting and there's a single waiting to happen. What's more, with the variety on offer we get to see more sides of Mr White in one place than on any previous release and have an album that's easy to stick on repeat without any danger of boring. 

19) Paintings of Ships - English Weather
It's entirely possible that I over-use the word 'gem' in relation to music. But in order that it not lose it's meaning here I'll only use it once in this list and it will be to describe Paintings of Ships. Following on from last year's cracking single 'Love Will Always Follow You Around' the London three piece released this under-appreciated gem in an otherwise pop-starved summer. Enjoyably fuzzy and tuneful pop it made no pretences and instead works its way into hearts through repeated listens and catchy songs.

18) The Lovely Eggs - Wildlife
The dust hasn't had chance to settle on last year's Cob Dominos yet (because I'm still listening to it), but that didn't stop The Lovely Eggs from closing 2012 with yet another collection of scrappy, brilliant pop songs. Wildlife is punkier than their previous efforts, yet no less eccentric with several tracks (including the memorable 'Scooter's Got Itchy') lasting under a minute. Several of the songs here have already been released as singles, with 'Allergies' featuring the production talents of Gruff Rhys. Bonkers.

17) Gaz Coombes - Here Come The Bombs
I must be getting old. Not only am I listening to more solo artists, but increasingly they're members of bands that were my favourites as a teenager. In fact until I discovered the extend of Pulp's brilliance Supergrass were my teenage favourite. Full stop. Still, Here Come The Bombs isn't in here on nostalgic value, the debut album from former 'grass singer/guitarist/sideburns Gaz makes it on its own merits. From the more tender moments such as 'White Noise', to the darker, modern pop of single 'Hot Fruit' there's a great depth to ...Bombs that people have often overlooked on Coombes previous work. This starts to set the record straight and points to a promising post-Supergrass future.

16) Tall Ships - Everything Touching
How to describe Tall Ships without making myself sounding incredibly wanky? That's the dilemma that I've spent the end of 2012 wrestling with. 'Epic' is an overused word, but fits them well. 'Grand' has multiple meanings, but again seems to work. 'Bloody incredible!' is a bit colloquial but possibly the best you'll get. 65daysofstatic's last album is a a touchstone, but there's much more going on on Everything Touching than electronically infused post-rock. It's affecting and energising, a record that just by listening in makes you feel a bit invincible. Recommended for anyone that likes any type of guitar based music.

15) Internet Forever - Internet Forever
Bubblegum indiepopppers Internet Forever seem to have drifted under most people's radars in the years since their early singles. Which is a shame as their debut album is a cracking pop smash that recalls Los Campesinos!, Bis, The Pipettes and The Go! Team. Often all at once. It's charming and fun, with each song being a potential earworm and potential favourite. Alongside This Many Boyfriends debut, IF are keeping pop loud in exactly the way that we'd hope. Oh, and did we mention it's fun? Because it is. Really really fun.

14) The Futureheads - Rant
To be bluntly honest, Rant suffers slightly on this list as it's a capella nature makes it damn hard to listen to on a noisy commuter train. Not a comment on the quality of the record of course, it ranks as one of The Futureheads best. Giving the same treatment to modern and classic pop songs and traditional rounds as well as selections from their own discography it's almost a comment on the nature of pop music as folk culture. By stripping the songs of their context and delivering them sans-instruments each of these catchy numbers is given right back to the people. Also, it's incredibly catchy and I didn't want to get caught singing along on the way to work.

13) Friends - Manifest!
Friends started the year under a wave of hype, and although their sales haven't lived up to this their music certainly has. A funkier, sexier record hasn't come this way in 2012, it's just baffling that it comes from a group of white Brooklyn hipsters. If The Long Blondes had listened to classic hip-hop rather than lots of Pulp, and were produced by The Go! Team they might have sounded like Friends. On the other hand they might not have. Who can say? That aside, in a world where Rhianna is so overexposed, this is a showcase for genuine empowered-pop.

12) Richard Hawley - Standing At The Sky's Edge
Despite being robbed of the Mercury prize by a useless aural graphic design team, Richard Hawley deservedly received many many accolades for his latest album and sold a more than respectable number of copies too. You've in all likelihood heard samples of this already and should need no more convincing, but in case that's not the case I'll take the chance to say that even at his most guitar-centric Hawley loses none of his romantic edge and still manages to connect at his most vitriolic. And also 'Leave Your Body Behind You' is among his best ever recordings.

11) Standard Fare - Out Of Sight, Out Of Town
One of two albums on this list that was due to be released last December, but ended up delayed until the start of 2012 instead, Out Of Sight, Out Of Town has had nowhere near the press that it deserved this year. Delays aside this could conceivably be down to the fact that they're 'just' three people playing their instruments very well and writing excellent songs in the process. It's just not dramatic enough in such a attention seeking market. The wider world's loss though is our gain, as OOS,OOT is crammed with the sort of pop goodness that we'll always need and love.

Keep Pop Loud 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Best of 2012 Part 1: Odds & Ends

Although the blog side of KPL has been relatively inactive for a large part of the year my ears haven't been. The real End of Year Listageddon is going to happen next week, but in tribute to those odds and ends that don't always get a mention, I've decided to acknowledge a few things that have been 2012 to Keep Pop Loud...

EP of the Year: Public Service Broadcasting – The War Room
Although not the strongest year for EP releases in recent memory, 2012 has supplied us with some cracking short form releases. Not least this incredible record by Public Service Broadcasting. When I last heard an act arrive as original and fully formed as this I really couldn't say. The use of public information films alongside their combination of electronic and live instrumentation results in something really rather rousing and feels both stately and new. A full album is due next year, but in the meantime this conceptual release is worth your time and attention.

Event of the Year – We release Bordeauxxx mini-album Only Fiction
I absolutely have to mention this in any run-down of 2012. Not (just) because I want you to buy it (I do), but because it is the single release that has taken up the most of my time in this or any other year. For a label that I'm running on such a small budget I'm immensely proud to have this in the discography. Bordeauxxx are terrific (and wonderful people too!), and have supplied us with great pop music in the past, Only Fiction however is the moment where they're really stepped up a notch or three. I was blown away when I first heard the rough mix of this, and the finished product is easily one of my favourite music things of 2012.
You'd probably think I was biased if I put it in the Best Albums of 2012 list though...

Compilation of the Year - Alcopopular 5: The Hit-Hikers Guide To The United Kingdom
When it comes to 'various artists' compilations you have to go a hell of a distance to beat Alcopop! Records in any given year. It came as something of a surprise then that come the start of December we'd still not heard the LONG promised 5th addition to the Alcopopular cannon.
Dropping in December it was certainly worth the wait. A 20 track beauty with a gorgeously designed map, it packs in pop hits like Tokyo trains pack in commuters. Highlights for me include Summer Camp, Fear of Men, Bos Angeles, Luke Barham (from Stagecoach) and Our Lost Infantry but you're handsome enough to pick your own favourites. Not only is this warming me up this cold cold winter but it's a great reminder of what I'd love Keep Pop Loud to be.

Gig of the Year - Pulp at Sheffield Arena, 8th December
I won't go on about this, because we could be here all day. But basically Pulp have been the most important band to me ever since I moved to Sheffield as a teenager. Their records give me feels. So many feels. And so did the gig. I'll admit to basically being in awe for the most part. Standing there in the middle of a 12,000 person crowd in semi-disbelief that yes, this is actually happening.
They opened with 'Do You Remember The First Time?'. They showcased their pre-fame years and threw toilet roll across a the arena. They played the big hits. Richard Hawley turned up. They bought out b-side 'Like A Friend' and the legendary 'Sheffield: Sex City'. They played an encore after finishing their main set on 'Common People'.
But facts, facts, facts. All to disguise the fact that Pulp get under my skin in the best possible way. All because I can't really find the words to say how great this concert was. All a crap way of me saying “I love Pulp!”. And I do. Their songs get to me like no other and having seen 24 of them performed live, and terrifically in the greatest city on the planet I can die happy.

Keep Pop Loud

PS: Come back next week for the Keep Pop Loud Top 10 Albums of 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

Single Reviews: Olympians, Alarm Bells, Joanna Gruesome, Tim & Emmy

We're more than ready to say goodbye to 2012, and as we prepare to do so the last trickles of its pop music comes our way. A mixture of continuing projects, tasters for next year and festive tunes this is the last batch of single reviews before we take to the bloggers tradition of End of Year lists and summaries. So, once more unto the breech...

Olympians – Everything's Amazing (Nobody's Happy)
Closing the year in style is Norwich four-piece Olympians who have a released the final and best of their book club series of singles. An early version of 'Everything's Amazing (Nobody's Happy)' first saw the light of day last year in the Big Scary Monsters '11 Collection download series, but now could scarcely be further away from that jaunty guitar driven number. Carried on wintery, choral vocals the song drifts through, twinkling like snow and with festive inflections that get to the heart of seasonal disaffection. It's a song for early nights where you can't afford the heating and need the warmth that only a duvet and pop music can provide.

Alarm Bells - Cocoon
Formed from the ashes of everyone’s favourite defunct fight-pop band, Alarm Bells have unveiled a new EP that's available on limited edition/bit to expensive for us 12”. Closing the EP is 'Cocoon', (the only song available to listen to at time of writing), a song that unsurprisingly recalls Dananananaykroyd, albeit a version of the group rebuilt RoboCop style. Snarlier and less predictable than you might expect or treasure, 'Cocoon' travels in several directions without much resembling a chorus in sight. Thrashing drums, vocal effects and a sense of unease are expertly thrown around, resulting in a Doctrines like chaos.
It's worth noting that bandcamp lists track 1 ('Whitemere') as being 13 minutes long. Where Alarm Bells do from here is anyone's guess.

Joanna Gruesome - Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still In Love With Me?

In honestly we're coming to the end of what we can enjoy with the current crop of lofi hazy fuzzpop bands. There was always a limited range of sounds to be mined from the genre, and no one seems willing to put a new spin on things. That is, aside from Joanna Gruesome who are almost single handedly making the whole shebang worthwhile. 'Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Sill In Love With Me?' was unveiled this week as was their signing to Fortuna Pop. A delightful and noisy pop song wrapped up in the warmth that's frequently absent from the fuzz, 'Do You Really..?' instantly readies us for more from this group.

Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Zombie Christmas

The wonderful This Is Christmas album has already had airplay in KPL Towers this year, and as it's one of the few things that makes the festive period tolerable (the others being advent calendars and pigs in blankets) it's only right that coverage is given to the latest single. From the names involved the uninitiated should know what to expect; a fun yet silly pop number it speaks to the nerd in all of us and provides ample argument against the zombie fad being completely over (as well as commentary against the capitalistic drudgery of the season). Most importantly for a novelty-leaning festive pop song it has great lyrics with the highlight being “Well I don't wanna have my last Noel / We better kick those zombies back to hell”. It will raise a smile, and yr spirits, every time.

Keep Pop Loud

Friday, 16 November 2012

Single Reviews: The Lovely Eggs, Veronica Falls, Menace Beach, Mega Thomas

The pop don't stop. As soon as we've posted one set of reviews another crop of songs turn up and we're reminded of something that got missed last time. There's plenty of contenders for Track of the Week within this lot – a good job we're not doing that any more then...

Menace Beach – Dream Out EP
Featuring two members of You Animals and one of Sky Larkin, Menace Beach are the latest and best indiepop supergroup that we've come across. Based in Leeds they've released the fab EP Dream Out on French lable Desire Records. Four tracks short and so very sweet, the cassette sees the band playing with hazy 90's US alt rock to excellent effect.
It's the opening and title track that steals it from early on, with a strong vocal hook and echoing guitar melody, it's a welcome postcard from a hazy trip. 'Teenage Jesus' and 'Wake' form the middle of the EP with the former rocking like an old Dinosaur Jr song played from memory and the latter is slacker rock that sounds although it's coming from under plaid in unbearable summer heat.
Closing with 'Burn Out' we're reminded most strongly of You Animals. It's a stitching together of their high-octane pop and the 90's borowing of Stagecoach and ringing it through a fuzz pedal mangle.
The whole release is over in 8 minutes and 33 seconds, leaving us wanting more. Well played chaps!

Veronica Falls - Teenage
Strange that the only band in the past couple of years to have properly broken out of the indiepop ghetto and onto Pitchfork and the 6Music playlist has been Veronica Falls. The good news however is that new single 'Teenage' is likely to find itself in plenty of ears. It shed's the reverb-heavy hits of their debut album and aims for perfect pop. Recalling classic indiepop tunes filtered through teenage nostalgia (the hint is in the title) it keeps everything short and snappy, meaning that after the three minutes are up you're more than happy to go straight back in.
What's more, this sounds both Christmassy and Summery at once. A very good thing!

The Lovely Eggs – I Just Want Someone To Fall In Love With
This week the Guardian correctly stated
“When future music historians write about the great indie-rock bands of c. 2005-2015 - the ones who should have been massive but the kids were all too busy downloading Lana Del Rey remixes and knowing things about Snooki - Johnny Foreigner will get two chapters to themselves.”
But what they neglected to mention was that the book will probably be called You Should Listen to The Lovely Eggs.
Everyone with sense is fully aware that the two piece have everything that makes bands great and on the taster for their third album (in 3 years) they've taken another step forward. Positively epic by the Eggs standards it features their surreal humour, fuzzy guitars and – this time – a chorus that you could expect to hear on the radio.

Mega Thomas – In The Shower
As the singer in Thomas Tantrum (whose current fate is unknown) Megan Thomas was responsible for a large handful of undeniable indiepop smashes, her solo material takes a different tact however. The 'n' is gone, and on the first free download from Mega Thomas the pop bounce has been replaced with a creeping sense of unease. It has a similar sparseness to early TT stuff, but ultimately stands rather apart. Standing alongside Megan's unique vocal is the creeping guitar, haunted backing vocals and droning strings for an effect that's akin to an undead Phil Spector concoction or more convincing counterpart to Foe's 'Handsome Stranger Called Death'.
An album under the Mega Thomas name is hoped for at some point in the new year, and we're certainly very intrigued.

Keep Pop Loud

Friday, 9 November 2012

Single Reviews: My First Tooth, Big Wave, and more

We're still catching up on recent releases, but that's not stopped some long-standing Keep Pop Loud favourites from releasing killer new singles. Or for that matter, a semi-decent band from a few years ago releasing an utter... Well, you'll see.

My First Tooth – Past Broadcasts

Alcopop! Records has spent the past few weeks spoiling pop fans everywhere with stunning new music. From the more established camp came strking new tracks from Johnny Foreigner and Screaming Maldini, whilst new signings included the ace Oh No! Yoko. This week however it was the turn of the group most synonymous with the label to mark their return. 'Past Broadcasts' is the most confident outing yet for My First Tooth, and feels like a big step up. Still incredibly sweet, but now more sweeping, My First Tooth utilise elements from the current wave of folk influenced pop but do so without sounding contrived. A full pop sound that will keep hearts warm this winter.

Joy Formidable – This Ladder is Ours

Following on from rollicking rocker 'Cholla', The Joy Formidable have unleashed yet another take from the forthcoming LP Wolf's Law. It opens with a blissful cinematic meander before the band kick into the kind of huge rock sound that made their debut album (and preceeding mini A Balloon Called Moaning) so enjoyable. It sounds much better produced this time around however, with Ritzy's vocal and Matt Thomas' drumming still their main weapons. It's the former that takes centre stage here, breathlessly emotive and soaring above the revving guitars. Thanks to tracks such as 'This Ladder Is Ours' a stadium future is a certainty.

Chvrches – The Mother We Share

It transpires that Chvrches are the most exciting new band on the planet. 'The Mother We Share' is the first single proper from the Glasgow based three-piece who're already being referred to as the best thing to happen to pop music since Robyn became totally amazing. With their icy cool and massive hooks we've been completely taken in. Although there's some similarities to the great of electro-pop's recent past and present this feels incredibly fresh and will delight all who like their ears to feel happy. Check out previous song 'Lies' for another example of why Chvrches debut album is one of the most eagerly anticipated of 2013.

Foals - Inhaler

Total Life Forever, and its singles 'Spanish Sahara' and 'This Orient' were so sublime that we went back to Foals debut (which at the time we found faintly irritating) and found plenty to enjoy. It is probably for the best that we don't re-evaluate Foals previous material in light of their new single however, as 'Inhaler' is a bit of a turd.
It sounds like a similar re-invention attempt to Bloc Party's recent album, but where FOUR came across as a bold statement borne out of the meshing of four musicians, 'Inhaler' comes across as self-satisfied muscle flexing. 'Look what we can do', 'Inhaler' seems to shout whilst ambling along with all of the joy of a '70s hair band's b-side. Somehow the world's already been taken in.

Big Wave – Only You

Like My First Tooth and Screaming Maldini, Big Wave have returned with a single that takes them up to the next level. We loved last year's 'Wild Strawberries' with its seaside girl-group feel, but now with 'Only You' they've got more drive they're belting out numbers that feel like across-the-years indiepop classics. Mixing the best of The Popguns, Pipettes and Love Is All it has the hallmarks that we always fall for. B-Side 'Living Room' is more of a lo-fi treat, but you can hear why we're excited for what comes next of Big Wave.

Keep Pop Loud

Friday, 2 November 2012

Single Reviews: Johnny Foreigner, Girls Aloud, and more

We've been away, but now we're back. Reviewing recent and current singles as regularly as we can. Without further ado...

Johnny Foreigner – 3 Hearts

With JoFo being a particularly prolific act, this new tune feels like it's been a long time coming, yet it has been less than a year since Vs Everything. From the forthcoming Names EP, '3 Hearts' is their first release as a four piece. I'll admit to being nervous at the news of a line-up change, but thankfully the expanded line-up suits them. The second guitar adds another element to their sound whilst allowing everything that's always been great to shine through. An exhilarating rush, it sounds pretty like the best bits of Johnny Foreigner stitched together and given to us at a time when we desperately need a helping hand through the winter.

Girls Aloud – Something New

It has been well publicised (and better received) but Girls Aloud are BACK. And although it is a little disappointing to find out that the rumoured new studio album is going to be a greatest hits package instead this is soon forgotten because new single 'Something New' is killer. With auto-tune and dance synths it does initially appear that the girls are following where they used to lead, but in stitching this song together from what appears to be fragments of others the team have effectively updated 'Biology' for the new decade. Of course, this would mean quat without a hooks, and 'Something New' has plenty. With 10 years at the top, Girls Aloud are the closest our generation has come to 'a Beatles'... but better.

Screaming Maldini – Summer Somewhere

We've always loved Screaming Maldini for their eccentricities, so it's something of a surprise to hear that them refining their sound has lead to their greatest moment yet. Progressive pop is very much the phrase of the moment with Field Music riding high, and Maldini are a great (if very different) example of this ideal. Despite the epic sound (lead by Gina's superb vocal and a piano) the group throw in sonic detours that ensure this is constantly a cut above most other bands on yr radar. Radio friendly and poptastic, it is clearly a big moment for the group.

Public Service Broadcasting – Everest

As evidenced by The War Room EP, Public Service Broadcasting are one of the most conceptually interesting acts around at the moment. Their mixture of electronics and live instruments that underpin the sampled archive footage is as gripping and intriguing as we'd care to imagine, and with new single 'Everest' they've taken yet another step up. The perfect mix of past and future, and with a grand sense of scale, the only other act to match this feel has been British Sea Power, whose Open Season-era melodies is the only other thing Public Service Broadcasting really recall here.
Expect great things from this act.

Frankie & The Heartstrings – I Still Follow You

When did Frankie & the Heartstrings turn into a boy-band? We jest, but you can't deny there's a slickness to the vocals that have hints of that about it. Less scruffy around the edges than their stunning debut album, 'I Still Follow You' is a Dexy's influenced pop tune that plays it relatively safe. One listen is all it'll take to get spinning around your head, but that's been true for the Heartstrings as long as we've been aware of them. It's not a bad return, but it's not as satisfying as 'Hunger' either. As a free download, we've no complaints.

Keep Pop Loud

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Now Playing: Summer/Autumn Catch-up

It’s been an interesting few months since we last left you with Blood Red Shoes as Track of the Week. Although the Summer months bought very little in the way of exciting album releases, it has been an incredible Autumn. Luckily this surge in interesting releases was preceded by my re-entry into the workforce. I’ve therefore been able to invest in these releases as well as records from the earlier part of the year that I’d missed.

From the latter category a definite highlight of 2012 has been the Japandroids album Celebration Rock. Gushing reviews have already infiltrated almost every level of the music press since the LP’s May release that no re-iteration is really needed. On a personal level however, I’ve found it to be the most vital rock album of the year. It'll be a touchstone in years to come, so if you've not taken the plunge yet...

Only finally having made it’s way into my ears in the last week I feel it’s about time I sang the praises of Internet Forever and their self-titled debut album. A rush of giddy pop, it sounds at times like Los Campesinos!, The Pipettes, The Go! Team and Thomas Tantrum – and often more than one at once. It has a Christmassy feel, with each song feeling like a special treat. This album is the one that is most likely to help us make it through a cold, harsh winter.

On the more recent end of the release calendar I’m pleased to say that the albums by, The Winter Olympics This Many Boyfriends and Tall Ships both lived up to expectations. (You can see the notes I’ve made about The Winter Olympics record here). I’ve had discussions with people who feel let down by the TMBfs record, but aside from a rough-n-ready production finish that arguably doesn’t do the songs immediate justice, I’ve found it to be delightful and full of some of the catchiest pop tunes of 2012 so far. Tall Ships Everything Touching is more of a technical achievement, with some amazing compositions that are packed with soaring melodies that penetrate through yr skin on a surge of emotion. ‘Murmurations’ is the one that most people are picking up on; the near-10 minute closer is really a stunner and an incredible example of what is still possible from a guitar band. 


Just quickly, there’s been a couple of EPs that might’ve slipped under your radar of late. Dum Dum GirlsEnd of Daze picks up the lose ends from Only in Dreams, and provides hazy girl-group gems, whilst Frightened Rabbit released State Hospital – five tracks of them at their best. Also, if you’ve not heard Only Fiction the mini-album from Bordeauxxx yet (that we’ve only gone and released on KPL Records!) then, I'm not too shy to say that you should check it out now!

Keep Pop Loud

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Only Fiction by Bordeauxxx out now

Hi All!

Long time no post. Well, we've been busy at Keep Pop Loud Towers. Powering along to bring you the most excellent indiepop that we can find.

You'll hopefully have seen what we've been planning for months: Only Fiction the debut mini-album from the sensational Bordeauxxx. Well, it is OUT NOW and you can buy it from a wide range of fantastic places - including the KPL Store.

Of course you might need some convincing first. Which is fair enough really. And seeing as Bordeauxxx are such brilliant people they're letting you stream it in full and you can listen to it below.

There's been lots of praise for the release so far. What Culture have called it a "must buy" for fans of indie music whilst A Girl Called Sam has praised the band for "pretty accomplished songwriting" and having "fully formed pop gems". In the print sphere Artrocker Magazine were kind enough to review the release and said that it's a "highly infectious listen".

On the gig front Bordeauxxx played a very special launch party with Screaming Maldini (who featured alongside them on the first Keep Pop Loud release, if you remember) and supported Dog Is Dead at the legendery New Slang club.

There'll be more dates soon and we'll keep you informed.

In the meantime you can buy Only Fiction from the following REAL LIFE Record Shops:
Jumbo Records - Leeds
Crash Records - Leeds
Banquet Records - Kingston
Rough Trade East - London

And as always the Keep Pop Loud Shop.

We hope you enjoy it. Feel free to let us know what you think

Keep Pop Loud

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Bordeauxxx - Only Fiction: Track by Track

With release day coming ever closer, we've got Martin from Keep Pop Loud indiepop stars Bordeauxxx to take us through Only Fiction, track by track.

You can still pre-order the mini-album, and be in with the chance to get a free copy of last year's limited edition Keep Pop Loud CD.

1)    The Beach Girls and the Monster is a not-so-subtle tribute to the film of the same name. It’s one of those 1960s beach party horror films – a questionable story line, an even more questionable monster costume, and plenty of footage of dudes surfing and gals dancing on the beach. ‘We should totally write a song about this!’ sort of started out as a joke but one thing lead to another…

2)    We released Every Holiday is a Disaster as a single last year as the precursor for an EP that we were planning, but the woes of university meant that we never had the time or the money to write or record the rest of the songs which totally bummed us out! Because it had been so long since the release, we decided to totally re-record it for Only Fiction so the production was consistent with the rest of the record. I’m glad we kept it on, I think the new recording is more representative of our live sound than the old one.

3)    Stupid Noble Reasons probably took us the longest time to write out of any of our songs ever! We had many debates about structure and lyrics that were still going on after we’d started the recording process, which got a bit scary, but I think it worked out pretty well. It’s a classic love song about a classic break up (I won’t tell you whose!). Musically we were a bit more ambitious in terms of chord progression and vocal parts than we usually are, which meant that it was a bit of a challenge when we started rehearsing it. We’ve recently added it to the live set and it’s great fun to play live.

4)    Come Around pays homage to the year Amy, Charlie, Nat and myself lived together in Guildford, and particularly the occasions where staying in was the best decision you ever made. The call and response vocals in the verses act as conversations at the start and finish of the night and we decided to go back to junior school in the breakdown and sing a round! When we were writing the melodies, there were temporary words involving football, chain supermarkets, and fictional creatures. Maybe one day we’ll record that version…

5)    All That’s Left acts as a nice change of pace from the rest of the record. I like interlude tracks on albums, and I like them even more when they link into the next song. Since we’d decided we were going to do a slightly longer release, I had hoped we’d write some sort of ‘interlude track’, which is what this started out as - the guitar part is basically a fleshed out version of the main riff in BOAT! - but it ended up becoming a song in it’s own right. It was nice to be able to experiment with orchestration too, for example Nat on the trombone and Amy on the violin… Gives a bit of variety. Plus Jon takes the lead vocal on this one which is a first!

6)    BOAT! Is the oldest song on the record – we actually wrote it before the Mother’s Ruin EP, but for some reason didn’t include it on the release. It’s been a live staple for a good while, and always went down really well, so we didn’t want to let it lie in wake of new material without ever having released it properly. Once the decision was made to include it, we spent a few days almost rewriting it. The music and words are the same, but structurally, I think it’s a bit punchier than it was.

7)    Headlights/Fireflies was the last song we wrote, and a late addition to the record (the original plan was to put out a six track release). It actually came together really quickly too which is always satisfying. The lyrics are about a super hungover journey we had to make last December from Leeds to Sheffield (and then onto London…) after playing a gig with our friends The Whatevers. Top night, horrible journey. Horrible enough to write a song about! Musically, it’s probably the ‘heaviest’ song on the release. We haven’t played it live yet and this is the one I’m probably most excited about bringing out at the launch party!'

You can pre-order Only Fiction over at the Keep Pop Loud store.

Keep Pop Loud

Friday, 17 August 2012

Bordeauxxx Only Fiction Update

Still need some convincing to sink yr hard-earned into Only Fiction?

Well, not all of you do – that's for sure. There's still the chance to snap up some free Bordeauxxx / Keep Pop Loud goodies if you pre-order. But meanwhile (and you might've seen this on Twitter) you can download the incredible lead single 'The Beach Girls And The Monster' free:

And there's an accompanying video too. It's a great taster for what's to come.

To celebrate the release Bordeauxxx are playing a special launch show at The Miller in London on Friday September 28th. They're being joined by the super-fab Screaming Maldni (stars of the Keep Pop Loud CD) and Kingston dreamers Young Romance (ex-Momeraths). It's sure to be BRILL! You can buy tickets and read more through the link.

If you've clicked everything above, you'll probably be ready to consider ordering the mini-album now. So here's the link: Bordeauxxx - Only Fiction

Keep Pop Loud

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pre-Order Bordeauxxx - Only Fiction now!

Following on from our announcement last week, you can now pre-order the forthcoming Bordeauxxx mini-album Only Fiction over at the Keep Pop Loud store.

The brand new release from the indiepop sensations it is seven terrific tracks, including forthcoming single 'The Beach Girls And The Monster' which will be available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from next Monday (9th August).

Released on September 24th on CD through Keep Pop Loud, you can pre-order now to get the CD before release day. What's more, we've 25 hand-painted copies of the lead single to give away with the first 25 pre-orders AND 5 random other lucky early birds will get a free copy of the Keep Pop Loud CD!

So pre-order now to be in with a chance of grabbing some extra goodies and to get the CD on or before release date.

Only Fiction follows on from Bordeauxxx's debut EP Mother's Ruin, and the phenomenal single 'Every Holiday Is A Disaster'. Stay tuned for full news on the tracklisting and to hear the brand new single...

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bordeauxxx to release mini-album on Keep Pop Loud Records

It's the announcement that we've been dying to make! Indiepop sensations Bordeauxxx are releasing their new mini-album Only Fiction on Keep Pop Loud Records.

Released on September 24th, the seven track release will be available both digitally, and physically on a shiny Compact Disc. Hurrah!

Only Fiction follows on from Bordeauxxx's debut EP Mother's Ruin, and the phenomenal single 'Every Holiday Is A Disaster'. This is also the second collaboration between the group and KPL, with the aforementioned single appearing on our first release – the amazing Keep Pop Loud CD (alongside Glam Chops, MJ Hibbett and The Winter Olympics)!

This is what the band have to say:  

“We're really excited to finally be able to announce the release! It's a great representation of us as a band right now and we can't wait for you all to hear it. It feels like it's been a long time coming - so thanks to everyone who's still into it. The recording process actually took a bit longer than planned but we think it was totally worth it (and hope you do too!). There's a lot of different stuff on there so it was definitely a fun and exciting process and hopefully it'll make for an interesting listen. Pairing up with Keep Pop Loud seems just right too, we've got some great things in store...”

We'll be announcing more details, including the first single from Only Fiction, in the coming weeks so keep yr eyes peeled on the following links.

Bordeauxxx on Facebook
Bordeauxxx on Twitter
Bordeauxxx on Bandcamp
Bordeauxxx on Tumblr

Keep Pop Loud on Facebook
Keep Pop Loud on Twitter
Keep Pop Loud on Tumblr
Keep Pop Loud on Bandcamp

Friday, 20 July 2012

Track of the Week: Blood Red Shoes – Stop Kicking

The highlight of Blood Red Shoes amazing third record
Label: V2
Released: Out Now
Get It: Album In Time To Voices

With In Time To Voices Blood Red Shoes have treated our ears to a third excellent album. The two-piece rock group have yet to make a bad move, and with their latest have delivered a satisfying and eclectic album, that has all of the hallmarks of BRS whilst expanding their sonic pallet.

But the album has been out for months now, why are we reminding you? Well, because we don't do that enough. We've supported BRS since the early days of KPL and as this week has seen our first weekly commute soundtracked and enlivened by these sounds we thought that bringing you a highlight was in order.

You only need a cursory listen to 'Stop Kicking' to see why it's our highlight from In Time To Voices. Emotive and driven with a gripping rock sound, it's everything you could hope for from the supposedly dead genre.. that's more than a little bit alive.

Keep Pop Loud

Friday, 13 July 2012

Track of the Week: Miniature Dinosaurs - Lemonade

Big romantic pop that's all we could wish for.
Label: Integrity Records
Released: 13 August
Get It: Download Single

Now, at Keep Pop Loud we're not religious. But if we were to pray for a single that had Track of the Week written all over it we'd pray for something like this. Something with a big wooshing chorus and memorable lyrics. Something by a band with the word 'dinosaur' in their name.

And what should land in the inbox for review (look out in the August issue of Artrocker Magazine) but this. 'Lemonade' by Miniature Dinosaurs.

Years ago, when writing for This Is Fake DIY, we were sent a copy of Miniature Dinosaurs debut single '(I Want To Watch) Top Gear'. And although it was a fab paean to staying in (a sort of 21st Century look at what Madness approached on 'My Girl'), we sort of forgot about them a bit. Thankfully this is an incredible way to be reminded, as it's moved their sound on no-end. The four-piece flex their pop muscles nicely on a song that you feel The Killers have been trying to write since they last put out a good record (Sam's Town, 2006 - fact fans).

If you listen to this song once and don't feel the urge to play it again afterwards then you might need to check the place where yr appreciation for pop music used to be.

There's good things happening at KPL Towers right now, and 'Lemonade' is definitely going to be soundtracking them.

Keep Pop Loud

Monday, 9 July 2012

Tell Me Something You Do Like: Gunning For Tamar

It's the turn of Alco-Rockers Gunning For Tamar to tell us about something they think is GRATE!

For the latest instalment of our Tell Me Something You Do Like feature we turned to our favourite record label Alcopop! Records. With an excellent and diverse roster of handsome bands we knew that they'd be someone with something absolutely awesome to talk about.

Gunning For Tamar represent the heavier end of the Alcopop! story, a four piece from Oxford their last EP, Time Trophies, was released as a wrist watch and next single 'Dark Sky Tourism' is coming out as an A2 screen print.

You can buy all of this here.

To refresh your memory, here's what we've said of Gunning For Tamar in the past.

“For fans of the label think along the lines of Jumping Ships and LightGuides rather than My First Tooth, for the uninitiated think of crunching, but smart, rock music with brave instrumentation and an emotive bent.”

But don't just take our word, you can listen to 'Astronaut Abort' below, and whilst you are let GFT drummer D'Arcy King tell you exactly why he loves Japanese animation.

Manga & Anime

Before I begin on this exciting rant that I'm salivating at the mouth about I should, in all fairness proclaim NERD ALERT! This is because I'm going to talk about animation, cartoons in fact, so CHILD ALERT could be shouted too from the tops of ridiculous, metropolitan sky scrapers that kiss the cotton candy clouds that swim through the light blue sky. I'm going to be even more specific and focus on Japanese animation, Manga and Anime.

Before I explain why I think Japanese animation is so god damn awesome I thought I should explain that I'm not talking about your general, mainstream Anime. No I'm not talking about Pokemon or any other children's cartoon that promotes animal cruelty and the pitting of crazy animals against each other to the death (ok so no Pokemon die but it's heavily implied, seriously). If I was into that (which I'm not) I'd go to an illegal cock fight or watch bull fighting. Also, I just think the show is rubbish. YES I watched it a bit when I was a kid (15 years old) and yes I bought the first Pokemon game for the game-boy, I got over it ok! I'm also NOT talking about the tentacle rape porn that so many people jump to when you say “I like Anime and Manga”. That shiz is just wrong, on too many levels it's wrong. Who comes up with that stuff? I bet the guy who wrote 'The Human Centipede' (haven't watched it) loves it. I'm talking about shows like 'Fate Stay Night', 'Elfen Lied', 'Black Cat' and films like the entire Studio Ghibli collection, 'Fist of the North Star', 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, 'Summer Wars' and 'Castle of Cagliostro'. I'll put a small list at the end because I'm just that kind of guy.

So what got me into Japanese animation and sparked my love for beautifully drawn artwork and imaginative story lines I hear you say. Well I've never been one to fit in very well (sob story) and I've always preferred the world as I see it in my head than what is actually there. With this said a mate of mine lent me Final Fantasy VII (NERD ALERT) and well.....that is a game and a half. The story line, the sub story lines, the characters, the sub characters and the whole darn game in its entirety is incredible. You mix this in with the imagery and artwork (albeit dated now) you have yourself a dangerous concoction that for me, was more potent than the strongest drug around. It was shortly after that another mate of mine said “if you like that you will love this” and brought round 'Fist of the North Star' and that is just a ridiculous film but ridiculous in a good way. Think post apocalyptic Terminator future but instead of robots just insanely strong, psychotic men with one super strong guy kicking all their asses for being dick heads. I mean, come on! That description alone says it all. The main man cuts a falling skyscraper in half with his own head....HIS OWN BLOODY HEAD! Now don't jump to the conclusion that all Manga and Anime are like 'Fist of the North Star'. That's the beauty of it, there are loads of different genres such as Film Noir, Drama, Romance, Comedy and well you get the gist. I have yet to discover a horror but that's no big issue. Anyway, I was hooked then on and have amassed an impressive library of all kinds of Manga and Anime volumes.

It's hard for me to pinpoint one exact or main reason why I enjoy Japanese animation more than other animated formats (I'm not sure format is the right word but sod it). It is everything about it that suddenly immerses you into the story and I challenge anyone to watch a great Manga/Anime film or series and think it wouldn't be cool to be one of the characters or in that world. The imagery and artwork for one is incredible and there are so many different versions and styles out there and each one has something so unique and mesmerizing about them. The music, especially that which accompanies Studio Ghibli films. It is just beautiful to say the least. Then there are the story lines and I mean really good story lines. Stories about floating castles, poisonous forests reducing the worlds population to near extinction, a world wide international thief saving a princess from an evil baron, a famous pig (yes pig) fighter pilot protecting the Adriatic Sea from sea plane pirates or an invention that brings your dreams to life taking over the world. I mean I could sit here and write a review for each film and series I've seen but you don't have time for that, no one has time for that and you still won't get what I'm on about or really care. So I put this to you, watch one of the Manga/Anime in the list below OR better yet you come over, I'll pop some corn and we can watch one together. Deal?

Anime List: Castle of Cagliostro / Elfen Lied / Laputa Castle in the Sky / Fate Stay Night / Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind / Black Cat / Porco Rosso / Fooly Cooly / The Girl who Leapt Through Time / Samurai Champloo / Summer Wars / Rahxephon / Paprika / Darker than Black / Fist of the North Star / Claymore / Ninja Scroll / Escaflowne Street Fighter 2 / Samurai 7 / Spirited Away

Keep Pop Loud

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Stream the Keep Pop Loud CD in full!

You can now listen to the full KPL CD online!


With a limited number of CDs in recycled clothing packaging still available, you can now treat your ears to 15 tracks of amazing indiepop before you buy.

Art Brut's Eddie Argos brings the glam rock with Glam Chops massive 'Tarzan's Glam Rock Adventure'.
Dogs Die In Hot Cars' 'Beauty US' is the insight into the second album that never was. An there's a brand new song from MJ Hibbett! About comics!

In other words, it's ACE!

But you don't need to take our word (or Artrocker's Five Star Review!) for it any longer. Listen yourself.
As Keep Pop Loud Records prepares to re-launch itself with a fab single-artist release, now is the time to get in on the indiepop action... before it's sold out forever!

Buy it here

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Track of the Week: Blur – Under The Westway

Modern life isn't just rubbish. It's fucking terrible.

Released: 2 July
Get It: 7” Single / iTunes

Nothing more than a disgusting decadent farce. Some may say the same about Britpop, but it's the Olympics we speak of. A show for the rich and greedy, extolling the so-called virtues of competition. The slaves performing for their owners. But at least you can watch it on The Official TV of London Twenty-Twelve, whilst eating The Official Cereal Bar of London Twenty-Twelve. If you can afford a cereal bar that is. But worry not, at least the sponsors will do well.

If you want to make a similar argument about Britpop then you'll still find it hard to deny that in Blur something beautiful came out of horrid jingoistic nationalism. Moments like 'Tender', 'The Universal', and the entirety of Modern Life Is Rubbish. Listen now and hear why Blur still matter and why new material is something to get excited about. Because they reached us, not matter how old we were. They've influenced so many of our bands, from Kaiser Chiefs to Paintings of Ships. And they've proved everything good we've ever said about them by repeating their trick.

Out of the pomposity of the Olympics and the strutting of the ruling classes over London in the name of SPORT comes 'Under The Westway'. And it almost seems worth it. Understated and pretty, it's everything the surrounding bullshit isn't. It doesn’t sound like a “song to play at Hyde Park”, but a song to listen to and get wrapped up in. A song that comes into our homes and blocks the world out. It doesn't deserve the comparisons it's getting to The Beatles. It's much better than that, but then Blur always have been.

This may or may not be the one of the last songs we ever hear from the band, but that's irrelevant. England in 'summer' Two-Thousand-and-Twelve is a shit place to be. We're poor and the weather's awful. Popular culture's down the drain and sports are everywhere. Blur have provided a moment in time for us all to retreat to. And we need it more than we ever have.

Keep Pop Loud

Monday, 25 June 2012

Track of the Week: The Crookes – Maybe In The Dark

The new single from the leading lights of New Pop

Label: Fierce Panda
Released: 9 July
Get It: Album: Hold Fast

In the middle of the last decade the guitar driven pop sphere was constantly abuzz with excellent and exciting new acts. With the UK being at the forefront and several of the key players coming from Yorkshire it almost felt like Sheffield was at the centre of the music universe. For many (students at least), the heart of Sheffield's music scene was Fuzz Club.

Before forming The Crookes, the members of the group were regulars at Fuzz where tickets were cheep (£3.50 for two band and a disco) and some of the best bands in the country played. After seeing Hot Chip, or The Long Blondes, Art Brut, or The Chalets, Howling Bells or 65daysofstatic you could dance to the early hours to a proper indie disco. Tunes carefully selected so that the 1,000 capacity room would get moving, but deftly avoiding knuckle dragging lad-rock anthems. Smart pop for a discerning crowd.

The spirit of Fuzz Club lives on in The Crookes and their other New Pop brethren.

Alongside The Heartbreaks and up-and-coming Cold One Hundred, The Crookes are crafting romantic guitar pop songs from a very British tradition. There's a resemblance on new single 'Maybe In The Dark' to early Maccabees when the doomed romance of Richard Hawley was a bigger influence than guitar peddles. Meanwhile the ear-burrowing guitar confirms their place amongst the bands we all saw gracing the stage in the last decade.

Keep Pop Loud

The video was shot on the same stage as Fuzz Club which finished in 2009. The venue is about to undergo a massive refurbishment.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Track of the Week: Shrag – Show Us Your Canines

Sink yr teeth into this

Label: WIAIWYA / Fortuna Pop!
Released: out now
Get It: 7” Single

We posted this on the KPL Tumblr when it first landed. Yet the perennial earworm that is 'Show Us Your Canines' is such a belter that we couldn't resist promoting it to Track of the Week status.

Where sometime contemporaries such as Los Campesinos! have abandoned their agit-pop roots for more densely constructed songs, Shrag have stayed true to the cause. From the fidgety intro to the mutant disco chorus, the band keep the outsider fire burning whilst burrowing into our heads with a belting chorus.

As if the chanting wasn't enough, Shrag underpin their demand “You've wasted enough time, show us your canines” with keyboards that are at once sweetly out of place and ominously fitting. 'Sho w Us Your Canines' is the best thing we've heard from the band since the wonderfully doomed 'Hoplessly Wasted'.

Show Us Your Canines - Shrag from Darren Hayman on Vimeo.

Keep Pop Loud

Monday, 11 June 2012

Track of the Week: Wussy - Airborne

Classic American songwriting, soon to appear on Wussy's first international release

Label: Damnably
Released: July 9
Get It:Label Store

Although originally released on the 2005 album Funeral Dress, 'Airborne' sees its first official international release on the compilation Buckeye. Alongside sixteen other tracks of very high quality it should hopefully get Wussy the recognition that they deserve.

Their fuzzy power-pop/college rock is steeped in the classic American groups from The Velvet Underground to (early) R.E.M. and there's a classic feel to all of their material on said compilation that means they're due full cult status. Indeed from what we've seen mentioned about the Cincinnati four-piece those that have showered praise on the group are almost hyperbolic.

A personal highlight of Buckeye, 'Airborne' feels instantly familiar, summery yet sad, and undeniably brilliant. There's hints of alt. country in the mix too with the end result feeling rather individual. A bastion of quality songwriting in an American music landscape too full of borish 'sonic explorers' and the finest thing to have unexpectedly turned up on our doorstep all year.

Look out in the forthcoming Issue 122 of Artrocker Magazine for the review of Wussy's Buckeye by Lee KPL.

Keep Pop Loud

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Track of the Week: Big Wave - Circumstance

A video reminder to pick up the forthcoming Roots Of Love EP

Label: Soft Power Records
Released: June 11
Listen: Bandcamp

With a longer-than-usual Bank Holiday combining itself with a slow release period the review of this week's top track comes a little late. Better than never, but why not pretend for a moment or three that summer's not over already and wrap your ears around the new video from the South Cost pop stars Big Wave.

EP The Roots Of Love (Come Tumbling Down) was reviewed on the (fairly) new Keep Pop Loud Tumblr a week ago, receiving praise of the following variety: “Ace melodies and catchy choruses are very much the order of the day”. Although single 'Circumstance' may not have been our favourite number from the release it's rightly deserving of the Track of the Week slot and is a superb example of what's been said about the group.

So kick back and pretend you're not sadly unemployed/in a grey office after a miserable bank holiday, but instead imagine you're on a beach and that the June weather is what it should be.

Keep Pop Loud

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Track of the Week: Screaming Maldini – Life In Glorious Stereo

Clear plenty of room in yr pop library; this is a BIG song.

Label: Hip Hip Hip / Alcopop!
Released: 18 June
Listen: Bandcamp

Sheffield progressive pop collective Screaming Maldini have finally unveiled the lead single from their forthcoming self-titled debut album. And if there's ever been a song with as descriptive a title as 'Life In Glorious Stereo' then it has never come our way.

We've heard things described as being 'pocket symphonies' before and would be tempted to talk about this as such, if it wasn't for the fact that we've never had any item of clothing before with pockets big enough to contain this. This song is absolutely HUGE.

Amazingly 'Life in Glorious Stereo' makes The Polyphonic Spree seem toned down in their approach. But where the Spree get their effect from packing in the personnel Maldni manage it as a tight six-piece, bouncing vocal harmonies across the pop chorus, ELO-esque synth bridges and crazy sound effects that all join together for one of the greatest pop hits of 2012.

With both the single and it's b-side 'Minor Alterations' multiple listens aren't just recommended but essential. So much is packed into these two songs, and with such attention to detail, you'll miss plenty on the first few listens. So tuck in and prepare yourself for what's sure to be a stunning album.

For people interested in previous Maldini releases, Alcopop! has two excellent EPs, whilst the bonkers 'Monkey See, Badger Do' is available on thelimited edition Keep Pop Loud compilation CD.

Keep Pop Loud