Album Review…Lucky Shiner from Gold Panda

Gold Panda
Lucky Shiner
Ghostly International / Notown 2010

Listen to “Same Dream China” MP3

At his origins a remixer (Bloc Party, Health, Telepathe, Simian Mobile Disco), UK’s Gold Panda has now released his excellent debut full length Lucky Shiner. Out earlier this month as a digital release (featuring a few bonus tracks), the physical copy will be released in October on Ghostly International (North America & Europe), as well as on Gold Panda’s own label Notown.

Having been tipped as one of BBC’s Sound of 2010 nominees, Gold Panda is the happy recipient of well-deserved praise for Lucky Shiner. This debut offers up colorful electronica with a depth of field, where beats drive and spiral, without forgoing the warmth of sparkling and emotive melodies. Standouts include “Same Dream China” with its otherworldly soundscape and “Snow & Taxis” mounting shining bells propelled on snare beats. The acoustic interlude “Parents” breaks with the rest of the album, featuring field recordings with grandma and the unexpected treated sounds of a squeaky wheelbarrow.

On Lucky Shiner, Golda Panda deftly mixes the influences of place (the English countryside, memories of studies in Japan) with an array of personal experiences (falling in and out of love, touring, mixing). All of this combining to create a stellar album which captivates with subtlety and depth.

Check out the video for “Snow & Taxis” directed by Ronni Shendar.


01. You
02. Vanilla Minus
03. Parents
04. Same Dream China
05. Snow & Taxis
06. Before We Talked
07. Marriage
08. I’m With You But I’m Lonely
09. After We Talked
10. India Lately
11. You
12. Greek Style (Digital Bonus)
13. Casio Daisy (Digital Bonus)
14. Rush Job (The Ghostly Store Exclusive)

MySpace | Lucky Shiner | Ghostly International

Track of the Day…”Windstorm” from School of Seven Bells

School of Seven Bells
Ghostly International / Vagrant / Full Time Hobby 2010

Listen to "Windstorm" MP3

School of Seven Bells was born back in 2004 when Benjamin Curtis from Secret Machines crossed paths with twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza of on!air!library!. Steadily devoting more time to the new group, these Brooklynites rallied behind the band's name, a reference to a mythical 80’s South American pickpocket academy, where seven separate minds combined to work as one.

As a follow-up to 2008's Alpinisms, the trio is back with an excellent new release Disconnect from Desire, out now on Ghostly International, Vagrant and Full Time Hobby. The album opener is “Windstorm”, a haze of Lush guitars and beats and swirling vocals from the sisters Deheza. You can check out the traffic stopping video here , directed by David Altobelli (director and editor for the latest video of the quietly stunning group Hammock.

Catch School of Seven Bells on 23 October at Santos Party House (as part of CMJ) and later in Paris on 3 November 2010 at La Boule Noire as part of the Petit Bateau / Kitsuné Inrocks event.

Official | MySpace | Ghostly International | Vagrant | Full Time Hobby

Track of the Day…”Flóð” from For A Minor Reflection

For A Minor Reflection

Listen to "Flóð" MP3

Young Reykjavik rockers For A Minor Reflection are an energetic, post-rock band that have been gaining attention since their 2008 tour with country honeybees Sigur Rós. While their sound is dynamic and strong, it is not as esoteric and detached as SR; we could see how they would pair well with them on tour. What we have heard of the group leaves us wanting more.

The rocker side of Icelandic music is apparent on “Flóð.” The track starts with a simple piano line and builds to an almost hallucinogenic finish.

Official | Mspace | Twitter

Track of the Day..."Cosmic Bacon" from The Samps

The Samps
“Cosmic Bacon”

Listen to "Cosmic Bacon" MP3

The Samps is a sample-loving collective, made up of Cole M. Greif-Neill (guitarist from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti), Harley B. and Jason Whitemare. The group plays with jumbles of sound, cleverly slicing and dicing and creating hook-laden grooves.

Look for the release of “Cosmic Bacon” as a 12” later this year on the Japanese label Big Love. The Samps debut 6-track EP is now available on Mexican Summer .

MySpace | Mexican Summer | Big Love

Track of the Day..."I'm Aware" from Clinic

“I’m Aware”
from Bubblegum
Domino (2010)

Listen to "I’m Aware" MP3

Clinic is a Liverpool based band led by founding members Ade Blackburn and Jonathan Hartley. Their sound is best described as indie rock but they are universally known for their use of vintage instruments. They have gained acclaim over the past decade since signing with Domino Records in 1999.

On their new album Bubblegum the band has changed up their normal roiling hooks with a softer, more melodic pop sound.

The lead single “I’m Aware” is a pretty track built on a cowboy loping beat and bass underlying a sweet harmonic choir. It’s childlike sing-song tune float along in a mesmerizing, oscillating drone.

Check out their sweet, youngster puppet manual of a video for the song here.

MySpace | Official

Album Review …Spirit Guides from Evening Hymns

Evening Hymns
Spirit Guides
Kütu Folk Records (France) 2010 / Out of this Spark 2009
 Listen to “Lanterns” MP3

Evening Hymns evolves around Toronto-based songwriter Jonas Bonnetta.  His debut full-length under the moniker Evening Hymns Spirit Guides was released in North America late last year on Out of this Spark, and is seeing its release in Europe this month on France’s Kütu Folk Records.

In many ways, Spirit Guides came together as a way for Jonas to deal with his father’s long illness and passing.  Eschewing the obvious pitfalls, his record embraces hope, allowing his songs the time to develop and take the time necessary to play out.
“Lanterns” is a standout track which builds, slowly adding layers and sounds (guitars, drums, strings, horns), providing buoyancy to lyrics which gently reassures that “everything is going to be alright tonight”.  “Mtn. Song” captures a sense of a certain wonderment, a rolling and impulsive track.  While “History Books”, “Dead Deer” and “Cedars” follow a starker course, bare and seemingly exposed.  “Broken Rifle” stands apart with its assured rock swagger., and on “November 1st, 2008, Lakefield”, quite simply put, it rained.
Be sure to catch Evening Hymns in Paris on 14 September at Point Ephémère. Jonas will also be in London on 27 (The Hoxton Bar and Kitchen), 28 (The Windmill) and 30 (King’s Cross Social) September.  For a complete list of tour dates (France, UK, Belgium, Germany) check out the Evening Hymns MySpace page.
While not on Spirit Guides, check out the video for the excellent track “Port Hope” for a bit of the wonderfully understated spirit that is Evening Hymns.
Official | MySpace | Kütu Folk Records| Out of This Spark

Track of the Day..."Down The Drain" from Alexis Foxe

Alexis Foxe
“Down The Drain”

Listen to "Down The Drain" MP3

New Yorker Alexis Foxe spins a sultry yet thought provoking blend of electronica and 1940’s big band nostalgia. Her vocals are sultry and crisp. The music derives from her global journey and yields tremendous results.

“Down the Drain” is a perfect song for the “debt” generation. This is a brassy, energetic uptempo number that has the feel of an electronic boogie woogie. The lyrics are sassy and insightful, highlighted by the phrase “My mother tells me that my spending habits, are as wild as copulating rabbits.”

The video for her song “Cynic

Check out the charm and sass of Alexis Foxe live on September 23 at Piano’s in NYC.

MySpace | Official | Twitter

Track of the Day..."Heart Stab" from Champagne Riot

Champagne Riot
“Heart Stab”

Listen to "Heart Stab" MP3

What began as a solo project of Caspar Bock in 2008, Champagne Riot has since transformed into a duo with the joining of fellow Dane (and music journalist / producer) Anders Reuter. The band’s stated inspiration of Hedonism, Dadaism, Nihilism and Abba sums up their sound pretty neatly – infectiously melodramatic tracks which delve head first into the blissful froth of pop.

Head over the Champagne Riot’s MySpace page and have a listen to the excellent tracks “Ingrid Bergman” (which has been on our hi-fi for awhile now) and “The Champagne Anthem”.

Champagne Riot’s next release is slated as a double A-side single “Heart Stab / A Friend of a Friend” for release on 27 September.

Official | MySpace