Vaporous Light

New from Vaporous Light, via Akoustik Anarkhy, “The eyes of a fool​/​Isn’t it a thrill”.

Released on 12 September, this double release is a double exposure on the stillness of contemporary acoustic music. The “skipping, surging” first track “The Eyes of a Fool” has a travellers tale character (and for that matter, Deserter’s Songs). It’s short – under 3 minutes short – resembling an introduction showing its ankle through the stage curtains. The mystery is beguiling – is that a ghostly vocal at its fading conclusion, is it forming words?

“Isn’t it a Thrill” (without a question mark, note the intent, it worked for The Strokes), is described by remixer Raymond Ray as “a lost gem from the Gibb brothers albeit in a distinctly lower register.” There’s certainly a 60s vibe here, somewhere underneath one of those new fangled motorway things given the omnipresent drone in the background. With lost spirit vocals, fading out into the gloom, you could be forgiven for thinking the collective 5 minutes is spent in the absence of light rather than any of the Vaporous variety. The lasting impression, as is so often the case with Akoustik, is one of great promise.

Thomas Tantrum – "Hot Hot Summer (Remixed)"

From Southampton, the hitherto chirpy and Britpop Thomas Tantrum have undergone a make-under (a phrase no doubt coined by geometrically-faced wardrobe botherer Gok Wan) with helf from former Chew Lips soundsmith Will Sanderson. Now using the label GWAIIU, the smart-by-halves Sanderson transfers the sunlight and shine in single “Hot Hot Summer” to somewhere in Sara Lund’s coldcase drawer.

Now distinctly more in the area of Shirley Manson with dubstep beats dragging themselves across the place, “Hot Hot Summer” emphasises the character of Thomas Tantrum which was always more Blonde Redhead than Blondie. Where the original brought optimism, so this brings uncertainty, but don’t suppose that is a synonym for “bad”. Quite the opposite; singer Megan Thomas sounds more like a siren than usual, taking the bloke of her choosing regardless of his opinions of the matter. This is a far cry from the usual relationship with magic and melody associated with them, though what spells are cast send fingers rapidly hurtling towards their website on the hunt for more.

‘Hot Hot Summer’
is released through Stranger Records on June 5th and their sophomore album, ‘Mad By Moonlight’ which also features the single ‘Sleep’ is out on June 12th.

You can hear it for yourself here and download:

Tall Ships – "Hit the Floor"

Tall Ships’ new single, out in June on Big Scary Monsters/Blood and Biscuits.

Starting their UK tour tomorrow (supporting Three Trapped Tigers), it’s evident Tall Ships have caught the wind (sorry), are sailing in the right direction (really sorry) and will carry more passengers with them (just…..sorry) with the enticing new sound of single “Hit the Floor”. (at least it’s not “Hit the Deck”)

This new one has an emphatic speed, divided into three distinct elements, each more like the sound of passing indie clubs in a speeding car than the last. There’s 90 seconds of throwaway indie funk with tumble-down drums, followed by an incessant dancefloor magnet groove, concluding with a stubbornly effective cut-off chorus. It’s polished as a pensioner’s mantelpiece but yet retains joyous and boundless, little wonder the usual suspects are lining up to assure you all that they recommended Tall Ships to you first.

Clearly this blog is a little late to the party, though no less certain that there’ll be a welcoming party at the dockside far greater in number than when they left….(Truly, truly sorry…)

Listen to new single “Hit The Floor” at Soundcloud

Tall Ships are on Facebook. Be sure to like them….

Britney Spears "Hold It Against Me"

So it’s out there, and YouTube is full with “0 Views” hastily copied videos of it, Twitter is awashed with RT’d links to naughty download sites, and Facebook seems to have become a de facto fan site….

Yes, Britney Spears – the schoolgirl gone RnB princess via media meltdown – has a new single out (as though any of the contrived publicity has passed out by). Is it any good? Erm…Well….

It’s a muddle of a song, to be fair. The title – “Hold It Against Me” – is the tag-line for the world’s worst chat-up line (and, it seems, written in more seriousness than The Bellamy Brothers ever did).

There’s just the hint of the GaGa about it (the ‘in the club playing my favourite tune’ vibe of the first verse is clearly hoyked from “Telephone”), with the dubstep beats and multi-layered vocals all combining together with an over familiarity. Remember when Kylie over-used the vocal-effect of ‘coming up to air from underwater’ ? It’s here, right before the Eurovision-style key change for the end. There’s even a sudden stop ending, an old throwback if ever I heard one…

All that said….however….it’s a comeback single alright, one which shows intent and direction. Faced with Rhianna and Lady Gaga, and witnessing the hapless reinventions of one time rival Christina Aguilera, le Spears has not embarrassed herself much at all. Tap your foot, nod your head, murmur along to the words whilst in the shower; it’s at the upper end of ‘decent’.

Whole new image? Entirely new direction? Revolutionary reinvention? Not a chance. It’s still very identifiable as Britney Spears, unusual mouth-full-of-boiled-vegetables voice an’ all; it sure as Heck ain’t “Toxic”.

Foreign Office – "On Repeat"

Readers of a certain vintage may know Chikinki, bright young things with the sharpest indie-melody ears for some time. From deepest Hackney come the first band of a similar bias who could give the Bristol outfit a run for their money.

Foreign Office is the least search engine friendly band name since The Music but at least the end product is worth the hassle of going beyond the first page of results; “On Repeat” is as much Razorlight as it is 60s soul and MOR classics and for the dangerous proximity towards trendiness it rises above the merely fashionable.

If post-rock ambitions are travelling anywhere, it is slowed down, influenced by funk and disco, an obvious sidestep away from the corner into which the neon kids painted themselves. It’s as sharp and short as a comprehensive spending review, two curiously abrupt verses bookending the most effective repetition since Hall and Oates.

With more smarts than the smack of a wielded passport, Foreign Office could well be guaranteed an income stream far less uncertain than that of their governmental namesakes.

Released 8 November (Quiet Life)


The Polaris Music Prize is the Canadian version of our Mercury Award, celebrating an album for its merit rather than sales (or, you know, that’s how the blurb will always have it).

This year, the Quebecois Karkwa beat, amongst others, Caribou and Broken Social Scene for the top prize. Coming across as a folksy French-tongued Radiohead, Karkwa have a solid back-catalogue in subtlety in the manner of both British Sea Power and newcomers Hares.

They can be found at their MySpace page –

Bikini Black Special : The Bikini Method

Taken from their forthcoming album, “Physioterrorists”, this slice of electro goodness from Bikini Black Special is them at their most hypnotic and caustic, how self-help audiobooks might sound in a world in which false advertising is outlawed…

Seek out more of the sharp BBS sound at