Friday, 30 December 2011
All three of the tracks from today are all fairly downbeat, if not downright gloomy, however as usual they are all worth a listen or two, it isn't really all that often that I stumble upon really good trip-hop, so I was more then a little delighted when I stumbled onto Pixie Dust earlier. Hope you enjoy.
Occult of the Daffodils ft Trubble(vote for us at MTV! http://brandnewunsigned.mtv.co.uk/pixie-dust-darkness) by ☆¸.•*`Pixie-Dust☆¸.•*`•.¸
Imaginary Gary by Visc.
After Hours by Exotic Club
Thursday, 29 December 2011
The first comes from Sonnymoon, an American act, who layout the perfect soundtrack to the longer nights, and cold days that accompany this time of year.
The second comes from Brooklyn's Computer Magic, and rides the line between mellow and twee fairly comfortable, whilst not being the musical highlight of the year, there could be a lot worse things to listen to as the year begins to wrap up.
03 Gills or Wings by Sonnymoon
Ex Believer by Computer Magic
Tuesday, 27 December 2011
Multi Music day today. Sorry for the brief absence over the last week or so, as I am sure you guessed it was down to the ever hectic Christmas and Holiday season, should be back to normal-ish service from today, although New Years may get a little in the way. Anyway, four tracks for you today. They are fairly ranged in genres and age, I think the Worship track first turned up in 2010, but the rest are all relatively recent. Hope you enjoy the lot.
Joe Goddard - All I Know by Greco-Roman
Neon Girls by Lux Leopard
Worship - Collateral by Artrocker Magazine
For Those Who Never Outgrow The Wonder by NEON PULSE
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
The two tracks today are almost as conflicting in their sound as is possible. Sorry.
The top one is the video for Cool Rainbows latest track, No soundcloud sorry.
And the track bellow is a track from Dazzletin's album Heart, Mind, Bodies, which you can grab over on Bandcamp. Oh and the tracks a free download
Plumage by Dazzletine
This has been arguably the hardest thing we have ever done at gruff. For the first time we have decided to do a best of list. I actually find the concept of these lists rather repulsive in many ways. They tend to evolve into some form of who has the trendiest tastes face off, and ignore huge amounts of the talent that has flooded our inbox and iTunes over the year. But we have had enough people ask for our list, and it does offer people a nice insight into what we like, it does also offer a chance for people to find some amazing LPs and EPs that may have slide past their notice over the last 12th months. Some of my favorite albums ever have been found months after their releases on lists like these. At the risk of ignoring so many incredible we decided against what seems to be the standard choice of a top 50 and have instead chosen to plump for a top 25, made up from five peoples top 10s. It’s an odd way of doing it, but it was the only way we could get anywhere near a resolution. We also ended up with a double no.1 position due to my belligerent support for the Arrange record. On top of this we have not written little quips about ever album only a brief one for PJ Harvey and the one for Arrange went up with his interview yesterday. Anyone who visits us often knows we are people of few words and limited journalistic abilities, and it didn’t seem worth writing a great essay about how each of the albums made me feel, I would rather people went into them without any real preconceptions about what we think you ought to feel. Hope you enjoy, and maybe even find something new, but then again ever album on here was probably already featured on a dozen such lists.
A little thing about our joint album of the year -
I will confess to not knowing a huge amount of PJ Harvey before this album. Which, looking back on it, was a cardinal sin. Back in November 2010, someone sent me Written On The Forehead, and I was somewhat taken aback by this bizarre track. It didn't seem to flow at all, and at first I was apprehensive. Yet a few months on, due to the hype surrounding this release I decided to hunt down a few other tracks. The ones which emerged from the murky wilderness of the internet included the sublime The Words That Maketh Murder, The Last Living Rose and Let England Shake, the title track. It was on the basis of these that I took notice and realised that this album was going to be monstrous. Really, really mega. And when it landed on my doormat on February 11th, I charged straight to my CD player and played all the way through. And then again. And Again. And again. And then I emailed all my friends telling them to listen to it. And then I listened to it again. From the haunting opener to the almost clunky, soft-grungey Last Living Rose to the arguably best track The Glorious Land...... This album works in so many ways and spans so many different genres. It may seem a war album, but on another level it is more an album about England, its places, people and culture. Of course there are more war-related tracks (take the spine-chilling 'Hanging in the Wire' and the frighteningly vivid 'The Colour of the Earth' as prime examples) but in my opinion this is a gloomy view upon England itself, with criticisms upon diplomacy, pollution and the weather. This really is an album where words can never do it justice, and I recognise that most of this is just waffle, but that is because you NEED to listen to this album. I cannot recommend it enough. This is Harvey at her creative peak. Let England Shake indeed.
1/2. PJ Harvey - Let England shake
1/2. Arrange - Plantations
3. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
4. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
5. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints
6. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
7. Bodi Bill - What?
8. The Horrors - Skying
9. Destroyer - Kaputt
10. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See
11. The Kills - Blood Pressures
12. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
13. Coeur de Pirate - Blonde
14. Cults - Cults
15. Little Dragon - Ritual Union
16. Metronomy- The English Riviera
17. Gil Scott Heron & Jamie xx- We're new here
18. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
19. Yuck - Yuck
20. Wild Beasts - Smother
21. The Black Keys – El Camino
22. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
23. Real Estate - Days
24. Girls - Father, Son, And Holy Ghost
25. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
1. Foools - Issues
2. Trophy Wife - Bruxism
3. Chad Valley - Equatorial Ultravox
4. Wild Swim - Broken Flowers
5. Phantogram - Nightlife
Foool – Issues EP by vincepaulberlin
Art of Noise - Into Battle With the Art of Noise
Monday, 19 December 2011
The first comes on advice from Arrange. It's a track from Baltimore’s Ricky Eat Acid, and is pretty much as calming and mellow as a track can be.
birds - new mix by Ricky Eat Acid
And the second comes from London’s Horrible Presents.
cloudy talks by Horrible Present
As with every blog we here at Guff had the standard albums of the year conversation a couple of weeks back, all making our own lists, and with almost no continuity at all among them (I think PJ Harvey was the only artist to feature on more than half of them). However for me the only real choice for LP of the year was Arrange's Plantations, an album so shockingly emotional and beautiful it has dominated the last few months for me. When I interviewed Breton back in October, Roman from the band made the argument that the best songs are those that leave the listener to take whatever message they want from them, and this is part of what makes Arranges album so stunning, for me at least, I found it at a point in my life, where it just fitted in, like no other album this year truly has for me. We generally avoid banging on about our personal feelings here at Gruff, but this is a record that is so gripping you can’t help but attach your personal emotions to it.
It is because of my love this record that I was so excited when Arrange agreed to an interview with us, hope you enjoy. You can also grab a full stream of the album at the bottom.
At the risk of a cliqued question, what is the main inspiration or motive behind your music?
I'm not sure there is much of a 'main inspiration' behind my music. I love to do it. I think that's my main motive. Just trying to continue to do what I love doing.
Plantations seems to carry an incredibly personal message, was there any one event or person that worked as the main inspiration for the album?
Plantation was very much written in a intensely dark place in my life. Many of the songs are written around my feelings toward my incarcerated father and events surrounding his imprisonment.
What was your process when working on the album, do you follow any strict methods for writing, or is it far more arbitrary then that?
Yeah I mean there really wasn't much of a method. I'd generally have instrumentals lined out then add lyrics over them. I think "Medicine Man" and "When'd You Find Me?" were the only two that I had lyrics already written out for before hand.
Why did you decide to offer the album for free on bandcamp, rather than go put it out on CD, or even charge for it full stop?
At the time of the release I was really just working out of my laptop with little to no budget. I didn't have any instruments other than an $800 piano I bought from an old thrift store, so I figured why charge for something that cost me nothing to put out. I wanted as many people to hear it as possible. It's since then been put up on iTunes after receiving several requests from people who had downloaded it, but still wanted to send some money my way.
You’re currently working on the follow up album, have you got a name for it yet, and when will we get a chance to get a listen?
I actually just as of October finished the follow up mini-LP Five Years With the Sun. It comes out Jan. 24th with a label I'm really passionate about, JUKBOXR.
If you were given the opportunity of working with anyone: who would your dream collaboration be?
Oh man, I'd love to work with The-Dream or Drake. Shit even Beyonce or Mariah Carey. I'd love to get them on a song. Maybe produced by Terius Nash and Beyonce and I on vocals. Mmmmm
Are there any up and coming artists that are getting you excited at the moment?
I've always got to shout out my man Sam Ray who makes music as Ricky Eat Acid. Really love that dude's mind. So much talent there.
And finally what do you expect 2012 to bring for Arrange, any tours we can look forward to?
I'd like to work on a live show eventually. I've just been cranking out more tunes instead. I'm already two songs deep into a new release. I'm sure I'll release a couple more EPs and get out a proper follow up record to Plantation in 2013.
Friday, 16 December 2011
We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to conduct a short email interview with Motorama, easily one of the most exciting acts emerging out of Europe’s great cold east. Also perhaps some of the most unusual answers to questions we have ever been given, but then again who doesn’t aspire to be drinking milk watching telly in three years time. Hope you enjoy.
The new track Empty Bed has been gaining a load of attention recently, does
this song give a good indication of your other material?
It's just another new song, have no idea how our next songs will sound like.
The sound is very fresh but one can certainly hear shades of Joy Division
and a bit of shoegaze, would you say have had any major influences and if
so who has been the greatest?
Russian new wave bands from the 80's, indie bands from London and a little
bit of Scott Walker. That's all.
What does an average day consist of in the life of Motorama?
We get up when we want except on Wednesdays when we get rudely awakened by
thedustmen. We put our trousers on, have a cup of tea and we think about
leaving the house.We feed the pigeons and sometimes we feed the sparrows too it gives us a
sense of enormous well being. And then we are happy for the rest of the day safe in
the knowledge there will always be a bit of our hearts devoted to it.
What, for you, would constitute your perfect live show, venue, support etc.
First of all: good mood and good guitar combos, also backline and lights,
then comes nice food and fresh air in the venue.
Coming from Russia, a country that seems often to be accidentally overlooked by much of the western music press, can you give us an insight into the alternative and indie scene in your homeland?
Young folks started to do something from the beggining of 80's with the
start of punk and new wave under the iron curtain of soviet union. Lots of
great bands from different cities with diffirent influences.
Are there any particular up and coming local bands that you find exciting,and Russian musicians you would like to recommend?
In Rostov we have several great modern bands, I can name a couple: firts
of all it's Ritmika, indie pop duo, I think it's my favourite russian band
singing in english, then Black Pipe's Bottom, rock'n'roll band with
powerful guitars and shoegaze band called Aerofall. Not too much, but
that's enough for our quiet city
In a perfect world, where do you see yourself in three years time?
In my hometown with fat cats and dogs playing in the backyard and a pregnant wife with a glass on
milk watching tv shows.
Apart from music do Motorama have any other particularly exciting interests?
I'm found of doing photographs with my 90's era camera, making some silly
poster and cd design for bands and parties, helping friends with
web-sites, cooking, feeding animals, watching movies.
When can we look forward to a new album and do you have any live dates
Don't think about our new album too much, because we have no idea when it
can be online. We prefer to move forward like heavy snails. There's no
need to run.
Best wishes from the cold south of Russia
Ghost by motorama
Here is the soundcloud of the video from the top.
Empty Bed by motorama
Posted by Gruff Trade at 20:24
The two tracks today are fairly diverse in their genre. The first comes from Youth Lagoon, but is a cover of a John Denver classic, Goodbye Again. It's not all that often we post covers up, but this is one we really fell for.
Youth Lagoon - Goodbye Again (John Denver Cover) by overmuziek
And the second comes from Aerofall, a Russian shoegaze artist, recommended to us by fellow citizens of Rostov-on-Don; Motorama, who we have an interview with coming strait up after this. Hope you enjoy.
DREAMY APRIL by Aerofall
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Another pair of records again today,
The First which is both the video above, and a soundcloud bellow (for you who hate youtube, a always surprising number) comes from Goldheart Assembly who have been working on their new album due spring 2012. Linnaeus is a little sneak peak of what we can expect for early next year, just something to wet the apatite, and it truly is a rather lovely track. Here is what John from the band had to say about the work on the new album:
21 tracks were recorded in the space of 3 weeks in Luzern and despite calls from some quarters for the possibility of a Goldheart Assembly double album, deliberation ensured common sense prevailed, and the 21 songs were whittled down to a more manageable 11. I’ll have my double record yet.
Having added string quartets, brass ensembles, megaphones and the vocal talents of many friends, we find all that remains is to finish mixing the record.
Being a somewhat impatient bunch though, we decided to take a rough mix of one of the songs and make some sort of video. The song is called Linnaeus, and while tempting to suggest that it might contain fascinating insights into the life of the seminal scientific thinker, it is, to all intents and purposes, just a pop song. We hope you like it
Goldheart Assembly - Linnaeus by Gruff Trade
And the second track comes from Fort Frances, a unusually acoustic-y track for Gruff.
Fort Frances - The Lowlands by 1146miles
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Triple song today, and for no reason in particular they are all from the first half of the year, think of this as a catch up post, for the songs we neglected when they first turned up. The track above is from Gary Clark Jr, and comes from all the way back at the start of the year, back when Gruff was in its coma and pathetically lazy state so we never actually got around to posting it, the release of The Black Keys album this month has re-inspired our love of our blues, hence why we are posting Gary above.
The second track first appearing around the start of the year. It may not be super cutting edge but it is a rather lovely track that takes all the positive aspects of a White Lies record, but doesn’t become over indulgent, oh and it's Russian.
Silver Tears by HUMAN TETRIS
And the final track is from New York's Old Tapes, and is one of the most oddly tranquil songs of the year.
GOT THE TIME by OLD TAPES
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Two more tracks today. The first is from Troumaca, a band we interviewed a couple of months back when they played Ley Lines in Oxford. It's their latest single Fire, and has a tropical vibe to it, not too dissimilar from Friendly Fires, Check out the video above, but as some people complain about youtube, you can check out the soundcloud bellow as well. Watch out for their Ep 'The Gems' coming 12/12/11
Fire by TROUMACA
The second track is from Gross Magic, and is a track that has been floating about for a few months, but was only recently brought to our attention; hope you like the both of them.
Gross Magic - We're Awake Tonight by edin2sun
Monday, 12 December 2011
Two new tracks from bands that have been doing the rounds for a little while. The first one above is the debut single from The Cast of Cheers, the guys who released a free album onto Bandcamp a while back, notching them a hundred thousand downloads or so and a nomination for some Irish music award, not bad. Whilst the track bellow is hot of the press, from long time Gruff favorites Wild Swim. Hope you enjoy.
Hard dust by WILDSWIM
Friday, 9 December 2011
With so much amazing music coming out of Europe and the States at the moment it can be so easy to accidently over look the other five continents, Polka Wars are a shinning warning of the hazards of doing so. Part of the increasingly vibrant music scene coming out of South East Asia, these Indonesian natives, (who have only ever recorded two tracks) have stated catching the eye of the western blogosphere. We where luck enough to catch up with them earlier this week to get the low down on what they have been getting up to, and their plans for the future.
Regarding the two fantastic tracks on your soundcloud, Horse Hooves and Coraline, there seems to be a notable contrast between the styles of music. Would you say the mellow, more recent first track or the heavier, more upbeat Coraline sum up the direction the band is going in? Or is an eclectic sound something you're aiming for?
Fantastic? Wow,thanks a lot! Actually, we don’t really have any musical direction. At the moment we are just trying to explore everything, I mean all kinds of musical type. And if you hear our latest two songs, you might notice there are more than two types of musical influence on them. But I think you'll find we have a fairly 'eclectic' sound, including some heavier stuff.
And you know what? When we play horse hooves at live shows, we put a little bit of a 'rock' part (some say we put a Polka Wars' post rock sound) at the end of the song.
Well, maybe we still can’t resist putting a heavier sound (since we used to play in a rock/post hardcore band at high school). Even if we made the song base with eclectic sound/chords, we'd love to combine it to sounds a little bit heavy. So the answer is... maybe we'd love to combine those two musical styles/directions.
From the youtube video of your live performances you seem to have an energy that adds an extra dimension the songs, saxophone solos aside are there any tips you would give to other bands trying to achieve this level of stage presence? What would Polka Wars get up to in an average day?
Well actually, we'd love to put a brass section not just a single sax solo part. But since we got no brass players (trumpet, trombone, sax), the sax player should put more effort on it.
Haha,I think we're not that good, thanks by the way. But you know what; our sax player got a good reputation in our city. She plays regular gigs every week and has already played in the Java Jazz Fest (biggest jazz fest in Asia) with her jazz band. So I think, she's the only good player, and the rest of us... are still pretty average players. That's why we always practice, to make us tighter when it comes to the live show. Credits to Sistha Anindya (our keys & sax player), she’s a true musician! Haha. And about 'energy', that's represent that we love to play heavier on live shows, that's why we give a different arrangement on the song's ending. Because you know, people will love us if we give differences between our live show & album. But still, we have to play really well/tight.
The Indonesian music scene, despite having produced some great bands, is relatively unknown to our English readers, do you feel you have the same opportunities as bands from Europe or America?
Well, now we got "Music Services Asia" as a music portal to promote our music. And also we got some festivals that range from big to small in Asia. I think the opportunity is already opened, but since the business/industry model is still new here, the opportunity is not the same as in Europe or America. I think we need 2-3 more years to have the same opportunities. But it's alright, since some cool music blogs (just like you), who love to hear new sounds from around the world and we’re still young only 20-22 now, so we still feel pretty comfortable with the situation, we don’t feel all that much pressure on us. But we hope to get out touring in 2012 or 2013.
Are there any other upcoming Indonesian bands you could recommend to our readers?
Yes! You should try Sigmuns! (@sigmuns). Some of the heaviest sounds with a great high pitch roar ever made. Actually Giovanni (member of Polka Wars) help them once as an additional drummer last week. These guys have got amazing potential! We think they really deserve to start playing in the USA/Euro soon!
Have there been any specific bands who have particularly influenced your music?
Yes indeed, the band called SORE and Efek Rumah Kaca (they are the two greatest Indonesian independent bands around and the moment ). They're really encourage us to make a great arrangement (not so typical like others), but they still sound very different from us. So they only influenced us in terms of song arrangement and lyric. As for musically not really any one act, we listen to all kind of music, from classical, to hip hop and even jazz or bosas!
Do you any plans for any shows outside of Indonesia in the near future?
We just wanted to sign up for a festival in Singapore or Malaysia for next year. But so far we haven't met any promoter/booking agency who want to help us. I think what we need now is a booking agency/management artist company (actually some of them are attracted to our materials, but they didn't make any further move, because we haven't released an album yet). We hope that some guy from a booking agency company read this article!
Can we expect any new material any time soon, any plans for an album?
Yes, we're on the process of recording two new songs. We’ve also got the rough material for another five. So we are defiantly working towards an album, but we have got some obstacles; like money & our schedule (since three of us are still at college and one of us is already working in an office now). So, please be patient and support us to finish our album as soon as we can!
But if we can't do that real soon, we'd love to release and promote our free singles (three songs) via a net label (from Thailand, which have a south east Asia coverage), before the real album is finish.
Coraline by polkawarsmusic
Horse Hooves (teaser) by polkawarsmusic
A Finale by Iberiamusic
Whilst the second comes from Boston's Carousel and is a far more 'twee' indie record. Hope you enjoy the both
The Thrill (Mp3) by carousel_official
Thursday, 8 December 2011
We have got a Finish double for you today. These two tracks do a pretty good job of highlighting just how diverse the Finnish music scene is at the moment, a country that really is producing some of the finest, and most innovative new sounds on the continent. Anyway hope you enjoy.
The first track is from Paper Fangs, an act we were first introduced to this earlier this week. It has a bit more of an ambient electro vibe to it, think Boards of Canada, and you will get the picture. Oh and it's a free download, win win really.
Lifelong by Paperfangs
And the second track comes from Satellite Stories, a band we blogged about way back when, who are responsible for the rather wonderful track Helsinki Art Scene, the track bellow is their most recent addition, and is a far more traditional guitar indie track then Paper Fangs.
Satellite Stories - Blame the Fireworks by satellitestories
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
So another couple of tracks today, the one above is the rather ethereal 'As You See Fit' from Simian Ghost, whilst the track bellow is 'Human', a record that has been doing the rounds for a couple of months now, and comes from Women's Hour. Hope you enjoy.
Human by Woman's Hour
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Ok, another two tracks today, the one above is a bit out of the usual for us as it is a live recording of a session for Violitionist and include special guest Emil Rapstine of The Angelus on vocals. I love the stuff SOG is making, but I can’t help feeling that Emil's vocals are an improvement that whilst not being necessary are incredibly welcome, but then again I’m just a sucker for vocals.
And the track bellow comes from Low Roar and is a pretty epic 8 minutes long, it's an amazing track even if it never does shake of its almost eerie resemblance to records by Radiohead.
Low Roar - Tonight, Tonight, Tonight (Edit) by INDIGENOUSPromotions
Monday, 5 December 2011
Both of the tracks today are a little older then usual having surfaced initially at some point over the summer. Wasn’t able to find all that many gems today, hence the posting of songs from the summer, however neither of these tracks got nearly enough attention initially.
The first track from Cosima Lamberth is a track that looks set to do the rounds once again with the recent release of its video.
Patience - Cosima Lamberth with Fort Fairfield by Cosima Lamberth
Whilst Plants Plant are an artist we forgot to give a mention to back in August when this track first showed up.
She's No One by Plant Plants by Plant Plants
Friday, 2 December 2011
First up is a track from Fur Voice, a great lo-fi artist hailing from Barcelona.
Wimp by Fur Voice
And the second comes from Cool Cult a band from New Zealand.
Cool Cult - Tomorrow by AwesomeFeelingFive
Thursday, 1 December 2011
First up is Huck Finn with a track about Charles Dickens, what could be more festive then a song about the man behind A Christmas Choral?
Charles Dickens by HUCK FINN
And second is a track that’s been floating about for the last few days from Vic and Gab. Hope you like.
Vic and Gab - I Haven't Seen You by 360degreemusic