St Vincent #8 - Bad Believer


I must not criticise the fact that I have a new St Vincent song to listen to. 

I must not criticise the fact that I have a new St Vincent song to listen to. 

I hate 'deluxe editions'. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I feel robbed when I've already paid £20 for a vinyl edition of a record and then I'm asked to do it all over again to get a couple of 'new' tracks. In this case five, four of which have been made available before, so it's actually just one brand new track (thankfully in this case, you can individually download the tracks you want so that renders my point invalid apart from the fact that I am a bit of a collector of records). 

Anyway, there is a point to this. St Vincent is re-releasing her acclaimed self-titled album, perhaps unsurprisingly from a promotional point of view given it's incredible showing in numerous end of the year lists (including number two in the one that matters, mine) and the new track "Bad Believer", which we got to hear for the first time yesterday is great so all is well...

The track, a glammed up funk and fuzz stomp highlights the deliciously raucous pomp of Annie Clark's live show, fun and energetic with more than a fleeting slice of devilment. I love the break half way through, where the track is brought down for a sweetly sung verse before climaxing with more propulsive rhythms and bedazzling guitars.

You can see why it never made the original St Vincent album, it doesn't quite fit in the with flow of the album but as a stand alone track "Bad Believer" is all kinds of wonderful. It's available on iTunes today. 

Albums of 2014 #2 - St Vincent - St Vincent

St Vincent
St Vincent
Caroline International. Released February 24th.

St Vincent, Annie Clark's fourth and self-titled album has catapulted her from indie idol to near-mainstream heroine. The most accomplished and ambitious of her career and one that see's her deservedly top poll after poll of 'albums of 2014' lists, all without losing any of her left-field creativity and exhilarating merging of multiple genres, funk, rock, pop et al. 

"Birth in Reverse" sees Annie wield her guitar as a magic wand with a series of aggressive guitar riffs wandering around propulsive rhythms and chaotic synths, there's a relentless beats and a typically ethereal vocal delivery, it gives a perfect summation of one of the most inventive and progressive artists of this generation.

"Digital Witness", an ode/lament to the digital age and it instantly seems that the time spent with David Byrne on the side-project album Love This Giant has washed off on Annie's solo work too, a brass-laden funk stomp with billowing horns creating a deep, infectious rhythm amongst Annie's art-rock guitar and synth patterns.

The whole record is quirky and boundless with the second half of "Huey Newton" summing up the intensity, rising from a soft hypnotic ballad to an absolute beast with huge dirty rock riffs and Annie's wide-open stare. It's the track I've been waiting from Annie since I first saw "Your Lips Are Red" live. 

The inventiveness and variety doesn't stop there, "I Prefer Your Love" a saccharine ballad that highlight as well as being able to shred guitar, Annie has quite the ethereal vocal. "Bring Me Your Loves" is absolutely insane, undulating, pulsating rhythms and off-the-wall lyrics. It could be a 'what the fuck' moment but instead, with Annie at the helm turns into a moment of pure genius. "Psychopath" is more straightforward but provides another highlight with perhaps the most memorable chorus on the record too.

The different styles fit together seamlessly and closing track "Severed Crossed Fingers" brings humour out in St Vincent's songwriting too. Annie's style has always been divisive and St Vincent is even more so, yet for those of us her brace it, it is the most brilliant of rewards.

St Vincent #7 - Digital Witness

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Just before Christmas I featured the first track from St Vincent's forthcoming fourth (and self-titled) LP "Birth In Reverse", a release which promises to be one of the musical highlights of February (the album is due for release Feb 24th).

To add to the excitement we've been treated to the album's second track, the wonderful "Digital Witness", an ode/lament to the digital age and it instantly seems that the time spent with David Byrne on the side-project album Love This Giant has washed off on Annie's solo work too for "Digital Witness" is a brass-laden funk stomp with billowing horns creating a deep, infectious rhythm amongst Annie's art-rock guitar and synth patterns.

The result sounds like something Prince would be proud of, as I devote purple follower I can't pay a much bigger complement than that. Listen below and order St Vincent here.

St Vincent #6 - Birth In Reverse

After spending two weeks covering 'list season' the blog will now return to normality for a week before a little Christmas break and what better way to return than with news of a new album by St Vincent. Annie Clark's fourth will be a self-titled one and we've been treated to a free download (via link below) of the first track to be taken from it "Birth in Reverse".

The track sees Annie wield her guitar as a magic wand with a series of aggressive guitar riffs wandering around propulsive rhythms and chaotic synths, there's a relentless beats and a typically ethereal vocal delivery, basically a perfect summation of one of the most inventive and progressive artists of this generation.

St Vincent can be pre-ordered on vinyl (it comes with a special limited 12" single) with release planned for February 24th via the St Vincent store. Annie Clark plays a show at Shepherds Bush Empire a few days earlier - I cannot wait.

End of the Road Festival 2013 - Friday Review

End of the Road, in its seventh year, confirmed itself as the best festival of its size in the UK this year, the idyllic weather definitely helped (though it sure did get chilly overnight on Saturday) but it was the glorious atmosphere and near-on perfect combination of musical acts and artistic crafts that makes the festival what it is. Basking in sunlight Larmer Tree Gardens had everything you could want, arts & crafts, decent festival food, a real ale festival and an impeccable selection of music from the delicious folk harmonies of The Staves to the brass-laden success of David Byrne and St Vincent and the imposing, wide-eyed Savages. The next few posts will be my trip through the weekend, the things I did and the bands I saw. Hopefully you'll pick up on a few nice things if you follow it through...

I'd spent the previous three days in West Lulworth with the family (a beautiful place, you should go) before packing up early on Friday and heading to Larmer Tree Gardens. We met no traffic at all and were soon in the car park. People scared of Glasto like experiences with travelling from the car park to the tent areas, fear not, you are through wristband exchange and into the camping areas in no time at all. A quick set up (thank you pop-up tents - I'd still be there now trying to put up the impressive yurt tent we were pitched next to) and we headed straight to Big Top stage to catch Widowspeak.

An incredible start to the festival saw clashes happen as early as midday. Widowspeak were a worthy selection though, as breathy, beautiful introduction as you could hope for. Playing as a duo they played songs taken from both their albums and were heavily based on the spaghetti western influenced guitar twangs and Molly Hamilton's seductive vocal purr (there is a small drum box providing some beats). A large audience lapped it up, hazy sweet and creeping mood - what more could you want. My five year old enjoys it too and pulls some dance moves more suited to the nearby silent disco which makes me worry what my future may hold!

We head outside and after spending a few minutes waiting for our eyes to adjust head to the nearby main stage to check out Landshapes. A band signed to Bella Union whom I really should have given the time of day sooner than this.

The quartet weave dreamy, upbeat melodies with funky bass, wonderfully percussive rhythms and superb harmonies that perfectly match the need of the audience sitting primarily in shorts and t-shirt with beers from the nearby bar in hand. The sun soon makes a welcome appearance, peaking from behind clouds to close a perfect summer show, the band are appreciative to their early audience and the feeling is mutual. A mental note is made to check out their record on my return (which I shall do shortly!)

As my weekend was one of balance with two young children with me (aged five and eight months) I had to ease my usual insatiable appetite to hit front row centre for as many bands as possible with their needs so we grab some food (the first of three stops at the wonderful Pizza stall) and then head to the circus area.

There are plenty of things to pass kids time there, on this stop my little one plays hula-hoop, juggles and does some other things I have no idea what they are called. Half an hour soon passes and we head for a drink.

I have ale, there's more choice than I can cope with but I find Viking an early winner and we also grab a Frank Water bottle, a brilliant and cost-effective way of keeping supplied with cold, fresh water throughout the weekend - do check out their website and support their great cause.

I get to do a solo trip next as my partner takes the children off, I head back to the big top for Pins. They deliver a set which has developed incredibly since I last saw them yet still oozes with the same raw attitude. The quartet are tighter and slicker than ever, the vocals uncompromising amongst darkly,  metronomic rhythms and guitar thrills. It's high energy and relentless (with the exception of "Eleventh Hour" which has been slowed down with languid shimmers), older tracks like "Say To Me" stand equally alongside new ones "I Want It All", "To You" and the title track from their forthcoming debut "Girls Like Us". That, like this set, promises to be electrifying.

I head straight outside to meet up with my family who have taken residence at the back of the Woods stage for Allo Darlin', the weather Gods haven't read the script and dark clouds form above, the rain keeps away but the quartet's beautiful, warming indie pop is not played out to glorious sunshine as it should have been. It matters not as the combination of tracks from their two albums (and new ones from a seemingly nearly complete third) keep the crowd smiling and singing along, Allo Darlin' seem in the rightful place and are the perfect festival band.

More family time and a change into evening wear follows before heading to the festivals most picturesque stage for the first time, we find Serafina Steer just walking onto the beautiful garden stage.

Her fluttering harp and beautiful vocals feel right at home here and when she's joined by a guitarist and percussionist her set comes alive, soaring peaks and sparser tracks sit side by side amongst her amusing banter. "Night Before Mutiny" is saved for the end of her hour long set - a length Serafina seemed not quite accustomed to - but it was sure worth the wait, just lovely.

Time for another beer next before we grab dinner and settle down at the back of the Woods stage to watch Eels. Not my pick but as I picked most of the weekend I can hardly grumble. What I can grumble about was the rain which briefly followed, perhaps only ten minutes or so but enough to make everyone reach for their waterproofs. We were treated to a double rainbow though so I won't complain. Once the kids are asleep I venture out solo and return to the Woods stage for the evenings headline act David Byrne & St Vincent. I wasn't sure what to expect, if you've followed this blog for a couple of years you may know I'm slightly obsessed with Annie Clark but I didn't connect fully with last years' Love This Giant album. Until now.

The show was phenomenal, any doubting concerns the crowd may have about the slightly unusual pairing is cast aside after about two minutes. They walk on stage, David Byrne impeccably dressed (like a happy Johnny Cash as Annie herself says) and St Vincent with hair dyed bleach-blonde armed with her guitar.

They are accompanied by a brass band (seven or eight members deep) an immediately launch into as quirky and commanding set as you'll see this year, synchronised dance moves from the full ensemble of musicians, the band playing their part and not hidden from the audiences view as the pair take it almost in terms to lead the songs.

Byrne's questionable dance moves remind me of Kryten from Red Dwarf with karate chops and robotic movements but it works in an equally baffling and amusing way. St Vincent's art-rock guitar playing is as electric as ever, her skills unquestionable as brass trumpets et al add a funk-laden backing. There are solo tracks from both careers too, "Marrow" an early highlight and "The Party" a sombre mood changer in the encore sandwiched between the two big singalongs of the evening, Talking Heads hits "Burning Down The House" and finally "Road To Nowhere".

Marching jazz bands, St Vincent's tiny tiny steps, robo-Byrne and fantastic music, this show had it all - I don't think anyone even noticed it rained.

It was going to be hard for anyone to top that if you could pick an act you'd want to be following it, Savages would be quite high on the list. I had time to grab a beer (I hope you're noticing a reoccurring theme) and heading somewhere near the front. I'd not seen them for a little while and what was a tight-tight set is now even more so, as slick and polished as any live act today. Jehnny Beth is imperious and a genuine front of the band, she stares out to the crowd wide-eyed in between her imposing lyrics. The music masterful, rumbling rhythms and colossal soundscapes ring out and a few people at the stage seemingly lose it as they bounce around in delight.

About as good as close to an evening as you could ask for. End of the Road day one - you've treated us alright.

Latitude Festival 2012 - Preview Part One

Latitude Festival is in (slightly less than) two weeks now, I really cannot wait. I've not been to Latitude before but in a year without Glastonbury (though after last years mud-baths, ever increasing capacity / mainstream line-ups and old age catching up with me it could be my last) I've been looking for a few smaller, less 'mainstream' festivals to get my festival fix. Latitude is the first traditional festival where I'll be taking my tent, rather than basking in hotel based glory as at The Great Escape. I've got absolutely everything crossed for the weather, surely we are due a few days without rain soon?!

Latitude's sub-card is exemplary, the main stage commands the biggest names, Elbow, Paul Weller and more but it's in the smaller stages where I plan on spending most of my time (a couple of exceptions to come in my previews), split over two parts I'll now give a dozen acts who I recommend you check out if you are heading to Sufflok yourself (or if you want to discover some great music).

First though, a massive hat tip to Bands with iPhones whom without I wouldn't go attending at all, I owe her (sorry!) quite a few beers and gigs!

Sharon Van Etten - Facebook
Saturday 14th July - The Word Arena

Sharon Van Etten's Tramp is one of the albums of the year so far, she opens Latitude's second stage The Word Arena on the festivals second morning, Saturday and I expect it to be a busy start as people wearily leave the confines of their tents and head to hear the heavenly tones of the Brooklyn singer/songwriter who, after three albums each better than the last is finally seeing some commercial and critical reward. Expect Tramp to feature heavily in 'tastemakers' end of year polls too.

Unmissable for everybody who is not out partying too heavily on Friday night!

Josh T Pearson - Facebook
Saturday 14th July - The Word Arena

Josh T. Pearson is a must see, a genuine must see. If you take my infallible love of The Joy Formidable out of the equation last year's Last of the Country Gentlemen and the JTP live show at The Great Escape last May were my favourite album / live show of the year, and believe me it's just as amazing now as it was about 14 months ago when it was released.

Josh doesn't seem to play its devastating centrepiece "Honeymoon's Great! Wish You Were Her" live but the whole album is delivered with such heartbreaking fragility and beauty that I can't say any more come along and you will not regret it. The live show promises all that and bad jokes, bad jokes about Willie Nelson and more bad jokes. Cannot wait.

First Aid Kit - Facebook
Friday 13th July - Obelisk Arena

Another of the years finest records so far is First Aid Kit's second full-length The Lion's Roar. The Swedish sisters have long been a favourite folk-leaning act of mine, since I first saw them at back at Glastonbury 2010.

They've grown since and now backed by a full band have a full, deep sound that perfectly suits their breathtaking harmonies and(cliché time) mature-beyond-their- years lyrics. Sincere and heart-felt, latest single "Blue" the perfect insight to their beguiling balance of sweet voices and rich production.

Playing the main-stage of the festival on Friday afternoon, it'll be a far cry from the Glasto set in front of about 40 people at the Greenpeace stage but one that promises to leave those in attendance spellbound.

St Vincent - Facebook
Sunday 15th July - The Word Arena

If you've been following this blog for about a year this pick is about as obvious as they come, I'm not quite sure why Annie Clark hasn't found the success in the UK her three exceptional albums deserve. I guess she's played Shepherd's Bush Empire but St Vincent deserves more. Much more.

Last years Strange Mercy perhaps best highlighting her ability. Annie Clark's vocals are one minute venomously strong, the next serenely sweet and her dense, inventive melodies equally prone to frenzied, rock spikes as experimental, electronic edges. Unorthodox, unique and Stunning.

It is though her extraordinary guitar playing (if you don't believe me check out her cover of Big Black's "Kerosene" below) that makes her so good to watch.

Greg Davies - Facebook
Friday 13th July - Comedy Arena

What's this comedy on a music blog? Pah. No seriously, Greg Davies is good, very good infact.

I was meant to be seeing him in February but snow put pay to that and I shall (extraordinary circumstances depending) be there on Friday afternoon to put that right.

I don't really know what to say about comedy; he's funny come and see him!

Bat For Lashes - Facebook
Sunday 15th July - Obelisk Arena

The Internet (well sections of it) went a bit stir crazy a couple of weeks back when Natasha Khan annouced her long awaiting return with Bat For Lashes third album (The Haunted Man due October 15th), some not so hot quality live qualities soon did the rounds, but I'm trying to hold off to experience the new tracks first hand as on the main stage of the festival on Sunday evening.

If it's anything like the first two albums we won't be dissapointed and to steal some words direct from the BBC's review of the first Bat For Lashes album, I'm hoping for a show that is 'ethereal, cinematic, fantastical'.

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2011 - Part Three

Just Music That I Like’s Twenty Five Favourite Abums of 2011 aka The Best 25 Albums of the Year Part Three

Direct Links to Albums: 25 - 21 // 20 - 16 // 15 - 11 // 10 - 6 // 5 - 1

15. Spotlight Kid - Disaster Tourist
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Spotlight Kid released their second album 'Disaster Tourist' (although the first in their current form) last month and despite a relatively low-key release deserves your attention, for it's an incredible album that combines all the best parts of a much maligned (not by me) genre, shoegaze. Luscious, sweet vocal tones echoes softly wrapped up in spiralling walls of guitars noise, reverberating, spiralling melodies that are equal parts dark, brooding and heavenly.

Lead-single "Forget Yourself In Me" is fantastic, delivered at blistering pace it offers a euphoric head-rush of driving drums, angry guitars and ethereal dual vocal harmonies. Similarly frantic is opener "Plan Comes Apart", heavier, with thick bass-lines and grungy guitars, it, like most of the album (and their emphatic live show), commands to be played loud, very fucking loud. Their are softer, beautiful moments, "Freefall" spends two minutes blissfully melting your heart before saturating it with endless waves of feedback and fuzzed-up guitars.

The album version of "All Is Real" cloaks Katty Heath's tender vocals in fuzzy layers of overdriven guitar, the stand-out though is "Haunting Me", at six minutes in length it never feels over long, pounding drums and fizzing guitars mould together to a celestial combination of glistening and sweeping soundscapes. 'Disaster Tourist' is an intoxicating blend of light and dark, eleven tracks seamlessly fit together to make this one of the most rewarding albums of the year from a band you really should fall in love with.

Spotlight Kid - Haunting Me

14. Planningtorock - The Breaks
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It's hard to believe Janine Rostron grew up in Bolton, though now a Berlin native her Planningtorock alter-ego is a bold visionary who through her electronically processed, prosthetic nosed wielding character has created quite the spectacular album. 'W', her second record is as left-field, original and damn right disconcerting, yet uniquely soulful, as it gets.

Opener "Doorway" is utterly mesmerising, combining doomy, threatening atmospherics and experimental soundscapes to spectacular effect, pulsating synthesisers, rumbling rhythms and hypnotic sax create an otherworldly air that is mystically alluring and weirdly danceable. On "The Breaks" a soulful groove sees Janine's passionate, melodramatic delivery result in the most commanding track on the album.

The unusual combination of saxophone, strings and synths make the hazy, funky stomp of "Living it Out" another obvious highlight, Janine's charged vocals fly around at all angles while frenetic strings and groovy, convoluting beats combine to make a track equally playful and fun and catchy. The same could be said about "I'm Yr Man", throbbing beats and distorted, catchy choruses.

There are many moods and tempos throughout the albums 12 tracks, as there are vocal styles, the aptly-titled cover "Janine", sees the PTR gender games continue, a distorted masculine track while “#9”, a slower paced ballad adds beautiful, sensual depth to this quite superb album.


13. I Break Horses - I Break Horses
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I Break Horses released their debut full length 'Hearts' via Bella Union back in August, the Stockholm duo (as a side note, perhaps the best packaged LP of the year too) have crafted a beautiful record of pulsating beats and luscious, glistening soundscapes, icy electronica shrouded in layers of ghostly guitars and subtle, atmospheric sythns.

"Hearts", for me at least, is the signature I Break Horses track, perhaps because it's what hooked me first, it's simply heavenly. Frozen beats sparkle while pulsating rhythms add a slightly sinister tone (my initial reaction was The Terminator theme way back in July 2010) all softly woven amongst echoey drums and the hushed yet, ethereal coos of Maria Lindén. Her voice, as beautiful as it is, acts as another layer of the instrumentation where the lyrical content matters little.

"Winter Beats" glistens like sun over a snowy landscape, where gorgeously dreamy synth pulses and reverberating layers of noise collide. Maria's vocals barely more than a whisper, it's celestial, otherworldly and undeniably beautiful.

The album continues in similar luxurious fashion, a sonic orgasm of swoon-some atmospherics. "No Way Outro" closes the album with dramatic effect, fast-paced drumming and the spectral fragility of "I Kill Love, Baby!" show a more refined style that is infinitely gorgeous. Though, I could have just as easily said "Cancer" and "Empty Bottles", this really is album that demands whole consumption rather than cherry picking, 'Hearts' is completely and undeniably luxurious.

I Break Horses - Hearts by Bella Union

12. St Vincent - Strange Mercy
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'Strange Mercy' the third album by St. Vincent and the first after the critically acclaimed 'Actor' saw Annie Clark confirm her talent and reach new levels of unadulterated fan-boy loving amongst people like myself, her combination of seemingly endless talent (personal opinion put her as the finest guitar player I've seen this live this year - over 150 gigs), incredible intelligence (read her interviews) and poster-girl looks combine to make her one of the most dazzling performers both on-stage and on record.

'Strange Mercy' is a fusion of what made her previous two albums so fantastic, vocals one minute beguiling strong, the next serenely sweet and dense inventive melodies prone to frenzied, rock spikes now with an added experimental, electronic edge. Take opener "Chloe in The Afternoon", part savage rock assault, part complex structures all brought together so fascinatingly by off-kilter rhythms and Annie's rich vocals, it can't but make you go 'wow'. The enchanting single "Surgeon" starts as beautiful as they come before the looping, guitar noodling closes the track in flawless manner, a track that brings genuine goosebumps.

The album continues in a consistently high standard where Annie's bold approach not to stand still is displayed for all to see, the poppy hook of "Cruel" and the softer moments such as the beautiful "Cheerleader" and the smoothly sung title track "Strange Mercy" are equally celestial and then she only goes and blows your socks off with the fuzzed up dirge of the full-on rocker "Northern Lights". Spellbinding.

St Vincent - Surgeon

11. Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis

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We've been spoilt by two albums within just eight months by Pendu recording artist Chelsea Wolfe, the second 'Ἀποκάλυψις' / 'Apokalypsis' came out in August and is genuinely breathtaking, cloaked with mysterious, eerie melodies and beautifully sinister sounds taking its lead from the album titles two Greek meanings ("apocalypse" and "revelation") for amongst the droning electronics, reverberating ambience and thunderous rhythms are these delightful otherworldly moments, for tense and harrowing it maybe, it is also soothing and quite beautiful too

A dark and distorted organ intro gives clear intent, bone-chilling and hauntingly moody,  the desolate and distant drones of "Wasteland" combine a gentle drum machine beat and a windy howl to create an intense ambience all wrapped around Chelsea's ethereal whispers. Intense is definitely the right word to describe the listening experience, her craft and soul is laid bare for all to see. The vocal range is superb, equally capable of soft and delicate whispers and demented, intense cries.

Highlights are evident throughout, the exquisite "Moses" with its doom-laden drums, heavy guitar chords swathed in distortion, the equally slow paced "Pale on Pale" highlights the sinister foreboding atmosphere that Chelsea creates best and "Mer" with its hypnotic rumbling beats and creepy fast-paced guitar comes close to letting in sunlight amongst the gloom, but then I'm neglecting to mention the Gothic cries and off-kilter guitars of "Demons" and the sheer beauty of album closure "Movie Screen"

Get the limited edition vinyl from Pendu now. The debut LP 'The Grime and The Glow' is equally worthy of this slot (check out my album review here), it's vinyl release is now sold-out (although a CD repress is due) so don't dilly-dally for too long.


News Round Up - September 17th

A short round-up (well I've rambled on a bit so it's not so short in fact), I've plenty of plenty of posts to come but I'm struggling to find the time to write them all up. There is simply so much good music about at the minute!

We've been treated to a new version of one of the (many) stand-out's from disco-electronica genius Janine Rostron aka Planningtorock's second album 'W'. "Living It Out" will be released by DFA via two separate 12" releases on 14th November - this invigorating single version features some frenetic strings and convoluting beats to improve an already stunning track. The video sees Janine mystical and menacing, prancing around the streets of Berlin in a hazy, funky stomp - sensational.

A short UK/Germany tour takes place early next Month, including a date at London's Scala, 11th October. Full dates. Must see. If you don't already get the album from Rough Trade and get a free bonus disc. Watch:

Living It Out from planningtorock on Vimeo.

Compare it to the album version here, I'm usually hard to convince to like 'new' / 'improved' / 're-edited' versions but this is one clear case where PTR have improved the track, evolutionary:
Planningtorock - Living It Out

Let's Buy Happiness have released the accompanying video to the (naturally) excellent single 'Dirty Lakes'. Released digitally next Monday, 19th September and on limited physical release in October, (order the mp3 here), make sure you do that. One of their best yet with chiming guitar soundscapes, a joyous melody and Sarah Hall's beautiful vocals instantly melting your heart. I'm not quite tempted to jump into a Dirty Lake yet, but if a band were to make me, it would be Let's Buy Happiness.

I'm looking forward to my next LBH fix, as part of a Spindle introducing night at 93 Feet East, London on October 13th - Tickets. Watch:

Let's Buy Happiness - Dirty Lakes by letsbuyhappiness

Keeping in the North East, my favourite band right now is without doubt Lanterns on the Lake, I'm as excited as a kid in a sweet-shop to say their full-length debut 'Gracious Tide, Take Me Home' is released next week (order it now from Rough Trade with a free and exclusive bonus CD which I'm equally excited to hear), I've previously covered the album preview tracks so search the labels for my thoughts on them, this post however is to tell you two things. Firstly, buy the fucking album, it's superb and these guys deserve it and then secondly, check out this interview / live recording for the wonderful Amazing Radio.

Here is one of the two live recordings from the session, it's an as yet unreleased track too, 'Not Going Back to The Harbour' sees the band at their sensual best, the most expressive, gorgeous melodies you are likely to hear, built around Hazel's soft hushed vocals and beautiful violin it builds up to a cacophonous climax, absolutely breathtaking:

Lanterns on the Lake - Not Going Back to the Harbour from Amazing Radio on Vimeo.

We finally have a London headlining show, November 22nd at The Lexington. Perfect - tickets.
Keep On Trying by Lanterns on the Lake

Finally (and I feel a bit naughty saying Lanterns on the Lake are my favourite band at the minute and then coming onto another of my August / September obsessions, St Vincent) the incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark's third album 'Strange Mercy' (an undoubted candidate for album of the year) came out last week in all good record shops (that doesn't include my local HMV who looked at me like a mad man when I asked whether they had it in stock - and you wonder why they are going bust when you see a new blu-ray release at £22.99 hey).

I'm not going to review it because better writers than I'll ever be have done so in their droves already, I'll instead point you to this wonderful live cover of Tom Waits' "Tango Till They're Sore" and simply remind you to support these fantastic artists, it's all well and good downloading music as you go, but if you don't give them any of your money, they in turn aren't going to have any to record any follow up.

and from the album, the irresistible "Cruel":
St. Vincent - Cruel