Happy New Year!

I’m going to start the new year in fairly typical fashion in that I’m going to post a couple of things I meant to do a few days ago…

Am already regretting my slightly churlish decision not to present a list of 2007’s best releases. Having thought about it there were enough good new releases to make quite a comprehensive list after all – albums by Gruff Rhys, The Besnard Lakes, Deerhunter and, yes, Burial all spring easily to mind, now. But anyway the moment’s gone.

I did want to mention, though, a few new tracks and developments from some of the bands I’ve blithered on about this year.

Firstly I have a track from the new Poq release that was sent to me just before Christmas. It’s actually available on Emusic (God bless ‘em). It’s a remix of the “Disko” track which has been around for a while, but I rather like this new version.

Disko (Lifting Gear Engineer Remix) – Poq

There are also a couple of new tracks available from Birmingham’s Hoden Lane available on their Myspace page, and news of a demo cd which I am assured I’ll be getting a copy of. I’ll post one track, and you can flutter over to their Myspace to pick up the other

Prince Charming – Hoden Lane

Then there’s a couple of compelling, though a little crackly, songs from the great David Thomas Broughton, recorded live with fellow Green Man veterans 7 Hertz (also worth seeing if you get the chance). You can get the other track here.

So Much Sin to Forgive – David Thomas Broughton & 7 Hertz

Broughton has recently released an interesting single with a Swedish electronica producer called Chris Casati, which are pretty good too, and available here (or on iTunes, if you have to…).

Then finally, there’s one extra track available from the sulphurous lair of Michael J Sheehy. He’s also been recording this year, and performing with his brother’s band. See the videos here.

Flyin’ Shoes – Michael J Sheehy

And that’s cleared up all of that. Happy New Year!

I Am the Only Astronaut They Left Behind

I’m still pretty new to the blogging experience in many ways and consequently am still filled with childish glee when getting home from work I find a package on the doormat, which is what happened this week, when those charming fellers Poq sent me their CD.

And it’s full of really cracking songs too, with some really catchy, melancholic choruses that will be floating around my mind for a few weeks. I think when I posted about Poq before I made some laboured point about not liking synthesisers overly much, which is still broadly true, but bands like this do remind you that it’s really all about how you use instruments. Melodies will usually win out. I really like the synths on these tracks.

I think I also banged on about not really knowing anything about the band themselves. So Julian has kindly sent me their press pack, as well as the CD, which tells me that, amongst other things, Pog stands for Piss Off Quickly; that the band are Steven, Chris, David and Julian; that they come from Swansea and that it’s really only now that they’re hitting their stride.

The tracks I’m posting here are Red Admiral and Astronaut which are both slower and more complex numbers than the ones I posted last time, and they’re both quite dazzlingly beautiful songs, that showcase the synths sound that I’m newly converted to. Enjoy.

Red Admiral

Astronaut

It doesn’t matter that the sun don’t shine, It only matters that the sun is in our hearts

Great though those Madagascar tracks are they’re not really staple PP fare, in that they’re not ticking any of the boxes that I try to stick to with this blog. (Not British, not new and not ever likely to get a chance to see them.)

Here’s something a bit more like it…

Poq

I don’t really go a bundle on synthesisers and by and large the eighties were hardly for me a golden era. So I find it hard to take seriously the current trend in Indie pop to revert to some of the blunt and bouncy traits of that time. Well, tomorrow evening, bright young things the New Young Pony Club are coming to the Guild Hall and I shall not be going, for those reasons. Although, I am tempted to turn up just to picket the place. C’mon, lads, think of the children!

By now, if you’re particularly sharp (and still with me), you might have guessed that I’m slowly working my way round to doing one of those “exception that proves the rule” type devices.

Poq, though, are another Welsh band gigging around the area – they recently supported the Toy Band – and they use electronics pretty effectively. They are in fact the exception that proves the rule (see!) as far as synth bands are concerned, and they do a nice line in proper pop songs.

This dog it won’t stop barking
Fills my head with things I’d best forget
All night it calls unanswered
Cries for help that fade into the dark

Apart from the fact that they’ve done a session for Channel 4 and have made a few appearances on various radio stations, their Myspace page doesn’t really give much away about the band themselves apart from “50% of the band went to university, the other 2 have asthma”.

So much for in depth background knowledge… Did I mention they were from Wales?

The Myspace page is worth visiting, though in that they seem to update their blog pretty regularly, but the jukebox doesn’t seem to allow for downloads any more. I say “any more” because somehow I’ve got three tracks that I’m going to post here, although I’m not sure how I got them.

Come and Join the Mob

The Hi-Tec

Loud Dogs Next Door