06 December, 2007

Chilled Tunes for Xmas

Exams, other writing commitments and a sheer lack of inspiration has meant that the popregister has been a little neglected over the past few weeks. Xmas is also a busy time for me, hitting up the USA West Coast hot spots, so updates will be scarce. So here's a nice one to keep ya going.

I've never really been a big fan of singer songwriters. I don't even know my Rufus Wainwright from my Willy Mason. To sound a little cliched, the whole solo acoustic/piano ballad is just a bit samey. There's only so much you can do with a voice and one of two instruments. That said, people like Patrick Wolf are really tearing up the genre, mixing electronica effects, multiple instruments and lots of editing. But there's a few artists proving that the down-to-the-bones recipe can still work. The following three maintain a simple sound but manage to stand apart. Expect big things from all of them in 2008.

Adele has the soulful tone of Amy Winehouse, the cockney twang of Kate Nash and choruses so powerful you'd think she was singing about the apocalypse. She's signed to XL records, home to popregister faves Cajun Dance Party and Jack Penate. Her first single "Hometown Glory" received a hearty amount of air time on BBC Radio 1 and her latest single "Chasing Pavements", released next month is likely to take the same route. Adele's sound is rooted in her voice. There's nothing wrong with her sound sonically, but the drums and piano or guitar really just provide the foundations for Adele to let rip with their careering vocals. She must have some hearty lungs because her voice is big.

[mp3] Adele - Chasing Pavements (link removed)
[mp3] Adele - Hometown Glory

Soko is the innocent girl down your street who actually isn't that sweet. With her French accent and playful acoustic guitar work she seems as pure as can be. But her songs are or of bitterness, revenge and even murder. There's a lot of depth to the little voice. Her tunes are wonderfully simple and poppy. You just want to look after her.

[mp3] Soko - It's Raining Outside
[mp3] Soko - I'll Kill Her

Lightspeed Champion is probably the oddest looking guy in the world. He doesn't do himself any favors with his Victorian Englishman dress and chunky framed glasses either. But appearance aside, his sound is quite refined. Simple acoustic scores, the odd violin and a bit of backing represent the Lightspeed construct. Think black version of Patrick Wolf, minus the electronica. I think his "Midnight Surprise" is the only song over 9 minutes to ever break into my top25 most played.

[mp3] Lightspeed Champion - The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine in)


I also have to say. The new Wu-Tang Record is immense. Have a listen.

[mp3] Wu-Tang Clan - Rushing Elephants

05 November, 2007

Some Electro Pop Goodness

Joining the ranks of bedroom singer/electro producers is Frankmusik. He's 21, lives in London and likes to play around with some genuinely retro electro samples and twist them into 3 minute pop wonders. He can also knock up a good remix.

[mp3] Frankmusik - Made Her Smile
[mp3] Dead Disco - You're on (FM remix)

Sticking with the working at home vibe are To My Boy, who record all their music on a personal computer. With their drum machines, 80s synth and Bowie style vocals, they're an English Shy Child.

[mp3] To My Boy -In the Zone
[mp3] To My Boy -Model

New York based electro rockers Hearts Revolution are the latest well hyped electro act. With a similar style to Does it Offend You, these producers know how to through a party. Check out their music video below.

[mp3] Hearts Revolution - Domino Effect

With a more contemporary sound are Brighton-based outfit South Central. Known most for their remixes (The Maccabees, Metronomy), they also pack a decent indie/electro tune or two of their own.

[mp3] South Central - Revolution

Architecture In Helsinki @ WOW Hall, OR, 10/31/2007

Halloween marked a fitting night for Architecture in Helsinki to descend upon Eugene’s WOW Concert Hall. With their genre evading, zaney style of pop and energetic displays, the holiday atmosphere proved a perfect platform for the indie deviants.

Opening act, The Jason Webley Quartet soon clicked with the excitable, inebriated crowd. Lead singer Jason played the first half an hour of the set without his backing band, but still had the audience obeying his every order. Before long he had fans spinning in circles, putting their arms around people next to them and dancing to the band’s alternative take on folk rock. And renditions of pop songs including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” made the little known Seattle based band’s set ring with an air of familiarity.

After meticulous preparation of an impressive arsenal of instruments, Architecure were ready to jazz, raggae, rock and pop things up. With a flamboyant on stage presence that matched the band’s audacious musical style, Architecture in Helsinki reeled through a heavy catalogue of material climaxing with the feverously received, latest single “Heart it Races”. Mixing electro samples, rap, traditional rock melodies and even jungle infused beats, Architecture in Helsinki brought a sound never heard before in the WOW concert hall

Although Architecture in Helsinki are based in Australia, lead singer Cameron Bird lived in Portland for a year and it was in Oregon that he came up with much of the material featured on the band’s first album, “Fingers Crossed”.

Cameron then, must have felt quite at home as he and the rest of the six piece band worked the audience using a brilliant array of instruments ranging from electronic synthesizers to tubas and guitars.

With hundreds of people joined together in a sea of random Halloween costumes, hearing Cameron Bird unleash his unruly rapping skills over the tropically rooted, brass inflected pop jig of “Debbie” never felt more right. With no effort the band slid gracefully through musical genres from the subdued melodies of folk pop “What’s in Store?”, to the jazz infused rap of “Hold Music”.

But for a band with so many styles under its belt, it would be difficult to make these styles work in harmony with one another. No such problem for the Australian art rockers however, with the new sounds of electonica overlapping the classic sounds of jazz with such finesse you would deem it totally everyday. Incredibly, with such variety of threadwork running through the band’s construct, the sound is fantastically accessible and impossibly danceable. Architecture are true performers and even with their multi-skilled and richly influenced cast, they don’t let their experimental edge supersede their wonderfully fun pop sound.

[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - Heart It Races
[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - Debbie
[mp3] Architecture in Helsinki - The Owls Go

Pipettes @ John Henry's, OR 11/02/2007

John Henry’s bar, Eugene, OR celebrated pop music of the past as The Pipettes brought their retro styled pop to the stage on Friday night.

In an eclectic night of music, the Pipettes’ guitarist and experimental singer song writer Monster Bobby opened with a solo set of conceptual electronica. With his mix of offbeat songwriting and unusual electro samples, the Brighton based artist proved he was more than just part of the backing band of The Pipettes.

Five piece New Yorkers, The Ladybug Transistor then brought the venue back to normality thanks to their classic indie sound. With their female lead singer and pop sensibilities they owe much to indie starlets, Rilo Kiley.

But it was The Pipettes with their lovable, bubble gum pop that really made an impact. Armed with their four piece backing band, the Pipettes swept through songs from their debut LP and their US only EP “Your Kisses are wasted on Me”.

The band’s aim is to get people moving, through energetic power pop tunes and dance acts to accompany each song. This couldn’t be any clearer, with middle aged admirers, punk rockers and die hard fans alike all coming together to party with the UK based indie trio.

Dressed in matching pokadot outfits and distancing themselves from their support band The Pipettes have the visual characteristics of a manufactured pop act. But though some credit goes to “Monster Bobby” and the rest of the band, most of the creative input is channeled through the girls. Rosay, Julia and Gwenno responsible creating most of the songs, the dance moves and even the dresses. All of which came together perfectly on Friday to create an immersive pop experience.

Now familiar with the bigger crowds back home in the UK, The Pipettes showed great showmanship to put on an exuberant show for the modest crowd that descended upon John Henry’s bar.

With their three female lead singers, heavy bass and sparkly guitar melodies the band sounded like a Phil Spector pop act of the 60s with a modern indie twang. The simple piano scores, hip shaking melodies and finger clicking are all there but so is all the polish and gleam of a contemporary pop act as well as modern tales of youth. Whether its the the girl who’s boring but great in bed (“Sex”) or the girl bully who amounts to nothing after school (“Judy.”)

The lyrics of “Pull Shapes” are the perfect reflection of The Pipettes’ spirit. A song designed with only one thing in mind, it’s a fantastic dance floor draw “I just want to dance I don’t care what the song is about”. With its sweeping orchestral score, hand claps and start-stop melody its destined to keep you there too.

The Pipettes are talented producers of a fun pop package. Refusing to take themselves too seriously, the band’s songs and style are all about getting people to dance and enjoy themselves. Modern performers of an old fashioned sound reworked for the naughties, they’re not to be seen as innovators but they put on a brilliantly entertaining show.

[mp3] The Pipettes - Dance and Boogie
[mp3] The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
[mp3] The Pipettes - Your Kisses are Wasted on Me

30 October, 2007

Cheeky Wombats' Review

Granted there has been a lot of Wombats featured on the Pop Register. But the album is here (5th Nov) and there's no ignoring it.

Its called "A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation" and its every bit as good as I expected.


Seldom does a pop band come along so shamelessly simple and fun, that even the most cynical of critics can’t help but kneel over in their wake. Welcome then, to the world of The Wombats and their charming debut LP “A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation”.

While staying clear of the detrimental qualities of manufactured pop, The Wombats trio boast a genuinely accessible sound while keeping their album fresh and reasonably innovative. There are no worn out stories of drunken romances, lyrics to cringe over or generic “up-beat” melodies. Instead, enjoy fluffy tales of youthful innocence and discovery, delivered via a power pop punch of anthemic choruses and jittery guitar tunes.

For a band still in their early infancy, The Wombats have an impressive catalogue of material. So much so that more than 30 songs had to be worked through in order to decide what was to be on “A guide to…”.

One of the highlights, “Kill the Director” represents everything good about the Liverpool based trio. The song is a homage to the idealistic world of Brit rom-coms in which lead singer, Matthew Murphy compares his own romance to those off the big screen “this is no Bridget Jones…”. It’s a euphoric three minute call to arms – an untamed pop riot that will wear indie/alternative dance floors thin.

“School Uniform” is a wonderfully endearing tale of a school bus romance “you were nine and I was ten…you had a Walkman, all I had was a middle part and a pen”. With its spiky guitar hooks, snappy pace and harmless lyrics, it’s the epitome of fun pop.

The Wombats prove that pop can be as credible as and way more exciting than the latest brooding, leather clad Joy Division descendant. Its radio friendly brilliance and you won’t even feel guilty listening to it.


Check out the older posts for music.

-----Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

24 October, 2007

The Whip - Sister Sian

I give you some sexual sci-fi fun from The Whip, guaranteed to leave your skin raw with pleasure. That said, its no Divebomb/Trash. Apologies for the influx of music videos but this one is so fresh off the press that it'll be a while before I get my hands on an mp3. You can read more on The Whip and download some of their earlier stuff here.

18 October, 2007

Couple of Popregister Worthy Singles

Southampton based pop act the Delays have an EP - 'Love Made Visible' - coming out on November 12 and this is the rather colourful video for the lead track. You can preorder the EP here.

Popregister faithful, Marvin the Martian will be releasing the first single, 'Get By (Be Good)' from his long awaited debut album. The music video has already landed.

16 October, 2007

Some Slightly Less Young Knives

Now recording for their third album, following 'Voices of Animals and Men' and the 2007 re-released "The Young Knives are Dead', The Young Knives are a long way away from their youthful days of supporting Hot Hot Heat and The Futureheads.

Well known for their decidedly classic English gentlemen attire and appearance - chunky framed spectacles, side partings and tweed blazers - the band boast a quirky yet traditional indie style. Their latest single, released on Transgressive Records, home to The Pipettes, The Rumble Strips and other UK indie talent, is Terra Firma.

[mp3] The Young Knives - Terra Firma

Sticking with the agreeable formula of simple punk style melodies, pranging guitar hooks and a chant style vocal delivery, it would seem the band aren't yet ready to move away from their "Young" roots. Still, I'm not bored of it yet. Check out the B sides, including 'A Cavern' sung by Jeremy 'House of Lords' Dartnell himself.

[mp3] The Young Knives - A Cavern
[mp3] The Young Knives - Back to Back

11 October, 2007

Because I just cant get enough DIOYY

With the Shout Out Louds canceling their gig because their bus broke down (pretty lame excuse really) I needed a little cheering and so when I stumbled across the latest Does it Offend You, Yeah? track, 'Doomed Now' I soon forgot about what could have been and instead bopped along to some typically grimy, knotted electro beats. Read up more about DIOYY here, or just download and enjoy.

[mp3] Does it Offend You, Yeah? - Doomed Now
[mp3] Does it Offend You, Yeah? - Lets Make Out (extended mix)

Also in keeping with the breaking down/accident vibe, The Wombats have announced the B side to forthcoming single 'Lets Dance to Joy Division' will be 'Derail and Crash'. Check it out

[mp3] The Wombats - Derail and Crash

07 October, 2007

Mumm-Ra - The Ones to tip?

I've been listening to a bit of Mumm-Ra again and couldn't help but wonder what they're up to. Sure the debut album, 'These Things Move in Threes' only came out in May and they've already released at least two singles from it - but for a band universally tipped by the music press as the one's to watch for 2007 - I can't help but think the Mumm-Ra camp has been a little quiet lately.

After a few festival appearances, the six piece, Bexhill-on-Sea raised, indie popsters have have led a sheltered summer, hitting just a few venues on tour. The album too, only mustered no 42 in the UK album charts. Single sales also failed to live up to the buzz, with most recent release, 'She's got you High' not even reaching the top 40, despite some decent radio airtime.

I hope its not a case of what could have been for the indie upstarts. For a youthful band they boast an impressive and diverse catalogue of material including some great B sides. Their album sweeps from heavy indie rock with whirling guitars and spat out vocals to some cheesy and fun power pop MTV friendly tunes. Don't give up boys.

[mp3] Mumm-Ra - Cute As
[mp3] Mumm-Ra - She's Got You High
[mp3] Mumm-Ra - Song B

-----Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

30 September, 2007

Arctic Monkeys, Voxtrot @ Macdonald Theatre, OR

(Picture by Freddie Powell Tuck)

It is with a little shame that I confess that Friday night was the first time I've seen the Arctic Monkeys live. The Macdonald Theatre, Eugene, OR was also not the kind of place I expected run into the Sheffield raised kings of indie pop.

With The Coral pulling out, Texas indie outfit Voxtrot took over and bashed out half a dozen decent but not awe inspiring radio friendly indie tunes. They served as a decent support to Arctic Monkeys with their UK influenced brand of indie.

[mp3] Voxtrot - Your Biggest Fan

And so with the staged warmed and then cooled again following a wait bordering on an hour, the Arctic Monkeys were ready to do their thing.

It was probably too much to ask for the Arctic Monkeys to be really involved in the night. While they fill stadiums back in the UK, the small venue in Eugene was just another night for the Sheffield quartet. Guitarist Jamie Cook and bassist Nick O'Malley remained rooted to the spot, occasionally gracing the audience with a half arsed smile. Singer Alex Turner, offered some friendly greetings between sips of his pint but showed little of the on stage energy and charisma you'd expect from NME magazine's 2005 "coolest man on the planet".

Musically however, the Monkeys were superb, delivering songs to such perfection you'd believe them to be fresh from the recording studio. 'Brianstorm' got the ball rolling and set the tone of bustling, sweaty, jumping bodies and mayhem for the rest of the night (Eugene kids know how to mosh).

But as a fan of the Arctic Monkeys, though not necessarily a die hard one, I found myself a little lost during the middle of the set when the album filling songs were called upon and couldn't help but wonder and wait for them to whip out the big favorites. The wait wasn't too long however and the night was very much salvaged thanks to a superb 'Fluorescent Adolescent' and a chaotic 'When the Sun Goes Down'.

[mp3] Arctic Monkeys - Florescent Adolescent
[mp3] Arctic Monkeys - The Bakery

And while on the subject of chaos -the band also warmed the crowd to a new instrumental, all guns firing tune - 'Wagon on the way to the Stripy Tent/Circus'. This isn't my recording but check it out anyway

27 September, 2007

Boys Noize and More

Taking a small step clear of the pop music stream I bring you a couple of tracks from the forthcoming Boys Noize debut, 'Oi Oi Oi'. Created by German producer Alexander Ridha, its an album of retro justice-esque effects, complex beat structures and some dirty Does it Offend You style clubbing tunes. A favorite of the Ed Banger artists, Boys Noize have released tracks on Kitsune, Tiga's Turbo records and he fits in nicely with the wave of emerging European electro artists.

[mp3] Boys Noize - Don't Believe the Hype
[mp3] Boys Noize - Lets Buy Happiness

If The Teenagers weren't a group of innocent looking geeky Frenchmen then they'd be no way they'd get away with their stuff. Homecoming, an explicit tale of conflicting interests - the girl looking love, the guy nothing but sex - was an instant hit. Vulgarness is in.

[mp3] The Teenagers - Make it Happen

The Dark Romantics rest in the pond of US rock 'n' rolling bands. Stabbing guitar hooks, punchy, stop start melodies and some rip roaring vocals produce some easily accessibly rock pop. Quite a lot like The Films really.

[mp3] The Dark Romantics - So Confused (and we like it)

I also received a curious e-mail from a band called Strangers in Wonderland, a Stockholm based pop duo. A little on the cheesey side but I like to get new music out there so give it a go.

[mp3] Strangers in Wonderland - Behind the Mask

23 September, 2007

Suede - Pop Legends 1

In what may or may not become a regular feature on your favourite pop resource, we take a look at some of the bands who have shaped today's rock/pop world.

Many thanks this week go to Suede. Instrumental alongside Blur and Oasis in the rise of 1990's Brit pop, The London Suede - as they were known in the US - churned out brilliant pop hits over a span of 11 years. Never once did they dip out of form and all the while achieved the difficult feat of mass appeal while retaining the plaudits from critics.

Suede's guitar focused rock brought strings back to the forefront of the British music scene and lead singer Brett Anderson's distinctive vocals kept Suede away from the generic Brit Pop mob. Accessible was the nature, sexy rock 'n' roll was the sound.

Conflict within the band brought an end to the Suede legacy in 2003 but by the following year, Anderson and guitarist Bernard Butler revealed they had been working together again. Enter new band The Tears and acclaimed album, 'Here Come the Tears'. Despite the album's positive reception, the band lasted only a year. Since then Anderson has been playing the solo game, releasing his debut in February of this year. An ambitious and musically intensive project, the LP aimed to leave Brit Pop behind but failed to hit its high hopes.

[mp3] Suede - Attitude
-----Myspace ------ Wikipedia -----

19 September, 2007

Indie Selection

Pressed as I am for time right now I can't really afford to spend ages researching a band and revealing all. So here's a selection of tunes i've been giving my time to lately.

The Shout Out Louds are playing Oregon soon and I may just have to check them out if only for this song. The SOL's come from the catalogue of preppy geeky American indie bands and their sound is one of fun percussion and simple vocal content over punchy pop melodies.

Shout Out Louds -Tonight I Have to Leave it

The Envy Corps first came to my attention supporting Air Traffic last year. These days they can be seen skipping around the UK playing festivals and accompanying UK indie outfits The Maccabees and Milburn. But despite their brit friends and distinctive UK indie sound, they're actually from Iowa.

[mp3] The Envy Corps - Wire and Wool

Does it Offend you, Yeah? are already well on their way to big things following some impressive festival performances and single releases that just keep getting better. Think big blistering beats, more beats and a whole load of electro mayhem.

[mp3] Does it Offend you, yeah? - Se7en

Bombay Bicycle Club made waves, just like The Young Knives, by winning the road to V - a competition run by the UK Virgin Music Festival to encourage UK talent. Much like Cajun Dance Party, these guys are just 16 years old, but have already engineered a wonderfully polished indie pop sound.

[mp3] Bombay Bicycle Club - The Hill

18 September, 2007

We're still here...

Things are pretty crazy stateside and everythings happening fast. Life takes some adjustment and for that reason, the blog has been a little too quiet lately. Expect some more regular posts soon.

Everything really is bigger and more commercial in the good old USA. So I'm going to go against the grain and deliver a song by a pretty small band. Its a simple song of adolescent woes - jealousy, rebellion, lust and its set to be included on The Wombats' first album, 'Girls, Boys and Marsupials'.

[mp3] The Wombats - School Uniform

-----Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

09 September, 2007

I'm going Stateside..........USA

Yep, in just two days time, the Pop Register is going transatlantic - for a year! Blogging will of course continue, but will be instead delivered from the wonderful state of Oregon. I am expecting a bright and colourful (colorful?) music scene with lots to report on; this idea largely founded by the number of decent artists I know that hail from the area - The Dandy Warhols, The Shins, The Decemberists, to name a few. Not exactly the kind of music I have been blogging about, but I expect to run into a few quality pop acts along the way too. And to commemorate the change in scenery I offer a selection of rather fitting songs.

But do not fear, though the Pop Register's voice will soon be heard from the land of the star spangled banner I must insist that it will always be English at heart!

And while on the subject of English blogs, fellow UK music blog Keep Hope Inside is running a feature on new music blogs. Creator, Saam, asks new bloggers their reasons behind starting up a blog as well as what acts they tip for big things in the coming months.

One such blog is A Space for Music Liberation. An eclectic resource bursting with tracks to download. If you like mp3s....check it out.

07 September, 2007

Justice @ KOKO Sept 6th

(ok so I'm not known for my photography skills (you should try taking a pic with 20 elbows in your face) )

My ears are still ringing, I feel slightly disoreintated, have cuts and bruises everywhere and have had just 2 hours sleep in the last day and its all down to a couple of cheeky frenchmen called Xavier and Gaspard.

Arriving finally behind a platform so packed with flashing nobs and switches it would put the Millennium Falcon to shame, the pair of electro rockers arrived cooly at their DJ throne, separated by the iconic figure of the illuminated crucifix.

The set played out in a similar order to the album. When originally planning what order the tracks should go in on the album, the two sat down and scribbled graphs. The Y axis would represent intensity, the X, length.

To start with purpose and get the wheels in motion was the first aim, which is delivered via a powerful punch of 'Genesis'. As expected, the album opener topped the tracklisting for the gig too. Next came the middle tracks which allowed for greater experimentation, a more varying style and tempo. Not everything has to be floor filling iconic dance anthems after all - check. On the night this was achieved through a spout of remixes and more mixing than you could keep track of. And finally, the dance innovators planned to finish the album with a high and something to remember them by. Last night this came through an unreleased version 'Never Be Alone', spliced with the Klaxons' 'Atlantis to Interzone' and topped with a few rippling, reverberating 'Waters of Nazareth' effects.

But you can't help but think they're trying to ditch the club favourite single that launched them into the MTV limelight. It was certainly left from the album for good reason when you consider the construction of the LP and how it works from one track to the next. With its simple dance-based rather than rock inspired core and repetitive club chorus there's just no home for it. Live is a different story though and it was appreciated by die hard fans or justice novices alike.

-----Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

31 August, 2007

New Air Traffic Single

The music video to 'No More Running Away' - the third single to be released from the Bournemouth band's debut LP 'Fractured Life - was revealed this week.

Its a bit over the top, making me wonder if the band want to be taken a little more seriously. I have however always had a fondness for the song as it was always "that" song they'd play at their gigs when they'd whip out a couple of massive drums from no where and start beating the hell out of them. Still its not as fun as 'Charlotte' or 'Shooting Star'.

[mp3] Air Traffic - No More Running Away

Also a couple of weeks ago I heard a song on XFM, the rock/pop/indie station for London and Manchester. I listened closely at first thinking this makes a change from the usual Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane selection, but was mortified. I know twee. I love twee. But this is tacky, shallow garbage, and how it made it on the radiowaves ahead of actual quality I don't know. It sounds like The Feeling gone wrong. Anyway I somehow brought myself to download the song and put it on here. Its by Scouting for Girls.

[mp3] Scouting for Girls - She's so Lovely

30 August, 2007

Stereophonics Mega Post!

My my Kelly Jones has been busy!

March marked the release of his solo project, Only the Names have Been Changed, a low key album that arrived as a result of little flirtation rather than a long and arduous process of planning and writing. As the lead writer and mastermind of the Stereophonics, it was only really a matter of time before a body of solo work emerged. And its ok but it really is just Stereophonics stripped. It doesn't compete with the band's material but it does prove that he really is the driving force behind the name.

[mp3] Kelly Jones - Emily
[mp3] Kelly Jones -Liberty

October welcomes the Stereophonic's 6th studio album, Pull the Pin. Headlining single, 'Bank Holiday Monday' was released some time ago, but if anything represented a step back, lacking the American rock 'n' roll ruggedness of Language, Sex, Violence, Other? and pop charm of Just Enough Education to Perform. Its just so very average. The LP as a whole doesn't compare either but its a decent listen with a few highlights.

[mp3] Stereophonics - Daisy Lane (from Pull the Pin)
[mp3] Stereophonics - It Means Nothing (from Pull the Pin)

For the Stereophonics enthusiasts, I've also got hold of some early demo material. Recorded under the name Tragic Love Company (you can see why they ditched the name) these couple of songs are the band's roots, their testing of the water and their first big hit at the big time. Enjoy

[mp3] Tragic Love Company - Believe
[mp3] Tragic Love Company - Be Like You
[mp3] Tragic Love Company - Before

Also I couldn't talk about the Phonics without posting my all time favourite tune by them, 'Maybe Tomorrow'.

[mp3] Stereophonics - Maybe Tomorrow (from You Gotta go there to Come Back)

-----Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

28 August, 2007

Kate Nash Can't Rap

One thing i've learnt this week is that Kate Nash should stick with piano scores.

I'm always excited to see artists team up with one another. Recent pop unions I have enjoyed are The Chemical Bros feat. The Klaxons on 'We are the Night' and Dizzee Rascal feat. Alex Turner of The Arctic Monkeys on 'Temptations'. So it was with great anticipation that I discovered Kate Nash had worked with Kano on his latest album, London Town, set for release September 10. And whereas I'd normally encourage artists to delve in other genres and mix things up, I'd have to say Kate Nash is good at what she does but hip hop is really not her thing. Anyway you may disagree.

Kano Ft. Kate Nash - Me & My Microphone
Lethal Bizzle Ft Kate Nash - Look What you Done

In other news, the music video to the new Wombats tune, 'Lets Dance to Joy Division' was released yesterday. In keeping with the unclocked pace of the song, witness 3 hairy Liverpudlians tear down a room and whisk themselves off their feet with some frenzied guitar/drum playing.

24 August, 2007

New Wombats!!!

Perhaps the brilliance of The Wombats' new single "Lets Dance to Joy Division" is not its brilliance, rather how much more brilliant it is to previous single, Kill the Director. Which, I might add was quite brilliant. Somehow condensed into a 3 minute serving of pop goodness is an untamed pop riot. A euphoric call to arms indie anthem; its set to wear the ground thin on every good indie dance floor.

But what the song really screams out is - why dance to Joy Division when you can have us? A rhetorical question - for there's really no good answer. The Wombats are establishing themselves is indie pop masters and are on top form here.

22 August, 2007

Malakai - The Battle Video

To mark the release of Malakai's first EP on September 3 (rather fittingly named, EP1), the video of forthcoming SMASH single, The Battle has been released. And its a predictably psychedelic affair from the trip hopping indie deviants.

Plucked and groomed from the Bristol music scene by Portishead band member, Geoff Barrow, Malakai draw influences from 1990s Bristol outfits and boast a genuinely nostalgic sound. If you missed out on picking up Malakai's first offering, Fading world, here's another chance to snap it up. Also check out some of the best of the ever infuencial Portishead.

Malakai - Fading World

Portishead - Cowboys
Portishead - Toy Box
Portishead - Sour Times

------ Myspace ------ Wikipedia -----

20 August, 2007

Akala - Freedom Lasso

Some interesting facts about Kingslee Daley a.k.a. Akala: hit UK hip hop artist Ms Dynamite is his sister, he's played football for Wimbledon FC and West Ham's youth team and last year won a Mobo award for best hip hop artist, beating urban heavyweights, 50 cent and The Game.

His debut album, Its not a Rumour was universally acclaimed and according to The Times, he was set to become the first UK black rapper to become a household name. We're still waiting though. In fact Akala has yet to breach the UK top 40. But what to the charts tell us anyway?

October 2007 marks Akala's triumphant return, with Freedom Lasso. Though first single, Bit by Bit, set for a September 17 release, is a little drab and unlikely to propel the album to dizzy heights, songs Freedom Lasso and Electro livin' with their electro backing bring Akala into the Calvin Harris era with confidence.

Tracks like Defeated with its pop chorus and classic rock rhythm prove Akala's not only capable of embracing other genres but he's pretty good at it too.


Akala - Electro Livin'
Akala - Freedom Lasso
Akala - Defeated
Akala - Bit by Bit

(removed as of request)

-----Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

17 August, 2007

The Deadly Syndrome

Its not often I pick up on the latest folk pop talent, but this twee LA foursome really grabbed me. Their melodies are shamelessly simple and rhythm based but packed with so much twinkling and cheery oh and aaahs - they're impossibly infectious.

They've been around for about a year now and are releasing their debut album, The Ortolan on September 11. It won't compete with Kanye West's Graduation and 50 Cent's Curtis, both released on the same day, but it'll give you way more for your money.


The Deadly Syndrome - Eucalyptus
The Deadly Syndrome - Winter in You
The Deadly Syndrome - How I Became a Ghost

------ Myspace ------ Official Website -------

01 August, 2007

Marv the Marsh Q&A

Marvin the Martian is one of the forerunning artists behind a new indie/rock/rapping genre billed as "grindie". When he's not rapping over samples from contemporary indie hits, Marv's breathing new life into old classics. His original material isn't bad either.

The Pop Register likes to keep track of its pop faves. First blogged a month ago, Marv's been pretty quiet since. So I caught up with him to find out exactly what he's been up to.


According to your blog you’ve been a little inactive lately. I’m sure this isn’t the case though. You’ve just come back from America. What did you get up to over there?

I'm a person that still believes in the mystique behind your favourite artists and bands. So when I'm doing the mundane day to day stuff that goes with being signed to a major label I don't like to put it out there. It's not that I don't think it's interesting or that my fans won't respond to it, but there's a lot of people putting up blogs saying "Today I was in a meeting with my A&R and we discussed the impact of The Sex Pistols and how they could relate to my position politically" it's too much. I've never had that conversation officially, but you know that sort of thing is just the process. When it comes time to buy my album are you thinking about the music or the fact that I slipped in dog shit outside the Universal building on my way to a meeting about tour support on May 15th? My fans don't want to think about me all the time so I try not to make them. In the time since I signed my album deal though I've been recording non-stop. I'm working on so many things right now, I had planned to do some little gigs around London last month but my Grandmother passed and I had to travel to Philadelphia for her funeral. I met up with a lot of family over there. I wasn't gone for too long but it was a good experience for me. I'm back and recording now though.

You work a lot with indie material: singles by Art Brut, GoodBooks and your new song Guns of Brixton is a take on the old Clash hit. Its unusual for rappers to be so involved on the rock side of the music scene – what’s kept you within this frame?

I've been asked about this a lot, I think I've always come up with different answers. They've all been 100% truthful though. Essentially I think it's being born and raised in London. How can you not pay attention to the music that is so important in this city and you are a part of the city yourself? Art Brut are a band that can sell out The Astoria 3 nights running and not break the top 40 with a single. I love Art Brut. Everything about them. I love GoodBooks, they're album comes out this week I think. Me and Jack actually went up to their studio while they were recording a couple of times and what we heard , was amazing. When I started taking my music seriously in like 2004 I wanted to get out there and experience live music, I wanted to take my performance to the same place Art Brut did and 80s Matchbox did and The Hives did. So when I said "I'm gonna go out there and learn my craft" Nobody was doing it better than those guys. Nobody. Guitar music is still a massive influence on me. I can't wait until I can go on tour with a band and it not be like "Oh they just put a hip-hop/ grime act on because he samples indie" I can't wait for that to be a natural thing. Like Dizzee and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It's not time for that yet though. Example had a rough time with The Rifles recently, I mean The Rifles the band loved him but he had a few dissenters in the audience that made it tough for him.

Your music is a lot more down to earth, often more light hearted than that of a lot of UK rappers. For instance Dizzee Rascal never loosens his grip on the whole outlaw theme of running from sirens, police breaking into his home with jail always a threat. Whereas your forthcoming single, I Hate my Job sounds great as well as being funny and something we can all relate to – “busting my hump...for minimum wage”, “I don’t want no P45”. Do you think the “fun” element is important?

It's the experience to me. I'm so autobiographical. A lot of the time it's to my detriment. I want to write about things I hear about and see and I don't quite capture the essence of what's going on unless I actually lived it. I was talking about myself being stabbed, left alone and leaving somebody alone on 'I Don't Go' that was all real life, my label embraced that fully, I know that's my best place, writing about the things that make me Marvin. We all know that real life for a Western man isn't all doom and gloom though so yeah songs like 'I Hate My Job' are important in terms of getting across the whole experience. I'm not going to give you half of me because it's convenient. I'm not going to give you half of somebody else because it rhymes. There's too much of that right now, in all music. People want to relate to you through your music. At this point in my life, I would say I'm having fun. So I do a remix of Calvin Harris' 'Acceptable In The 80s' because it's fun. I keep it quite serious when I need to though. Most of my album is quite serious.

You have quite the catalogue of mixtapes, remixes and original material available considering your album isn't due out until September. What can we expect from the debut? Will there be a mix of songs – some with indie samples, some remixes or will it just be original Marv?

I am finishing the demos for my album this week and traveling out to Bristol on Sunday with Jack Nimble who's my producer and co-writer. We're going to Bristol to work with a production team called The Insects who are an absolutely amazing team, they produced for Massive Attack and Goldfrapp and they do a lot of film stuff, they're real music people, they want to give me the backdrop for my life story and I want to give them the words. We're going to live in Bristol for a month and turn our demos into a classic album. There's already so much in the album, I've done ballads, I've done fight music, I've done guitars, pianos, turntables, punk, funk, goth, emo. You can expect the perfect hip-hop based British pop album. I'm not being cocky, I'm confident, I know what I'm capable of and having heard what Jack and The Insects have planned it's really going to be a special record. It's all new original material, it's my life story. My plan is to make it my life story. I've got a few other projects that will surround the album though that I can't really talk about yet. I'm getting my David Bowie on, you'll see some really strange things happening around the album.

What tours have you got planned to promote the new album? Is Marv going to be getting himself around?

We're sorting all that out at the moment. There could be one I'm on in September/ October to support my new single but there's talk of a label tour with all the other No Carbon acts which would be amazing. The Rivers and The Dodgems and The Casuals are great bands. I'm hoping that somewhere down the line I can get back out with Goldie Lookin' Chain who I went on the road with in December. I learned a lot from those guys in terms of professionalism, showmanship and just dealing with tour life generally. I'm pretty sure that once this album's completed I'll be on the road pretty much constantly for 18 months at least. That's what I'm hoping anyway.
------ Myspace ------ Official Website ------- Wikipedia -----

27 July, 2007

The Go! Team Return to Action!

With their second album, Proof of Youth coming out on September 10 I thought I'd pay a little homage to the UK's noisiest band.

The Go! Team's trade is sheer boldness. Their debut album, Lightning, Thunder Strikes, nominated for the Mercury music award, is a mass of conflicting, overlapping sounds and instruments. They create something that's different from run of the mill pop - something bigger, more accomplished, but something you can still move to.

Now their back - and dare I say - even bigger? For one they're no longer recording their songs in a garage, rather a well-kitted recording studio. And thanks to revenue from their successful debut LP the Go! Team have got their hands on even more instruments and mixing equipment to kick up some ruckus. The old sound is still very much there - the two drum kits, sprinklings of brass, keyboards and the unusual blend of singing, rapping and child-like chanting. Check out some of their new material and the video for first single Grip like a Vice.



The Go! Team - Titanic Vandalism
The Go! Team - Doing it Right
The Go! Team - Keys to the City


17 July, 2007

Shiny Toy Guns Interview

Shiny Toy Guns aren't the pinnacle of coolness. They're friends with Fall Out Boy, dress like "emos" with a hint of gothic and most of their fans are based on Myspace.

They do however pack a punch of easily digestible snyth based electro pop. So dodgy image aside, I checked them out in Colchester UK and had a chat with Keyboardist and electro hot head Jeremy Dawson. We talked about machines, pop music and the murder of Kate Nash.

Backstage at the Colchester Arts Centre basically means stepping into the kitchen-come-lounge area of a converted church. The room is stuffy beyond belief and packets of wafer thin turkey, amongst other things, litter the floor. The questionable sofa we are invited to sit upon is soon whisked from mind as the lanky Californian passes us a couple of cold beers. Birmingham based Indie rockers Midas, replacement for Does it Offend You, Yeah? look on with lead singer Kris dressed in a Shiny Toy Guns T shirt.

After discovering that the new wavers have already played in Colchester three times, we get onto some more serious stuff. Shiny Toy Guns are a band who have really risen through the ranks in the online music community. Despite only reaching 94 in the UK charts with debut single You are the One, the same song had had over a million plays on their Myspace page.

I have to ask you about your internet appeal - which is phenomenal. You topped the itunes chart and everything.

Yeah there was a moment in the UK when we beat Amy (Winehouse), the Arctic Monkeys, Linkin Park.

So how much would you actually credit your growth as a band to the internet and myspace? You seem to acknowledge it on your website by making your album available to download at the click of a mouse.

Well its like this. You have to have EVERYTHING working for you. You have to have some half decent music but you can have all the technology in the world but that doesn’t stimulate growth or a fan base or people enjoying your music. But what sucks for a bunch of bands is there’s is great music and that’s all they have, great music. And they just lay around and play gigs and expect the world to be fed-ex’ed to their door. Its just logic.

You can still have screaming guitars and amps, bad hair, big tits and beer – just, why not be half machine too? Why not market your band beyond a stupid photocopy that's stuck to a tree that no ones going to look at, that no one’s going to see and that someone’s going to rip down the next day? Why spend 200 quid making photocopies to spread round a bar that’ll just end up on the floor? When you can have technology and reach 2 million people in Australia in less than two seconds.

We've just walked past throngs of "emo kids" dressed in clumpy Vans, tight fitted shirts and straightened hair and so I feel I have to mention the age of the majority of STG fans

A lot of your fans seem to be young people too, people that use myspace a lot.

Well that’s what you think. If we played a show that was 18+ to enter it means a whole load of people over the age of 18.

So they're out there. We moved on and asked Jeremy about Does it Offend You, Yeah?, why they pulled out of the gig and about his own role in the electro scene

DIOYY got a massive record deal in America. They called up the studio and they asked us a few weeks ago if it’d be a massive problem if we pulled out of Colchester.

There’s actually a ton of remixes out there. There’s seven Rainy Monday remixes that are about to come out. Yeah we’re sort of mixed up in that world. We love messing with all that stuff because we’re ex dance guys.

So you’ve done remixes of other people’s stuff then?

Yeah we’ve just finished Tiesto’s new single. We remix the dance, like the Ibiza stuff that you’d go see at Gatecrashers or whatever. Those guys call us because we’re a rock band who understand electronic music and say “we want to be in that scene too. We want them to not make fun of us any more and want you to work on our record”. We’re writing for Paul Oakenfold for his new album to try and give it something different. Its fun because we can go back to real dance music again which keeps us sharper.

We move from dance and on to the undeniable (and quality) pop sound of the band.

You guys have a genuine pop sound which I think is a really good thing. Though there’s a lot of negative connotations surrounding pop artists today. Is that something that bothers you?

Well I listen to Radio 1 you know. Like even Dizzee Rascal I thought that was kinda cool. Kate Nash, that's a great song and Jack Penate. If i hear it another four times I’m not going to like it but right now its okay.

Yeah well I think its good you have this pop sound. A lot of bad things are said about pop artists but I see it more of a fun way of making music.

Yeah well we’re not pissed off. I don’t hate my mum. I don’t do heroin. I don’ t throw chairs through windows.

Its about having fun.

Yeah we love to play music, hang out with people, get to know people and have a good time. I don’t have a bone to pick with life. Unfortunately its real easy to get into NME and sell records America or the UK by being pissed off, by having issues, by reflecting those issues and being crazy.

Its like a soap opera in a magazine...

Yeah its like he said she said Pete Doherty killed Kate Nash with a baseball bat

Its two years and a couple of remodels since debut LP We are Pilots was first recorded. We asked Jeremy if the band were still in the process of promoting the album or if work had begun on some new material.

We’re going to be on this record for a while. Version one and two were just demos. Some of the older stuff that didn’t make the cut I think was actually better.

Did you find you didn’t get that much control then over the track listing and stuff?

No we had complete control but you know when someones been doing it for 20 years and says this song should be track number three I’m going to really think about what he says. I mean our A & R guy (Artist and Repertoire, responsible for selecting songs from a pool of prospective material) is the guy who A & R’d Razorlight. Now i’m not a massive Razorlight fan, I don’t know if you guys are...

...no they have one good song and that's a cover of an old song.

Really? Well they sold three million records on this Island. So i’m going to listen to him you know!

With Midas kicking up some racket next door we decided to rap it up. Jeremy tells us Shiny Toy Guns are hitting Reading and Leeds this year and also that he's DJing in a club after the show. With much thanks, we leave him to get ready.

With plenty of smoke and glow sticks abound, Shiny Toy Guns took to the stage, with front man Chad resembling one of the Scissor Sisters with a cowboy hat and handle bar moustache. The band fired straight into things with You Are the One and Le Disko before powering through most of the tracks on the album, much to the rapport of the Colchester faithful.

The band, who sprinkle their songs with electronic beeps and high impact punchy synth sounded a little more "emo" and a little less electro pop with a lot of the electronic effects lost in the noise of the performance. Vocals were very much up to scratch however, and an otherwise quality set complete with a two song encore meant their point had been proven.

A formidable pop act for 2007, Shiny Toy Guns are likely to go from strength to strength. Just bring on some new material!


Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko
Shiny Toy Guns - Rainy Monday
Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko [Boys Noize Remix]