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]

13 July, 2007

Unashamedly and Unapologetically Pop - Dragonette

This 3/4 Canadian quartet started making pop music for kicks. They messed around and knocked up a few cliched pop tunes in a basement, after listening to 80s pop bands like The Cars. But what started as a joke, has led to a portfolio of some of the most wonderfully catchy electro pop tunes around today. Its called Galore and you can buy it from the first week of August.

The now UK based outfit were first spotted on the radar after a couple of prestigious supporting roles with New Order and Duran Duran. Since then they've been kept in focus thanks to a whole lot of internet buzz - much of it generated from popular music website Pop Justice, who's list of The Best of 2007 boasts FOUR Dragonette tunes.

One of which is debut single I Get Around. The headlining track on an album of 11 pop gems, it represents everything good about Dragonette. And for that matter, pop. Beginning with a bouncing electric bolt of snyth before launching into a dangerously punchy tune coupled with some delightfully naughty lyrics [you don't tell on me, I won't tell on you] its the epitome of fun pop.

Get Lucky could only have been crafted using the sunshine and sea from an idyllic seaside setting. Keyboard effects fresh from a 30s funfair compliment some delicate acoustic guitar licks and the soft winding vocals of Martina Sorbara that bring her back to her singer/songwriting days.

Black Limousine is a collage of different electronic sounds that somehow sounds like a sinister Scissor Sisters.

Galore is wonderfully fresh, bubbly and bright and it will leave you hooked totally hooked on all things catchy. Its a package of pop goodness from some talented lovers of pop. Can't ask for more really.


Dragonette - I get Around
Dragonette - Get Lucky

11 July, 2007

Rude Electro Punk - Does it Offend You, Yeah?

Lets face it these guys are a bit scary. They want to shock, and are confident that they do just that ( "yeah?"). They use samples from Battle Royale, a movie where a school class of children are thrown on to an island and forced to wage war until only one survives. And if one of their tracks got mistakenly played on BBC Radio 4, all hell would break loose down the local retirement home. They're obnoxious electro punksters and they don't care if you like them.

With an ethos like that and the uncanny ability to rattle cages, its easy to dismiss the UK trio as the latest group of no good scenesters. But despite what they'll have you believe, their music is as accessible as any other - so long as you have time for it.

Alongside popular electro artists such as Justice, SebastiAn and the rest of the Ed Banger crew, DIOYY follow on from the success of the pioneering Daft Punk. But whereas DP knock up a few samples and patch over a loop of roboticised vocals, this new wave of electro artists offer that little more.

Battle Royale seemingly has no structure to it, indeed it isn't till more than half way through that it launches into its blistering array of grimy, knotted electro beats. In the fashion of their other works, Battle Royale is so packed with samples, effects and different beat patterns its almost too much to take in. And only after 10 listens will you fully get to grips with some of the different sounds that are skillfully woven into the grain of the song.

We are Rockstars starts with a patchwork of industrial sounding clanking and winding and there's a sense of anticipation as you feel a melody try and break free of the tangle. A Daft Punk-esque syth voice is then employed proclaiming "we're rockstars now" - but definitely not in the traditional sense. Its dirty electro given a fresh rework. And its great.

Even the remixes by these guys have a distinct sense of autorship about them. Whereas most electro mixes are just a mash up of electro beats underlying the key lines and important sounds from the original song, every DIOYY remix is recognisably their style.


Check out the spoof styled music video to Battle Royale to see power rangers take on a jug monster with big sticks

07 July, 2007

The Rock 'n' Rolling Films


If the films were actually a movie they'd be an hour and half romp of drugs, sex and booze. The press would dub it "Slick, stylish and sexy". The US press would give it "two thumbs up". It would draw on traditional themes and employ a tried and tested formula. But boy, would it be loud.

But of course they're not a movie. They're a four man band of New Yorkers determined to make a lot of noise. Their debut album, Mastered, can only be described as a super charged 35 minute rock n roll riot.

Black Shoes is a rampacious clash of edgy guitars and foot stamping pop melodies. Its full of fire [hes looking for a fight...but we might just take him for all he's got] but poses no menace as it whips you off your feet.

Being Bored just screams rock and roll with its sharp and punchy guitars, backing vocals of [ahhh-ahh] and tales of worthlessness. And it - like the whole album - will leave you anything but bored.


06 July, 2007

Apologies for the Filler

With this blog still in its early infancy its appeal must come through regular, well informed updates rather than a catalogue that stretches back years. So far I feel this has been acheived, with updates coming on a daily basis. Anyway who wants to read about the latest band from a couple of years ago? If they've made it - you'll know about it. So why devote all your attention the firm favorites. Give the new - the Pop Register - a chance.

So there has been a complete lack of any live reviews or interviews lately. Apologies for this - it is as unfortunate for me as it is for the reader - that I live in an area of the UK (Essex) that is completely deprived of a decent music scene. Fortunately come September I'll be moving to Oregon USA, for a year - an area with the most creative persons per capita than anywhere else in the States. So with a bit of luck some things will be going down there. In the mean time look forward to a live review of Shiny Toy Guns and hopefully a cheeky interview with their support, Does it Offend You, Yeah? Both are quality electro pop outfits and I think they'll fit in pretty well at the register.

Blessed with a much more happening music is scene is the Fucking Dance blog, delivered from Manchester. They have a few indie chunes knocking about by Good Shoes and Bombay Bicycle Club.

05 July, 2007

Guilty Electro Pleasures - Trademark


Electro is the definitely the coolest scene right now. With its dirty beats, snyth mania and stylish clothing (just check out Justice's D.A.N.C.E. video, or the other side to Kitsune), its the hottest circle around today.

But Trademark seem blissfully unaware of this. Stuck with their highly uncool - yet pretty fun - sound of 90s pop mixed with 80s electro. Using some genuinely old school, New Order inspired samples and snyth and throwing in some boy band inspired 1990s pop choruses, Trademark produce a sound that's categorically pretty different today.

Come to Love is a perfect example with its cheesy chorus of [we can fall in love together and see the end of time together, baby] and use of a sample fresh from a schoolroom keyboard. You wouldn't dare play it at you're own house party but it'll be on repeat on your car stereo (so long as the windows are up).

With its penetrating, reverberating bass line and handfuls of effects all weaved in, Toe the Line reflects Trademark's most complete sound. A genuine disco floor thumper, its satisfyingly danceable and you won't feel guilty listening to it, either.


In other news, our friends over at Turn the Page have an interesting piece on Art Brut and their unusual international appeal.

04 July, 2007

Pop Science - Vatican DC

Vatican DC

Vatican DC's debut rock/pop album make it Make it Ride is a sound so down to formula that they've probably been in trouble for plagiarism. They're a five man gang of London scenesters and they've done their homework.

From the hints of new wave with the backing [oooh] and [aaah] vocals of Make it Ride, to the electronic vocal and guitar effects of Not Your Fault, and the powerful, anthemic pop choruses of Side to Side and Sparks, every song on Make it Ride is memorable in some way -a feat few artists are capable of achieving.

Fountainhead is a song so tightly knit there's not a second wasted. Weaving synth, punchy vocals and some lightning guitar picks, its a well oiled pop vessel. She Takes Me Out is a cathartic affair, powering along at a pace rivalled only by its own fury. Bugs could easily have been created for a movie break up scene. You can just imagine the montage of weeping, glossing over old photos and the contemplation of a phone call.

Its a perfected calculated pop project. A conglomeration of different pop styles it nethertheless boasts a familiar core. You can buy Vatican DC's album, Make it Ride now.




To prove not everything small and furry is cute - here's The Scare with Bats, Bats Bats.

The Scare are a band that very much agree with my theory on good pop. They have a laugh, get drunk, beat each other up and just make some records. Its all about having fun - and if you can produce something as good as their debut UK single while doing that - we welcome The Scare.

Having found little demand for their brand of destructive punk back in their homeland, Queensland, the dirty rockers decided to pack it in and go reek some havoc in Birmingham UK. Here they've made a name from themselves thanks to their rampant touring and on stage theatrics.

Like a song fresh from The Horrors' album, Bats begins with a touch of gothic and a teasing bass line that only hints at the mayhem that lies ahead of you. Lead singer Kiss Reid then launches you into the thick of things with his screaming, head banging vocals. Its heavy, its hard and its dangerous, but never verges over the doomed line of heavy metal. This is pop in all its fury.

You can pick up some of their earlier AUS based material over at Off the Record


03 July, 2007

Alien Ryhmes - Marvin the Martian


While his name is out of this world, Marvin the Martian is a man very much in touch with everyday life. Born and raised in Brixton, London, Marvin endured a troubled youthhood and found himself homeless with a child on the way aged just 18. Now in his twenties, Marvin is very much on an upward trajectory, owing much to the success of his first hit Stay off the Kane, produced using a sample taken from Art Brut's single, Emily Kane.

But while he chronicles harrowing tales of lost love and everyday struggles in London, he doesn't get bogged down in the grime. Instead his work boasts a refreshing and light core thanks to his use of upbeat indie tunes originally by artists like The Maccabees and GoodBooks. Check out his myspace to download his latest mixtape for free.


Marvin the Martian - I don't go (alone) (feat GoodBooks) (.m4a)
Marvin the Martian - Reymell

02 July, 2007

Psych Mixers - Malakai

Malakai are a little know band from Bristol who's talents come from their ability to glide through musical genres, use a wide range of instruments and through their intensive use of mixing and editing techniques.

Fading world is what happens when you lay down a track then rip it apart. One moment you think you know where the tune is heading, then suddenly some other melody kicks in and you're taken down a whole new path. Yet the final product is a song that flows beautifully. Think 60's with a dashing of folk, lashing of pyschedelia and some haunting ambience and you're almost there.

The Battle kicks into gear on a sample fresh from an 50s horror flick before bursting into a funky Arctic Monkey's-esque bassline coupled with some suitably booming vocals, with special attention given to its climax [stand up! stand up!]. Its not a song you'd sing into a real battle but it'd no doubt spark a mosh pit of fury at any of their gigs.


Malakai - Fading World

London's Alright - The Tacticians

Ok so you might already have realised I have a soft spot for cheery, uplifting tunes. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across THE feel-good summer anthem of 2007, over at Good Weather for Air Strikes. I simply had to share it.

Take a few simple yet soulful guitar rifts, throw over some sun kissed lyrics [the music's ringing in my ear, and the sun is shining everywhere], add a few twinkling sounds here and there, and your left with one of the most infectious and addictive tunes of the year. Their other stuff isn't bad either.


The Tacticians - London's Alright