A sporadically-updated music collection blog. Send questions to twitter or email me.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Joie De Vivre - The North End

Same band, same scenario. As happened with We're All Better Than This, I bought a Joie De Vivre album digitally and still ended up buying the vinyl. There's just something about this band. This one I got from Count Your Lucky Stars at the same time as I did Snowing, and it was ruddy cheap. Thanks again, CYLS.

A minor case of deja vu. Another Joie De Vivre album with not a lot going on, one dominant colour and a nice slight fuzz on the image. Not sure on the lettering style for the band name, but that white band at the bottom is delightful.

Double-sided insert, as before. While WABTT's art was all about ducks, this album is all about dogs. Possibly even just one dog, as they all look quite similar. The other side, as usual, is lyrics - but there's a twist here. The tracks aren't listen in album order, there doesn't seem to actually be any order to the tracks. Very strange.

Though it looks like it could be white here, this is definitely the "milky clear" it was described as in the CYLS store. I'd probably go with "translucent white", but it's lovely regardless. Nice paper aeroplane motif, too. For you numbers nerds, this is from the second pressing and is limited to 350.

This is Joie De Vivre's first full-length album, following on from the extended EP Summer Months (more on that soon), and I have to say it took a while for this to click with me. It's a little slower than WABTT and maybe a little sadder too. The first few times I listened to it, nothing really stuck. I thought it was okay but little more and really it was only how much I enjoyed WABTT that kept me coming back for more Joie De Vivre. All of a sudden, everything fell into place. It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what it was - perhaps the impressively sad trumpets that signal the start of Salt, the immediacy of the chorus to Upper Deck San Diego or the dripping sadness of the title track - but I went from apathy to adoration in the space of about a day. I now rank this right up there with WABTT in terms of my favourite emo albums, and tend to listen to the two consecutively when I can (which more often than not involves being sat in bed with a cup of tea). The digital version is super-cheap because CYLS like that kind of thing. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Monday, 9 June 2014

your neighbour the liar - It seems we're made to suffer; it is our lot in life

It's strange the way things end up going sometimes. In the middle of my tremendous emo binge, I managed to stumble across a pleasant Scottish band but couldn't seem to find any of their records locally. Instead, I had to order one from Ireland. To get shipped to Scotland. Something in this equation doesn't quite make sense. Never mind, it was quite cheap so I'm not too bothered.

As someone who spends a rather worrying amount of time on Google Maps (through my job), a cover featuring maps was always bound to appeal to me. Being the tremendous nerd that I am, I had to work out where this was - a swift googling later and I have deduced that this is Dundee! Not entirely sure why they chose Dundee, but there you go. Also note the little sticker - "twinkly autumn-time emo". Very fitting.

Nice little insert with lyrics and more maps! Yay maps. Note also - the title of this 7" isn't actually the title of either song - it comes from the chorus of Window. I think I quite like this.

More plain black vinyl? Yeah, I know. Don't worry, we'll be back in colour soon. I like the use of white (well, brown) space on the back cover an awful lot - and the labels are pleasantly sparse too. Pressing info fans - this is limited to 350.

As explained so perfectly on that little sticker on the outer sleeve, YNTL are a lovely, twinkly, autumnal emo band. Between the two tracks here we've got a nice level of variety - Year is quite laid-back and pensive, the sound of a calm (but very grey) autumn day, if you will. Window, though, is much more like a sudden shower of heavy rain. There's an absolutely glorious guitar melody over a backdrop of just-right distortion and reassuringly Scottish vocals. It's pretty great, I have to say. The tracks themselves are pretty good value at free here, so go ahead if you're feeling twinkly.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Tellison & Tubelord - split 7"

It's now been almost 18 months since Tubelord split up, and I'm definitely still not over it. One of my coping mechanisms has been to slowly try to acquire every piece of vinyl they release. There are a few bits that will be tough to get, but I managed to get this from Banquet with little fuss. Moreover, it's a split release with Tellison, who I adore but have never written about here. Bonus!

This artwork is incredible and despite having had the release digitally for a few years now, I never fully realised until I had the 7" in my hands. For one, the various elements of the artwork are clearly handmade, which is a nice touch. Then there's the fact that nearly everything about it is a reference to a line from one of the two songs. It's a tremendous effort, all told. Apart from the obvious wasp and pencils to reference the two song titles, there are references to at least all of the following lyrics:

  • "I hate the river"
  • "My imagination was the first apple tree"
  • "You wore a sign around your neck and it read not for sale today"
  • "We're bigger than Memphis"
That level of attention to detail is something I can completely get behind.

Plain black vinyl this time, limited to 500 copies apparently. The back cover not only has track info, but dates from when the two bands toured together way back in 2008. I wish I'd gone to that Birmingham Academy gig. Oh well.

I don't think I really need to talk about how much I love Night Of The Pencils any more than I previously have done. I spoke fairly recently about it, the short version of which is "it's one of my favourite songs ever". I hope that will suffice. What I'll do instead is spend a little while talking about how great Tellison are. Musically this split makes a lot of sense, as the band are not a million miles from Tubelord in terms of sound. A little less yelpy, a little more traditionally "indie", Tellison excel in writing gloriously catchy poppy indie. Wasp's Nest is a prime example of this - a "ba da ba ba-da" refrain, a danceable chorus and some memorable (but slightly nonsensical) lyrics. It's surprising that this never made it onto an album proper, but fortunately it still seems to find its way into the band's setlists. This I am very happy with.

Good split all told, and another one knocked off the list of Tubelord to find.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nai Harvest - Hold Open My Head

Pre-orders are fun, aren't they? Even better when they turn up earlier than expected. The latest Nai Harvest 7" arrived a month or two ago, and I was delighted to find it on the doormat. Then I managed to avoid posting about it for an age, and here we are. Oops.

I appreciate the slightly childish charm of the cover, though it's doubtless not for everyone. Is that a big apple on the right hand side? Better not get sued, boys.

Fully-printed insert, yes please. Lyrics, as always, are a plus though printing in a thin yellow on red is mildly headache-inducing.

A nice creamy blue and yellow mix, I will take that. It offers quite a contrast to the large swathes of red elsewhere. This colourway is limited to 400 out of a total first pressing of 1000, for you numbers nerds.

There's a second reason why I've taken so long to write about this, beyond my usual laziness when it comes to writing posts. In some ways, I was uncertain about whether I should write about this at all because, well... I don't like it. For all my usual relentless positivity, here is something I wanted to like but I can't connect with it. It's not even really the songs that are the problem - it's the way it sounds. The deliciously crunchy guitars of Whatever have been smoothed out and, for me at least, it hugely dulls their sound. Where Whatever was brash and almost sneering, this feels a little lethargic. This is most frustrating me at about 1:30 in I Don't Even Know where a slow-paced intro gives way to an enticing drum fill and I'm waiting for the guitars to bite and they just.. don't. They come in, sure, but it feels underwhelming. Sorry guys, this one isn't for me.