The sun is out, everybody is skint and, if you're anything like me, still recovering from Glastonbury and the questionable Arcade Fire gig at Hyde Park. Therefore, I'll keep the chat on the downlow this week, and simply state that there are some fantastic releases out from the likes of Givers, and some not so brilliant tracks from ridiculous characters like Bright Eyes. Happy? Have a listen and get voting at the bottom.


Givers – 'Up Up Up'

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Sounding like Vampire Weekend, in the split second before people jumped on the bandwagon and started hating on them, this is a gloriously energetic summer tune, from the shimmering guitars, to the joyous dual vocal, which steers clear of the 'hugely irritating' moniker whilst retaining bags of nauseating charm. Catchier than any vaguely topical comparison you can think of, the pleasure of the song is rooted in the vocal dynamic, which both converses and harmonises, over the falsetto guitar jabs and synchronised handclaps. Instead of making excuses about the bad weather now that we're into July, hide behind this and pretend that the Glastonbury mud was all a horrible, sticky nightmare.



Tim and Jean – 'I Can Show You'

This is a hugely tricky one; I'm a big fan of Passion Pit, but how much can a band sound like them but still retain an ounce of individuality? I'm in a good mood, so let's say that 'I Can Show You' is the example for others to follow, taking the trademark synth work of the predecessors, but heralding their own personality through the vocal, which sits slightly deeper Michael Angelakos. Slightly. The harmonies offer something different through two singers, but they're frankly on thin ice in passing this off as anything other than massively inspired by the Massachusetts five-piece. Passion Pit might have been off the radar a little too long; their undoubtedly narrow niche might just have been filled...



Moon Duo – 'Fallout'

Hazy psych-prog from Moon Duo up next, taken from their forthcoming debut release Mazes, which follows previous material in coughing up a fug of distorted, turbine guitar over which Eric 'Ripley' Johnson can drawl and sneer to his heart's content. That said, this deserves a lot more credit than I may suggest, as producing a sound which should easily become dull and derivative around the one minute mark retains an interiority and originality across the eventual five minute soundscape it builds towards. Layered across the two chord riffs are systematic suggestions of Eastern, grunge and glam guitar, with the droned vocal adding mere nuance to the overall result, rather than threatening to overpower. Not too shabby at all.



Bright Eyes – 'Jejune Stars'

I am a big fan of Bright Eyes, but after discovering him in the angsty pre-alcohol/girls days, I grew to love the acoustic vulnerability of Conor Oberst, and as a result judge every new release through the spectrum of 'First Day Of My Life'. 'Jejune Stars' is a nice enough song in it's own right, but the joy of albums like Cassadega lies in the sense of invention and concept, whilst this track merely sounds like a Villagers castaway. Sonically, this is a busy, busy song, with as many effects and rhythms squeezed into four minutes as is aurally possible. Taking meandering electrics, to the urgent drums, then the underlying and underwhelming keyboard through the chorus, this is a track which tries to be too many things without ever truly finding its own definition. Whilst The People's Key offered a deeper sound, it sacrificed the intelligence and craft of earlier efforts, and thus, whilst this is a wonderfully acceptable track, it leaves lingering questions about what quite went wrong. Of course, you may feel I'm a total dick, and this is incredible. Each to their own I guess.



Pope Joan – 'The Celebration'

Is it just me, or does this sound a bit like Grinderman if they chose harsher percussion and clearer song structure? Equal parts blues and folk, this hints at Two Gallants and the Black Keys, with the abrasive delivery that has come to be associated with this ever-changing scene of DIY blues. The more you listen, the further subtleties you appreciate, whilst always drawing back to cower in the imperious vocal. Bloody great.