As PR gimmicks go, changing your name hardly seems the best. Prince becoming squiggly-whatever and Puff Daddy’s morph in to Diddly-squat, were just grasps for attention when a brand is failing, right? So when Morning Benders (giggles) changed their name to Pop Etc I feared the worst- a dire forthcoming album and tired excuses from a has been band. But as a downloadable taster mixtape from popetcetera.com proves, Pop Etc are brilliant, and so is the name.
This week on the 405 we’ve already streamed new M Ward, A Bear In Heaven and Straylings albums, which are all frankly bloomin’ awesome. But the internets have been oozing with other gems, some boring and forgettable too, and I go through them all to bring you the best.
Graham Coxon – A+E (guardian.com)
The only Blur member it’s ok to like (Dave wanted to be a MP so he’s out) is never far away from a ramshackle guitar and a well warn fuzz-box, and A+E shows Coxon’s lo-fi ethic remains virile. These ten songs may sound scruffy, but there’s no lo-fi scrimping; all, bar one, breach the four minute mark, allowing them to scuttle between effects and post-punk drones. Coxon played most of the instruments himself, illustrating the magnificent talent at work – rather than having to rely on the big name talents of famous friends, unlike someone I could mention.
Georgia Anne Muldrow – Seeds (exclaim.ca)
This absorbing psyche-soul trip is the first album Muldrow hasn’t self-produced, instead employing Madlib so she can concentrate on vocals. The result is less experimental but much richer in style and grander in influence. There are flashes of jazzpolitaion and out-phased samples, which could be Erykah Badu on Ninja Tune or a 70’s El-P.
Miike Snow – Happy To You (3voor12.nl)
Miike Snow’s ability to turn a simple handbag house piano melody into a soaring anthem without resorting to Pacha Balearics is outstanding. Happy To You valiantly takes on what it is to be an electro band by making full on bangers gentle and intricate. This album will propel Miike Snow to an Animal Collective level of acclaim and success. Wonderful.
The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet (rollingstone.com)
Let’s be honest, we’re more interested in Omar and Cedric heading over with ATDI than more freaked-out canoodling, but Noctournique’s restraint makes it a Mars Volta record you can actually listen to. There’s still more prog-posity than a Muse stage set, yet The Malkon Jewel’s subtle reggae- noir and the cyber-baladeering of Imago provide an intriguing experience .
Oberhofer – Time Capsules II (spin.com)
Oberhofer’s debut is pretty much text book indie-rock somewhere between Cloud Nothings and Spectrals. Similarly they’re pretty much a one man show with Brad Oberhofer (American obvs) controlling proceedings. As such it explodes with a single vision to aurally assault you with xylophones, effects and ripping distortion. It’s not a statement record, but one filled with youthful excitement.
Breton – Other Peoples Problems (3voor12.nl)
South London multi-media art collective thingamajigs Breton have cobbled together a marvellous album of disjointed beats and TWOCed strings; imagine Tom Vek if he had mates to record with. There’s a bullish confidence flowing throughout, which comes through practice, talent and just being bloody good. It’s constantly surprising as it hustles between rave, hip-hop and detached squat poetry.
Ministry – Relapse (exclaim.ca)
With Download and Sonisphere headlined by dad bands from Metals stone-age it’s essential to have a new Ministry album, because they invented industrial- the genre which allowed metal to survive spandex and hair. Al Jourgensen sounds a tamer than his speedball past, but as there’s so little out there Relapse stands as a glorious beacon of how to thrash out anger.
The Murderburgers – How To Ruin Your Life (murderburgers.bandcamp.com)
This stream only came to my attention because of their dreadful/brilliant name, but I was delighted with their throwaway pop- punk. It’s neither cool nor articulate, but neither is it slick Blink 41 tedium for children. Put them on an entry level festival stage this summer then watch the circle pits spin them higher up the billing over the years.
Fall in love with an amazing album stream this week? Then Tweet me @HiDavidNewbury