February 26, 2014

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The Flies - One Day My Baby Will Leave You

Now this, this is frankly marvellous. Sean Cook's past as a member of Spiritualized (and their later offshoot, the damn fine Lupine Howl) seeps through this, the first single from The Flies forthcoming second album. Lush, romantic strings surf atop a 'Be My Baby' backbeat to wonderfully heartbroken Spector-esque effect. Utterly beautiful.
February 23, 2014

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Eric Benet - Runnin'

Do you actually remember Eric Benet? Fanous in..what, the late nineties? Married to Halle Berry for a while. A bit 'nu-soul' back when that was a thing, a bit clean, a bit polished. Pleasant enough but just designed for other people really. No real edge. Well he's not exactly gone all glitch techno on the world but he has taken the chance to update his sound more than a little (in fairness, he's not actually been away - last album in 2010 - it's just that most of us weren't paying attention) with his new work Runnin' - the first track from his new album due in April - sees the first fruit of his work with The Afropeans and has picked up more than a little dup step on the waywith a little James Blake influence in the backing vocals. Still fairly smooth but pretty interesting with it. https://soundcloud.com/peppermint-soul/runnin-01/s-zyzV8?in=peppermint-soul/sets/eric-ben-t-the-other-one/s-zyzV8
February 20, 2014

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Velvet Morning - Velvet Moon

Here's something just a little bit special for you: Streaming their new EP in full on the link below before actual physical release on 24th Feb are Southend's Velvet Morning (the EP come close to being self titled but hits the opposite end of the day to the band's name) Clear late 60s Psych influences abound here but with an underlying groove running throughout. There's a sway that reminds one of Spiritualized, a rhythmic base that feels like prime 'Can', a dreaminess, a drowsiness that sits well with The Velvet Underground's slower moments, eastern percussion, droning guitars, there's a gorgeous sleepiness topped with reverb soaked vocals that fans of The Mary Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre and early Psychedelic Furs will fall for immediately. When I grow up I want to be in Velvet Morning. https://soundcloud.com/velvetmornineverymornin/sets/velvet-moon/s-Yb7S1 Be nice - go talk to the lads here: https://www.facebook.com/Velvet.Morning.band Tell them ei8htball sent you.  
February 18, 2014

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Will Varley - Weddings & Wars

Sometimes the audio and the visual are almost impossible to separate. Such is the situation with Will Varley's 'Weddings & Wars'. Standing alone the folksinger's latest single is a pleasant acoustic and fiddle based sway working it's way through an entire socio-political history of mankind like a less frantic version of the 'Big Bang Theory' theme; with the video though it becomes something else. The video is self created, an 8 bit narrative with the feel of an early Nintendo platform game (perhaps that's all life really is) The problem then becomes this: can the song truly stand alone? The visuals are so strong, so defining that they can overwhelm. Here's your challenge then: experience the two together in order to appreciate Will's effort and invention in the creation of this game-like illustration of the lyrics then close your eyes and repeat the exercise to appreciate the lyrics and realise how small we are when he points out that "if all of the past was played as a song then our lives are a beat of the drum." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlAm40MvlcA
February 17, 2014

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El Born - The Kangaroo EP

Sometimes it's not the words that make the song. Sometimes its the 'ooh -ooh's that catch you. Sometimes it's the pure repetitition of a hook laden chorus leaping into an insistent guitar line. Sometimes it's that indefinable something. El Born know this. Si Connelly and Hils (the duo that make up El Born) recorded their debut album with Chris Potter (The Verve's Urban Hymns) and Dom Morley (Amy Winehouse's Back To Black). For free. Chris and Dom gave their services gratis as Si was 'so broke that he was living out of his car'. *That* is belief. Justified belief if the Kangaroo EP is evidence of what's to come. I'm hearing early Starsailor (a good thing) and the mighty Long Ryders on the title track and Jeff Buckley on the pain wracked, distraught 'Catch The Sun' and the upbeat'1982'. That's your reccomendation right there and here's the music: https://soundcloud.com/stratamusic/sets/el-born-kangaroo-ep/s-BK9sK
February 13, 2014

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Mutant Vinyl - Lavender

https://soundcloud.com/mutantvinyl/lavender Here's an interesting one for you; Edwin Pope, a Liverpool lad calling himself Mutant Vinyl who appears intent on crossing the boundaries between credibility and mainstream. How else does one explain support slots with Mystery Jets, Tricky and Rita Ora (not often Tricky Kid and Rita appear in the same sentence)? 'Through the smoke and sin she was dressed in Lavender' - there's a nice, oddly wonky eighties feel here with a touch of Prince, a saxophone that makes far more sense than it has any right to and vocals that are reminiscent of somebody or something that you can't quite put your finger on. It's got something this. I'm not sure what that something is but it's definitely something
February 12, 2014

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Reverend and the Makers - The Only One

Well here you go; you know where you are with Reverend and the Makers - resolutely upbeat pop overflowing with hooks. Their new single (due on the 10th of March with lengthy tour to accompany) continues the trend, sounding thoroughly positive despite tackling the subject of jealousy - replete with apt Elvis quote - and the terrible truth that it gets no easier with age. A damn fine 80's styled video (touch of the Robert Palmers) directed by photographer Roger Sargent - credits include NME, Mojo and Rolling Stone - simply serves to enhance the air of carefree insouciance contrasting nicely with the paranoid neediness of the lyrics. Their finest single since Heavyweight Champion..? We're saying so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhcBq0MJgyA&feature=youtu.be
February 11, 2014

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Lazy Talk - Just A Ride

Obviously we're all aware of the importance of ska to the mod movement but how do we feel about the concept of 'future ska'? Lazy Talk, a five piece formed 'in a crypt close to Kings Cross' have the rhythms, the Fred Perrys, the stylings but add a dash of Plan B/Streets style 'spitting' on top of it. There's a touch of  'Ordinary Boys' sitting here, some good guitar work, a dash of  two tone sax and a fine breakdown in the last verse. The lads have supported Babyshambles on tour so the pedigree's good but the question is; what do you think? Answers below or on twitter please. There's always space for debate at ei8htball http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rZDcPpYaL4&feature=youtu.be
February 10, 2014

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Damien Jurado - Silver Timothy

You know when you have thoroughly unjustified preconceptions about an artist? Yeah, that. I'd always thought of Damien Jurado as an overly earnest, angst ridden, pain racked acoustic balladeer. If pushed I would probably have classified him as 'aimed at the Coldplay market' and left it there. A David Gray, a Damien Rice. Obviously I had never actually bothered to listen to him. That, in fairness, is why they're called preconceptions. So, eleven albums into his career, I was more than a little sideswiped by 'Silver Timothy', a lovely floating piece of psych pop with touches of Grandaddy's dream textures and Richard Hawley's 'Standing At The Sky's Edge'. The lead single from the 'Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son' album, it's late sixties America incarnate; three minutes of bliss that point toward greater discoveries instore. I'm late to the party. That's what assumptions do for you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4sQz6Y5g88
February 09, 2014

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Real Estate - Talking Backwards

Sometimes you'll stumble across a single that just 'understands' joy - a song that is so effortlessly charming, so gorgeously summery that you have little option but to surrender and bathe in it's simple beauty. Case in point: New Jersey's splendid Real Estate with the lush 'Talking Backwards', the first single from their third album, 'Atlas' due in early March. All gently picked and softly strummed guitars topped with a soft, sleepy, lovelorn vocal, it's a song that feels like being hopelessly in love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgsdblVq8wo
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