Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pet Moon – Hold The Divide

The Blessing Force crew can do no wrong these days, and living in Oxford means I’m lucky enough to see my fair share of it in the flesh. Recently I’ve been gushing about Chad Valley and Rhosyn (plus Foals, obviously). But Pet Moon are a new one for me.

A free download called ‘Hold The Divide’ popped up onto their Soundcloud page a month or so ago, and it’s brilliant fun. Both Pet Moon and Blessing Force in general make clever pop music seem so easy. ‘Hold The Divide’ drapes noodly guitar bursts with thick electro beats and a warm broth of synths bubbling underneath. Have a listen below, and download (what now appears to be Japanese noodle soup in song form) for free!

Unsigned #1

After a snowy, somewhat internet neglected time in Germany last week , I managed to fight my way back to Heathrow, minus my missing luggage (thanks Lufthansa), and ensconced myself away from people getting a bit too panicky about THE ATTACK OF THE FROZEN WATER that the UK recently faced. Well, now it’s melted and a torrent of dead snowmen are heading to a flooded river near you. But anyway, onto the reason we’re all here. Unsigned music!

Well, I’ve been sent a veritable orgy of music, as well as stumbling across some other stuff on my own mystical journey. So now it’s time to pick my way through and talk about some of my favourites.

The Ugly Club – You Belong To The Minutes

Far and away the best music I’ve been sent. This isn’t to do a disservice to everyone else, but The Ugly Club’s album You Belong To The Minutes sounds so complete, polished and, most importantly, so good. They’re able to showcase a great depth and variety in their arrangements on each track. Occasionally there’s a surprising burst of trumpet that adds to the pre-existing alt rock + keys formula. ‘Wasted On You’ is  just such a track, with an enjoyable enough opening gambit, before a flutter of trumpet helps lift the chorus. Have a listen to another great track, ‘Loosen Up’, below.

You can hear the album for free on their Bandcamp page, or buy the album on a pay as much as you want deal, as long as it’s more than $1!

Heartbeeps – Burning Ghat

I stumbled across Heartbeeps like how one may stumble drunkenly out of a cab at 3 in the morning, so probably best not to explain. This is just a fun little track showing the ridiculous things you can do with a keyboard, seemingly. I mean, I don’t know much about keyboards, or anything really. But this a jerking, jumpy fun  slice of pop that makes me think of Kirk Spencer’s excellent Hota Hai with its Asian sound (minus the dubstep wobbles, obviously).

 

Stuart Newman – Feel The Temperature Rising

The most instant thing you’ll hear is the voice. There is no doubt that it is interesting and unique, but with the likes of Wild Beasts and Alt-J, we shouldn’t spend too much time getting hung up on its unusualness. The one thing that I would say is that it lends itself well to the atmosphere of the track. It’s has a broody lo-fi feel which opens up for a more punchy and driving chorus. Well worth a listen.


 
End Of Neil – The Ocean Is My Guide

An acoustic track from the Scottish artist End Of Neil. He’s got a great sounding voice and the double tracking in the chorus really helps to add a layer of intrigue. However, the chorus is  repeated probably a few too many times at the end, but the desolate snowy video adds a nice touch.

 

Introducing……Unsigned

So, new year, new start. Horses Playing Harps has been running for a year or so now, and it’s something that I’ve enjoyed doing. It works as a handy outlet for me to write about different musical things that pop up on my horizon. The work I do for other sites is obviously led by what we get sent to review. In the last year on this site, I’ve been able to write about some of my favourite new things, like AlunaGeorge // Tall Ships // Miguel // Alarm Bells // Castrovalva // MYSTYRYS // Bwani Junction, and plenty more.

While I intend to keep up that side of the site as before, I want to expand the focus and direction of this site to incorporate unsigned artists and bands. There’s something so exciting in burying oneself under a pile of music that you’ve never heard before, playing your way through it, and unearthing something unique and incredible. So this unsigned section will essentially be used to champion the best unsigned music that gets thrown in my direction. By and large, I’ll be using social media to bring it in, but I’ll be on my bike gallivanting through sites such as the wonderful Bandcamp to try to dig out more.

There will be a monthly round-up of the best unsigned music I’ve heard in the last month, and the very best will be singled out with unique reviews where I rant and rave about how brilliant they are.

For any unsigned bands or artists reading this, my contact details are in the contact tab at the top, or you can leave a comment on this post directing me where to go (hell, myspace, etc).

The Music – Karma

So here we all are. Patiently waiting for January to actually get going, so we can start hearing some of the exciting new albums we’ve been waiting so long for. I’ve reviewed the new Joy Formidable album that comes out in a couple of weeks  for a magazine, but otherwise I’m all dried up. 2012 was pretty brilliant but I’m ready for the new.

That’s why, in this slight lull in action, like a half time orange break, I’m venturing back into my archives. One of those things I returned to today has been able to spur me on, as it sounds as fresh as it always does.

The Music were a strange band. At first, they were a kind of tripped-out psychedelic rock band, then with tracks like ‘Strength in Numbers’, they seemed to become every skinheads favourite. Either way, they’ve long since been one of my stalwarts that I often find myself returning to. One of my favourite tracks of their’s is one of their earliest, a track called ‘Karma’ from their 2001 EP, You Might As Well Try To Fuck Me. It starts off being very much wrapped up in the aforementioned trippy vibe, before the guitar and drums get mangled up in the loopyness of it all. Have a listen below.