Monday, August 15, 2011

Courtney E. Smith - Record Collecting for Girls

One long-ago day in 1995 I was sitting in the Cafe Iguana with my friend Dulcie, washing down lunch with a pint, when she asked me if I’d read High Fidelity yet. This was the first time I’d heard of Nick Hornby or his debut novel. Until that point, “High Fidelity” was something I associated with the mysterious concept of “Dolby NR” and the backs of record sleeves.

“You have to read it,” she told me, “it's about us!”

She was right. That book was about us. It was about our life. We both worked in a small record shop that specialized in all things collectible with a heavy bias towards the obscure, the rare, the white-label promo, the test pressing, the limited edition 10” clear vinyl in hand-stamped dayglo gatefold sleeve and the acetate recovered from the skip (that’s a dumpster to those of you in the US) by the apprentice studio engineer. If you are a record geek, all of the above will make sense to you. If not, I may as well have been writing in Swahili. Anyway, where was I?

On Dulcie’s recommendation I hied me to the closest branch of W.H. Smith to pick up a copy of High Fidelity, and promptly found myself wondering if this Hornby guy was in fact one of my curmudgeonly male colleagues writing under a nom de plume. Or did everyone who worked in secondhand record shops while away the quiet weekday hours refining their Top Five lists and scaring away potential customers by offering unsolicited judgments on their musical selections? Apparently so. Our shop only differed from Hornby’s fictional one in that, well, ours had girls working in it. Us.

Our acceptance within those hallowed, vinyl-lined walls of male-dominated music-geekdom didn’t come easy, though. I’d wormed my way into the place not long after it opened a few years previously, pretty much by virtue of spending all my free time in there, poring over every piece of vinyl the owner had in stock. At one point I came in to sell most of my record collection so that I could afford a ticket for the Reading Festival, and I think the guy took pity on me. Hell, by this point I probably knew the exact shelf location of any given record better than he did and had been instinctively re-alphabetizing the things for months now, as if they were my very own. He offered me a Saturday job, and I gladly accepted. Dulcie came along a couple of years later; the daughter of a bona-fide rock journo, she’d been schooled in the proper way to obsess about music since the day she exited the womb.

Are you still with me here? Thought not. If by some chance you are still reading, though, you might just be the kind of person who will tolerate the music-loving ramblings and anecdotes of some random girl you don’t know, in which case you may well enjoy reading Record Collecting for Girls. Author Courtney E. Smith is a random girl with a respectable music-industry pedigree and all the additional insight that may afford her, but she’s still a random girl for all that. And that’s OK. My point, such as it is, is that this book is one for the seriously not-faint-of-heart music devotee. One who isn’t afraid to stick with a chapter on why Smiths fans don’t make great boyfriends, or why one should never, ever date a boy who is in a band.

What we have here is basically a girl I would probably want to be friends with if I knew her in real life, a girl who obsesses and fixates to just the right degree (that is to say, the nth degree) about the bands she likes, the bands she doesn’t like, and the bands she might like but hasn’t heard yet. What’s not to love about a girl who can’t get enough of Swedish indie music, keeps a special place in her heart for Car Wash Hair by Mercury Rev, and who lets slip that she has listened to Pulp’s Razzmatazz forty-one times since 2008? Nothing, that’s what. (Wait... only forty-one times?!)

The title “Record Collecting for Girls” is a little misleading, or maybe just not meant to be taken literally; this book is not some kind of “guide” to being a female music lover. It’s actually part memoir, part collection of essays on the music industry and its treatment of women, and on music fandom from the female perspective. Smith seems like someone who would be fun to sit in the pub with, putting the musical world to rights over a few pints.

For the most part, this book made for an enjoyable, engaging and interesting read. It didn’t bring me much in the way of new insights into sexism in the music industry or what it means to be a music-fixated female. Then again, I’ve spent the better part of the past twenty years being a music-fixated female more comfortable holding my ground in arguments with boys about favourite Bowie albums and the like than discussing proper “girl” subjects with my female counterparts, so I already know what that means, inside-out. While I can’t say I learned much from the book, I mostly found myself nodding along in agreement with what Smith had to say. Well, except for the Beatles vs. Stones debate, on which I will always come down firmly on the side of the Stones. More to the point, the better part of five decades on, it's as irrelevant and hackneyed a debate as it’s possible to have.

There were a few occasions while reading where I zoned out and found myself flicking through the pages until we could get back to something I could relate to. These chapters would include those when Smith was detailing the ins and outs of her longtime affection for bands that do absolutely nothing for me, and the one where she exhaustively debates whether there will ever be another Madonna, and if so, whether it might be Lady Gaga. The latter subject is one I could not have less interest in if I tried, and which I tuned out in this book just as I do whenever it (not-infrequently) comes up elsewhere in the media and in other people’s conversations.

For me the great thing about this book is that it’s the first music-related memoir I’ve read that’s written by someone of roughly the same age as me, and the fact that that someone is female comes as a bonus. I enjoyed reading the thoughts of someone who’s grown up (albeit on a different continent) with the same musical landscape as me. All in all, hats off to the girl for getting her point across, exposing the fact that even now us “chicks” are often put at an extreme disadvantage in the world of all things musical, no matter how much we may pride ourselves on thinking we’re on an equal footing.

Record Collecting for Girls will be available in bookshops from September 7th. I'd recommend it to anyone, female or not, who’s grown up and learned to make sense of the world via a borderline obsessive interest in music.

Michelle's top five of total (but wonderful) randomness:

Soda Fountain Rag - I Wanna Be Your Cat
Architecture - Pregnant (R. Kelly Cover)
Tomihira - World Class
The Floor is Made of Lava - Do Your Sister
Hello Saferide - High School Stalker

Casey's top five for listening while the wife fetches his pipe & slippers:

The Fine Arts Showcase - Chemical Girl
Atombook - All The Ways to Find Nothing
The Legends - Seconds Away
Sticklips - Bedding Wells
Luff - Blanket Ice

Friday, August 05, 2011

Several Girls Galore: The Noise We Make (EP)

Although this particular band name might bring to mind the swirling result of multiple effect pedals, visions of surreal on-stage light shows and a following of seaweed dancing teenagers from 1988 to match, any resemblance to My Bloody Valentine seems to be in name only. In contrast, Several Girls Galore is the wonderfully understated solo music project of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York musician Will Vunderink. The latest of five releases over the past few years, titled The Noise We make EP, provides another effective chapter of clever and simple song structures which remain compact enough for traveling within compartments of a seasoned pochade box. For listening to the entire catalogue, please visit the Several Girls Galore Bandcamp page as well as the SGG Stereo Wagon. Good stuff for you here...

MP3: Ten Weeks

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Collider: Vaede EP

In the spirit of doing some much needed catching up, while also updating MML with new music from a band we only began to adore early last year, our latest listening session presents two songs to give an idea of the impressive range in sound you can expect from one band. Collider is a San Francisco, California music project we originally featured in January 2010 with their first pair of EP releases. Almost exactly one year later, in January 2011, founding musician John Ricksen and brother Mark Ricksen were also mentioned here with another experimental project in Illogical Time Concerns. The latest collection of seven songs, titled Vaede EP, manages to touch the sweet static of Scandinavian pop while not forgetting the drive of post-shoegaze influence where early 90s artists Ride, or even the likes of Swervedriver are concerned. Further listening to last year's offering, Strobos EP, seals the deal and might just find you digging through more from their catalogue. Two songs for the beginning of this music journey. Enjoy.

From the July 2011 release Vaede EP
MP3: Mono

From the June 2010 release Strobos EP (also available on 12" vinyl through Electric Kittyland Records)
MP3: Schemes

Saturday, July 30, 2011

This Scarlet Mourning

Existing in various forms since 1990, long-time turned long-distance shoegaze band Skylight continues as a beautifully relevant, yet occasional endeavor we've been fortunate enough to follow in recent years. Although much of our attention has been focused on Chicago's evolving portion of the equation with lovelies Bliss City East, co-founding musician Brent Martino (guitar, programming) and Peter Kontos (guitar, bass) have also branched out, recording their latest music in northern Massachusetts. The new project, a complete band with the addition of vocalist Katie Bunting among other friends, has now been launched under the name This Scarlet Mourning, From the very beginning of their debut track, aptly titled Shine, a thoughtful cloud of peripheral white noise lingers to provide an additional layer to the endearing drone of Katie's vocals. All the while, undercurrents of classic guitar make perfectly certain a song structure remains in place to challenge almost any semblance of "nouveax-gaze" we are all too often confused and disappointed with these days. A listen to the introductory song is now in order. Looking forward to updates from this one.

MP3: Shine

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Dwarf: World Rock (EP)

Keeping in touch with, and frequently visiting the music of artists we've featured previously is one of the most satisfying aspects of maintaining this music blog. Today, we have the fortune of presenting a new endeavor from a well traveled musician and long time friend who just so happens to have been mentioned more often than any other here at MML. Ray Weiss, a disturbingly gifted songwriter from New York City we first featured as frontman for The Medics in 2006, then repeatedly with his more recent band Le Rug, has now formed his latest music incarnation. Red Dwarf is the four piece of Max Kagan (vocals, bass), Jon Edelstein (vocals, guitars), Ray Weiss (guitars) and Matt Gaffney (drums) who have completed seven songs in the form of a debut release titled World Rock EP. Incorporating caustic new vocals, drunk-tank guitars and an underlying current of pop structure we are all too familiar with, this new project makes for an amazing listen. Here you go...

MP3: Red Dwarf

While the inclusion of Patrick Ewing for the EP artwork had us completely baffled, our brains were much more distracted by the ridiculous and humorous genre classification of NYC Dickwave. Please allow us... OK, make that Casey to be the first to explain this recent phenomenon as... "the scene that strokes itself".

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Architecture: When We Were Young (EP)

Eyes and ears have reopened as we finally have the chance to breathe life back into this, our favourite little spot for music. In making a belated return to MML, we've found an appropriate track that just so happens to belong to an amazing EP release from earlier this year. Architecture is the Chicago, Illinois based duo of Rebecca Scott (vocals, guitar, etc.) and Melissa Harris (vocals, keyboards, glockenspiel, etc.) who were first mentioned here almost exactly one year ago, in August 2010. The debut EP, titled When We Were Young, delves gently into a near chamber-music mood from the very beginning, with understated instrumentation and the perfect spark of electronic beat that leaves us scurrying to adjust our year-end "best of" list straight away. Have a listen.

MP3: In The Morning

For those who have not experienced Rebecca Scott's other electro-shoegaze music project, Panda Riot, please do yourselves a favor and check previous MML reviews from 2006, 2007 and 2010. Also, if you are close enough to Cincinnati, Ohio, Architecture will perform live at local downtown venue Mainstay on August 13. Buy us a cocktail when you get there. Thanks, pals.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Gary: El Camino EP

Much like our experience during the first few months of last year, ongoing searches and listening for new music to send 2011 swimming along finds us sorting through a number of incredibly good EP releases to fawn over. For those who could use a healthy dose of past-minded garage rock n' roll, perfectly suited for conquering the new day, we have a serious treat to share this time around. The Gary, an oddly-named Austin, Texas based trio consisting of musicians Dave Norwood (bass, vocals), Paul Warner (drums) and Trey Pool (guitar), first assembled as a unit to begin ratcheting up their sound in 2008. After a debut 2009 EP introduction, titled Chub, and downright chill-raising LP follow up in Logan for 2010, the band makes sure to remind the senses once again with an collection of six new songs belonging to an early 2011 release that deserves every ounce of attention it is currently receiving. Please have a listen before we continue...

MP3: Rope

Recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago by Steve Albini, El Camino EP was released through local Austin label Cedar Fever Records and serves as the latest celebration for a band already well on their way into plenty of personal favourite lists. With a grumbling undercurrent of raw basics that might send purists scurrying through back catalogues of Amphetamine Reptile or Homestead Records for a proper comparison, The Gary manages to surpass many of the classic artists they list as influence. A simple recipe unfolds with each and every song. Thundering drums rolling off the battered lip of a distressed stage, commanding off-kilter vocals and a single guitar to deliver each transition from dank basement to main stage provides us with one of our favourite listens in a long, long while. Upcoming live performances (post-SXSW) will take place next month as the band begins a limited tour through the Midwest and beyond with Martha's Vineyard Ferries, an ongoing side project of Bob Weston and Chris Brokaw. For those already listening and others who might recognize the last two names mentioned, there will be no surprise in discovering our travel plans might just include an April 23 visit to Chicago venue The Hideout for taking in a show.

Listening roundup:

Chub EP (2009)
Logan LP (2010)
El Camino EP (2011)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Silent Sleep: The Scissor Disaster EP

Almost exactly one year ago, in February 2010, we featured the lovely electronic pop of Liverpool, UK collective Hallo... I love You! Since our last mention, contributing multi-instrumentalist Chris McIntosh (also of 28 Costumes and Voo) relocated to Berlin, Germany where he continues to create and record new music under the name Silent Sleep. The debut EP release for his most recent solo project, titled The Scissor Disaster, was just released in late February and serves as the first of three EP offerings to make up an ongoing trilogy for 2011. After having taken in the track You Can Colour Me In from this beautiful new EP, our first instinct was to reach for paint tubes and palette knives, however, we quickly found a window from which to gaze as this sweet and simple acoustic pop song warmed our daydreams. Enjoy a first listen and expect updates on MML as each of the corresponding EP releases are made available in coming months.

MP3: You Can Colour Me In

*Bonus* Video for the song You Can Colour Me In, which was filmed with Chris and friends in Berlin.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Last Remaining Pinnacle

Presenting the side-projects of various artists from previously featured bands on MML has always been a treat worth sharing, but when the primary musician involved also happens to be the owner of a favourite record label, our interest and curiosity become glued to the little computer speakers nestled in front of us. Custom Made Music is a Virginia Beach based label that was formed in 2007 by Dave Allison and boasts a solid lineup of decidedly shoegaze/dream-pop bands to admire. Aside from maintaining CMM, Dave has also taken the time to provide vocals and guitars, alongside fellow guitarist Chrischa Ives, for a new music endeavor we can now identify as Last Remaining Pinnacle. Together, this Portsmouth, Virginia duo/couple have already recorded an experimental track, titled Students Of The V. U., which will be released through Custom Made Music early this spring as part of a split 7" single with lovely Norfolk, VA trio Pan Galactic Straw Boss. Both contributing bands will share the stage on April 16 at local Ghent District venue Plaza Del Sol. Listening time it is...

MP3: Students Of The V.U.

Buzzing from a sleep-paralysis state while gently sprouting familiar tones of a distant land, Last Remaining Pinnacle builds a slow dense path of guitar, next-room vocals and peripheral samples to dance around a driving growl of tension. Most certainly looking forward to more experimental goodness from this duo.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Sunshine Factory: Sugar LP

Although any thought of ourselves being quick off the mark in finding a new release makes for sweet dreams in MML-land, a swift nudge from friends is often required to guide us in the right directions for music. This time around, like-minded music blogger Mike of Powerpopulist was kind enough to shed light on today's featured artist and we can't thank him enough for the tip. The Sunshine Factory is a Mobile, Alabama based trio consisting of musicians Ian Taylor (guitars, vocals), Sally Robertson (bass, vocals) and Mathew Hendrich (percussion) who began honing their sound as a band in 2008. Following up on an impressive July 2009 debut album in Vintage Revolution, the band recently made available a collection of 10 new songs that left our jaws resting comfortably on the floor from the very first listen. The new full-length offering, titled Sugar, was released late in December 2010 and provides nothing less than a kick to the shins for old shoegazers resting on their laurels. While immediate comparisons can be drawn to My Bloody Valentine, there is much more involved within the sound. Similarities ranging from the mid 80s gentle-garage flavour of Game Theory to the early 90s loveliness of Ultra Vivid Scene certainly present themselves, however, The Sunshine Factory manages to deliver a beautiful presence completely unique and of their own. After extended and repeated listening, most any song from the Sugar LP could easily serve as a highlight, so we almost-randomly selected the very last track to share with you...

MP3: Head Becomes The Tomb

Yes, the entire album really is this good and happens to be one of our favourites in a long while.. The next chance you will have to check out a live performance takes place on March 5 at local Mobile venue Alabama Music Box, after which the band travels into the northeastern states with Brooklyn, New York and Boston, Massachusetts in mind. For an idea of what to expect once this three-piece takes the stage, we also have an assortment of live videos as well as an earlier song for your listening enjoyment. Love this band.

From the 2009 debut full-length release Vintage Revolution:
MP3: Hey Spaceman

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Colour Bük

Walking into a record shop during the early 1980s was almost always a risk worth embracing. With only a few dollars in pocket, no local college radio station or any clue what to expect, music purchases were often based on cover art and what little information could be found on the sleeve. As a result of those years, a collection of outlandish sounds began to fill shoeboxes and crates to shape current tastes in music. Today, we have the opportunity to revisit our adventurous instinct and dumb luck with a featured artist who happens to fit in perfectly with everything we've grown to love in our continuous audio experience. Colour Bük is the Amityville, New York duo of Adam Kastin (previously of NYC band Le Rug) and Brandon Wulle who have taken the past few years to create, perform and release snippets of their very own brand of experimental noise. The latest EP, titled Our Favorite Fucking Day Of The Goddam Year, was made available via cassette tape late last year through Wir Wollen Records and contains sound-textures that vary from traditional studio/bedroom instrumentation to sampled field recordings of what can only be explained as a beautiful clash of kitchen utensils or walkie-talkies under boiling water. For a completely free download of the EP and information on their upcoming full-length album Licht Dinger, which should debut once the weather warms for 2011, pay a visit to the Colour Bük Bandcamp page. A listen for you...

MP3: The Magic Keys To Conversation

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bull Thieves

After an absence of nearly 10 years, Austin, Texas label Ojet Records decided to emerge from their prolonged hibernation and we are certainly fortunate they did so. In launching, or rather re-introducing, themselves again for 2011, the label has recently made available a solid debut release we've been wrapping our ears around for the better part of a week now. Originally from the Houston/Galveston area of Texas, musicians Lance Scott Walker (vocals, beats, guitar, bass, synths), Nicholas Phelps (guitar, bass, vocals) and Task (synths, mixing, beats) formed Bull Thieves after relocating to Brooklyn, New York in 2008 and have been creating music while performing locally ever since. The debut collection of 10 songs is self-titled and can currently be previewed by visiting the Bull Thieves Bandcamp page. Expect nothing held back where the lowest end of the sound spectrum is concerned. An alternating backdrop of both synthetic and organic beats drive slowly, deep into the chest, as heavy drawn-out guitars sear a direct path forward. Our featured track this evening provides a lighter glimpse into various moods presented within the new album, so please do yourself a favor by exploring further into the lovely haze of guitars and pulsating rhythms involved.

MP3: The Quiet

The next Bull Thieves live performance happens on March 6 at local Brooklyn/Greenpoint venue coco66.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Quiet Lights: No More Canyons

Although new singles and demo tracks are often a staple of our daily listening regimen, we usually find patience enough in waiting for a full-length release to arrive before spilling the sounds. In the case of our featured artist this evening, however, a sense of euphoria quickly developed and here you have the goods. Quiet Lights is a Brooklyn, New York troupe of five musicians who have been writing, recording and performing together since 2009. An impressive result of the their collective effort is a brand new single, titled No More Canyons, which has just been made available for digital consumption and set to be released in the form of a limited press (sky blue) vinyl through both Eastern Seaboard and Old Flame Records on February 15. From the earliest moments of No More Canyons, deep, genuine tensions build into a magnificent spray of guitar to send chills up the spine within a split second. After several listens to the underlying growl of this gem with back flat to the floor, cigarette burning in hand, I couldn't help but check the press info once again for further details. As it turns out, the song you are hopefully already listening to will eventually belong to a Spring 2011 full-length album titled The Big Fear. Also, the next live performance for Quiet Lights will take place on February 11 at local Brooklyn venue Bruar Falls.

Such a beautiful song...

MP3: No More Canyons

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leaders Off: Giant Guitar LP

In receiving press releases directly from artists or labels, there are often times we make the mistake of reading outside biographies and reviews that don't exactly match up with our own conclusions regarding the sounds we experience. This evening we have a perfect example and an outstanding featured artist to share. Leaders Off is a band that exists on the western coast of Sweden, with beginnings in Vänersborg where they recorded and performed hundreds of songs in near-obscurity over the better part of the past 10 years. As a result of their labor and patience, Leaders Off has completed a brilliant new full-length collection of songs, titled Giant Guitar, which becomes available through Swedish label Häleri tomorrow, January 28. Although we've read of previous comparisons to Urge Overkill and the band themselves mention Dinosaur Jr. as an influence, we needed to dig deeper into a dusty old box of vinyl records in the basement for hints that kept swimming around inside our heads. The earliest recordings of Joe Jackson quickly surfaced and it wouldn't be at all surprising to find Look Sharp or I'm The Man nestled happily somewhere in the personal music collection of someone in the band. Influence and similarities aside, Giant Guitar is a solid new release that most certainly deserves close attention and a physical copy to grip tightly in hand. Listen up...

Originally released as a single in 2010 and now track two from Giant Guitar.
MP3: Sacred Mansion

Here you go...the brand new single and lead track from Giant Guitar.
MP3: Mari

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two If By Sea

Connecticut-based label February Records is off to a swift clip for 2011 in releasing both a retrospective 2010 compilation, titled One Year Of Original Music, and downright lovely new offering from today's featured artist. Two If By Sea is the music project of London, Ontario musician Teresa Daniele who enlists the long-distance accompaniment of Chicago multi-instrumentalist Lisle Mitnik (Fireflies) and Toledo folk artist Kevin Clark (The Homeville Circle). The debut EP offering from this collaboration, Staysail, is made up of 5 tracks pressed for 7" vinyl and we have quickly grown to appreciate the unique yet classic sound involved. A charming twee backdrop that chimes as a clockwork music box to hold preciously in hand is accented beautifully with the guiding whisper of Teresa Daniele's vocals. For those who still own just the right type of record player, there will be no greater reward than watching the arm bring another round of either side where this little gem is concerned. Have a listen...

MP3: Unbraided Wind

Saturday, January 15, 2011

//orangenoise: //veracious EP

In maintaining this little music blog, we keep no running count of various parts of the world from which musicians send morsels of their audio craft to our email inbox or front door. In the case of today's featured artist, however, we might just have a first where location is concerned. //orangenoise is an impressive four-piece from Karachi, Pakistan consisting of musicians Talha Asim Wynne (guitar, vocals), Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (bass, vocals), Danial Hyatt (percussion) and Faizan Riedinger (guitar). As a follow up to their 2009 single The Morning After, the band has a debut collection of five songs in the form of a digital EP titled //veracious. After listening over the past several hours, we've found it almost impossible to choose only one highlight from this new release... so two songs ahead for you. Track number three is titled Trust and it sent us into Lou Barlow-land (if there is such a place?) almost immediately. Have a listen.

MP3: Trust

With influences ranging from classic psychedelia and 60s garage-rock to an amazing take on both early and more recent shoegaze, //orangenoise seems content in tinkering playfully with the past while presenting a beautiful sound of their very own. The new EP //veracious can be found and freely downloaded by visiting the //orangenoise bandcamp page. For those who need a bit more convincing, sit back and listen to the next six minutes and fifty-five seconds of loveliness.

MP3: I Know Everything

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Illogical Time Concerns

San Francisco, California-based musicians John Ricksen and Mark Ricksen are brothers we originally featured as part of the post-shoegaze band Collider last year in January 2010. Not having any recent updates to go on, we found ourselves with a much welcomed message explaining their ongoing music project Illogical Time Concerns. As a result of writing and recording music since 2004, the Ricksen brothers are now gracious enough to share their entire seven year discography, which can heard and downloaded (completely free) by visiting the Illogical Time Concerns Website. Having only begun our journey in sorting through the numerous tracks involved, we can already give a solid recommendation to our MML regulars for doing the same. Dream-pop, shoegaze, psychedelic or however some would choose to label the sound... we just dig it. The latest release, titled Neu Symbols EP, was just made available a couple of weeks ago and we have an impressive song to whet the palate. Here you go.

MP3: Empire

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Purple Bloom

Welcome to 2011 and a brand new calendar for this, our little music nest. In order to begin the year on just the right series of notes to remind us of exactly what sends our collective spirit soaring, we have a long-overdue introduction and beautiful song to share. Purple Bloom is the collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Tsuyoshi, who we originally featured in September 2007 with his music project Hate Everything You Hate, and vocalist Linden from Tokyo, Japan. Together, Linden and Tsuyoshi have completed a handful of impressive new tracks that are set to be released for early 2011. Before we continue, a compulsory first listen to a lead single that has us both smitten is well in order.

MP3: Star Is Mine

For those already paying attention to the textbook shoegaze loveliness of Tsuyoshi's blending guitars and Linden's beautiful vocal accompaniment, it might not be such a far stretch to imagine the bass line giving the likes of Greg Dulli a reason to produce an evil grin. A perfect balance in sound that earns our very first 2011 honours where favourite listening is concerned. For additional information and audio, please do yourselves a big favor by visiting both the Purple Bloom Facebook as well as the Purple Bloom MySpace page. Thank us later... and welcome back.