I've been touring with Bravestation for the past few weeks and, while life on the road is hardly condusive to staying on top of the latest offerings of the blog world, the guys had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some great acts, and a couple of mammoth journeys have given me plenty of times to aurally ingest a new album or few. Here's the best of it:
While Birmingham's Indie scene is in a healthy state with these chaps and Troumaca leading the way, they've got a real Oxford feel to them as new track BBLOOD especially combines the contagiously tropical riffs of Jonquil with (and I know they're getting a little tired of this comparison) some of the darker, almost Shoegaze-y elements of Foals' Total Life Forever.
Toyger - Letter Bombs
As well as having the Math thang down to a tee, this young Middlesbrough group have a natural knack of writing a catchy hook, and are some of the nicest dudes you could ever hope to meet. Another act for fans of Foals.
Painting Stations vid
These guys did a great job of warming up Evolution Festivals main stage with their brilliantly wonky Vampire Weekend meets Everything Everything brand of Indie Pop. With previous play on Radio 1, expect this Newcastle act's stock to rise even further in coming months.
While they may not have hung around to watch Bravestation's set (bitter, me?) I'm willing to forgive as their set was so damn impressive. Techincal, powerful, emotive, and also really rather unique.
Deep Sea Arcade
Deep Sea Arcade - Lonely In Your Arms
Their name seems to be popping up all over the place of late, and for good reason. This Aussie quintet possess a heavily 60's influenced sound, combined with classic songwriting and youthful exhuberance. Of all the great acts coming out from down under of late, they're right up there with the best of them.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Most definitely up there with the best albums I've heard this year. Almost unrecognisable from the raw, stripped back production on For Emma..., Justin Vernon and co have gone for a huge, full, dare-I-say epic sound on this one, and have only gone and succeeded in producing a modern classic, as powerful as it is delicate.
Foster The People - Torches
While not exactly one for the Indie purists, nobody can deny that buzz band du jour Foster The People have an enviable knack for penning a contagious Pop tune. File this one under guilty pleasures, but make sure to keep a note of exactly where you filed it as I can guarantee you'll be re-visiting it more often than initially planned...
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
While it often takes me a few listens to get into a TVotR record, this one was even more of a slow burner. I'm glad that I persisted however, as once you get your head around the record it unravels as further evidence that the band are still one of the most intellegent, and important, around today.
Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys
While not in any way a bad record, Death Cab unfortunately join Friendly Fires and Wild Beasts in releasing albums of late that don't quite match what their immense capabilities. That being said, tracks such as You Are a Tourist and Underneath the Sycamore are up with their best, and the album is certainly worthy of a listen.