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Posts tagged Indie

Big Crux Albums of the Year

Oh yeah, it’s time I posted a list of some of my albums of last year. Wouldn’t do this normally as these things are fucking ridiculous (for obvious reasons) but I had to do my top 50 (ish) albums for Louder Than War (on account of it being good SEO) so thought I may as well bung them on here.

My main personal incentive for doing this def aint SEO related, it’s to try to make every other website / blog who does similar to think about their policy of only really selecting white guitar band / electronic artists in their lists of top albums of the year. Coz that fucking sucks. Anyone who can’t think of one great reggae album of the last year doesn’t deserve to call themselves a music fan imo. Same with metal, African music, folk etc. etc. etc. (Yeah, I know that’s a bit harsh and will probably alienate EVERYONE reading this coz you probably none of you have listened to a reggae album since that lame Nirvana covers album a couple of years ago, but fuckit). That accusation rings double true to those of you who ever listened to Peel.

As I have my natural proclivities regarding music giving the below a meaningful order isn’t something that I’d be able to do, so lets just leave them clumped into their general categories … segregated as it were, the irony of which aint escaping me! Knock down those barriers yo! Or just stay confined in your sorry little niches.

Of course if you’re desperate to listify the below I recommend you cross reference with the 3 sections of the Louder Than War #aoty list:

Louder Than War’s Albums of the Year 2013: 150 -101

Louder Than War’s Albums of the Year 2013: 100 - 51

Louder Than War’s Albums of the Year 2013: 50 - 1

BOOM! And we’re off…

Reggae:

1. Gorgon Sound vs Dubkasm - The Versions E.P.
2. Alborosie - Sound The System
3. Black Roots - On The Ground In Dub
4. Cornell Campbell - New Scroll

Metal:

5. Full Of Hell - Rudiments of Mutilation
6. Malevolence - Reign Of Suffering
7. Watain - The wild Hunt
8. Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury

Roots:

9. Tamikrest - Chatma
10. Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Jama Ko
11. Mulatu Astatke Sketches Of Ethiopia Jazz Village
12. The Full English - The Full English
13. Southern Tenant Folk Union - Hello Cold Goodbye Sun

Electronic

14. Jon Hopkins - Immunity
15. Prurient - Through The Window
16. The Haxan Cloak - Excavation
17. Young Echo - Nexus
18. Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven
19. Dan Friel - total folklore
20. Hacker Farm - The Outer Church

Hip Hip:

21. Kanye West - Yeezus
22. Death Grips - Government Plates
23. clipping - midcity
24. MIA - Matangi
25. Buggsy - The Great Escape Season 2

Noise / Rock

26. Melt Banana - Fetch
27. The Pirate Ship Quintet - Rope for No-Hopers
28. Thought Forms - Ghost Mountain
29. Pissed Jeans - Honeys
30. Black Pus - All My Relations
31. Foot Village - Make Memories
32. The Body - Christs, Redeemers
33. Gnod - Chaudelande
34. Pharmakon - Abandon

Hardcore:

35. Touche Amore - Is Survived By
36. RVIVR - The Beauty Between
37. Rival Mob - Mob Justice
38. Paramore - Paramore
39. Wolf x Down - Stray From The Path
40. Self Defense Family - Try Me
41. Nails - Abandon All Life
42. Weekend Nachos - Still
43. Power Trip - Manifest Decimation

Indie:

44. Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister
45. Talulah Gosh - Was It Just A Dream?
46. Oliver Wilde - A Brief Introduction to Unnatural Lightyears
47. Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister

Blues:

48. Blind Lemon Jefferson - The Rough Guide To Blues Legends: Blind Lemon Jefferson

Jazz:

49. Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down
50. The Ex And Brass Unbound - Enormous Door

There were many near misses, a few of the more notable are below:

War Wolf - Riding With Demons


Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat


DJ Rashad - Double Cup


Satelliti - Transister


Dean Blunt - The Redeemer

Annette Berlin - The Playground 2013


A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP


Wolf Down - Stray From The Path


Cult Of Luna – Vertikal


Incendiary - Cost of Living


Terror - Live By the Code

The END.

An thoughts gratefully received, esp if those thoughts include stuff I missed / haven’t  heard yet.

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Posted at 7:45 AM 05 January 2014
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Their sound, while hard to pigeonhole, has been described as “an effervescent keyboard-driven indie sheen that mixes poppiness with an almost Beefheartian quirkiness submerged neatly beneath the tunes”.

Bristol band, love this, their new single. Been around for aaages but never very productive. Till this single I never really got them but this is an “upped their game” type game changer thing.

Probably gunna be a bit too namby pamby for you but that’s ok, we cannae all like everything right? 

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Posted at 6:00 AM 08 March 2013
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Jelas, Dagger Brothers, Guncleaner, Bad Guys, Ladyscraper

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About as close as i get to a spur of the moment gig. I knew about this gig but forgot about till, at 5.05 (ish), The Jelas tweeted that they were playing that night. Hugely coincidentally I’d just been talking about them earlier in the day so I decided fate had properly decreed, in the way that she often does, that I should pop along even though I already had a ticket for a 6pm screening of Chinatown @wshed & was intending to go straight home after it.

As you can no doubt imagine I fecking love multi genre lineups & this was about as multi genre a lineup as you can get. Multi genre & Bristol to the core.

Contrary to the set list The Jelas kicked things off with their wonderfully staccato, stoppy starty, edgy, clangorous, beautiful mess of a distorted pop sound during which all members participate in some sort of shouting at some juncture during most of the songs, probably around 60% or so of it way off mic. Have liked them for a while & probably missed them on at least 3 occasions last year so good to finally catch em. They released the single below last year, Red Dot, and golly was it a corker.

Dagger Brothers next. They were, like, two guys singing / dancing weirdly over a backing track. It was hard to remove the smile from my face for the first couple of songs then the joke wore a tiny bit thin. Fair play to them tho, they seemed to entertain folks well.

Next, my first trip upstairs at the Stag & Hounds for Guncleaner who was fecking A. Well on the money, electronic music honed in the style of the great Pete Swanson, it involved a geezer who dabbled in extracting noises & beats from circuit boards which messed with your brain with the repeated beats & noises so you think you shouldn’t be able to dance to but you do, so much so that you dance your fecking socks off in the end. Wanna see him again. Soon. You can get a free download of his stuff here. Do, it’s rad.

Brain suitably, beautifully fried it was back downstairs for the trio Bad Guys who brought some serious riffs & heavy rocking to the bill. Loud, grindy metalcore, totally, beautifully out of nowhere & perfectly spot on, just what the night needed. Lots of head banging & bouncing on the spot.

Went home then & missed Ladyscraper. Soz chaps. I was fucked & I hadn’t had any tea, So I came home to a big bowl of frozen peas & banana / peanut butter on toast. I don’t know why either. What can i say, that’s veganzzz for ya eh? 

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Joy Formidable Fiddlers Gig

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Probably not a band you’d associate with me really if you sat down & thought about it (still surprises me a bit really if I’m honest). But everyone has to have at least one rocking great indie band that they’re drawn to haven’t they? I know I have.

Have seen TJF a few times & now & have come to the conclusion they’re never going to be as good as they were that first time I saw them but only because the blew me away so much that time because it came as such a surprise how much I was enjoying it all. The gig ended up in my top 10 of the year in that year in the end, so much was I enjoying it.

Still really love them even if I’m not so keen on the more orchestral direction they’ve moved in & the fact that they’re zoning towards “stadium rock” territory. I’ll have my cigarette lighter at the ready if I go see them again I reckon. (Which I probably won’t coz they’re reaching the stage where they’ll be playing at the O2 next time the play here).

Talking of venues, Fiddlers (400-500 cap) sold out & was full of an audience roughly 20 years older than last time TJF played Bristol. Tiz prob what happens when your music gets bigged up by a dude whose most famous album came out over 20 years ago. (That’ll be that Nirvana album Dave Grohl drummed on). 

I say the venue was “full of an audience roughly 20 years older than last time they played Bristol” but I only mean in terms of age. In terms of maturity they were considerably less so. I’m guessing this was probably one of only 2 / 3 visits to see live music that most of the audience make each year so they were going to make the most of it by clapping along to everything (one of the most annoying things anyone can ever do at a gig is to unpromtedly have a clap along - it even annoys me of the band asks people to clap along tho not so much) & shouting out for cover versions by their favourite band. Fortunately the cry of:

Can you play something by The Pixies

…was met with a:

I’ve told you before, we’re not a fucking wedding covers band

…by Ritzy - and more power to her arm for that! 

Twas all good stuff anyway, probably more quieter, lower tempo songs than before, which was fine as it meant we could do our nuts more during the harder, faster numbers. 

Having said all the above it was still noticeable that the songs that really ripped most were off Lion’s Roar - and I say that as someone who’s listened to Wolf’s Roar a lot in the run up to the gig so it’s not a lack of familiarity thing.

They closed with Whirring from 2011. So I will too.

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Posted at 10:06 AM 02 February 2013
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The Blog Sound of 2013 Is A Bit Sad Again.

OMFG, we’re all doomed. Look, it’s “The Blog Sound of 2013” & it makes the BBC’s “Sound Of 2013” look like the most eclectic and exciting list of bands you’re ever likely to see.

Again.

They claim it’s not in competition to the BBC one, and fair play to them for that, but they could at least have tried to mix it up a bit by not approaching exclusively the same old blogs who big up the exact same stuff as each other every day of every year. Fuck me, we all could’ve predicted this list couldn’t we? Surely?

I dunno why so many people like the same bland naff shit. Jeez. I mean, there’s so much ace stuff out there if you go looking for it properly not just by waiting to hear from PR’s and by reading each others blogs. If I hadn’t developed such a thick skin to all this bullshit by now I’d find it well depressing.

"Agh Agh" I say, and "Ack Ack".

Nudder thing - guess what? Holy schmoke, it’s only once again exclusively WHITE and woah, guess also what, it’s only an exclusively MONO GENRE list again.

Who’d ah tunk it?

The best thing is that I can see em now all being chuffed at how they’ve chosen more female than male fronted bands (the best thing?) despite the fact that I’m sure they know that that shouldn’t be a noteworthy thing worth commenting on, that should just BE a thing not worth commenting on. 

Oh, and another thing, worth noting that all these bands have PR machines that have been battering away at my (Louder Than War) door all fucking year. Probably not the place for this but there’s a reason that I make a point of prioritising any bands or small labels who approach me directly rather than going through a PR. And one day I’ll spell it all out to ya but it pisses me off big time that 99% of emails I get are from PR’s. Why do bands / artists so rarely approach me (us)? Is it coz most websites usually never give bands the time of day so bands never approach us coz they assume we won’t respond?

For your listening (dis)pleasure I’ve embedded tracks from the five winners (ripped from the blog I saw the list on first) you may listen to em & shudder if you wish. I embed with apologies to people who like exciting music everywhere.

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Posted at 7:18 PM 03 January 2013
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Rexine: There And Back Again

"To all intents & purposes they look like Kenickie". Said fenny (or was it Jim) off of BBC Radio Lancashire’s "On The Wire". "And They Sound Like Them Too".

Will leave that up to you to decide.

Lazily copying from their Bandcamp page …

Rexine formed in Newcastle upon Tyne in 2009 and have played with Shonen Knife, Allo Darlin’, The Lovely Eggs, and Pale Man Made.

Alternately jagged and jangly, discordant and catchy, noisy and bittersweet, Rexine’s music captures all the bands they love (Pixies, Wedding Present, Smiths, Pulp) and dreams up a new sound!  

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Posted at 8:27 AM 05 December 2012
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Seems Subpop’s latest signing, METZ, (who, of course, have been hyped like crazy becoz they’re Subpop’s latest signing, METZ) are giving away all their old shtuff FOR FREE prior to the release of their debut album on Subpop. 

You can either go here & grab it all or shrug your shoulders & go “I have no truck with hipster hyped bands”. If the latter I suggest you then flounce off huffily to the next Tumblr post you can find.

I care not which of the above two options you do, I just care that you have the choice to do the one or t’other.

This video is their first ever & Crack describe it as "jagged" & "brutal." However it’s neither really. It’s straight up Subpop is what it is, US indie rock from the harder end of US indie rock. I have a lot of love for Crack but this time I think they’ve called it a tad wrong.

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Posted at 8:43 AM 12 October 2012
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Big Crux: OLO Worms: Yard Is Open - album review

dbigcrux:

This post first appeared here as a “private” jobby. I sent it to le olo de worms to have le squizz of it before publicating-ting-ting it n they sent me a loooooooooong (it wasn’t that long really - knock off a couple ‘o’s’ at least) list of factual fuckups for amendification. I amendificated them,…

The default behaviour when you change a post from “Private” to published should be to bump it to the top of everyone’s dashboard. This is the next best thing I guess.

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Posted at 9:33 AM 11 August 2012
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The Jelas: Red Dot Single.

Fanstastic noise pop from a Bristol based post-C86 threepiece…. (and before anyone sez “don’t you mean tweepiece” coz everyone thinks bloody C86 was full of sweet little indie bands then you obviously aint be paying any attention to me whatsoever over the last however mumfs I been doing this coz C86 WASN’T full of sweet little indie bands it was full of full on distorted slightly dirty, a little bit noisy pop monsters & I’ve told you that before & I’m telling you that again bcuz that’s what this is, ok?

(Deep breath - never forget to breathe deeply after a mini rant) (or a maxi rant for that matter)(Probably even more important for a maxi rant in fact I imagine_.

What this is is music taken away from it’s traditional ‘pop song’ structure then twisted & warped just so much that it keeps enough of said structure so you can still easily see the underlying song & you can tap um toes & hum um along to it but at the same time it’s got enough weirdness in it to make it dead interesting & dare I say it (yes I do, I dare!!! <= go go me!!!) exciting.

Of course I get excited pretty easily (I do) BUT ON THIS OCCASION I HAVE RIGHT GOOD GROUNDS TO BE SO. And if you disagree you’re a big fat fuckpig who deserves something like, oh I dunno, PITY I guess coz it’s sooooooooo sad to think of you failing to enjoy somut this, like, flipping excellent. (I’m sighing now). *Sigh*

And if all that hasn’t convinced you of the worth of this band then take this: They’ve got a track titled "you want the pink moon on a stick". HOW THE FUCK DID THEY KNOW?

BANDCAMP. BANDCAMP. BANDCAMP. BANDCAMP. BANDCAMP. BANDCAMP. BANDCAMP.

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Dreamy & not without hints of Laurie Anderson, new release by Blood Diamonds called “Ritual”. You’ll know Blood Diamonds from his colab with ms grimes. kicking it solo here tho, although it aint w/ out hints of the good lady Grimes.

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Posted at 6:55 PM 19 July 2012
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Went to see Lovely Eggs (again) last night. They were supported by Standard Fare (also seeing them again, again) & Glis Glis (also also seeing them again).

About 6 months since I’d seen TLE’s last, 5 months since I saw SF & GG I last saw 2 months ago. Shockingly The ‘bleeding’ Croft seem to be heading the same way as The ‘motherfucking’ Thekla. Pissing off bands, gig goers & promoters. That sort of thing. On the day of the show they turned round & said the gig had to finish by 10pm coz they had a party / club night booked. And of course students getting pissed spend loads more than gig goers watching a show so the gig goers get fucked over in preference for the student. What sort of a fucked up hierarchy chain is that? A fucked up one is what.

Anyway The Croft never mentioned it on twitter & their website on the evening still said 7.30 ko. So I get’s there at 8 to find I’ve missed Glis Glis who were on at 7.15. I know I only saw em a couple of nights ago but would’ve liked to have seen them again.

Standard Fare & Them Eggs were both great. Really fecking hot in that front room tho - why is it only hardcore bands playing in there have the nous to turn the industrial fans on?They’re fecking effective but so many bands obviously choose to swelter instead. Maaaaaadness. Standard Fare still ply their punchy indie thing & The Lovely Eggs their punky indie thing - both have pretty much nailed their own corners of the indie world. Think I preferred both last time altho the new stuff the lovely eggs played was well hard.

Oh yeah, and what’s with promoters booking TLE in tiny venues? Last time was the cellar at the louis, sold out, this time the front room at The Croft, sold out. It doesn’t make sense.

Tbh if I’d known the gig was gonna be over early I’d have been cool with it - I’m ill (hence why i aint doing rave on avon) & a 10pm ending would’ve been fine. Just pissed the croft never said owt, no excuse in these days of social media an all.

Still feel really uncomfy being stood in a roomful of ageing indie kids mind. Totally freaks me out tbh. Sends the old twee alerts racing (despite bands not being particularly twee the audience deffo were). How I’d love to see that audience at Weekend Nacho’s in July. 

Above is a video for The Lovely Eggs last single (it’s 5 days old). Enjoy.

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Posted at 6:53 PM 19 May 2012
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Have liked Parakeet since their first release a year or so ago. It’s that there group with ‘er from Yuck in. They’ve just dropped this ‘ere video. Well, when I say ‘just’ it was a couple of days ago & in these days of internets 2 days is a long time so apols for being so slack. Been busy like aint I?

Cool, that’s sorted.

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Posted at 3:59 AM 18 May 2012
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Ace Bushy Striptease / Middle Ones / The Perverts / Glis Glis Live

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Guy doesn’t strike as much of an indie pop! fan”. And you are of course right. 

But Daedelus had cancelled & I was sad so I thought maybe some indie would cheer me up. And anyway, I figured, I always used to hate olives but i kept on eating them & eventually I acquired a taste for them so I’m sure if I keep on eating indie bands once / month frinstance eventually I might acquire a taste for them too as well? I’m not even starting from a position of ‘hating’ indie so that’s good.

And it was only flipping 4 quids for 4 bands so nowt to lose really eh? (Cept 4 quid & four hours of my sad little life).

I tend to feel a bit insecure surrounded by indie kids so in an ultimately forlorn attempt to blend into the indie background I put on my favourite band tshirt, a cardigan, converse boots & sallied forth. 

Bit surprised there weren’t more people there tbh. Thought ABS were pretty well known. But in hindsight maybe I think that coz trev @oddboxrecords never stops going on about em. They certainly should be bigger anyway coz they got tunes & they’re kind of tight (‘tight’ in that slightly shambolic but ultimately talented way). They weren’t really that much of a shambles either tbh & what of  shambles they were was in an endearing way, y’know, like indie bands can be (& hate being told they’re).

ABS come from the edgier side of indie which is good. As anyone who genuinely knows what the C86 sound was like (‘spiky’ not ‘twee’), that is a good thing & one that I’m happy to spend an evening of my life checking out.

Before them there were 3 bands with nary a dedicated bass player between them. Always saddens me that. I like a good bass. Which I guess will be why I’m always going on about Thundercat & Mike Watt. (Soz about that, btw).

But not to worry. All were good in their own little way. The Perverts were great, I’ve always got time for a band who’re doing something original & enjoying themselves. And they were def doing something different. Shrieky boy vocals plus shrieky boy guitars plus a dodgy drum machine. Either they need to get a real life drummer or someone a bit better at programming the darned thing. And they should def get a demo off to Ste McCabe from Dandelion Radio, he’d love their shit BIG TIME.

Then came Bristol’s Glis Glis who were excellent. Not really sure how to describe them but they made pretty happy synthy indie. Their songs fitted into about 3 different categories. Hard to pinpoint. The synth was pretty prominent throughout tho. They have boy / girl singers. They sounded a bit like a 6music type band. I could throw a few band names at you of those who they sounded like but fuck that, it’s pointless. Also they sound much better live than recorded but I think they’re improving massively day by day atm so as this Soundcloud stuff’s 6 months old don’t read to much into it:

Middle Ones are two girls who everyone describes by saying they had a year long residency at Kino. Which strikes me as being a bit meaningless & I’m not sure why everyone says that but they do. So maybe it does mean something. I dunno. Suggestions…………?

Both did singing a bit and one did guitarring a bit and one did some (very reluctant) drumming a bit but more enthusiastic cymbal “tishing” (when I don’t think she was meant to be tishing but don’t tell anyone I said that, y’know, just in case). There was also lots of giggling (THAT’S GIRLS FOR YOU (he says, as a boy who quite often giggles a lot himself)) & repartee. Here’s a video that’ll tell you what they’re like. It’s good stuff but it’s not so good without giggling before & after.

And then it was time for Ace Bushy Striptease who I’ve already told ya all about. They played lots of good tunes then did an encore & it was then midnight & home time.

Don’t think I’ve ever been to a show where I kept a cardy on all throughout the show AND didn’t need a shower when I got home coz I’d been sweating so much. It was a polite evening but a goodun.

Landlady gave me a lovely smile as I left which made me feel very guilty as all I did was drink from my bottle of water all night long.

"I dunno, we let these indie kids with their little indie bands come in here & play for free the least they could do is sup some of our ale. We expect that kind of behaviour from those straight edge hardcore kids but flip, I thought the indie fan liked a drink or two".

Mebe I should’ve told her that although not exactly SE I am ay heart most definitely a hardcore kid & generally speaking I can’t be doing with drinking at gigs. Shoulda probably worn my gorilla biscuits shirt innit? At least she would then know not to take it personally.

Anyway, that’s this month’s quota of indie done. Am getting there I think. Can settle back down into my comfort zones now with some good ole banging grime, uk funky & baseline with the Crazylegs crew tonight then some more really loud psychedelic drone with the ‘mazing Barn Owl on Monday followed by balls to the floor hardcore with Broken Teeth Thursday. 

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Totem Terrors

Don’tcha just hate it when someone on t’other side of the world tips you off about a band in your own back yard? Ok, happen Cardiff’s not quite “in my own back yard” but it’s definitely considerably closer to being my back yard than some dude (Brian Miller) in America’s back yard right?

Totem Terrors are one of those bands who kind of have half a foot in the edgier end of ‘indie’ & half a foot in the less edgy end of ‘punk’, or ‘post-punk’ if you prefer. It’s kind of C86’ish, (I’m assuming that by “C86’ish” you know I don’t mean ‘twee’ which is what most people understand by the term C86ish these days). If that’s the sort of description that’ll get you running for t’hills normally (full disclosure: it probably would me) DON’T LET THAT BE YOUR REACTION THIS ONCE, EH? 

It says this on the band’s website:

The band write pop songs for people who don’t like pop music. Their sound, initially inspired by post-punk, has mutated under the influence of Smith and Hicks’ fascinations with the eighties, the fifties and the twenty twenties.

If you wanna buy stuff by em then all you can do at present is go join Deathbomb Arc’s digi download club. It’s only $10 & will get you Totem Terror’s debut single PLUS shedloads of other wonderful mp3’s by shedloads of other wonderful bands throughout the rest of the year. Here’s the appropriate link. Fucking do it: 

Deathbomb Arc — DEATHBOMB DIGITAL SINGLES CLUB YEAR TWO

The above video includes two songs AND a bit of an ‘awkward but sweet’ interview. 

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Posted at 5:02 PM 09 March 2012
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