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How’s it been?
SIC has been a bit quiet of late. But not idle. Never idle.
I have just finished writing a book. It’s about how David Bowie invented 80s pop music and me. It covers The Human League, New order, OMD, Japan, Orange Juice and more. 100,312 words. It’s been a fun exercise. I need to figure out what to do with it now.
But the music has not stopped. Not at all.
We want to soundtrack the summer again this year.
Starting very very soon.
This month will see brand new brilliant things from HOLY STRAYS, ENJOYED and MADELINE MONDRALA. Can’t wait to share them with you…
Also we will have some new music from new people. SIC has taken on BOSSY LOVE and STAPHAN O’BELL for management.
BOSSY LOVE dropped this stunning pop EP at the end of last year. She is working on new things right now. Sooncome.
STAPHAN O’BELL is a young gentleman from Stockholm and he has made an album that sounds like summer. Think he’s going to break cover soon with a smart cover of….well, you’ll have to wait and see.
Did you catch the debut EP from Yumi Zouma? The sleeve is below. It’s dreamy pop from New Zealand. Serene disco, days the Guardian. True enough. It reminds me of Madonna, Air France, The Stone Roses debut, The Chromatics and summer. Joel and Henrik are fans and gave Yumi some spoken words bits for their cover of Affie’s last stand, It Feels Good. Enjoy.
Our friends, NIGHT ENGINE just put up the first track from their debut elpee. It’s an amazing biting pop single and you really ought to hear it.
We got to hear the GLASS ANIMALS album, Yaba this week and it’s beautiful. Save your pennies. The LIARS album, Mess, is a lot of fun too. And we all really liked that MAJOR LAZER EP, Apocalypse Soon.
What has been making you beam lately?
BUSY is the new video from Madeline Mondrala and comes with this caveat, “This video is an ode to my alter ego in a parallel universe, the one who has all the time in the world to daydream and wishes she was busy, and who also happens to be a woodland nymph”.
It’s taken from her debut Cloud EP, which is streaming in full and available for free download on Bandcamp.
The video was produced and directed by Madeline and Matt Speno from her band.
She plays Pianos on Ludlow St, NYC on Friday 31st January at 8pm.
Go LIKE @ENJOYEDmusic + get a free and really rather great remix set including his takes on TVOTR, Tunng, HotChip, Kisses, Femme, NoNoNo, Farao, Mark Morrison & more https://www.facebook.com/EnjoyedMusic
I’d like to think it’s still Autumn but the calendar insists otherwise.
I am not sure if you have noticed but that is definitely Christmas hovering around the street corner, smoking fags and pretending it isn’t even cold….should we invite it in yet?
I‘d rather put it off. I have the strangest feeling that we will come back after New Year and the Government will have quietly sold off the NHS to a consortium of concerned citizens and Mexican drug lords, itching to go legit.
I doubt it will last as long as that.
2013 feels like it’s been an ever-so-slightly low key year, in some ways. As low key as a year with a very good new record from Him can be, anyway.
We have done our best to shine a light and have brought you excellent new music from Holy Strays, Enjoyed, Night Engine, Madeline Mondrala and more…
….Also, I have spent a lot of the year writing writing writing and I am now halfway through My Book. It’s about that period around 1982 when all the colourful expunks made a break from the Post Punk shadows and briefly took over the charts, grinning from the covers of Smash Hits and NME, sliding into Peel’s Festive Fifty and the Year End bestsellers.
ABC, Associates, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, OMD, Talk Talk, Dexys, Simple Minds, Orange Juice and Bauhaus all become proper pop stars. “Ghosts” by Japan was in the Top Five. How did this happen?
2013 was the year that SIC finally grew a publishing arm, Something In Construction Music. A brand new partnership with Beggars, whose inspiring music I have grown up with. Holy Strays is the debut signing to what is a very exciting new venture and we have our collective eye on a few more acts for next year.
A bit about the artists, then…
NIGHT ENGINE have toured their Talking Heads plays Bowie hooks and ferociously tight live show up and down the land with The 1975, Kaisers, Electric Ghost and more and we released two fine singles which you can buy as one handy iTunes EP at a very Christmassy price or as two fine slabs of vinyl at the SIC Shop. Their debut album will be out in 2014.
HOLY STRAYS released his strongest work yet in the wonderful Chasm EP. Sounding like Sherwood getting jiggy with David Axelrod or Weatherall taking up some 60s Morricone soundtracks uptown, he’s been opening for The Field, Adult, Koreless, Suuns, Braids, and more all over Europe this year. Pick up the beautiful 12” from Rough Trade or give Apple a few quid and it’s yours instantly.
Do have a gander at the extremely artful video, released today, for Chasm, set in a, um, chasm far beneath the streets of his hometown Paris
Holy Strays will release his debut album in 2014.
ENJOYED is Peter Evans Pritchard who records epic and lush electronic pop in a sleepy town in Hampshire. You can have a listen to his P EP here.
Peter says “11.12.13 – I love doing remixes. And I love the holiday season. So here’s a holiday gift – Eight remixes of mine from the last year or so in one free collection. Enjoy…” …his takes on Hot Chip, TVOn The Radio, Tunng, Kisses, Mark Morrison HERE If you are quick, you can download them. His debut album is coming next year too and he has just finished the first blistering track, “Talahassee”. It will pop up in January to blow out your cobwebs.
A few months back I was listening to Mary Ann Hobbs’ radio show on 6Music in bed and she played a song by this girl, MADELINE MONDRALA. It was an amazing, kind of raw, sexy, piano song called Blood Brother. I rang Mary Anne and she told me her producer had plucked the song at random from Bandcamp. I am now managing her and went to NY to see her play the other day and she was everything I could hope for. She played an amazing show. AMAZING. Such a natural raw and FUN performer. She made a video over the summer with her friends, which is GREAT. Madeline is gigging around New York at the moment. Have a go on the EP here.
Another new management client is BOSSY LOVE. Based around London based Amandah, it’s a little like smart pop music, a little like Robyn or Santigold. And you do like them, doncha? Sure you do. Have a listen to their debut You & Me EP if you like
Next year will also see more from MEMORY TAPES and ANR and our new secret project, which remains nameless but is going to knock your socks off. So there was a few “debut album due out in 2014”s there, did you notice? Next year is going to be neck deep in long players. Thank heavens for that too.
What else happened this year? I bought lots of records. Lots though. The BOOK was an excellent “reason” to go and buy Kate Bush, Psychedelic Furs, Fun Boy Three and Clash remasters but there were soooo many inspiring new ones too. My tastes are broadening as I get older. There is so much music these days, probably way too much and it seems a full time job sifting through it all.
Our office favourite record of last year is the Stay/True EP by a kid based in London, recording as Fort Romeau. Smooth poppy techno, touched with a little Moroder and magic; and it always sounds magical, whether it’s 3am or 9am.
Probably the album I’ve spent most time with this year is Daniel Avery’s “Drone Logic”, whose hypnotic and super-streamlined, tripped out Chemical Brothers-y tunes bury their way further and further into your brain with each listen.
Our biggest earworm single this year was “Pressure” by Until The Ribbon Breaks. The internet and the charts being a strange place, I can’t tell if it was a “hit” of even if it was “released” but oh my word, it’s a super strong MassiveAttacky soul anthem, with ridiculously, um, massive hooks and riddims.
That, or mebbe ceo’s “Whorehouse”, which is the best bit of Swedish balearic joy I have heard in a minute; a thumpingly good pop song from the ice cool Air France affiliates.
Against the laws that tightly govern such things, Suede turned in a really strong album in “BloodSports”, which you should get if you like, say, “Coming Up” annnnnnnd against all the laws of everything Mr David Bowie came back from His exile with well, you know what…It’s a really strong album and you should buy it. Glastonbury next year, Mr Jones?
Here’s a fuller list of the releases that have been lighting up the SIC offices this year.
Top “10” of 2013
Arcade Fire: Reflektor throbby
Arctic Monkeys Do I Wanna Know? sleazy
Beck: I Won’t Be Long zippy
Blue Hawaii: Try To Be woozy
ceo: Whorehouse happy
Freddie Dickson: Shut Us Down hurty
Elephant: Shapeshifter chiffony
Empress Of: Hat Trick sexy
Daft Punk: Instant Crush catchy
Milky Edwards: Starman phoney
Enjoyed: Dreamboat Lover groovy
fSpot: Locust twisty
Jacco Gardner: Clear The Air Zombiesy
Gentlemen: Sailor yachty
Glass Gang: The Fall weirdly
Haerts: All The Days hooky
Jagwar Ma: Save Me baggy
Kanye: Black Skinhead deathgripsy
Kelela: Enemy steely
Kelis: Jerk Ribs perky
Kriget: Sleeping With Buddha industrially
Leverage Models: Night Falls On The General Assembly sumnery
Miguel: The Thrill slinky
Connan Mockasin: Do I Make You Feel Shy? sugary
Night Engine: Young + Carefree swaggery
Pixies: Bag Boy staggery
Rick Ross: 100 Black Coffins slavey
Salt Cathedral: Take Me To The Sea dainty
Solange: Losing You 2012y
Bruce Springsteen: Dream Baby Dream Suicidey
SZA: Bed trippy
Tame Impala: Elephant (Todd Rundgren rmx) grindy
Twigs: Weak Spot bjorky
Two Sunsets: Venetian Skies pretty
UTRB: Pressure hugely
Warpaint: Love Is To Die sultry
Chelsea Wolfe: The Waves Have Come stormy
Yukka: Cities sinewy
Bossy Love: You + Me
Forest: Caramel Arms
Fort Romeau: Stay / True
Albert Hammond Jr: AHJ
Holy Strays: Chasm
Ryan Hemsworth: Still Awake
Milo: Things That Happen At Night/Day
Madeline Mondrala: Cloud
Phoria: Bloodworks EP
Rainer Hope Satin Glass Dreams EP
Arcade Fire: Reflektor
Asphodells: Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Lust
Autre Ne Veut Anxiety
Daniel Avery: Drone Logic
David Bowie: The Next Day
Forest Swords: Engraving
Haxan Cloak: Excavations
Ryan Hemsworth: Guilt Trips
Julia Holter: Loud City Song
Hookworms: Pearl Mystic
Hundred Waters: Hundred Waters
Jensen Sportag: Stealth Of Days
Leverage Models: Leverage Models
Lorde: Pure Heroine
Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady
Moonface: Julia With Blue Jeans On
Son Lux: Lanterns
Suuns: Images Du Future
These New Puritans: Field Of Reeds
Unkle Acid & The DeadBeats: Mind Control
Matthew E White: Big Inner
Chelsea Wolfe: Pain Is Beauty
Hans Zimmer: Man Of Steel
Various: After Dark 2
Various: Django Soundtrack
Various: Psychemagik presents Magik Sunrise
Yeah cheers, whatever: Atoms For Peace, Flaming Lips, Haim, QOTSA
Shut Up About: Kanye. Srsly, pls.
Well, there were lots, obviously, from Kraftwerk to The Cribs, MBV to Courtney Barnett, Jacco Gardner to Empress Of but the Massive Attack v Adam Curtis v Liz Fraser thing in Manchester was an amazing sensory overload on the topic of selfishness, the police state and held a mirror up to society in a way that few do as well. And to hear Liz sing “The Look Of Love” alone was…..stunnning.
TV: less and less but will “set the video” for: University Challenge, Justified, American Horror Story: Coven, Sons Of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire and The Mentalist (which has really raised its game this series)
Annnnnnnnnd there’s new Justified and Sherlock after Xmas.
Old Gold: Community. Damn that is some deranged meta-comedy. Mind blowingly funny
Shut Up About: Breaking Bad. It’s really not that great
Django QT’s grand opera
Man Of Steel An original take on the original origin story
Wreck-It Ralph This is all kinds of sugary fun
Robot & Frank This is a really cute little film about being old
Elyzium Pretty much District 9 again, only bigger and better
Silver Linings Playbook takes all kinds of odd angles into the heat
Pain & Gain Deeply black stuff, Bay has is bang-cake and eats it
Stoker Chan-wook Park’s creepy American Vacation
The Iceman Strong turn from Shannon as the dad/hitman
Captain Philips Nails were bitten, time wooshed by
Iron Man 3 RD Jr owns the screen in this epic
Thor 2 Well, it was a really fun 2 hours. We laughed.
Cloud Atlas A mess, ultimately but a gloriously inspired one
World War Z I liked it
To see: Upstream Colour, The Conjuring, Anchorman2, Place Beyond The Pines, Frances Ha, Filth, Mud, Rush
Thoughts on 2013: I have never been disappointed by so many films in one year. What happened: KickAss2, Only God Forgives, Now You See Me, Pacific Rim, World’s End and even worse This Is The End
Shut Up About: A Field In England
MPs get a payrise that is over FIVE TIMES the rate of inflation and we are letting them do it. All of us. So…
…It finally happened this year. A V For Vendetta march on Parliament on Guy Fawkes Night. Let’s all show up next year. You could do that, yes?
Have a good holiday
David and the SIC Family
The Guardian has written some nice words about the title track of HOLY STRAYS debut Chasm EP
“an eerie sense of grandeur” indeed is exactly correct.
Much much more to come from this talented young Parisien
Madeline Mondrala is an LA raised, NYC-residing new songwriter who doesn’t do things by the book. Everything feels like a risk. Each tiny fragment of a song comes off like something she might’ve been egged on to do. But it’s paying off.
Earlier this year her ‘Bad Kid’ video was picked up in a Neu Bulletin. It’s a track all about never hanging out with “the wrong crew”. Everything’s performed on her own terms, minus distractions.
Which brings us onto ‘Maybe’, a stirring waltz of a song. Backed by dramatic strings and swimming piano sections, Madeline’s vocals sway from quiet and pensive to bellowed and unashamed. Loosely structured it might be, but every oddly-arranged piece meets up in a strange, clamouring climax, ending with the sombre statement, “Love just isn’t worth it in the end.”
Listen to Madeline Mondrala’s ‘Maybe’. It’s taken from ‘Cloud’ EP, out 14th October.