Archive for September 3rd, 2007

PICASTRO – Whore Luck

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

VÖ: 09.11.2007

Label: polyvinyl records

Vertrieb: cargo records

“Heavy on doom, atmosphere, with violin, cello, piano and guitar all creating a sense of incipient menace.” Q

“What raises Picastro above the herd of atmospheric noise-makers is that these tracks aren´t instrumental jams, they´re songs” “with all the structure and emotional closure that this implies.” Sunday Times

Comparisons to Godspeed You Black Emperor! And Dirty Three are inevitable, but Picastro also lay down all sorts of Eastern European folk vibes.” The Independent

“A gloomy variant of folk blues with a wide reach.” The Wire

Picastro (from Toronto, Canada) have received much praise for their broodingly beautiful, melancholic soundscapes, in which cello alternates in the lead with frontwoman Liz Hysen’’s submerged, murmured vocals.

Hysen and her revolving cast of band mates have been making the kinds of records whose deep humanity have provided comfort food for lost and suffering souls. The music is a hypnotic blend of haunted vocals, smoldering reverb-drenched guitars, and gnarled knots of strings that evokes such a lonely and intimate place that some people can´t help but want to make a home for themselves inside their heartsick melodies.

Picastro´s third album, Whore Luck, is a more melodically direct and texturally diverse listening experience. Pianos flutter and clang out of rhythm and around the melody. Strings (thanks in part to Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy) creak and groan in tangled knots, often sounding more like spirits aching to escape from floorboards than conventional instruments. As always, there are moment of heartbreaking beauty and heart-wrenching despair, and for the first time, Hysen uses her vocals more as a lead instrument than another texture in the mix.

Whore Luck is an album of somber reflection and uneasy resolve, from the intensely swirling morass of strings and wraith-like vocals in “All Erase” to the dissonant pump organ and sighing violin of “Ghosts,” a Roky Erickson cover. There are uncomfortably intimate piano ballads (“Friend of Mine”), violins that sound like curtains being torn from the wall (“Albanis”), and mangled assaults on the senses provided by wickedly entangled strings (“Towtruck,” which appeared in a BBC documentary about surrealism). There´s even a startlingly vulnerable cover of the Fall´s “Older Lover,” with Xiu Xiu´s Jamie Stewart singing backing vocals. But what stands out most are the varied and ambitious arrangements, with new members (cellist Nick Storring and drummer Brandon Valdivia) adding a more experimental and chaotic edge to the already meditative tones inherent in Hysen´s songwriting.

10.10.2007 A, Vienna, VorstadtӬ
11.10.2007 CZ, Prague, 007″¨
14.10.2007 GER, Leipzig, UT Connewitz Ҭ
15.10.2007 GER, Hamburg, Haus 73

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MELODYCAT, Denise Newsham, Schieferstr. 16, 65388 Bärstadt, 0174/1774147,,

The Voices – Sound Of Young America

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Sound Of Young America
VÖ: 14.09.2007
Label: My Kung Fu

Vertrieb: rough trade

It begins as every album should; the title track´s blizzard of feedback, dreamlike vocals and pulsing beat let you know what this is all about in no uncertain terms. The Sound Of Young America is where repetition meets bliss, where redemption is found in a confused din and where beauty meets noise.
Check out I´ll Always Be Within You… with its sweet melody just heard beneath the crunch and howl of guitars. Don´t Let Go offers a plaintive cry backed with a frail organ drone before it explodes, sparkler-like, halfway through.

The true centre of the album though comes with You Shared A Smile I Thought Was True…, a strung-out slice of shimmering guitar, echoing female vocals and electric slide guitar. Its counterpart, …You Broke A Heart I Gave To You, a monolithic slab of grinding riffs nestled amongst a whirlwind of feedback.

The Sound Of Young America is the Port Talbot 3-piece´s 2nd album. Their eponymous debut won radio fans in BBC Radio 1´s Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens. In print, the NME praised the band´s “ìshimmering beauty”, Fact magazine said it was “an impressively realised debut” and Vice magazine loved their “moist tunes for people in low places”.

Released on 1th of november 2007 by My Kung Fu, The Sound Of Young America is a perfectly refined 45 minutes of everything that The Voices stand for. It is preceded by the digital single release of I´ll Always Be Within You When There´s No One Left Inside on 7th May 2007.

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Denise Newsham, Schieferstr. 16, 65388 Bärstadt, 0174/1774147, denise@melodycat,

DARREN HAYMAN – Secondary Modern

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

VÖ: 02.11.2007Label: Track And Field Organisation

Vertrieb: Rough Trade

“˜Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern´ is Darren Hayman´s second full length solo album since dissolving independent legends and John Peel favourites “Hefner” in 2002. During that time Hayman has also managed to release 7 EPs, 2 singles and an acclaimed electronica album with his short-lived band “The French” as well as releasing a double album of 43 unreleased Hefner songs.

“Secondary Modern” marks a long awaited return to the sparse folk pop sound of earlier Hefner recordings, and was recorded spontaneously in 12 days at Soup Studios in Shoreditch (also recently home to Television Personalities and Comet Gain). The studio lies underneath the Duke of Uke shop and Darren made good use of Ukuleles, Banjos, Mandolins, and Fiddles and these songs. Darren also made use of the open door policy of his new band “Secondary Modern” to include contributions from many of his friends. Guests on this album include; seventies reclusive legend John Howard, avant brass man Terry Edwards, folk-tronica elder men Ellis Island Sound as well as members of bright new sparks; Let´s Wrestle, The Wave Pictures and Fanfarlo.

The main attraction here, however, is Darren´s lyrics as he continues to plough an idiosyncratic furrow through the modern British urban landscape. Subject matter here includes declining standards of art education in secondary schools (Art and Design), a love affair from the perspective of a Lacoste logo (Crocodile), doomed school re-unions (Pupil Most Likely) and cheap high street engagement rings (Elizabeth Duke). Darren is disappointed and in love with the world and people he sings about, this album isn´t big, brash, or loud mouthed, rather it is simple, articulate, funny, robust and made with love.

For press shots and cover artwork please go to

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