May 6, 2014
Hospitality is the act or service of welcoming, receiving, hosting or entertaining guests, which is what I feel we do here at smithsocksimon.net, by providing a comfortable seat for the rich and rewarding audio journey that awaits.
Today’s journey has little rhyme or reason, save that the first six songs below all come from LPs released in 2014. It’s been a quiet year, music-wise, on this blog. Either there’s not so much exciting new music out there or it’s not finding it’s way onto the smithsockstereo. It’s a worrying scenario, one that ciould lead to overlong wallowing in musical nostalgia, which must be avoided at all costs, lest I end up subscribing to Mojo, nodding in agreement when I read Q Magazine’s review pages and turning to The Guardian to find out which “albums” I should be buying this week.
But fear not, for SoundCloud and Bandcamp come riding to the rescue, passing, almost inevitably, through Brooklyn.
The Guardian didn’t trouble themselves, but both Mojo and Q were lukewarm towards the second LP from Hospitality, a gently understated but wonderfully eclectic follow-up to their self-titled debut. Track three is a particular delight, with its a wonderful Belly-esque vocal, while the guitar sounds on my second choice will only put a spring in your step and smile on your face. Is Trouble the best LP of the year to date? Very possibly.
Hospitality :: I Miss Your Bones
Hospitality :: Rockets and Jets
I really wanted to love the new record from the Cleveland, Ohio, three-piece. Here and Nowhere Else is their third LP and the follow-up to 2012’s excellent Attack on Memory. But while there are some cracking moments among the eight tracks, there’s also a sameness to the eight tracks that can be wearing. That said, taken in small pieces it jolts and stimulates. It’s why we have shuffle.
Cloud Nothings :: Psychic Trauma
There’s a richer variety in You Can Do Better, the fifth LP from Birmingham’s Johnny Foreigner, in large part because singer Alexie Berrow shares vocal duties with bass player Kellie Southern. Q Magazine didn’t like it, calling it a “shouty mess”. It’s rock ’n’ roll; whoever said it shouldn’t be messy? Though like the Cloud Nothings’ record, You Can Do Better may be more palatable in small pieces, like this one.
Johnny Foreigner :: In Capitals
Have you ever wondered what a French take on Pavement would sound like?
Sounding about as French as the cast of Allo Allo, Appletop could be a tribute band to late twentieth century lo-fi indie, more sou. Brave Mountains is the trio’s second long player and leaves you wondering just how much more interesting it would sound if the band had been less obvious with their Californian aspirations. Still, I’ve heard worse.
Appletop :: Twenty-five
And maintaining the international flavour, a Japanese duo taking their name from a song by Irish shoegazers My Bloody Valentine. This track is taken from a free collection of the band’s releases to date and it’s dreamy electronics could not be further removed from MBV’s tuneless bilge.
Soft As Snow But Warm Inside :: When the Nightmare Ends
My Bloody Valentine :: Soft As Snow But Warm Inside
Photo: Parc; some rights reserved.