Posts Tagged ‘indie’



I let my wife listen to The Trials of Van Occupanther, a 2006 offering from Midlake, and she got hooked.  It is easy to see why — reminiscent of Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Fleetwood Mac, Surfjan Stevens, and even Joni Mitchell, it is at first shot, an “easy listening” album, but it offers more with each listen, and is in fact quite complex and rewards the effort.

I reckon the world simply divides into two camps with Midlake; you either “get it” or you don’t.

Here are the relevant links:

[Embedded video from You Tube of “Head Home” by Midlake]




[Picture of The Radio Department -- from Sweden]The Radio Dept is a really good band from Sweden.

[embedded videoclip from, The Radio Dept “David”]


I got their 2003 EP, “Pulling Our Weight” and I thought “I don’t need love, I’ve got my band” was a fairly unimpressive poppy of-its-time guitar band track.  The title track had a nice beat and wistful guitar and vocal, and was — well, “nice”.  From the start through to the end of “We climb the wired fences” (my fave track of the five), it was a fairly calming, soothing experience, trippyish.  It was never a challenge, but it grew on me still over time.

Pet Grief” from 2006 is a much more mature-sounding band.  Better songs, better ideas.  Same wistful, reverb-filled vocal, but it all comes together like The Blue Nile or Prefab Sprout, if you know what I mean. “I Wanted You To Feel The Same” is beautifully recorded, and the piano is delicious, leading right into the filler, “South Side“. The up tempo “Every Time” has their signature reverb vocals underpinned by the driving beat. Crackin’ stuff. Maybe not as powerfully emotional as The Blue Nile, which is maybe why it is often classed as “Shoegaze” music — it is not “sad” per se, but I guess if you’re in that mood it would be just perfectly melancholy.  I find it hazy, summery, lovely music to wander the streets looking about, or while reading or just chillin’.

[embedded videoclip from, The Radio Dept “It’s Personal”]


My favourite track has to be either “It’s Personal” as it is almost Richard Hawley! or “Tell“. But hey; it’s all good.  Yes.  This is a very good album — and definitely worth checking out at Amazon or try these links:




I have been enjoying “The Last Bus” by Patch William a lot recently. I came across them via the BBC website (, but I had some trouble embedding the video here (so I reverted to YouTube yet again):

[embedded video from BBC/YouTube of The Last Bus]:

“The last Bus” starts out all St. Vincent, but it changes as soon as you hear the very English vocal.  The track builds nicely, it works it’s magic not unlike  Grizzly Bear or St Vincent, but without their sadness or edginess, the interesting arrangements, acoustic and electric, folk and rock, lush strings — it’s all there, but with Patch William it’s warm and comfortable and easy listening, relaxing and like a well-known breakfast cereal, by the end you have to have another listen; they’re ludicrously tasty!

The Patch William LP is due out this month, and it’s meant to be super — we shall see.

[embedded video from BBC/YouTube of Morning cars]:

Morning Cars is plugged-in.  It has elements of soft punk at times, some interesting timeshifts, dynamics, and even touches of Deacon Blue or Prefab Sprout (maybe because of the girl vocal part). To me, they always seem to start off a song sounding young and mature as they go along! It is nice to see indie still alive and kickin’ — and it’s great to see the yanks getting some competition.




I am really enjoying the new album,Veckatimest, from Grizzly Bear. They have a website — — which you have to scroll sideways on! They played on Jools Holland’s “Later” a few months back, and were excellent live and very engaging and intriguing.

embedded video While You Wait For The Others on YouTube:

This song has been in my head for days now, it’s got a Hendrixy guitar thing, and sort-of Beach Boys vocal work — and various people reckon the Grizzlies are a bit like a LOT of bands from Badly Drawn Boy to Gomez. The music reviewers seem to prefer to compare with Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective, although I can’t see why for Veckatimest. Maybe the comparisons work better for their last album, Yellow House from back in 2006.  I know this album, but don’t like it half as much as Veckatimest!

The entire album, after a couple of play-throughs, is actually quite addictive.

The band is from Brooklyn near New York in the USA, which seems to be where-it’s-at just now.

Chris Bear plays the drums to Chris Taylor’s bass.  Taylor also experiments with mad instruments and is the producer. Everyone sings, but the two main singers also play guitar and keyboards — Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen (who is also a member of the duo “Department of Eagles”).

“Two Weeks” has a really strong piano vamp intro, and I’m pretty sure that I have heard it used in some TV commercial or something — it’s a real nag, and I wish I could remember better!

“I live With You” has haunting vocals and a Thunderclap Newman feel at times.

Overall it’s produced in a weird lo-fi fashion — sounding a bit like they have recorded tracks in their bathroom.There’s a lot of reverb and raw sounds, but that’s part of the charm — it actually sounds older than it obviously is!

They can harmonise — I like what they do on “About Face” and on the start of “Fine For Now”.

If you fancy something a wee bit different from the usual pop, but still tuneful and interesting, check out Grizzly Bear; you won’t be sorry you did!