Caught in the net: An infectious blast of noise pop

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The Independent Culture

It feels like every week a new all-girl guitar band emerges, each heavily influenced by 1980s indie; all distortion, guitar jangles and hazy vocals, with some swift punky riffs from the 1970s thrown in for good measure.

Following on from Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls et al, is Las Robertas (above), a four piece from Costa Rica ( Their debut LP Cry Out Loud is an infectious blast of noise pop and can be downloaded for free at

The Gold and the beautiful

The UK electro producer Gold Panda got noticed last year after putting out a few excellent tracks. His latest offering arrived in April in the shape of the five-track "You" EP. The opening two tunes are streaming at, and they crystallise his streamlined, intriguing low-key electro sound, with bleeps and psychedelic noises flying in under the radar.

Taking matters into my own hands

I finally saw the Italian film I Am Love about a month after it landed in cinemas. I liked this visually beautiful family drama, which stars Tilda Swinton, though I felt the ending didn't quite work. Particularly arresting, though, was the score, culled from works by American composer John Adams. It leaps across his signature styles, taking in urgent minimalism and a modern slant on romanticism, jumping from the serene to the foreboding. After seeing the film I tried to find the soundtrack, but alas there isn't one, yet. Adams's label, Nonesuch, are planning a release, though it's not clear when it will arrive. Lapsing into full music-nerd mode, I decided to take matters into my own hands, compiling a Spotify playlist with the featured pieces. Hear it at

More exposure for Spencer Elden

Though you may not know his name, you might recognise Spencer Elden. "Everyone out there in the world's seen my penis already, or my baby penis," he explains in a video posted on the Obey Clothing website, Spencer was the baby floating in water on the cover of Nirvana's 1991 LP Nevermind. Now 19, he works as an assistant to Obey's owner, the artist Shepard Fairey (the man behind the Obama "Hope" poster). He's also an artist and illustrator in his own right; see his work at

Brooklyn trio hit the heights

The Brooklyn trio School of Seven Bells' second LP, Disconnect from Desire, arrives in July. "Babelonia" is the first song to emerge and it's available from Stereogum at With great harmonies, nice guitar lines, a few electro touches and some My Bloody Valentine-like vocal cooing, it's an enticing opening effort.

The word on...

The National, 'High Violet'

"What truly elevates 'High Violet', however, is the National's skilful navigation away from 'Boxer''s weighty production style... An expertly handled balancing of the airy and the dense."

"Their third masterpiece in a row... Another batch of cement to further supplement The National's already unshakable concrete career.'

"The National have pulled off a neat trick here – an immediate, commercial album that grows with each listen."

"An easy grandeur is present throughout, as is a sense they are following an increasingly individual, carefully textured path. It is a wild, vivid romance that The National make their own."