Caught in the net: Braids weave magic

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The Independent Culture

A band picking up some "blog hype" (see below) are the young Canadian band Braids (right). Based in Montreal and comprised of two girls and two boys, the band are unsigned but have released two EPs, with talk of new material to come in the first half of next year. They play a sort of spacey, experimental pop that calls to mind Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene and Telepathe. Download two of their tracks, including the wonderful "Liver and Tan", at tinyurl.com/ya7q5x3.

Right direction for Navigator

Reveal Records is a British independent label born out of a record shop of the same name in Derby, run by a fellow called Tom Rose. In 2007, Rose set up the label to release music by Joan Wasser (left), better known as the alt-pop act Joan As Policewoman. The label has been growing ever since and their roster now includes the likes of Kris Drever, Lau and Jon Redfern. Earlier this year, the label released 'Colonia', the second album by A Camp, the alias of Cardigans singer Nina Perrson. Rose has also set up a second label Navigator Records, focusing on folk and roots music. Tom has now put together a sampler album especially for 'The Independent'. The mixtape is available as free download from independent.co.uk/navigator, with 30 tracks by artists from the two labels, there you will also find a a track-by-track guide to the album written by Tom. All the aforementioned acts are on there, as well as the likes of Dead Air, John McCusker and Heidi Talbot. There's also a song by Gramercy Arms featuring an unlikely guest vocal from comedian Sarah Silverman.

At the Four front

Throughout the decade, Kieran Hebden has made some of the best electronic to come out of the UK under his Four Tet moniker. It's over four years since his last Four Tet album – aside from the 'Ringer' EP last year and a Burial collaboration, Hebden has been sidetracked with other projects, such as his free jazz/electronica work with Steve Reid. Now, he returns with a Four Tet album, 'There Is Love in You', released in February. The first single is out on 12" vinyl; called "Love Cry" and clocking in at nine minutes, it's one of the most danceable tracks Hebden has made with a great minimal groove, looping synths and a female vocal sample. Hear it at tinyurl.com/yhq5mdx.

Supergroup all set to be high-flyers

A few weeks back, we heard the first stirrings of Them Crooked Vultures, now we get the full complement. The hard-rocking supergroup featuring Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones release their imaginatively titled debut LP, 'Them Crooked Vultures', on Monday. In the meantime, however, the whole record is streaming on the band's YouTube channel, tinyurl.com/ylnuo3u.



Do believe the hype

Among other more momentous developments (such as the near collapse of the record industry), this decade has also been notable as the era of "blog hype"; wherein an unsigned band, buoyed by an appearance at music festival such as SXSW in Texas or support slots with bigger bands, start getting notice across the web. The latest example is Sleigh Bells who, among other things, made a big impression at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York recently. The Brooklyn based boy/girl duo smash lo-fi punk, noisy pop, electro-dance and garage rock together in a delightfully haphazard way. Hear their songs at myspace.com/sleighbellsmusic. Whether they survive beyond the hype remains to be seen. One can only hope.



Word on the web...

Robbie Williams

Reality Killed the Video Star

"While Williams has some points to make, and often makes them well, he does so lacking in the confident strutting that has characterised his best songs. This new maturity suits his voice, but given his musical past it makes him a far safer proposition than he used to be." - musicomh.com

"It's not without its faults – Williams's lyricism still leaves much to be desired, especially on 'Won't Do That' – but 'Reality...' is a record its makers can be very proud of indeed. The ego has landed, again, but he's a lot more endearing this time around." - bbc.co.uk/music

"There's lots packed into this album; repeated listens will ensnare you further. Most importantly, it's a good, old-fashioned pop album that relies on instruments and individualism instead of machines and tech wizardry. Welcome back, Mr Williams. You've been missed." - entertainment.ie

"It's a confused sounding record... The whole album is pedestrian with no pace to the tracks to push it along. It's almost too average to be average. There's possibly a half-decent six track EP in here somewhere, but even that isn't definite." - themusicmagazine. co.uk

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