Much as I loved Grizzly Bear's 2009 album Veckatimest, there came a point – as plenty of other bands followed suit – that I grew tired of all that artful chamber pop, full of intricate instrumentation and choir-boy harmonies.
There's only so much prettiness you can take. However, for no particular reason, this week I picked up the new album by Portland five-piece Loch Lomond. The LP, Little Me Will Start a Storm, is full of the aforementioned musical characteristics, but it's worth a listen. Though not released until February, the beautiful lead single "Elephants & Little Girls" is a free download now at ind.pn/dOXHuJ.
Io Echo calls
The duo Io Echo are likely to get some attention next year. The band is made up of the Brit guitarist Leopold Ross and the US singer Ioanna Gika. At myspace.com/ioecho are a host of tracks full of droning guitars, electronic textures and Gika's poised vocals. One standout song, "When Lillies Die", also has a new video, containing rather incongruous visuals from a Japanese theatrical performance – after a while though, the trashy/spooky feel of the song seems to chime quite nicely with the theatre. Watch it at ind.pn/gsn6pK.
A rich palette from Au Revoir Simone
Some of the most impressive music videos this year have been interactive affairs from the likes of Arcade Fire and Robyn. Now the Brooklyn synth-pop band Au Revoir Simone's latest promo is an "interactive colouring book music video". Rather in keeping with their fairly kooky profile, the video does exactly as it says – giving the viewer an online palette to colour in a drawing of the all-girl trio.
The video also slips into live action at one stage, too. It's a nicely put together effort. The song, "Knights of Wands", all driving, dreamy electro, is quite good, too. Find it at theknightofwands.com.
Producer Madlib reworks J Dilla
In 2008, the indie hip-hop label Stones Throw released a three vinyl box-set to go with an event they held at that year's Miami Winter Music Conference, one of the major electronica events on the calendar. The record collection, Hella International, which featured music from Madlib, Four Tet, Dam Funk and plenty more quickly sold out – some of it was later released in CD format.
At the start of this month the vinyl set was re-released through stonesthrow.com, and promptly sold out all over again – but the label did offerone track as a download at ind.pn/i2u7gG. The tune, "The $ (Madlib remix)", sees the producer Madlib rework a previous effort by his deceased former collaborator J Dilla, into a slick electro-meets-hip-hop- meets-funk jam.