Colette and Hannah Thurlow, the London-based sisters behind 2:54, first appeared in this column in the summer of 2010 as an unsigned band touting an early demo of shoegaze/new wave-inflected gloomy guitar pop on Myspace (ind.pn/c08ayP).
Last week they released their debut EP: it's available on vinyl and through iTunes (ind.pn/vqrH0q). Two of the EP's songs are also streaming at soundcloud.com/ twofiftyfour: title track "Scarlet" and "Got a Hold". The latter is the standout – full of big drum loops, droning guitars and a sultry vocal. The template hasn't shifted hugely from the pair's moody early stirrings, but they have expanded the sound a little and, not surprisingly, things are a bit more polished now. At their website, twofiftyfour.net, there's also a video for "Scarlet".
What, no Rolf Harris?
The story goes that in instrument shops around the world there is a blanket ban on budding musicians playing "Stairway to Heaven" while trying out any new guitar. However, such prohibition hasn't deterred many from covering the song down the years. The 40th anniversary of the Led Zeppelin classic was on 8 November and to honour the event, music writer Ann Powers compiled a list of seven memorable cover versions of the song, including those by Mary J Blige and Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Find her list, with accompanying videos, at ind.pn/uFRTcJ. Perhaps now is a bad time to reveal a very guilty secret: in weaker moments I prefer Rolf Harris's wobble-board version to the original.
A new, musical chapter for pop lit
It's a logical step that books about music should come with some sort of online musical accompaniment – a natural, unforced way to give added value. One such example is Will Hermes's recent pop-culture history Love Goes to Buildings on Fire. It centres on the cultural explosion that was downtown New York in the mid 1970s, when punk, new wave, hip-hop, minimalism, disco and avant-garde jazz were all bubbling up. On Spotify, Hermes has posted a playlist featuring 70 tracks that capture the noise of the era – spoti.fi/swdcXO.
Top brass from the all-American Kid
The US rapper Kid Cudi has recently been busying himself as an actor in the HBO comedy drama How to Make It in America, and while it's a year since his last solo album he's keeping a hand in the rap game, too. This week he dropped a free mixtape on ind.pn/uR47rw featuring a bunch of early demos. A highlight is the fanfare-like second track, "I'm Not the Average", with Cudi spitting casually over some lovely Motown horn samples that will make you nostalgic for the era even if you weren't there.