cajón de sastre ~ demo 2005 (independent, 2005)

carol, emi and miguel are a band from gijón, spain. their my latest discovery from the rich spanish independent scene. and rich is the best word to describe their music formed by electronic textures and whispered voices. all very sentimental, melodic and enigmatic.
this demo was recorded when the trio still was a duo with carol and miguel.
"carol, emi and miguel angel present a collection of threaded samples where electronic bases and sentimental arrangements make up the cross-sectional threads of a sonorous tailoring where any musical garment is possible. with a dressmaker mother and tailor father, respectively, cajón de sastre inherits the artisan tradition with which they subtly sew their musical wounds." (from their myspace)
originally, this demo had four songs but there's also a song called 'cajón de sastre' that opens the album and the last is another version of it. it seems like their hymn and it was the song that made me pay attention in their music.
involving... enigmatic... melodic... great for late night hours.

00. cajón de sastre
01. el contenedor de ilusiones de david
02. la chaqueta arrugada
03. érase una vez
04. septiembre
05. cajón de sastre (revestida)


still here

kuryakin ~ still here (shelflife records, 2008)

when someone talks about a duo from sweden making dreamy pop songs with guitars and beats it's certain that it's good and fresh. and when this duo is signed with shelflife records, well, then you know you must check it out.
petter and johan make music since 2003 and their sound was beautifully defined on tweeview as laptop pop (the influence of 60's sunshine pop is also part of their tunes).
“kuryakin is simply trying to make beautiful music. if they could they would have a symphonic orchestra backing them up on every song, but for now they have to be satisfied with all the sounds you can make with a computer.”
(from their website)
they live in diferent cities: one in uppsala and the other in stockholm and they create their music sending samples and ideas via email.
it's amazing how they don't get carried away by blips and beats. less is more but still amazingly melodic. still here is a gift to everyone living on the north hemisphere: five songs to welcome the summer and most likely to be the soundtrack of those languid days by the sun.

01. take my hand
02. still here
03. snow
04. rain
05. peace of mind

buy it

stolen smiles

the sedgwicks ~ stolen smiles (pop goes on, 1993)

while selecting the songs for the earth hour mixtape i found this gem in my files. this two track single is on my hd since i don't know when and i should've noticed it before...
the sedgwicks were a band from kent that was active from 1990 until 1993. after releasing two 7'' singles and appearing in a couple of compilations, they disappeared and left no trace...
here you'll find their last single: beautiful and really easy listening. two marvellous, unpretentious - extremely underrated - jangly pop-shoegazy songs. one of the finest moments of indiepop from the 90's - i dare to say...

ps: (the art cover is beautiful).

01. stolen smiles
02. here tonight

earth hour mixtape

earth hour mixtape (mixtape #02)

remember, today at 8.30pm (your local time) switch off your lights for one hour and let the earth rest for some time...
take pictures, make videos and post it at earth hour official site. and an idea: make a mixtape with songs to be listened in the dark.
here's a very beautiful picture taken from their flickr... it's pretty cool too because there's pictures from sightings all over the world and people showing how they spent their one hour...

and now the mixtape: 14 songs to put on your player - since all yout electronics will be off tonight - and enjoy a night in the dark.
go outside and look to the stars that you don't usually see, since there's always too much lights on earth shining brighter than the sky.

01. fireflies - the sky turns to black
02. family - la noche inventada
03. the sedgwicks - here tonight
04. the castaway stones - night time is the city's only star
05. vitesse - brighter than the sky
06. japan air - stationen by night
07. bedtime - i'm glowing in the dark
08. all of my brother's girlfriends - turn the lights off
09. jeremy jay - hold me in your arms tonight
10. anoraak - nightdrive with you
11. the yellow melodies - let it be tonight
12. vancouver nights - dark is my heart
13. miniskirt - these fish glow in the dark
14. friday bridge - good night, waterhouse


the mary onettes ~ dare (preview) (labrador, 2009)
release date: april, 29

after the south ambulance album, here's another release of labrador. dare is set to be released on april, 29 after their acclaimed full lenght debut in 2007. the ep will have three songs and now you can listen two of them just to warm up until you get your hands on your copy...
on their blog, philip wrote about the period between releasing the previous album and creating new songs:
"... a long time has gone by since the latest release. a lot of work has been done, but a lot of work was actually just a waste of time.
last summer i basically lost every song i've ever recorded with the mary onettes. my hard-drive with all my music was stolen in my car one fine afternoon in stockholm, the very same fine afternoon we came home from our us tour, the very same day i was feeling thrilled to come home and start the process of finishing our new album. of course i had made a backup copy on my computer at home. but for some reason a power failure in the building made that hard drive
collapse to. unbelievable. i was speechless for days.
the only thing i felt was right at that moment was to take a break.
i went to my hometown a lot. as a matter of fact i keep coming back to that stupid city all the time. most of all because our families live there but also because i always find the right inspiration there.
'dare' was written and partly recorded in a little studio in my hometown (jönköping) that belongs to a good friend of mine. we used
real strings for the song which we recorded in a small church nearby our hometown.
the other two tracks 'kicks' and 'god knows i had plans' are pretty much leftovers we've never recorded before. i think it's nice we could use them on this ep."

after all the pain and suffering it's time to enjoy and rejoice (even if the songs are a bit sad)...

01. dare
02. kicks
03. god knows i had plans.

buy it

south ambulance

south ambulance ~ south ambulance (labrador, 2005)

south ambulance is a stockholm band formed in late 2003 that combines the best of swedish pop to brilliant effect. They take the woozy guitar overload the radio dept. and mix it the happy c86-inspired pop of so many swedish bands, making this debut a must-hear.
"if television personalities had been melancholic swedes who released records on creation in the early 90's they might have sounded something like south ambulance. it's energetic, happy-sad and most infectious". (perfect description taken from their myspace)
we can hear echoes of my bloody valentine and its dense guitars in songs like 'take them out' and 'done undone'; their pop sensibility in 'worry satellite' and its shalala harmonies...
the best track of the album is 'die 5times times5'. a song with addictive melodies and bittersweet lyrics 'your girlfriend looks like shit and I know you’re aware of it' with a killing end with claps and guitar hooks.
after 4 years, it seems that 2009 will see the release of their fifth ep. so far i heard four songs and it's more melodic (if that would be possible) and the awesome guitar layers are back! here's a song from the upcoming ep #5 called davy crockett.
and here's one of the most addictive songs ever: hanging in a tie.

here's the video for die 5times times5

01. take them out
02. die 5times times5
03. brunswick bed
04. saturdays for sad excuses
05. done undone
06. echo #5
07. the ballad of duncan boyle
08. crack & burst
09. worry satellite
10. crack up
11. imaginary bottled reply to disbeliever


buy it


eternamatic ~ eternamatic (bootleg, 1993)

you may know the legendary spanish duo family that in the early 90's released a classic album praised until our days. after the release of 'un soplo en el corazón', the band was over.
eternamatic was a project for a one-performance-only. it was formed by family (javier aramburu and iñaki gametxogoikoetxea) with teresa iturrioz from le mans and aventuras de kirlian. they performed one time: at a tribute party to the radio host juan de pablos.
the themes are delightful...
i don't know if it's because i am very sentimental but 'sentimental' has brilliant lyrics and could be a hymn for the sensitive ones.
'i don't expect anything
what should i expect?
i live from memories
but how can i avoid it
i'm so sentimental."
and at a certain point: "to you it sound fatal/ that i hear the music /that always makes me cry". and you cry, because you know exactly what they mean.
and 'et si je m'en vais avant toi' is a song with french lyrics and all of my french reaches is the translation of the title 'and if i see myself in front of you' or something like that...
rare songs from one of the most groudbreaking acts in spain sharing their last minutes of evocative sensibility and delightful melancholy.

01. sentimental
02. et si m'en vais avant toi

worst of 04-07

girl alliance ~ worst of 04-07 (independent, 2008)

one of the things i like the most are music made in bedrooms and released on the internet with no pretention at all...
that's the case of girl alliance. all we know is that it's a guy in his 20-something that lives in lund, sweden. he creates cute and catchy pop melodies and sings about love and its longings.
('i don't know what to expect from that boy' is awesome).

01. jaded
02. so many things
03. what can i do
04. best of seasons
05. denmark
06. i don't know what to expect from that boy
07. misbehaving
08. i want more
09. pretty young boy
10. train to school
11. dumb


(thanks to mark, from, for introduce me to girl alliance!)

confused and proud - 25 years old mixtape

confused and proud - 25 years old mixtape (mixtape #01)

i turned 25 today! well, yesterday...
and i noticed that on march,14 i spend the day thinking about music and years. which music would i be in 1986? or what about the songs of my life? i have a deep feeling for 'birthday' by the sugarcubes, for example. don't ask me why... everytime i try to imagine how was the day when i was born and recreate it from nothing - since i can't remember anything from the day i was born... thinking about the colors, the atmospheres and the sounds i feel that 'birthday' fits perfectly. oh, and yes a song called 'birthday' to mark the day of my birth. i'm that obvious.
so here's the video of 'birthday'...
first one from 1987 with the original version of the song.

and from a live performance in 1988.

and here's the first mixtape of the blog...

01. northern portrait - crazy
02. razorcuts - i'll still be there
03. hammarin & robin - hell knows i'm in love
04. twig - 50 shades of red
05. burning hearts - i lost my colour vision
06. klaus & kinski - la mano de santa teresa de jesús
07. the popguns - because he wanted to
08. fosca - confused and proud
09. cof cof - t-shirt
10. mono taxi - kind of better
11. always - london times
12. my teenage stride - skin lieutenant
13. santa dog - belle de jour
14. the winter club - mixtapes that lucy made
15. bathing beauty and sir cecile savoy - let's keep it friendly
16. boat club - warmer climes
17. camera obscura - swans
18. japan air - stars
19. kite - ways to dance
20. davey strange - let's go disco dancing
21. grande archives - orange juice
22. graham fellows - a conker in spring
23. thunder power - take a hike
24. cats on fire - the border of this land
25. slowblow - morgun

all hail the daffodil

dead famous people ~ all hail the daffodil (la-di-da records, 1991)

classic girl act from the alternative scene of the late 80's in new zealand.
guitars, keyboards, drums, lyricism and backing vocals are the instruments used to create 11 heavenly pop songs.
after achieving a certain success in new zeland's underground scene they moved to uk.
in 1989 they appeared on peel sessions and after recording an album (arriving late in torn and filthy jeans) the band was over...
all hail the daffodil contains songs recorded during the year of 1990 and was released a short time after the band split up the year after.
among the 11 tracks there are a few (a lot actually) that are true pop hymns! in 'little flashes of yesterday' we have a jangly guitar and donna savage singing 'little flashes of yesterday/ can make a person blind/ little flashes of yesterday/ can be so unkind'.
and there's also 'life said to the boy' a song with chorus lines that goes like ''hail' life said to the boy/ don't test me''.
i could take every song and quote lyrics and talk about the jangly or hooked guitar... and about the moments the girls sing together forming layers of voice... and about the sweet keyboards...
and about...

01. with wing we'll soar the heavens
02. how to be kind
03. little flashes of yesterday
04. wild young ways
05. in praise of right now
06. postcard from paradise
07. life said to the boy
08. gavin
09. left
10. go home stay home
11. all hail the daffodil

(donna savage appeared as a guest on the saint etienne's version of the field mice's let's kiss and make up').

the sudden death of a pet

yoyoyo acapulco ~ the sudden death of a pet 7'' ep (kitchen music, 2008)

yoyoyo acapulco is this awesome band from vestre gausdal, a small comunity in the center of norway.
using a casio mt 65, yamaha dd10, a microkorg, some yellow drums, a bassguitar, a couple of shakers, some kazoos, glockenspiel and one white ukulele they make fun (and funny) pop songs.
this is their first release but their music has been around for some time on the internet.
the 4 tracks are only 8 minutes long and filled with the finest irony.
the highlight is the 1.10 minute 'mexican wolfgasket', almost a pop hymn:

'don't punch on my artery
no matter what you say my heart is a part of me
hold on to your soul
it's only rock'n'roll
it's not your fault...
don't question my authority
my feminine kind or masculinity
by saying nasty little things to me'

their videos are as good as their music!


mexican wolfgasket

01. f-word
02. the sudden death of a 7'' pet
03. mexican wolfgasket
04. kamasutra tsunami


alto, bajo, frágil

portonovo ~ alto, bajo, frágil (independent, 2001)

portonovo is one of those rare bands that has a short life but produces vital albums for the life of some people... i consider myself one of these 'people' and a portonovo orphan. i remember that i cried the day i knew that the band was over.
they were a band from madrid formed by a girl and five boys that started in 1999 and released a demo ep called 'no es bueno mirar al sol' and an album on jabalina musica.
alto, bajo, frágil... (tall, short, fragile...) is their first demo and already show their unique sinesthesic pop creating delicate images and landscapes with rich melodies and beautiful lyrics. in fact, one of the things that really hooked me up on portonovo were the lyrics.
the dialogue between guitars and calm electronic beats it's marvellous. and they manage to create an idilic and yet completely urban vibe. as if in the middle of a big city were some 'breath in' spaces where you'd be alone (and melancholic).
what is impressive to me is how effective they are to share emotions using very simple ways...
it has seven songs that, apart from their beauty, rise because of the natural attraction of their lyrics, and because of the originality of the rhythms programmed, in which the delicate reyes' voice, remarked by carlos' chorus, fit like a ring to melodies equalable to the best moments of the unfinishing donosti school.
if you understand spanish, pay attention to the lyrics of 'metas volantes' and 'no es bueno mirar al sol'. i feel so close to these two songs that i'm pretty sure that they'll be part of my life for a long time. in 'no es bueno mirar al sol' (something like 'it isn't good to stare at the sun') their ability to talk about everyday situation with a delicate view is genius... in one verse they sing:

siempre quise haber podido verte
volviendo a tu casa del colegio
una tarde de lluvia y viento,
andando deprisa para no mojarte el pelo.
i've always wanted to see you
coming back to home from school
an afternoon of rain and wind,
walking fast so you wouldn't get your hair wet.

(ok, my english translation is awful but the idea is there...)

01. metas volantes
02. loplop
03. sus lagartos
04. no es bueno mirar al sol
05. alto, bajo, frágil
06. ártico
07. nova

(years after the band was over, their site was still online, but when i opened the page today to put a link here there's was nothing left...)

pocket guide to the underworld

the camerawalls ~ pocket guide to the underworld (lilystars records, 2008)

the camerawalls are a trio making pop with nostalgia in the (beautiful) manilla underground scene. it's formed by clementine from orange & lemons and friends from the past.
this is their debut and you know it's gonna be delicious by the second song. opening the album is 'markers of beautiful memories', melodically candid and a great sample of how heartfelt and breezy music made in the philipines sounds like (you'll probably hear melodies and arrangements that sound like ferns).
then comes probably their most known song 'clinically dead for 16 hours'. and it's the hit song the smiths didn't recorded.
but there's also an agressive side on the album on tracks like 'lord of the flies' and 'the emperor, the concumbine and the commoner' (with hints of the british references like the stone roses).
this project continues where orange & lemons stopped and even though their dealing with the same subjects, the music is deeper.
the poem 'canto de maria clara' by 19th century filipino hero dr. josé rizal turns into music with clementine singing.
in songs like 'changing horses midstream' and 'lizards hiding under rocks' they criticise the artistic conformity that surrounds manila's scene.
here's what clementine has to say about the album:
"i try to be diferent this time. it's not the usual theme of love and sex, not your typical concepts. we're writing songs about moving on and changing jobs, about the band people in the world, about medical wonder and reincarnation".

here's two videos:

markers of beautiful memories

clinically dead for 16 hours

01. markers of beautiful memories
02. clinically dead for 16 hours
03. lord of the flies
04. i love you, natalie
05. changing horses midstream
06. ignore my weakness, don't igonre me
07. canto de maria clara
08. the emperor, the concubine & the commoner
09. solitary north star
10. lizards hiding under rocks

buy it

hope corner lane

the kensingtons ~ hope corner lane 7'' (meller welle records, 1994)

"just how obscure are the kensingtons? so obscure that no one is scrobbling them on, a google search comes up pretty empty"...(except a few blogs talking about them) ..."and there's not even an entry for them on tweenet (maybe they're not twee after all?)".
(intro from i'm not always so stupid)
this four track release could be easily among sarah records discography... the songs have guitar solos and tend to be melancholic; 'please don't lie to me' turns to be a more upbeat melody a la the sea urchins and hit parade.
the highlight is the last song 'intercity baby '94': a train trip from taunton to leicester to see a girlfriend.
stewart tudor-jackman is the man behind the kensingtons... this 7'' is the only record as a band together with andy howlett and andy discombe. the other things were all recorded by stewart himself.

read an interview roque (from cloudberry) made with stewart.

01. surbiton girl
02. nothing at all
03. please don't lie to me
04. intercity baby '94


the popguns ~ eugenie (midnight music records, 1990)

the popguns is a band from brighton(uk) that started in 1986 and released their first ever song on a flexi disc that was given away with an issue of 'how many beans make five', a zine - also from brighton - of the second half of the 80's.
eugenie is their first full lenght and contains a compilation of songs that were previously recorded on singles.
i became a fan of the popguns the first time i heard 'because he wanted to': a classic fast pace a la the wedding present way (in fact, the wedding present's ex-drummer joined the band in 1988)... the perfect song to dance as loose as possible and singing along verses of love, pain, loneliness and breaking ups (when he said that nothing happens here/ seemed like something just to say/ how could I turn round and say to him/ how I loved this perfect day).
and the whole album is filled with songs just like that... twee and c86 energy from the early 90's through a female perspective!
here's the video for the (also) classic 'waiting for the winter'.

(the band never officially split up and every now and then play some gigs.)

01. landslide
02. down on your knees
03. leave it alone
04. waiting for the winter
05. every dream
06. because he wanted to
07. someone you love
08. those other things
09. don't smile


'neath the staring skies

punky's dilemma ~ 'neath the staring skies ep (shelflife records (cd-r series)), 2003

first release of the trio from malmö. a consistent and breathtaking debut setting a unique mood that in their second cd-ep is more refined and polished.
the opening track 'airliner' is a classic and could be part of a trilogy with 'shooting stars' and 'scandinavia' from echelon, released in 2006. melancholy in its best.
from shelflife:
"...'neath the staring skies' immerses the listener in haunting male-female vocal harmonies echoing through layers of folky acoustic guitar and sparse but well-arranged bass, piano and percussion. To truly appreciate the sum of the parts, you'll want to sit back and let the waves of emotion wash over you".

here you can also hear a sort of first version of the beautiful 'century of time'...

01. airliner
02. not if i lose
03. dream mtv
04. for sale
05. century of time
06. grace


my maudlin career (preview)

camera obscura ~ my maudlin career (preview) (4ad, 2009)

tracyanne and the band come back in a forth album (that'll be released on april, 20) with more sugar, love, melancholy and addictive pop. after the success of their previous album with songs like 'lloyd, i'm ready to be heartbroken', 'let's get out of this country' and 'if looks could kill' they're back with an album that reminds their two first albums: relaxing, easy listening, melodic and cute... extremely cute.
the pianos are there... the ringing guitars are there... and tracyanne's sugary voice is there.
music that will take the sensitive ones and make them sing along and dance...
here's what tracyanne said about the album in a press release:
“some people who have heard it say it’s intense and quite dark. i suppose it is in a way. we were even more open and brave when making it than we were with the last record. i’ve never been so brutal when its come to writing lyrics. i wouldn’t even call them lyrics. just documentation of what was going on with me for a while. i truly believe it’s the best we’ve done so far.”

since the album hasn't been released yet i won't make available all songs. i chose three songs - you have no idea how hard it was:

french navy: opens the album with uplifting melody and tracyanne singing "spent a week in a dusty library/ waiting for some words to jump at me"... five seconds after that you'll be dancing and certain that'll spend 35-40 minutes in a state of joy mixed with melancholy, naivety and love.

james: a heartbreaking ballad that'll make you feel like falling in love with some guy called james and have your heart broken just to suffer listening to this song.

my maudlin career*: the classic camera obscura slow pace song (with piano lines to die for).
*made available on february, 9.

01. french navy
02. the sweetest thing
03. you told a lie
04. away with murder
05. swans
06. james
07. careless love
08. my maudlin career
09. forest and sands
10. other towns and cities
11. honey in the sun

buy it

into the light again

her name in lights ~ into the light again (laughing outlaw records, 2005)

melodic pop-folk...moody...unashamedly 'girly'...
mary wyer - member of the classic sarah records act even as we speak - with her fiancé almond cafarella, simon holds from the hummingbirds (the should-have-been band from the 90's) and simon gibson from sneeze got together to record some songs wyer had written.

"... with the merest flicker of vengeance in her winsome voice, wyer's pink confessions save themselves with a refreshing honesty and manage to document with charm and insight the many ways love seduces, then ruins, then rebuilds and redeems us. buried in the middle of all this heartache is a strummy acoustic lament which turns out to be a breathtaking version of the otherwise completely execrable 'sex bomb '..."
(inspired review from the site

01. prelude
02. here she comes
03. dream
04. you know i really loved that boy
05. headstrong
06. waiting
07. key (part 1)
08. wicked girl
09. key (part 2)
10. car
11. mess
12. sex bomb
13. first kiss last kiss
14. against the blue
15. deep water
16. she said

buy it

the hiss we missed

memory cassette ~ the hiss we missed (independent, 2008)

summerish dream pop experience... memory cassette (a lovely name that evokes the nostalgia of all the mixtapes we used to create for walks using a brand new technology called walkman).
little is known about them... actually this is a one man project from new jersey. the enchanting, whispery female voice belongs to someone that remains unknown.
warm beats and fuzzy shoegazing with influences coming from the early 80's new wave and dance scene to the late 80's indierock, noise pop and post punk scenes. delicious like a sunset in the end (or beginning) of summer by the beach is delicious.

(the guy behind memory cassette also makes music under the name weird tapes, a more electro project).

01. asleep at a party
02. tortoise pace
03. 50 mph
04. ghost in the boombox