The High Ones

The High Ones is Mark Lee and Nigel Parrington a psychedelic indie pop duo from St. Albans in England.

The High Ones - psychedelic indie pop from England

The High Ones

Mark will be a familiar name to established readers as part of The Pocket Gods, a perennial favourite on the Indie Bands Blog. On this occasion, whilst the material remains as lo-fi as to be expected it is somehow more accessible and whilst the distinctive laconic vocal of Mark Lee remains as recognizable as ever, the audience is offered a more dance orientated sound.

There is a distinctive funk undertow which snaps the hips into movement with a plethora of alternative new wave synths which flow through the tracks giving them a sinuous movement.

Whilst The Pocket Gods remain very active, The High Ones have more sporadic out-put, more akin to the cycle of Halley’s Comet, but welcome none the less for it when they do arrive and knowing that Lee has an almost obsessive interest in all things celestial and beyond, perhaps that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

This is music to take at any-time of the day when you fancy exploring something a little different, but nonetheless easy to engage with.

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Pox Popz – EP – The High Ones is available on iTunes*.

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Birthrite

Birthrite is Erazamus Voss (Vocals), Jonny Zygen (Guitar), Mark Thinsliced (Bass) and Dek La Plombier (Percussion) an alternative indie band from Tipton in England.

Birthrite - alt indie from England

Birthrite

A delightful combination of New Romanticism, Funk and Steampunk floats its way into the ears as Birthrite deliver sounds that contain depth and clarity all wrapped up in one go. If you are of my vintage, think Black Arabs on Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle and you will get the gist, though that isn’t to say it is all retrospective and for those who haven’t got a clue what I am referencing in that last bit and don’t fancy doing a search – The darker edges of the music are given a spit and polish with an up-tempo lift that gives the material a lighter quality delivered complete with wry smile.


I happily find myself bouncing around the room and returning back to the keyboard for a few words of text whilst my mind is entranced by the core focus of the out-put which has a sardonic and incisive reflective. The combinations delivering sounds that are pure enjoyment on many levels.

It is through the very disparity of the influences that Birthrite are able to offer compositions which raises them well above the parapet, though sadly I feel, as with many of the best bands playing now, they will remain sidelined from the far broader audience they deserve.

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Blood Sport

Blood Sport is Alex Keegan (Guitar), Sam Parkin (Drums) and Nick Potter (Vocals) an alternative indie band based in Sheffield, England.

Blood Sport is an alt indie band from England

Blood Sport – photo credit Guy Smith

Lilting rhythms and melodies with influences of Dan Mugala and later derivations of the style of Kadongo Kamu from Uganda interspersed with reminders of Alternative TV give the music an hypnotic timbre in which tracks could become never ending hypnosis of sound and to give the material the time to flourish and develop in the listeners ears they do run pieces to over seven minutes duration, which could happy be doubled in length without loosing any interest.


The transformation of well established cohesive influences dipped in the box of existentialism provides for a triumph of experimentalism which in many ways provides a backdrop to social fracturing across much of the world today, delivering music, which in many ways due to its disparate roots is precisely of its time and an exciting commentary of the second decade of the 21st Century in the so called ‘developed world’.

This is not the first time in recent weeks that I have come across a new band taking influences from the rich seam of Ugandan music and I for one do hope this becomes a wider trend as the journey on which the brain can be taken is breathtakingly extensive.

With a new album – Life In Units – set for release on the 9th September I look forward to hearing more from Blood Sport.

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Lund Quartet

Lund Quartet is an instrumental jazz group from Bristol in England, comprised of Simon Adcock (piano / theremin), Jake Wittlin (turntable), Rob Childs (double bass) and Sam Muscat (drums). Their debut album, simply titled Lund Quartet, is released September 2013.

Lund Quartet - instrumental jazz from England

Lund Quartet

“Did you just say there were a theremin and turntable in this band?” Why yes, I did. However, before you think these guys are all about experimentalism and the unusual, do bear in mind the music they play only features these elements sparingly. The entire album is suffused with the piano, with the drums and double bass doing a great job filling out the sound space while samples are lovingly sliced and diced by the turntable work. Opening track Sequoia presents an edgy and compelling introduction to the band, with a sampled brass section cutting through the mix of hi-hat and evocative grooves on the keys. Their extended studio performance of Sequoia takes the song into somewhat self-indulgent but absorbing territory with a protracted dubstep theremin section! One can only hope the group decides to take this approach when performing the track live,

Sequoia – Single – Lund Quartet is available on iTunes*.

The album continues into somewhat unexpectedly melancholy with its second track, Kulde, which treads through icily emotional territory worthy of its translated namesake – Kulde means cold or frost in Norwegian. Love’s Madness is a fun and slightly sinister ballroom-strut through a hazy, delay-infused vocal sample and masterful piano playing. Tulipan is something of a rollercoaster in terms of its composition, ranging from downhearted and gloomy to uplifting and inspiring. Something to note at this point is that these arrangements are wilfully minimal in their construction, with each instrument occupying its space in the mix without overpowering the experience. In this way each source of sound can be fully appreciated.

Lonn is another double-edged sword in terms of its content. Starting off as a sombre piece, Lund Quartet subtly generate a confidence and character which crescendos into a charming piano section. The penultimate track, Merula, features catchy tapped-stick percussion and pleasant work on the keys

before Zill Bell finishes off the album with leisurely aplomb.

Overall I really like this debut from Lund Quartet. It’s nicely rhythmic and never offensive in its construction, and the turntable element sets the band apart. In future I personally would like to see slightly more use of the sampled elements (the intro to Kulde is a fantastic example of that) and maybe more fitting use of the theremin – I can hardly spot it on the album but can imagine all manner of exciting possibilities presenting themselves for future experimentation.

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Another superb review from Robbie, many thanks.

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Vienna Ditto

Vienna Ditto from Oxford in England the duo of Hatty Taylor and Nigel Firth with their avante-garde rock have passed my sight a few times and now I have been able to find enough music to write a review.

Vienna Ditto - avante-garde rock from England

Vienna Ditto

The underscore of velvet and steel resonates of an S&M dungeon with its evocative combination that transfixes the listener. I have been aware of the Vienna Ditto for a year or so and when I received an email about a new release, Ugly which comes out on the 14th October 2013, I was absolutely convinced I had already written a review of the band and was surprised to see that I hadn’t, so let us take a moment to rectify that situation as these two are precisely who should be featured on the Indie Bands Blog stable of websites.

Dulcet vocals are accompanied by evocative music that wrap the listener in an intoxicating fold of velvet which echo’s around the room in a warming embrace, lulling the brain into a sense of safety, before the blind fold is snapped around the eyes and the cold embrace of spreader bars snap into place and suddenly it is the the audience who stand exposed and vulnerable.

Vienna Ditto leave Schmitte Scars seared deep into the brain and I am delighted that I have been able to rectify my omission of a fine band with whom I suggest spending time is part of your life spent well as they add much to the world of music.

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Liar Liar – EP – Vienna Ditto is available on iTunes*

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