Tag Archives: slumberland

Seven Inch Showdown!

Ok so today we’re gonna review six 7”s released this year. six bands, two songs apiece, to see who you hate the least.

hahaha, ok.


Fergus & Geronimo – Harder Than It’s Ever Been bw/ Last Letter (Woodsist)

I don’t know if they meant for it to be like that, but it was recorded very rough, and as usual, I’ve heard it all before, nothing great about it but it’s fine-ish.


Sic Alps – L. Mansion bw/ Superlungs My Supergirl (Slumberland)

sounds like a very amateurish rendering of early Beatles stuff.

are you saying they have the potential to become ‘the greatest band in the world ever’?

haha no! they are just imitating the early work of ‘the greatest band in the world ever’.

they have a lot to learn.

these guys are a school band, the guys from sixth form playing at the end of  year concert.


Frat Dad – Greg the Nerd bw/ Freak in Nature (Underwater Peoples)

did they just record one of their rehearsals?

they haven’t decided which colour to paint with.

basically, what I’m saying is they don’t know what to do.

they’re hoping people can’t hear how bad it is under the muddled mess.



Nodzzz – True to Life bw/ Good Times Crowd (What’s Your Rupture?)

boring, dreary, amateurish, like….yeah? well, everything like that.

not good.


caveweddingsThe Cave Weddings – Bring Your Love bw/ Let’s Drive (Hozac)

these guys are second best so far, after Geronimo and whoever.

again it’s all so totally predictable, school band stuff. no real musical ideas, no real… it’s derivative, all of it.

remember when I’d go see you playing at battle of the bands things? it’s like that.

it’s not surprising though is it? there are so many people making music these days, you can’t expect them all to be good.

it’s like when I used to teach in Dun Laoghaire, out of a class of twenty, you’d be lucky to have one real talent.

I wonder how many bands there are in America? tens of thousands surely.

in good times…maybe 1% would be good? and out of that 1%, 5% might be really excellent.

of course, we are….well we forget that the reproductive media have raised the expectations of our standards, you watch premiership football on the telly, and suddenly everything that isn’t premiership football is ‘crap’. even though it actually isn’t at all crap it just seems that way because we’re fed the best.

same goes for music.

and really, bands like this you should really listen to in context, and listening to it on record is wrong, you expect recorded music to sound professional, I should go see these guys play in their local village hall, with people having beers and just enjoying the music.

we’ve still got one more to go, maybe they’ll turn everything around for you.


Real Estate – Fake Blues bw/ Green River (Half Machine)

They are WAY ahead of all the rest.

are you just saying that because the recording is cleaner than the others?

no, no, they actually have ‘a sound’ they know what they’re about.

they also sound modern, all the rest sound so dated, they could’ve come from the early sixties or whenever.

Real Estate are the winners, I actually like that.

I don’t dislike Fergus & Geronimo either but Real Estate I would probably buy.

The others? if they came on the radio…I would switch it off.





Crystal Stilts – Alight of Night (Slumberland, 2008)


Nick: that doesn’t make sense, are you sure it’s not ‘a light’?



(Nick whistles along to track 1: The Dazzled)

well it’s got you whistling!

yeah, exactly, it’s sorta catchy.

(track 3 – Graveyard Orbit)

I thought I was going to like this, and then as it continued, basically in the same vein, I thought, no! this is just an ongoing drone.

droning on at the same level, which makes it, the whole thing, a bit boring.

nothing to lift it.

what they badly need is an arranger.

do you know what I always find amazing about music like this?

that they don’t hear it themselves! they can’t hear how excruciatingly boring it is.

it just goes on and on, everything the same, no change.

how could they be happy with this?

if I were in the band and we were listening back to it….I’d say ‘ok, lets start again, let’s try to change something, anything’

it’s just more talented people making bad music.

it doesn’t need much to lift it out of the drudgery, maybe add another instrument, change the tempo now and then.

(track 11 – The City In The Sea)

ah! an almost different sound, oh no wait. no.

I really thought I was going to like this but..unfortunately it’s just boring music.

and it’s the tempo and the voice that make it boring, speed it up, use another voice, you might get something better.

no fun, no joy, no nothing really.

boring boring boring.

sad sad sad.

Even if it sounds like The Doors on ketamine, which is probably the most horrible thing I can imagine, for some reason I still quite like this record. Anyway this post is for my buddy ‘Oslo 12’ who has recently started his own blog – Go read!


The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – S/T (Slumberland, 2009)


Nick: the pains of being pure at heart? very philosophical title.

I ehm…hate to say this but listening to this for a while, the only words I can use to describe it is pleasant but ordinary.

they don’t stand out at all.

I’m sure there are hundreds of bands out there who sound like this.

if it came on the radio I probably wouldn’t even notice.

it’s the old story…. it’s all wallpaper, each song is the same as the last in every respect but the melody.

if I was at their gig and I went to the bar for ten minutes and came back it would feel like they were playing the same song.

(track 8 – A Teenager In Love)

as soon as they start into something different, they just jump right back into sameness. it’s as if they got scared.

the drummer is giving himself an easy job isn’t he?

a lot of what you’ve said here is quite similar to what you said about Crumb last September, and both bands are playing, on the surface, the same type of music – classic indiepop.

so I’m nothing if not consistent.

my task is to listen to this music, so my expectations are high, I expect to hear something new and interesting, something that’ll provoke me to say new and interesting things, I expect to be wowed.

there’s a great lack of wow-ness in this thing.

I can’t figure indiepop out. Is it’s job to not stand out? How can it conjure up the cliched images of cardigans and lemonade and so on in something as simple as a chord change? I’m stumped.

Help arrives in the form of Fiachra McCarthy, member of such Irish indiepop institutions as Crumb, House of Mexico & Pantone 247:

”I think Indie pop is genre music, like Metal, everyone has a fair idea what a Metal record is going to sound like, BIG guitars with scooped mid range, bass holding down roots in 16ths and pretty violent lyrics, if it’s speed metal the tempo range with be right up there, if it’s Trash the guitars will be more loose and scuzzy, if it’s Doom the vocals will be well shouty and monster like…. records in this genres do well and our rated on how well they confirm to these stereotypes, the differences are pretty subtle and there’s a pride in being a big enough nerd to spot and appreciate them

Indie pop, IMHO, is very much the same… maybe you have a dead pan vocalist alá Morrisey, maybe you have heavily compressed Rickenbackers like REM, Johnny Mar and Crumb, maybe you stick a load of reverb on the back and it’s Galaxie 500 or MBV… maybe you do a bit of all that with a casio drum beat… but essentially your working off a small pallet like… uh… I’m running out of steam here, does this wash? Indie has sort of become genre music, like metal or Rockabilly, or medieval battle recreation, it can be more about the attention to detail and nerdy reference points then anything else

I feel I am being a bit down on Indie though (and metal) (and medieval recreation), the reason people love it is generally the strong melodies, fey lyrics that generally deal with alienation  in a very straight forward heart on sleeve manner… I suppose people reach for the touch stones or Rickenbackers, converse runners to prove their authentic, like Alt Country acts reach for the pedal steel, when they really really mean, this is ‘real’ and requires no complex drum patterns or studio innovations to cloud the issues. And we know that cause we hear the jangle of guitars, the tambourine on the back beat and aching paean of dead pan vocals”


nick thinks… Top 25 of 200: 13 // caUSE co-MOTION! – It’s Time! (Slumberland 2008)


caUSE co-MOTION! – It’s Time! {singles & eps 2005-08} (Slumberland 2008)








Nick: I find it very hard to make up my mind about this, there’s nothing wrong with it but nothing grabs me. comes across as a bit amateurish, I’d expect to hear this kind of stuff at a secondary school talent contest, they obviously can play but…it may just be the recording, like the balances are all off, I couldn’t hear the vocals on that last one. 

they’re not untalented, but they sound like they’re talented 16 year olds.

is their audience very young? it strikes me as the kind of music 17 or 18 year olds would feel too mature for. come to think of it, it actually sounds like it was recorded in a school hall.

I reckon the people who listen to this kinda stuff are pop kids who think the Sugababes are too grown up.

Fumbling towards you like a great big mess of Postcard / K / Sarah type indie pop, It’s Time!’s 14 songs fly by in a 21 minute haze of maximum joy making it the perfect album to do anything that could possibly last 21 minutes to. Or something.