Some Seasonal Recommendations and Stocking (ipod) Fillers

As everyone readies themselves for the onslaught of consumerism and excess that is Christmas and the New Year, its good to know that there is still a lot of quality music on the internet which can be obtained either for free, or for a minimal cost. While your credit cards and wallets take a battering this Winter, you can still obtain music which can be inspirational, exhilarating and cool, for nothing.

I’ve worked with Somojo Acoustic Artist of 2010 Matt Stevens (virtually at least) on my remix of his track ‘Big Sky’. And I only found his music by chance (via Twitter), despite his very active presence as a blogger and tweeter. For those of you still unfamiliar with his oeuvre; he creates wonderfully melodic and atmospheric instrumental tunes with just a guitar and a looper pedal. Despite my own predeliction for dense arrangements and even denser sounds, Matt’s music works best when it’s stripped-down, with all the melodic elements and layers created on just the guitar. He’s a virtuoso musician, and is able to create rich soundscapes, as well as beautiful tunes; wringing maximum emotion from his acoustic guitar.
As with most ‘reviews’, its best to ignore what’s written and just hear the music. So, check him out. A good ‘taster’ can be found in the form of Matt’s own weekly podcast ‘Sunday Free Noodle’.

The Honored Guests are a five-piece band from North Carolina. They contributed to the recent album of cover versions of Doves’ tracks entitled, “Echoes In The Alleyway”.
You could describe their music as ‘indie’, if you want to use bland generic terminology; but it wouldn’t do their music any justice. Their sound encompasses elements of West Coast rock, prog, country, folk and soul, and all points in between. They’re one of those bands (like Doves) whose music can be both uplifting and melancholic at the same time, which is a feat.
Anyway, I’m really liking their album ‘Please Try Again’.

LTM is a netlabel run by James Nice here in the UK. It deals in music which is very dear to my heart, that being rare and previously deleted post-punk music, particularly that from old-school labels such as Factory, Postcard, Les Disques de Crepescule and Cherry Red. Mainly selling newly remastered CD’s (usually for £10 each – they’d make good xmas presents!), LTM is both a business and a labour of love. If you’re not familiar with names like Crispy Ambulance, Thick Pidgeon, The Wake, Anna Domino or Biting Tongues; check them out and you’ll find quirky, sometimes challenging, pop with avant-garde leanings which has influenced a long roll-call of contemporary bands and artists. The LTM website is a relatively no-frills affair, but you’ll find some background info about the artists, as well as some rather cool reference-points ranging from obscure Belgian bands to the work of giants of European Modernist art. Its like 1982 all over again!  Also, and rather pleasingly, some of the music is now being sold as downloads on iTunes.

That is all…..

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