Tag Archives: Psychedelic

Courtly Love – “For Your Love, I Get High”

29 Apr

Courtly Love For Your Love I Get High

Love can do funny things to a person; when reciprocated and indulged it can make you as high as the proverbial kite. It can make you feel light as air and as if you can do and achieve anything you want and everything that each of your five senses encounters feels blissful and smile inducing. When you’re in love and are loved back, the world is a marvellous place. When your love is not shared by your object of affection though, or worse still, is rejected in favour of another, you can feel like the world is the worst place imaginable. Your mind is in turmoil, you feel nausea and unsteady, doubt and fear wracks your soul and nothing compares to the pain you are experiencing.

We adore Courtly Love, we think they are ”effortlessly cool” and would go so far as to say we love them. We don’t know how they feel about us but that’s ok at the moment, this is still a burgeoning affair and we are happy to see where it goes. Certainly the music they have shared with us so far makes us believe we could be in this for the long haul, but we’re not ready to pick out curtains just yet. Mind you, if they keep making tracks as deliriously woozy as “For Your Love, I Get High”, it won’t be long before we have to introduce them to our parents.

A mere B side to their forthcoming debut single (“Mirage”, due 2 June), “For Your Love, I Get High” is a glorious two-minute representation of loved up giddiness. Trippy, psychedelic bluesy guitars melt and befuddle like deep kisses with the person of your dreams. You are left light headed and dizzy, but so deliriously happy like you are floating.

This is love, there’s no doubt about it.

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Effortlessly cool: Introducing: Courtly Love

3 Jan

Courtly Love

Don’t judge a book by its cover they say, take your time and look within, don’t base any opinions on an initial glimpse at nothing more than the surface. Absolutely, we totally agree, but sometimes, sometimes, one look is all it takes. That’s kind of what happened with us and Courtly Love. One look at their press shot (small version above) and we had that tingle, we just knew these guys were going to be great. We could feel it in our bones, our water, our gut or whatever you want to call it, we were certain they would sound amazing. We weren’t wrong.

We first heard them at the back end of October thanks to Mr Von Pip, but with posts already planned and the great end of year list-o-mania in the works, we held back on posting until we had more time to write and more time to spend with their fantastic bluesy, guitar driven psychedelic sounds. We’re glad we did, the three tracks of this East London based quintet of Johnny, Layla, Ben, Jules and Jake have been our yuletide listens; Christmas never sounded so chic.

They are named after the medieval concept of chivalry, the secret expressions of love between members of the nobility and there is something almost voyeuristic and illicit about their sound which is laced with excitement and danger. Glamorous but a little bit dark with it, pulse quickening as if anyone could discover you and your secret at any second. All while looking effortlessly cool of course, probably nonchalantly smoking Gauloises or something.

Courtly Love feel fully formed, no assembly required, they are up and ready to go and ready to blow your mind. They were probably born in black and white, wearing perfectly fitting vintage outfits and smouldering at the midwife as they were delivered. Man, we love this band. Is it wrong that we kind of want to be them?

The opening chords of “Mirage” will take you where you need to go, down the back stairs, through a nondescript door and into the kind of bar you only ever see in films. Part speakeasy, part dangerously hip establishment, and part the best bar you’ve ever been in. The band will be up on stage, looking cooler than anyone else in the room. All eyes on them as drinks are poured, drunk and refilled. Johnny and Layla swapping vocals as the jangle of guitar fill the room.

We should stop for a moment to mention the vocals actually, particularly Layla’s (though Johnny’s are really good too). There is a subtle power to her voice, a far reaching and disarmingly captivating power. And, as you’d expect, she sounds so fucking cool. Not Lana trying too hard sort of cool, it’s naturally cool and stylish, the more potent kind.

“Voodoo Girl” has an arid quality to it with strings that give off a heat haze from the dusty desert rocks of the crashing snare and cymbals. Vultures circle overhead as our heroes search for shelter from the blazing sun above.

It, like all of their songs thus far, just sounds so damn exciting. You can get lost in the whole thing, transported to another world, a world you won’t want to leave. The original meaning of Courtly Love has been described as “a love at once illicit and morally elevating” and that is just how they sound, illicit, thrilling, inspiring and enriching. Oh yes, of course, and really fucking cool.

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Listen: SUNBEARS! – “He’s A Lie! He’s Not Real!”

23 Oct

sunbears! Future Sounds

Amazingly, it’s been over a year since we last featured our ‘S’ band, Jacksonville’s Sunbears!. We’re pleased to say that they are gearing up to release a new album, Future Sounds, and in the meantime, have released a limited edition two-track EP for us to enjoy. It’s limited edition in that the digital files will only be available until the album is released and mega-rare in the sense that all 50 copies of the hand carved (by the band) crystal 7” sold out in a day. We didn’t get one, which bummed us out, but thankfully the band remain as bright and colourful as when we last heard from them, so our bummed outness didn’t last that long.

Lead track, “He’s A Lie! He’s Not Real!”, is a trip into outer space in a homemade cardboard-box rocket ship. Tin foil spacesuits are the order of the day as we woosh out past stars dangling on string and little pipe-cleaner aliens peeking out from plastic bottle spaceships. It’s bright and imaginative, sounds streak past like comets, electronic space-age warbles speckle the night sky as guitars and drums swirl and pulsate. It’s the sonic equivalent of being 8 years old, turning your room into a vast universe of delight and wonder, going for an adventure where no song has gone before.

”He’s A Lie” He’s Not Real!” is available now as part of the two-track EP, ‘Selections From The Future Sounds’ LP’ and can be bought here.

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Listen: All We Are – “Utmost Good”

29 May

When last we met Liverpool’s All We Are (almost a year ago in fact), they had recently returned from spending some weeks holed up in an isolated cabin, lost within the wilds of a Norwegian forest. They said at the time that their surroundings had rubbed off on their sound and as a result, their music (as evidenced in single “Cardhouse”) had a particularly isolated, folky feel to it.

As they return now with new single, “Utmost Good”, we can only assume that they have been hanging around in entirely different surroundings. Presumably some underground disco-funk club from the seventies where the lights are as low as the ceilings and a slightly-sweet smelling smoky haze sits motionless above the patrons. Wherever they have been, the shift in musical direction from “Cardhouse” to their latest track, “Utmost Good” is as remarkable as it is wonderful.

From the moment that woozy, chilled out bass line comes ambling along you know you’re not in Kansas (or Norway) anymore. It grooves like the coolest hepcat in the coolest part of the city, not a care in the world. Imagine the slowest strut you can but not so slow that it loses any semblance of cool, that’s this bassline. It’s a white-suited John Travolta walking down the street at half-speed. Not far behind in the mellow stakes and just as funky is the simple beat that nudges your shoulders from side to side while the trio sing lovely falsetto shapes. The whole thing makes for quite a superb piece of dreamy psychedelic laid back funk that’ll make you want to break out the lava lamps, joss sticks and giant yin yang tapestries.

“Utmost Good” will be released via Obsenic on 17 June 2013 and the vinyl can be pre-ordered here.

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In Review: Save The Clocktower – Through The Glass

28 Sep

Regular readers, heck even casual readers, may well have noticed that we really like Pop music, in all its myriad of forms. Electro, synth, indie, dream, hip, ambient, dance, folk, 80s-esque, the list runs on and on and it is this love of pop that has led to Chicago’s Save The Clocktower getting a lot of repeat play on the stereo recently. Specifically their sophomore album, Through The Glass.

Following on from their 2011 debut, Carousel, which showed signs of the band’s pop appreciation but was steeped much more in shoegazey, hazy electro sounds, Through The Glass is dripping in psychedelic dancibility. Despite being together for three years by the time Carousel came out (and with an EP release under their belts already), the album felt a little introverted, a little unsure of itself, like a kid on the first day of school. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, it really was, but by comparison Through The Glass is much more rounded, like the kid is about to graduate.

Sounds are bigger, richer and bolder. Holding their head high, big smile beaming on their face. These are sounds to be shared, to be danced to, lyrics to be sung along with. We don’t know if the addition of a fourth band member, bassist Chris Newton, earlier this year is responsible for this evolution, this sonic emergence if you will, but we know we like it. “Better Than Ever”, for example, which features guest vocals from Company Of Thieves’ Genevieve Schatz, has a sweet hook and a chorus that borders on anthemic. We didn’t get that before, we love that we do now.

Through The Glass embraces the best of pop, from across the genres. At every turn there are snippets of influences, wafts of half remembered melodies or beats from the past. This element of familiarity no doubt helps the record get under the skin of the listener but it is the never ending mobius-groove running throughout that will get you. Even on slower jams like “It Happens” there is still enough to have you swaying from side to side. A welcome respite before the brilliant Human League/Pet Shop Boys hybrid “What If?” kicks in and the dance begins once more.

Through The Glass is out now and available for download from the Save The Clocktower Bandcamp page.

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