February 28, 2012

Today's Hotness: Yr Friends, It Hugs Back, Slowdim

Yr Friends Have Already Left
>>Late last week Alexei Berrow surprised fans with a new EP from his project Yr Friends, the solo vehicle he commissioned last year. The new collection from the Johnny Foreigner guitarist and singer is titled Yr Friends Have Already Left and it contains five relatively placid and beautiful ballads. According to an email from Mr. Berrow, the music was inspired by the prospect of soundtracking an indie TV series, "a post-apocalyptic drama that uses real decayed buildings and urban wastelands for sets." In the interim between contacting the show's creators and learning that they had no need for his music, Berrow began writing the music in his head. Stuck with a cache of songs, he set about recording them anyway, and the result is, of course, Yr Friends Have Already Left. The quasi-title track "Yr Boyfriends Have Been Lying To You" is as forlorn and beautiful as anything Berrow has written; it pairs guitars, synth and a wistful lyric to goosebump-inducing effect. We're embedding the entire EP below, and we highly recommend after you stream it that you hop over to Bandcamp and buy buy buy. As with the debut EP Yr Friends Have Been Lying To You that we discussed here in August, the digital package contains assorted ephemera including lyrics and photographs, and it is available for ₤4 (about USD $6.50) via the Yr Friends Bandcamp right here. The aforementioned Johnny Foreigner embarks on tour Thursday to support the release of its epic third full-length Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything, which was our favorite record of 2011. Full tour dates right here.

>> Kent, England-based dream pop phenoms It Hugs Back disclosed Monday that they will release a sophomore set Laughing Party May 7. The 12-song collection is being issued on Safe And Sound Records and pre-orders are already being taken at It Hugs Back's web dojo right here. The first 100 pre-orders will ship with a bonus CD containing an additional 25 minutes of music. Laughing Party was recorded over the last year in the band's home studio known as the Record Room, which was featured in Clicky Clicky way back in 2009 in the feature Show Us Yours No. 12 (we should really bring that feature back). The quartet has unveiled one preview track from the new collection, the characteristically dreamy and ethereal "Massachusetts." While the tune is not a cover of the classic Scud Mountain Boys soul-spindler, it is still a wonderful, contemplative nodder that plays to It Hugs Back's strengths: patience, beauty and drone. Stream "Massachusetts" below. It Hugs Back launches a five-date tour March 21 that will see the band visit London, Manchester twice, Preston and Birmingham; details are here. These days we expect It Hugs Back singer and guitarist Matt Simms is better know for his gig as touring guitarist for the current iteration of the legendary UK post-punk band Wire. Or maybe not. But either way, It Hugs Back's music is excellent and the band remains curiously overlooked by many.

>> Bring on the lush and ardent Boston power pop, if you please. Indie rock lifer Paul Sentz and his henchpersons in Slowdim Monday dished up an eminently listenable new single "Money." The song is an insistent hand-clapper with big melodies, bigger guitar leads and rich vocal harmonies. It's also the first single from the foursome's debut LP, which Slowdim plans to record over the next few months with hopes of the record being issued later in 2012. Slowdim plays a release show for the single in Boston this Friday during the taste-making The Pill indie dance party at Great Scott. You should go to that. The band previously issued its Spirals EP a year ago [Bandcamp], which included the Clicky Clicky favorite "Take Your Only Heart That's Solely Free," a song that helped us close out our final set at New Music Night #2 way back in August.

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