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Monday, February 16th, 2009

A Balloon Called Moaning

An introduction to The Joy Formidable

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo even though I’ve got a mighty backlog of stuff to cover and even though this has been a long weekend (or maybe because), I’ve still not had time to get to any of it properly. So coverage of the past few days worth of showgoing will start tomorrow. For today, you get this. A free album. Which is probably better than my concert reviews.

Welsh trio The Joy Formidable know how to get media attention. Last Summer, they had a video for debut single “Austere” banned from YouTube on account of it being comprised of video clips of people… well, I’d rather not have my site indexed for THOSE particular keywords but even though it was just a fan-made clip, the band gave it their seal of approval by posting it on their own website. And it’s probably NSFW. The band also made an official clip, but it’s far less controversial. And now, they’ve opted to take their debut album A Balloon Called Moaning and give the whole thing away for frees via NME. It was already released in a limited edition box set which sold out in a heartbeat and will be out in physical form tomorrow, but you can have it digitally now.

Now both of these might seem like gimmicky ways to get people talking about the band, but fact is that even without these talking points, The Joy Formidable would be more than worthy of your attention. Its eight tracks veer from dreamy to wide-awake and in-your-face but always maintain a gleeful enthusiasm, propelled on a wave of fuzzy, barbed hooks and snarlingly saccharine vocals. It sounds like a being hit in the face with a sack of sugar. When anyone asks me next week what I did over the long weekend, I’m going to say (and truthfully) that I listened to this record ad nauseum and didn’t tire of it at all. Is that sufficient endorsement to get you to go download and listen? It’s free for goodness sake. Just go get and listen. Thank me later.

Uncensored has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
MySpace: The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable had been listed as one of the acts heading to SxSW next month and surely would have been one of my highlights, but with the release of the official schedule last week, they’re nowhere to be found. Actually, instead of heading to Texas, they’ve opted to go out on a UK tour as support for Howling Bells, another band I was hoping was going to be in Austin. In fact, the entire Sx lineup is looking pretty weak. I know I said the same thing last year around this time and ended up having the best time ever anyways, but there’s going to be a lot of digging to find acts that will get my attention. But on the plus side, I already know how my Saturday night is ending – seeing Echo & The Bunnymen play a gay Texan cowboy bar.

If you missed the numerous edits to last week’s post about Polly Scattergood, allow me to sum up – rather than her debut album being entitled Other Too Endless and being released on March 9, it will now be self-titled and be coming out on May 19. But there’s a new video for the next single, which would have been the title track but is now just a song. A great song.

Video: Polly Scattergood – “Other Too Endless”

Emmy The Great week at Drowned In Sound wrapped up with another set of interviews conducted by Emmy. First off, she talks with Aidan Moffat, formerly of Arab Strap and who’s just released a new album in How To Get To Heaven From Scotland. There’s also a piece with Darren Hayman, formerly of Hefner and also with a new solo record in Pram Town, a talk with Mica Levi of Micachu. And to wrap up, a heart-to-heart with Dev Hynes, aka Lightspeed Champion, about the genius of Steve Martin. She also lets Metro have a look at her iPod (though they evidently look at her as they’ve run a picture of Los Campesinos with the piece, and helpfully identify the one of them as Emmy) and gives an interview to Virgin Music.

BBC profile Saint Etienne.

This Is Nottingham talks to Bloc Party drummer Matt Tong. They have two dates at the Kool Haus on March 13 and 14.

The Boston Globe, Boston Music Spotlight, Metro and The Village Voice have interviews with various member of Los Campesinos!, in town at the Opera House on April 1.

Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 may be saying Goodnight Oslo on their new album, out tomorrow, but they’ll be saying “hello Mod Club” when they come to town on April 16. Tickets $20.

By : Frank Yang at 9:57 am
Category: General

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RSS Feed for this post2 Responses.
  1. Mike says:

    Every time I listen to Polly Scattergood, I can’t help thinking of Tori Amos. If I close my eyes, I can see and hear Tori singing the exact same songs. Then I can’t help but thinking I’ve heard it before. Then I can’t help but think of how I got sick of Tori Amos after a while.

  2. Frank Yang says:

    you’re not wrong. I’m actually embarrassed that I didn’t make that association immediately, though my memory knew that the parallel was in my subconscious, somewhere. Polly is decidedly poppier than Tori was, though, to be fair, and the instrumentation is more varied. But either way I got a LOT of mileage out of Little Earthquakes back in the day, and if Polly has that kind of shelf life, then that’s a win in my books.