Ancient & Modern EP
Released: June 2008
Eclectic is a horrible word, ungainly in its pronunciation and far too often shoehorned into reviews, and certainly unsuited to a talent like Mara Carlyle. Ancient & Modern is variegated. It’s a mosaic of iridescent splendour, a miscellany of wonder. Co-produced with Emilíana Torrini and Hot Chip cohort Dan Carey, the EP runs the gamut of history in the fashion we’ve come to expect of Carlyle, from 16th Century secular madrigals to modern urban pop reworkings via the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In a word, it’s magical [full review].
In The Night EP
Released: February 2008
Basia Bulat’s 2007 debut Oh, My Darling may have missed out on this year’s Polaris Prize – the Canadian equivalent of the Mercury – but we bloody loved it. This follow-up EP rejigs the formula with marching rhythms, a fuller band sound and a more confident vocal performance. Not quite convinced by the extended version of album opener ‘Before I Knew’, but the title track and Sam Cooke cover ‘Touch The Hem Of His Garment’ made this a worthwhile purchase.
Released: October 2008
Listening to Afton provides something of a skimmed psychoanalysis of a lady with quick fingers and hazy consciousness. Described as a viola pop wunderkind, Anni Rossi dips into mountain rivets of obscure Americana both vocally and metaphorically. Like a ventriloquist, she may be the voice of her puppet but the viola is still the centre of attention, the stringed friend on her shoulder twittering as brilliantly as her vocal assault is disarming. Afton may be difficult to grasp but it clearly has its fans [full review].
FREE MP3: Anni Rossi, ‘Wheelpusher‘
Let’s Fall Back In Love EP
Released: August 2008
Sheffield duo Slow Club were one of the best finds of the year and it’s great to see this EP getting so much love. With Moshi Moshi labelmates Tilly & The Wall not quite delivering the goods with their latest album, Let’s Fall Back In Love arrived as a stompy, silly and cheery reprieve from glossier summertime fare. Recalling a less scatologically obsessed Moldy Peaches, guitarist Charles and percussionist Rebecca are purveyors of a noise that’s both big and clever. Unpredictable rhythms and frenetic strumming collide beneath strong and characterful vocals full of entertaining interplay.
Dark End Of The Street EP
Released: December 2008
We didn’t have a great deal of positive things to say about this EP of leftover covers from the Jukebox sessions, which admittedly we didn’t find much joy in either, but we haven’t given up on Cat Power just yet. Neither have you it seems, as Dark End Of The Street received a sizable chunk of votes despite only being on general release for two days before the polls closed [full review].