Tag Archives: odd box records

The Bellamys’ Debut EP is Jangly, Lo-Fi Goodness

The Bellamys, S/T EP (Odd Box Records)

With their self-titled EP, Cardiff trio The Bellamys (though one member now resides in Vancouver), have crafted an indie pop winner.  Opener, “Motorway”, sets the tone nicely – chiming guitars cling and clang over an urgent drum beat and synthesizer that sounds a bit like the droning of a hurdy gurdy, as boy-girl harmonies and counter-melodies delve into the delights of well, driving.  Apex, “Best Friend”’s punk jangle underpins a wistful diary entry describing a would-be companion (“but you don’t notice me/you look right through/me/you think you are so cool/that’s cause you are”).  Closing ballad, “For You to See” conjures Super 8 quick-cut images and is quietly affecting without going full twee.  An absence of artifice makes this a charming, hand-hold of a listen; like having a conversation with an old friend over a beer – hopes, dreams; weighty stuff made to feel less onerous.

That press release accompanying the digital recommends the EP for fans of The Pastels, C86, Tellulah Gosh (I’d add The Vaselines and Thee Headcoats) and, erm, Slayer.  Sly, and (very) thinly veiled Haunting the Chapel references notwithstanding, this is a damn fine, lo-fi indie pop record.  Get on it.

Odd Box Records (which, with a roster boasting such artists as City Yelps, The Manhattan Love Suicides, T.O.Y.S., and Nervous Twitch, has quickly become one of my favorite labels over the past few years of doing this) will release the EP on December 2.  Here’s hoping The Bellamys continue doing their thang, in spite of the geographic separation.  Check more on the band on fbook and delve into their earlier catalogue (the demo from February is also great – paricularly, “it’ll be ok”) on Bandcamp.

Album Review: City Yelps, Half Hour

City Yelps, Half Hour (Odd Box Records, 4/22/2016)

After a few blistering singles and 2014’s Cheap Psych cassette, Leeds, UK-based City Yelps are back to delight us all with a brand new long-player, Half Hour.

City Yelps channel a whole host of bands in crafting their own take on skewed indie pop:  the woozy, lo fi psych-pop charm of Flying Nun and C86 bands; the wiry, spiky tones of Swell Maps, The Fall, even Half Man, Half Biscuit.  Singer/guitarist Shaun Alcock delivers wry lyrics with a withering sneer – amidst a maelstrom of detuned guitars, layers of reverb and snare shots that sound like a slap – sounding like the acerbic uncle who you not so secretly love to hang out with at the holidays.

What counts most, though, are the songs – and these are effing fantastic.  Tracks like “We Like the Hours”, and the raucous one-two punch of “Light and Classical” and “Making Noise”, twist, swing and sway like a punch drunk fighter who might be going down, but is taking folks with him.  Unwind the gauzy bandages of tape hiss and distortion and what you discover are strong, tightly arranged melodies, played with the righteous indignation of a group with courage in their convictions.  After spending a Half Hour with them (see what we did there?  Get on with it?  Ah, yes, ok…), you’ll be convinced, too; hell, you may even tell two friends, and so on.

Half Hour is out now, courtesy of Odd Box Records.  Order it now on the label’s bandcamp page, and check out the band’s newsletter page on fbook.  While you’re at it, hop on over to the band’s own bandcamp page and pick up a copy of Cheap Psych.  You know you want to.

Highlights include:  “We Like the Hours”, “Now”, “Light and Classical”, “Music for Adverts”.

Review: Manhattan Love Suicides, Bikini Party/Birthday Kill 7″

The Manhattan Love Suicides, Bikini Party/Birthday Kill 7” (Odd Box Records, 1/15/2016)

We here at thegrindinghalt have been remiss in not expressing our joy at the return of Leeds, UK’s Manhattan Love Suicides, a band we loved during their first run; in particular, their eponymous 2006 debut and the follow-on extended single for “Kick It Back”.  The band’s new 7”, featuring a-side “Bikini Party/Birthday Kill”, comes hot on the heels of last summer’s excellent return album, More Heat! More Panic!

“Bikini” features paint-scraping peals of feedback and distortion o’er a whipcrack drum sound reminiscent of the JAMC.  Singer Caroline’s sneering vocals reply “unable to attend” (in a not-so-nice way) to the aforementioned party in favor of a “good birthday kill”. Emily Post would not approve. Emily Post can do one.

The very ‘80s hardcore-titled, composite b-side (so many slashes!) “Deserted Coastal Town/Action&Memory/What Am I Supposed To Do?” – think of it like the indie rock version of a German compound word – showcase different sides of the band.  The book ends here are both highlights:  ballad “Deserted” has bit of a Smiths vibe with its jangled chords and orchestrated chorus, while “What” is a delightfully short, sweet, fuzzy kick in the face.

The single is available now at the MLS bandcamp page, via Odd Box Records.  You can also check out the band here. Earlier releases can be found via Magic Marker Records and Squirrel Records – do yourself the favor.