There’s a multitude of ways to describe the super indie record label Moshi Moshi, and they are all just lovely.
More akin to a home than a business, the likes of Hot Chip, Bloc Party and Kate Nash all found their tottering legs here, and continue to be massive fans.
The bods at Moshi have got a birthday present for every Clash reader; they have rummaged deep to bring an exclusive download album for you. To download the following track-listing, simply click on the link below and save to your computer.
Sukpatch - ‘Hey Jolie’
Kathryn Williams vs Pedro - ‘Demons In Cases’
Matt Harding - ‘231’
Hot Chip - ‘Baby Said’
Au Revoir Simone - ‘Through The Backyards’
Lo-Fi-Fnk - ‘Change Channel’
Tilly And The Wall - ‘Nights Of The Living Dead’
Hot Club De Paris - ‘Boy Awaits Return Of TheRunaway Girl’
Slow Club - ‘Because We’re Dead’
Dels - ‘Lazy’
The Mae Shi - ‘Run To Your Grave’
The Wave Pictures - ‘Now You Are Pregnant’
James Yuill - ‘This Sweet Love’
A guide to your free compilation, penned by Clash scribe Dean Renphrey…
Sukpatch – ‘Hey Jolie’
Sukpatch are Chris Heidman and Steve Cruze, a duo defined by their collection of hazy grooves and stoned vocals. Formed by happy accident – they were roommates at Colorado University in 1990 - they quickly bonded over light substance abuse and a variety of sounds, from Butthole Surfers to Spacemen 3 and Captain Beefheart. The band recently returned to the Moshi Moshi stable after a seven-year hiatus, for the release of their critically acclaimed LP, ‘23’.
Kathryn Williams vs Pedro – ‘Demons In Cases’
This track is a meeting of minds, with folk-tinged songstress Kathryn Williams adding her vocals to a slice of psychedelia of rare quality from Pedro (aka James Rutledge). This print was so limited that even now, six years after its original release, websites selling it are restricting customers to one per household. Produced by the suave Joe Robinson of Mum and Dad fame, this tranquil piece is a collection of work from names you may not know but will no doubt insist on investigating this time tomorrow.
Matt Harding – ‘231’
Whilst Matt Harding is essentially a singer-songwriter, don’t make any assumptions about bland middle-of-the-road-ness. As well as lashings of acoustic guitar there are hard-fighting drum beats, sprinkles of electronica, and a dash or two of lo-fi folk. And with no two songs the same, and none of his albums immediately related to the one before, you need to hold on tight for an interesting ride. First released eight years ago, ‘231’ still sounds fresh today, and is exactly what music made in the bedroom should sound like.
Hot Chip – ‘Baby Said’
Hot Chip have recently established themselves as the jewel in the Moshi Moshi crown, as well as offering one of the year’s best singles in the shape of ‘Ready For The Floor’. Their brand of intellectual electro-pop, with references to appease everyone from the staunchest indie kids to hardcore fans of early Prince, has since influenced many others around them as well as offering them household name status. Three albums down, they still offer unrivalled originality. How many bands could get away with singing about blazing Yo La Tengo from the Peugeot and poppin’ with the top down?
Au Revoir Simone – ‘Through The Backyards’
These three girls from Brooklyn could easily fall quietly into the group of folksters that are currently adding an electronic vibe to their music. The only problem with that hasty assumption is that Au Revoir Simone have been making magic with their keyboards since 2003. Don’t let their aesthetically pleasing exterior kid you - this trio are here to break hearts with twinkling melodies so delicate and deft that you can’t help but fall for them. They lull you into their secret garden with a sprinkling of soft sounds, before smashing the illusion with darker lyrics and drum machines on the very next song.
Lo-Fi-Fnk – ‘Change Channel’
Lo-Fi-Fnk recently bestowed their first long player on the UK, a record of minimalist electronica designed with plenty of groove and the ability to appeal to fans of dance, indie and, most charmingly of all, pop. Charm, which they have in abundance, is their deadly weapon. If you have electronic tastes leaning towards jovial Europop and dance rather than doom-laden mini operas, then this lot will be right up your street. With the occasional reviewer comparing them to Daft Punk, they already have a lot to live up to, and while the French duo’s are big shoes to fill, maybe one day Lo-Fi-Fnk will do just that.
Tilly And The Wall – ‘Nights Of The Living Dead’
Imagine a band from the middle of nowhere State-side, where a tap-dancing percussionist, a couple of ex-Bright Eyes members, and pals with equally brilliant taste in music join up to sing Americana in the style of the Ronettes. Sounds pretty darn good to me... Meet Tilly And The Wall, the band you just spent 30 seconds dreaming of. If you really wanted to pigeon hole them you would have to call it indie-soul-spector-americana-marching-band-punk-pop. Driven by beautifully crafted verses leaning towards Karen O in delivery and safety in numbers style vocals on the chorus, this group are both angry and original, yet never cease to be fun.
Hot Club De Paris – ‘Boy Awaits Return Of The Runaway Girl’
Over recent years lyrics have taken a leap back to the forefront of music, along with intellect, geek pop, indie and honesty. All of which qualities Hot Club De Paris have in spades, these lads from Hollyoaks country being unafraid to make spanking good tunes and speak their minds at the same time. The jumps from the simple to the complex are frightening, and what is even scarier is the ease with which the group manage it. In particular the chorus of ‘Boy Awaits Return Of The Runaway Girl’ is offbeat but catchy, and works as a good indication of the band’s sound as a whole.
Slow Club - Because We're Dead’
Where similar bands might perform better on record, Charles and Rebecca (and their keyboard Miles) have made a name for themselves as a live act, with compelling vocal harmonies and songs, such as ‘Apples And Pairs’, that always come to a rousing climax from the smallest of starts. There isn’t a subject in the world that Slow Club couldn’t turn into a jolly sing-a-long, but they still offer plenty of depth, with ‘Dance Till The Morning Light’ sounding like a cross between Jeff Buckley’s cover of ‘Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind’ and Bright Eyes ‘Lua’. Many times they sound at breaking point before striking carefully back with a well judged blow, often in the shape of a chanted refrain or rousing chorus.
Dels – ‘Lazy’
The average British rapper doesn’t get discovered as a teenager in a café by none other than John Peel. Nor does he come from Ipswich. But then Dels is far from the average British rapper. He moved to London three years ago to pursue a career in graphic design, and then decided to mix the two. It may sound like a bizarre mix but his eye for design and appreciation for film could well be a major influence on the laidback metaphors and simple but vivid imagery that characterises his work. Tracks like ‘Line After Line’ and ‘Lazy’ are far more melodic than anything his contemporaries could come up with, this side of the Atlantic anyway.
The Mae Shi – ‘Run To Your Grave’
Cramming catchy hand claps, pop riffs, chanting, fuzzy guitars, childlike melodies and decent lyrics into four minutes is no easy job, but The Mae Shi do it on a regular basis. Only they go one further and jump from one genre to another, tacking what sounds like their favourite Super Nintendo theme tunes on to their songs and then putting everything on fast forward. Their rawness and invention is testament to how much they have to offer, and even if they don’t get the recognition they deserve for ‘HLLLYH’, they are sure to be around for a while yet. If you like your music played at full volume and 100mph, then The Mae Shi are for you.
The Wave Pictures – ‘Now You Are Pregnant’
The Wave Pictures’ original incarnation, Blind Summit, is actually as old as Moshi Moshi itself. A few years and several drummers later, Johnny ‘Huddersfield’ Helm joined David Tattersall and Franic Rozycki to form the definitive line-up we know today. Tattersall is surely a Smiths fan, as he manages to marry witty, rude, angelic and ridiculous lyrical exchanges into some sort of commentary. There is also an air of nonchalance floating around their album (‘Instant Coffee Baby’, their second full length record but their first to be picked up on by the music press), which makes you wonder if to be this good it is essential to not really care.
Yuill - No Pins Allowed’
Without wanting to pile on the pressure, James Yuill could be the nearest thing to a one-man Radiohead this side of Harrowdown Hill. Citing his battling influences as Nick Drake and the Chemical Brothers, Sufjan Stevens and Aphex Twin, Mr Oizo and Phil Collins, Joni Mitchell and MSTRKRFT amongst others, he sums up his own style as best you could hope for. While vocally he is often pleasant and harmonious, this is no lo-fi folk electronica but full-on heavy beats and an array of sounds that come from god knows where. Expect to hear a lot more from this one-man band once his first album arrives in the near future.
Clash also has three pairs of tickets to give away for the Moshi Moshi party at Matter in London on 18th October 2008.
You can catch the likes of Tilly And The Wall, Florence And The Machine, Slow Club, The Wave Pictures and James Yuill alongside a secret headliner. Can you guess who it is?