Past-Perfect Future: The Soundcarriers


I imagine most people's first reaction to Nottingham, UK's The Soundcarriers is the same as mine. "Is this Stereolab? Oh wait, it's Broadcast. It's not?" The band, who's second album, Celeste, is due out on Melodic on August 2, don't deny their influences. In an essay by BBC 6 Music presenter Justin Spear on Celeste's inner gatefold (very 1960s Columbia Records), he writes:

Here we have another blast of summer flecked sound. Last year's Harmonium found a lush and spiked musical template; music so inspired and languid one's thoughts were drawn to Broadcast and Stereolab and like minded cosmic travellers. Exactly where The Soundcarriers were really 'coming from' was long in debate: Nottingham? The West Coast? Saturn? The sound moves between all three locales. It doesn't really matter where you land, the atmosphere is always perfect.

After a few listens, most of the Stereolab and Broadcast comparisons melt away and the record begins to take on more of a classic late '60s feel. You can hear the influence of Ennio Morricone, and Alain Goraguer's work with Serge Gainsbourg in the pop of the rhythm section, and the groundbreaking work of shortlived The United States of America in the vocal arrangements especially. 

More importantly, the songs are great, from the opening blast of "Last Broadcast" to dreamy rush of "There Only Once," the languid beauty of "Long Highway" and "Rise and Fall" to the acid funk of the title track. Celeste is immaculate without sounding clinical, the musicianship impressive, and the attention to detail spotless — from the production to the lovely packaging of the gatefold double LP.


Of that, if you dig the MP3s below, I should just say Celeste is the kind of record that just sounds a million times better on vinyl. (180 gram vinyl, natch.) Clearly this band are sonic fetishists and this is the intended format. The 12-tracks are spread across three sides, with the last side filled with instrumental versions of four of the album's songs. Hearing it on vinyl made a very good record jump to Best of 2010 status. Get it now.

MP3: The Soundcarriers – There Only Once
MP3: The Soundcarriers – Long Highway

Want another? The Soundcarriers' "The Last Broadcast" is on Summer Fridays 3.2.

Summer Fridays 3.2: Hazy, Hot and Humid

Whoo it’s hot, huh? And barely June. Despite my hopes at not having to make any of this year’s covers myself, here we are with a patented B.Pearis Type-Over-Photo school of design. (The font, if you’re curious is a Peter Saville original, created for the 1981 – Factus 8 – 1982 compilation EP.) I actually kind of like this one, though.  The photo is from the Library of Congress’ Flickr. It was taken at a square dance in Oklahoma around 1939. No one in this photograph was dancing to The Drums, The B-52’s or Air Miami, but if I was to go back in time with a boom box and play this mix for them, I feel pretty positive they’d be frightened. Fear would turn to anger and I’d get beat up or worse. But maybe doing so would somehow end up in stopping Hitler. Which would make it all worth it. That is the power of music, folks.

But I digress. Here’s mix #2 which I think turned out pretty well and is about half-and-half new/old. At one point this one had two French language tracks, but now it has none. Probably because of the whole time travel incident, the USA never had to storm Normandy and somehow those musicians were never born or never became musicians. Looks like I’ve got some paradox-fixing to do.


  1. Django Django – WOR
  2. The Slits – I Heard it Through the Grapevine
  3. Young Friends – Riverside Kids
  4. The B-52’s – 52 Girls
  5. The Drums – Forever and Ever Amen
  6. Air Miami – Word Cup Fever
  7. Lulu – I’ll Come Running
  8. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Bright Lit Blue Skies
  9. Darwin Deez – Bad Day
  10. Foals – Total Life Forever
  11. New Order – The Village
  12. Beach Fossils – The Horse
  13. Sea Lions – Good Feelings
  14. The Aislers Set – The Way to Market Station
  15. The Housemartins – Sheep
  16. Here We Go Magic – Casual
  17. The Soundcarriers – Last Broadcast
  18. The Radio Dept. – This Time Around
  19. LiLiPUT – Die Matrosen

It should go without saying at this point that this is an actual mix, the songs segue together despite being separate tracks. So no shuffling, ok? I switched to Mediafire for this one — does it download quicker/easier? Liner notes after the jump.

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