Modern forms of communication, if anything, have allowed the ability to spread awareness like wildfire. Case in point, this morning. Catching up on recent tweets, I noticed a link from Acid House Kings to a little something called Beko Records. I visited the site, downloaded all 25 current digital singles from the label, and began the task of checking them all out. Now I’m writing about it to let you know. And who knows where you’ll take it. So we begin.
There’s a great little label out there, a digital one meaning you can download all releases free of charge. That label is Beko Records and they release a new digital single each Monday.
A concept like this works in today’s world, with the rampant digitizing of practically everything. We can easily hop online, visit a site, and learn about new and exciting bands. It takes the session concept but removes the need for studio equipment and recording devices, yet holds onto the core elements of that idea – apparent exclusivity and introduction. Listening to these singles, as with many labels, a theme begins to emerge in the form of niche genre. The bands create great pop music – indie pop, psychedelic pop, fuzz pop, experimental pop. You know what you’ll get, and if you dig that style of music you’ll dig this label.
So I guess the next step is to further the introduction; provide a few samples. The task is at hand: here are ten bands from the Beko Records collection you should know about.
Beko 1 | Death And Vanilla
It wouldn’t be right to start anywhere but the beginning. Beko started out very strong in choosing the psychedelic-tinged Death And Vanilla. It’s trip is that of hypnosis, and the drug of choice is audibly mesmerizing. These two songs are both from Death And Vanilla’s free EP, available from their Bandcamp site. Death And Vanilla hails from Malmo, Sweden.
Beko 2 | Jamie Long
Dropping in electronic elements and a fuzzy guitar, Jamie Long comes across, at least somewhat, like an early Radio Dept. However, the vocals are deeper and have a sadness unaccounted for in that other group. And it’s much more electro-pop oriented, which gives this band it’s unique side. Given these sounds, one would expect Jamie Long to hail from some exotic and stylish land – Sweden perhaps, or New York, or maybe even Denmark. No, Long comes from Houston. Well played, Texas.
Jamie Long: Pool House [mp3]
Beko 7 | Million Young
2009 saw a slew of great experimental pop bands. The list is quite extensive: Candy Claws, Dinosaur Feathers, Happy Family, Neon Indian. Well, Million Young can now join this list of outstanding experimental pop bands that dabble in both electronica and folk. “Sunndreamm” fits that description. B-side “Mien” fits as well, but drops in a cool 80s beat.
Million Young: Mein [mp3]
Beko 10 | Sore Eros
Until now, all of the artists have really owned up to the pop genre, but few have wholeheartedly encompassed traits of folk. Sore Eros changes some of that. Opening “Yellow Dress” with an acoustic guitar and mopey vocals, there’s promise for folk here. Sure enough, this palindrome-named band drops in some experimental elements on the back-end of the song. And the B-side “Fooled Me” does just that, giving us lo-fi experimental loops quite unlike the first song. Still, it’s good all around.
Sore Eros: Yellow Dress [mp3]
Beko 12 | Moscow Olympics
From the Philippines comes the first of two bands I knew of prior to discovering this label. The band, Moscow Olympics, has a light 80s twee influence. Sure enough, this sound, thrust into modern times, is given a hint of shoegaze, fuzzed-out vocals, and jangly guitars that would sound quite at home on a label like Matinee or even Slumberland.
Moscow Olympics: To Keep The Avenues Open [mp3]
Beko 14 | The Bilinda Butchers
Ethereal Frech dream pop duo The Bilinda Butchers create a lounge-like bossa nova meets baroque sound. Named after a member of My Bloody Valentine, the two bands really have little in common. The Bilinda Butchers pop has twee leanings, full with sweet melodies and lovable electro-pop beats.
The Bilinda Butchers: This Love Is Fucking Right! (The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart Cover) [mp3]
Beko 16 | Eternal Summers
Of the 25 artists currently available through Beko Records, there are only two of which I was previously familiar: the first being Beko 12 (Moscow Olympics) and the second being Eternal Summers. Channeling a classic garage sound and dropping into it a hot, lazy, laid-back summer feeling, Eternal Summers are the perfect band for the hottest days of the year, and they’re just as wonderful for longing for summer on chilly, windy days like today.
Eternal Summers: Safe At Home [mp3]
Beko 17 | Hanging Coffins
Experimental Western swing isn’t a description one often hears, yet it fits well with the music Hanging Coffins makes. Take an occasional surf guitar sound, drop in punk-like experimental vocals, and rile things up by keeping it laid back, psychedelic, and lo-fi, and it fits perfectly.
Hanging Coffins: Bombers & Blues [mp3]
Beko 18 | The Dreams
The Dreams reminds me a bit of early Chromatics, or maybe an immensely lo-fi experimental electro-pop dub version of The Rapture. “Better Dead Than Brian Adams” nears perfection. This matches some of my favorite dub tracks from last year including “Medicines” by Tempo No Tempo, which made my best of 2009 list.
The Dreams: Better Dead Than Brian Adams [mp3]
Beko 23 | Melodium
Melodium has a song called “A Sort Of Happy Melancholy”. It could be a descriptor for their music, instrumental and dreamy. The melodies aren’t upbeat but there’s a certain hope to them that, despite all the emotion included, keeps them uplifting. From France and including a classical sound from their home country, this band could be likened to a more accessible version of a FensePost favorite: Ã–dland.
Melodium: Are You Happy ? [mp3]