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Band Pop Jazz


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The best kept secret in music


"Vinyl Vulture Review"

Many thanks to chief Monocle man Richard Bennett for sending me this one, as it’s a happy occasion when someone tips you the wink about a new band that bring together some of your favourite elements from interesting bands down the years – and this EP is one of those occasions. If you heard this without the press sheet, you would swear blind these chaps were veterans of the Camden toilet gig circuit, toiling away for the love of it, a crate of light ale on the rider and maybe a few column inches in the NME, but no – these dudes are from across the pond! Weird! Imagine, if you will, the somnambulant bliss of Broadcast mixed up with that distinctive Slint-style bass, the playful Bossa of a throwaway Stereolab B-Side and, perhaps most strikingly – a great big nod towards the glamorous-yet-underachieving shoegazers Lush. I never thought a day would come when the Scene-That-Celebrates-Itself revival would come around, but hey, it’s the naughties, stretch denim is back with us again, and anything goes! Hell, the lead track ‘Secret Handshake’ even has a good dollop of Chapterhouse-style dynamics and a certain Slowdive-type ethereal quality blended together – and you know what – it works!! If you have an affinity for good, old fashioned indie pop with an educated twist and an understated edge, then go seek this one out if you possibly can. -

"Luna Kafe"

Brooklyn's Monocle have created an equally excellent EP in Lounge Act, featuring a breezy, jazz-pop sound reminscent of Stereolab and The Sea and Cake.

"Secret Handshake" takes this breezy sound in the verses, and then overwhelms it with shoegazey guitar in the chorus, with Lucy Roche's sweet vocals just about shining their way through the mix. The title track has a more even keel, with the payoff coming from lovely melodic flourishes on guitar (Matt Filler and Rich Bennett) and synth (Rich Bennett). "Car Ride", the lightest cut here, manages to remain the right side of twee by virtue of the excellent guitar, synth and bass (Billy Likitsakos) lines, carried along by crisp drumming (Brian Czach). Final track "Hawaii", a heavenly instrumental, ends the EP on a real high note, with a sound reminscent of The Flaming Lips' masterpiece "Sleeping on the Roof". Delayed guitars, spacey synth, luscious bass and an insistent ride cymbal - and is that marimba chiming through? - all add up to a blissful trip through the clouds.

I can recommend both these EPs very highly, and I look forward to hearing full-length releases from Glassacre and Monocle. Bands to watch.

(Dual review alongside Perth, Australia's Glassacre) -

"Leonards Lair"

That ability to evoke bored Sunday afternoons has arguably been done to death before by the likes of Anthony Rochester, Él Records artists and The Montgolfier Brothers but New York now gets in on the act via Monocle; a typically eccentric choice of name for this eccentric sound. Lazy melodies and blank female vocals are in abundance for this EP, which appears to be rather indebted to the Stereolab sound but as if they had signed to Cherry Red in the 1980s. They even manage to include a languid instrumental named 'Hawaii' but strangely they excel most at the end of each track; 'Car Ride' and 'Lounge Act' both feature lovely, wistful codas. -


2006 - Lounge Act EP
NYR - Politics of Photosynthesis (Stereolab Tribute)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Monocle is a NYC-based group that fuses droning, hypnotic sounds, catchy melodies, and subtle shifts in harmony with thoughtful composition. Monocle is the brainchild of Rich Bennett, a New York City-based composer and guitarist. Bennett has been part of the NYC music scene for years, and is known for his work with Friendly Bears, a progressive, experimental rock group, for which he composes for and plays. Monocle's 4 song EP, Lounge Act, was released in April 2006 (Pralaya Records) and combines sugary pop chords, dark lyrics, and heavy sounds that balance the power and energy of a live band along with glossy electronics