Feb 10 2013

Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Mario


Cougar writer Mario offers his top ten albums for our Top albums of 2012 feature.

 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: the XX – Coexist

The XX – ‘Coexist

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Jack White - Blunderpuss

Jack White – ‘Blunderpuss

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man

Bat For Lashes – ‘The Haunted Man

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Here

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros – ‘Here

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.


Soundgarden – ‘King Animal

In a time when mega reunions often amount to business flops and broken promises Soundgarden returned to the scene after 16 years. Preceded by a highly acclaimed sold out tour completely, the hard rock pioneers released ‘King Animal‘ in the wake of enthusiasm, a album of pure rock that proves that when it comes to getting down and dirty you can rely on past heroes rather than churning out dozens of new copycats. They might offer very little new, but the formula still sounds very current.

lana Del Rey Born To Die

Lana Del Rey – ‘Born To Die’

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

 Tame Impala - Lonerism

Tame Impala – ‘Lonerism’

Lonerism’ is the title of the second album of this psychedelic rock band from Perth, noted partially for being the same label as MGMT and supporting act for Black Keys on their first tour. Two names that are not casual as both these bands manage to mix nostalgic/vintage sounds to produce a modern and fresh output. In this case the psychedelic 60’s rock style of Hendrix or the Beatles circa Revolver and Sgt Pepper. Excellent confirmation.

Jessie Ware - Devotion

jessie Ware – ‘Devotion

True revelation of the year, comparisons are wasted for the London pop/RnB artist including annie lennox, sade, tracey thorn. in addition to an extaordinary voice she is also equipped with a great compositional talent and promising live perofrmance (take note miss Lana Del Rey). see the video of the beautiful ‘Wildest Moments’ for yourself.


Toy – ‘Self-Titled

I could not fail to include the latest promising classic new wave band although this genre has probably become very saturated. that being said, this self-titled debut album is a mix of dark and experimental songs with echoes of some alternative bands of the British scene of the 80’s like Jesus and The Mary Chain and more recent bands such as the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and even Modest Mouse.

Passion Pit Gossamer

Passion Pit – ‘Gossamer

Included in the Cougar Microbes albums of 2012 here.

topalbums2012 Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Sam

doublecougar Cougar Microbes Writer Picks 2012: Sam

Jan 16 2013

Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man


Bat For Lashes decamped to the idyllic Italian countryside to write and record her third album in an attempt to rid herself of a classic bout of writer’s block.

She got that monkey off her back- no reference to the Mapplethorpe style cover- succeeding in giving us a the most heartfelt record of her short career. Tracks like “Laura“, “Marilyn” and “Lilies” are the pick of the bunch.

Intense and totally naked emotionally… just like on the beautiful cover. – Mario




The Haunted Man - Bat for Lashes


Dec 18 2012

Bat For Lashes’ ‘The Haunted Man’ reviewed


Bat For Lashes, AKA Natasha Khan, decided to isolate herself from the external pressures of those who expected a new hit in the vein of 2009’s ‘Two Suns’. The Brighton artist composed and recorded her new album ‘The Haunted Man‘ in the Umbria countryside and this decision appears to have benefited her work.

The Brighton native’s return is stripped (right down to the Mapplethorpe style cover) and inspired as can be heard on the beautiful ballad “Laura” (which continues a tradition of first name single titles) and the Gotye-esque “All Your Gold“.

All the usual elements of the Bat For Lashes sound are present; minimal Middle Eastern rythmic patterns, subtle electronica bursts that never outstay their welcome and Khan‘s voice which, as displayed on opening track “Lillies“, can truly be regardes as one of the best heirs to the throne of Kate Bush and Elizabeth Frazer.

This album can be considered a coming of age for Bat For Lashes succeeded in producing an album that is even more passionate and sincere than it’s predecessors pushing ‘The Haunted Man‘ amongst the best, and possibly the very finest, release of her short discography.

Post by Mario


The Haunted Man - Bat for Lashes


Dec 28 2010

#18 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2010: Gregory and The Hawk – Leche

To the uninitiated pressing play on a Gregory and The Hawk album and hearing the beautiful serenading of Meredith Godreau may come as a surprise. This deliberately cloudy moniker is designed to avoid being pigeonholed in the “female singer/songwriter” bin.

It would therefore be lazy reviewing to say ‘Leche‘ sounds like Emiliana Torrini recorded underwater, or that it is as endearing as Soko without ever relying solely on cutesy nuances, or that it subtly captures Bat For Lashes eeriness…

The above statements are somewhat true but if you need a male example to justify this inclusion then I’m confident in saying that Godreau‘s songwriting sits comfortably next to any of Owen Pallett/Final Fantasy‘s output whilst displaying a more imposing vocal range. There is a spectral quality to her melodies that are almost disarming to the listener.

Leche‘ is an album equally suited for those times when it is raining outside and you just want to stare solemnly out of the window as the times when you decide it’s time to splash around in the puddles.  

With the aid of it’s subtle layers and emotional dynamics it deservedly earns it’s spot on the top albums list.


Leche (Bonus Track Version) - Gregory and the Hawk

NEXT: #17 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2010: Band Of Horses – Infinite Arms

PREVIOUS: #19 Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2010: Frightened Rabbit: The Winter Of Mixed Drinks

Dec 3 2009

School Of Seven Bells release Alpinisms Deluxe Edition

SVIISchool Of Seven Bells are a band you must hear. Despite hailing from Brooklyn, the bands sound could easily be linked up with a series of minimalist electronica act gracing Northern Europe at the moment. A listen to their 2008 debut ‘Alpinisms’ evokes the glacial scenery of British duo Goldfrapp, the detached danceability of New Order’s and the emotional delivery and production values of Bat For Lashes.

What makes SVIIB unique is the combination of intricate melodies provided by the Deheza sisters and dashed sparingly across the tracks. ‘Alpinisms’ is an album that is representative of vast melodic landscapes rather than individual tracks and single material.

There is a feeling that the song writing process must have occurred in very organic fashion with the band not over elaborating and obsessing over their ideas so as to avoid diverting too far from their raw sketches. In contrast a lot of attention has been devoted to the production values of the album to excellent results.

In anticipation of their new album ‘Disconnect From Desire’ (due in 2010) the band released ‘The Deluxe Edition’ of ‘Alpinisms’ last month. This is a it is a good window into the bands thought process covering the original 11 tracks plus an additional 9 tracks that include alternate versions, new mixes and a live cut. It also helps to explain why Ben Curtis was both eager and willing to forsake Secret Machines to work on this exciting project.


School Of Seven Bells – Iamundernodisguise

School of Seven Bells - Alpinisms (Deluxe Version)