Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Carousel reviews

As 2011 is coming to a close, we thought we’d round up a few of the nice quotes found among the reviews of our recent album Carousel.

Obviously, we’ve picked out just the nicest things people have said, and we’ve also somewhat optimistically tried to translate a couple from the original French and German. Apologies for any poor translations, especially the line about the “cat in front of the fireplace” which is probably a hopeless misunderstanding! Anyway, here goes...

"Excellent indie pop on second album from thoughtful London-based group, Pocketbooks. The album as a whole is laced with fine orchestration ranging from the strings on the aforementioned 'Promises, Promises' to the lovely piano led 'The Sky at Night' and 'Harbour Lights'."

"'Carousel' is an absolute winner. These 10 tales are full of the wide-eyed abandon of being young, in love and with the world at your feet and the rest of your life to explore it. Pocketbooks have created a thoughtful, uplifting album that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries simply by the quality of their songs."
The Sound of Confusion

"At its best, Pocketbooks' Carousel is catchy indie pop of finger clicking proportions. Indie pop tones, interweaving melodies, poetic lyrics and the heart of a romantic storyteller."

"As you listen to stories and tales expertly woven alongside the lovely tuneful accompaniments it becomes an enjoyable 40 minute ride. "Promises Promises" is one of the best things you are likely to hear this year and if it doesn't get your feet tapping as a bare minimum then I suggest a visit to your GP is due. It's an indiepop dancefloor smash, kids! On "Sound of The Carnival" [Emma’s] melodic voice soars high amongst the stars and you find yourself flying amongst the clouds with gay abandon."

"Telling tales of heady months picking apples, visits to the cinema and lost love, Carousel forms a soundtrack to the perfect teenage summer. If what you're after is wholesome fun pop amid an avalanche of clever songs (some happy, some sad) then you could do a lot worse than these 11-tracks of shimmering fun."
Derby Telegraph

"A gem of a pop album. With Andy Hudson's twinkling keyboard and Emma Hall's amazing, crystal clear voice to the fore. And this time everything's backed up by some perky strings. It's pleasing to see a band can move on without losing any of their pop sensibilities."
A Layer Of Chips

"A DELIGHT from start to finish. As usual with this lot it's a bouncy pop word-filled thrill ride, but with a marked UPPING on the Production side of things. The lyrics have blossomed into a kind of POINTED DELICACY that mark them out as a style unique."
MJ Hibbett

"Ein großes Pop-Album. Wenn es Dich aber erst einmal erreicht hat, nistet es sich ein, macht es sich gemütlich wie die Katze auf der Decke hinterm Ofen."
[A great pop album. The first time you hear it, it makes you feel as comfortable as a cat at home in front of the fireplace.]
Gutes Hören Ist Wichtig

"Even when the subject matter remains tied to its harkening solitariness, the music itself is surprisingly perky and maintains a real energy throughout."

"Further listens allowed the real beauty, depth and craftsmanship of both the song-writing and the execution to reveal themselves. I was drawn in so tight that it started to hurt. Suffice to say that ‘Carousel’ is an exceptional album and is now playing more frequently than its predecessor ever managed, which I didn’t think would ever be possible."
Buzzin Music

"Des mélodies simples et fines. Deux voix, l'une féminine, l'autre masculine, douces et légères. Un piano évoquant les vieilles comédies musicales américaines d'autrefois. Des violons discrets et soyeux. Si vous cherchiez un album de pop léger et sans prétention, qui fait pensivement bouger la tête et les pieds en vous nettoyant le cerveau, inutile de chercher plus loin, vous aurez du mal à trouver mieux..."
[Simple and delicate melodies. Soft and light male and female voices. A piano evoking the old American musicals of the past. Discrete and silky violins. If you‘re looking for a light and unpretentious pop album, that thoughtfully gets your head and your feet moving and cleanses your head, look no further, you will not find better ...]
Dans Le Mur... Du Son

"Every track oozes with delirious charm, conjuring images of cinematic summer days, all free-wheeling tandems, hands holding hands on park benches and the dizzy falling into new love. Even when lamenting life’s losses, there is joy to be found in the details – the inherent poetry found in coupling the vast expanse and the minutiae of everyday experience."
Old Fridges Can Kill

"What, essentially, you’ve got in Carousel is a gem of a pop album. If you want to force me to pick a favourite, then it’d have to be Promises, Promises; a flurry of bright harmonies and fast pacing set by the sweeping violins, singer Emma Hall’s lovely shining vocals and bittersweet lyrics about casual promises that never materialise."

"Beautifully crafted tunes which ooze melodies. Rarely does an album evoke such lovely times, it could easily soundtrack those relaxing lazy summer days or in fact the ethos of the Indietracks music festival. Wonderful way to while away forty minutes of your life, lovely!"
Shadders Online

"I love love love this LP, 'Carousel' is a beautiful POP! record, accomplished songwriting deftly played, with hooks and melodies (probably, I don't really know, I'm no expert, but certainly things that make you pay attention and listen up and whistle to yourself later) a sweetheart deal for any dedicated popkid... a record for keeps, a corker!"
A Fog Of Ideas

"Some of these songs are nothing short of pure pop brilliance. 'Promises Promises' bounces along like a rabbit on a pogo stick. My other personal favourite 'The Beaujolais Lanes' reminds me of a Burt Bacharach style song, which is the highest compliment I can offer. Really all hail Pocketbooks for this is a rather splendid album."
Donkey Rides

Phew! Of course, we could probably compile an equally long list of quotes offering fair criticism about the album, but frankly that would have been a lot less fun! Anyway, the album is still available from Odd Box Records, Bandcamp (with immediate MP3 download) and the usual online distributors if anyone fancies a copy.

Our next show is a Pop-o-matic event in Sheffield on Saturday 14 January with Colour Me Wednesday and Markie Plays Girlpop! It’s our first trip to Sheffield since 2007, so please come along if you’re around.

Andy, Dan, Emma, Ian and Jonny x

Friday, 11 November 2011

London show with violins: Tuesday 15 November

We're very excited to say that we'll be joined by four violin players from A Little Orchestra for our show in London on Tuesday 15 November.

Claire, Jill, Matthew and Natalie previously joined us onstage at the Indietracks festival back in July. Here's a video of them playing Sound Of The Carnival with us!

And here's the details for Tuesday's show:

Tuesday 15 November 2011
Scared To Dance presents... Shrag + Pocketbooks + Fever Dream
The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1

Shrag played an spectacular set at the recent Fortuna Pop! birthday celebrations, and we can't wait to hear some songs from their forthcoming album again. Tickets are £7 in advance from We Got Tickets

Hopefully see you on Tuesday!

Andy, Daniel, Emma, Ian and Jonny x

Friday, 4 November 2011

Bonfire night: London show and free MP3!

Just a quick reminder that we're playing a show with The Orchids on Saturday 5 November at The Bowery in London.

It's a rare opportunity to see The Orchids, who are one of the stars from the legendary Sarah Records label. We've been invited to play an 'extended set', so we'll have time to play some old favourites as well as some new album songs.

Tickets are just £4 in advance from Pebble Records, or £6 on the door.

To celebrate the gig taking place on Bonfire Night, we're making our firework-themed song Sparklers available as a free MP3 download for this weekend only. It's available free from our Bandcamp page until Sunday night.

Hope you can make it along on Saturday!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Brighton and London shows: autumn 2011

Just a quick post to let you know about a couple of shows we've got coming up this autumn.

22 and 23 October: Brighton Indie-pop Weekender
The Horse & Groom, 129 Islingwood Rd, Brighton, BN2 9SH

This will be our first visit to Brighton since autumn 2006, when we played at a small harvest festival organised by Stars of Aviation. This year's weekender is organised by The Bobby Mcgee's and features lots of ace bands including The Lovely Eggs, Tigercats, Anguish Sandwich, MJ Hibbett, A Little Orchestra and The Give It Ups. And entry is completely free!

The music starts each day at 4pm, and we're playing at around 7pm on the Sunday evening. Here's the full line up:

Saturday 22 October: 4.00pm The Bobby McGees; 4.30 Tourists; 5.10 Dave; 5.50 Quiet Choir; 6.30 M J Hibbett; 7.10 A Little Orchestra; 8.00 The Beautiful Word; 8.30 Candy Panic Attack; 9.15 Stars Down To Earth; 10.00 Tigercats

Sunday 23 October: 4.00pm Into by The Bobby McGees; 4.30 2 Lezzers & A Loop Machine; 5.10 Domonic Von Trapp; 5.50 Jack Lattimer; 6.30 The Give It Ups; 7.10 Pocketbooks; 8.00 Larry Pickleman; 8.30 Tigercub; 9.15 Anguish Sandwich; 10.00 The Lovely Eggs.

Links: Songkick / Last.fm / Facebook

Saturday 5 November - The Bowery, London
Pebble Records presents... The Orchids + Pocketbooks
36-38 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1EP

A rare London gig for The Orchids, who were stars of the legendary indie label Sarah Records, and who have now recently signed to the ace Pebble Records. We've never played at The Bowery before, so we're really looking forward to it!

Tickets: £4 in advance from Pebble Records
Links: Last.fm / Songkick

Tuesday 15 November - The Lexington, London
Scared To Dance presents... Shrag + Pocketbooks + Fever Dream
The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1

We're pleased to be returning to The Lexington for this show with our friends at Scared To Dance. Shrag are one of the most exciting bands around at the moment and we can't wait to hear some songs from their forthcoming third album. We're also looking forward to seeing Fever Dream again, after they played a great show with us in Notting Hill back in June.

Tickets: £7 in advance from We Got Tickets
Links: Songkick / Last.fm / Facebook

Thanks very much to everyone who's picked up a copy of our new album. If you haven't got a copy yet, you can hear six songs in full on our Bandcamp page. And of course, CDs are available from Odd Box Records!

Hope to see you at one of the shows!
Andy, Daniel, Emma, Ian and Jonny x

Monday, 19 September 2011

Carousel: new album released today!

Our new album is officially released today!

The CDs come with a lovingly-prepared 12-page booklet with all the lyrics and some wonderful carousel-themed spiral designs, as created by the excellent Krister Bladh. They're available in Rough Trade, HMV, Amazon, Play, Norman Records, Pebble Records, and other carefully selected shops. And, of course, you can also pick up a CD directly from the friendly folk at Odd Box Records: Pocketbooks - Carousel (Odd Box Records)

Alternatively, if you prefer your music instantly and digitally, the album is now available on iTunes, Amazon MP3, emusic, Rhapsody, Tradebit and various other digital places.

You can listen to the whole thing on the Pocketbooks Bandcamp page or by using the player below:

Thanks very much to everyone who's picked up a copy already!

Andy, Daniel, Emma, Ian and Jonny x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Carousel cupcakes!

We've created some special Carousel cupcakes for our launch gig on Friday 16 September. The photo above is the sample version we made this weekend. They're 100% delicious, completely free and strictly limited edition, so please come along early if you'd like one!

Friday's gig in London will be the launch party for our new album Carousel, which is officially relased on Monday 19 September. Here's the full details for the show...

Which Way Is Up! presents...
riday 16 September
Pocketbooks + Cancel The Astronauts + Anguish Sandwich
The Wilmington Arms, 69 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4RL
Tickets: £5 advance from WeGotTickets / £6 on the door
Links: Last.fm / Facebook / Songkick / Anorak

Hope to see you there!
Andy, Daniel, Emma, Ian and Jonny x

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Album launch show: Friday 16 September

We're having a launch party in London on Friday 16 September to mark the release of our new album 'Carousel'.

Which Way Is Up! presents...
Friday 16 September
Pocketbooks + Cancel The Astronauts + Anguish Sandwich
The Wilmington Arms, 69 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4RL
Tickets: £5 advance from WeGotTickets / £6 on the door
Links: Last.fm / Facebook / Songkick / Anorak

Cancel The Astronauts are a big guitar pop band from Edinburgh / Markinch. They've two EPs under their belts and an album on its way. The band also have a new single 'Seven Vices', which is officially released on 12 September. They've already played a BBC session for Vic Galloway and this is their very first trip to London, so please make them feel welcome!

Anguish Sandwich are Northampton's finest, and feature the familiar face of Chris East (AKA Winston Echo!) They're fresh from playing amazing sets at the Indietracks and Reading festivals - possibly the opposing ends of the indie spectrum! They are described as a riot in a teacup, and if you're not sure what that means, please rest assured that they're ace!

We'll be playing some songs from our new album, Carousel, and some of our older songs too. The new album's in the shops and available as iTunes /Amazon downloads from Monday 19 September. However, you can also pick up a copy right now directly from Odd Box Records.

Hope to see you on the 16th!

Andy, Emma, Daniel, Ian and Jonny x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

New album 'Carousel' and free single

Our new single 'Promises, Promises' is now available as a free download from the following links:
Pocketbooks - Promises, Promises (Box.net)
Pocketbooks - Promises, Promises (Bandcamp)

It's taken from our second album, 'Carousel', which is available on Odd Box Records. The official release will be in September, but the label is sending out advance copies now. They're available now from the following link: Pocketbooks - Carousel (Odd Box Records)

The album was recorded during the winter of 2010 in Soup Studios under the Duke of Uke ukulele shop in east London’s Brick Lane. It would have been a wintry record anyway, but the snow and the dark nights definitely played their part. The album begins and finishes with a bleak, distant piano, but inbetween there’s a mix of bright harmonies, shimmering guitars and gorgeous strings.

The violins on the album and the single were played by Matthew Walker and Claire Hadidjenar from A Little Orchestra. It was recorded by Simon Trought (The Wave Pictures, Allo Darlin’, Fanfarlo and Darren Hayman). The album artwork was created by Krister Bladh.

We've had some nice reviews of the new single, including:

"An ecstatic, dizzy slice of pop, with beautiful vocals and harmonies from Emma Hall. It's music that makes you want to be young and in love again"
The Metaphorical Boat

"All the qualities of a summer hit!"
Beautiful Sounds

"This is the song that would come on whenever I tune the radio to Radio 2, the song that would make me believe the world is a welcome and lovely place, warm and wonderful, irresistible and happening, the sort of world you open the curtains to and let the sunshine in for."
A Fog Of Ideas

"A lovely popsong, as always from Pocketbooks"

"The main course should be delicious if this sample is anything to go by"

The Zookeeper's Buoy

We hope you enjoy the free single and new album!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Promises, Promises: new single, 18 July 2011

The first single from our forthcoming album will be available as a free download on Monday 18 July.

'Promises, Promises' is a flurry of sweeping violins, girl group harmonies and bittersweet summertime lyrics about casual promises that never materialise. The violins were played by Matthew and Claire from A Little Orchestra, who also play on several other songs on our new album. Have a listen here:

Advance copies of our new album 'Carousel' will also be available to order from Monday 18 July. The album will be officially released by Odd Box Records in September 2011.

We're playing a few shows in July alongside the releases:

14 July 2011 - Apple Eyes single launch
With Apple Eyes and Wolventrix @ The Wilmington Arms, London
(£5, or £3 with this flyer)

27 July 2011 - Spiral Scratch
With Math and Physics Club, Very Truly Yours and The Sweet Nothings @ The Windmill, London

28 July 2011 - A Layer Of Chips
With Math and Physics Club, Very Truly Yours and The Sweet Nothings @ The Chameleon, Nottingham

29-31 July 2011 - Indietracks festival
We're playing at 7pm on the Friday night with Jonny (Norman Blake and Euros Childs!) and Suburban Kids With Biblical Names @ The Midland Railway, Derbyshire

Also, on Friday 15 July: Andy will play a song with A Little Orchestra at a fundraiser for the Duke of Uke. The evening will be headlined by Darren Hayman, and tickets are available here: Duke of Uke 15 July tickets

See you soon!

Monday, 13 June 2011

New song 'Sparklers' / free Rough Trade show

Our first new song in over two years, 'Sparklers', is available now on the Indietracks 2011 compilation. It's taken from our forthcoming album 'Carousel' which will be released by Odd Box Records in September.

The dowload compilation includes 40 fantastic tracks from artists playing at the festival, including songs from The Hidden Cameras, Herman Dune, Jeffrey Lewis, Crystal Stilts, Butcher Boy and Math and Physics Club.

You can set your own price for the compilation, 100% of which will go directly to the Midland Railway charity who host the festival.

It's available to download here: Indietracks 2011 compilation

The Indietracks festival takes place on 29-31 July at a steam railway in Derbyshire, hosting around 50 fantastic indiepop bands. Headliners this year include Edwyn Collins, Herman Dune, The Hidden Cameras, Jonny, Jeffrey Lewis, Crystal Stilts, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names and Math and Physics Club.

You can find further information (line-ups, tickets, how to get there etc.) on the festival's website: http://www.indietracks.co.uk/

Free Rough Trade show: Saturday 25 June

We've been invited to play at the Rough Trade Shops Afternoon (RoTa) at the Notting Hill Arts Club, London on Saturday 25 June. The line-up has been put together by Odd Box records, and features rock 'n' rollers MFC Chicken, the off kilter psyche pop of Baaneex and post punk tunes from Fever Dream. It starts at 4pm and it's all over by a very sociable 8pm.

It's free entry, and theres further details here: Odd Box / Rough Trade Afternoons

We're also playing Indietracks warm-up shows on 27 July (London) and 28 July (Nottingham) with Math and Physics Club, Very Truly Yours and The Sweet Nothings.

Hope to see you at one of the shows, and enjoy the Indietracks compilation!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Indietracks 2011 and summer shows

We're very excited to say that we'll be playing at the Indietracks festival this year. The festival takes place on a steam railway in Derbyshire on the weekend of 29-31 July 2011. Bands confirmed so far include Edwyn Collins, The Hidden Cameras, Jeffrey Lewis, Jonny (Norman Blake and Euros Childs), Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Math and Physics Club and loads, loads more!

Cheaper early bird tickets are available before Friday 6 May by visiting: www.indietracks.co.uk/tickets.html

We also have a few dates in the diary ahead of the festival, including a very mini-tour in July!

Saturday 7 May - London
Librarians Wanted presents...
Stars in Coma + Pocketbooks + Hella Better Dancer + Corporal Machine and the Bombers and Haiku Salut
Tickets / Last.fm / Facebook

Wednesday 27 July - London
Spiral Scratch present an Indietracks warm-up show...
Math and Physics Club + Very Truly Yours + Pocketbooks + The Sweet Nothings
Tickets / Last.fm

Thursday 28 July - Nottingham
A Layer Of Chips presents an Indietracks warm-up show
Math and Physics Club + Very Truly Yours + Pocketbooks + The Sweet Nothings

Monday, 7 March 2011

Read and Shout 2011

We're delighted to say that we've joined the bill for the Read and Shout mini-festival in at the Nettlefold Hall (above West Norwood Library) in London on Saturday 19 March.

Read and Shout has been arranged to help raise awareness of the cuts facing libraries. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) estimate that up to 20% of library service points face closure, and that library staff may be reduced by up to 6,000 people across the UK.

The Read and Shout event forms part of the Save Our Libraries campaign, which held a nationwide day of action in February. The aim of the event is to show local authorities and the wider world how much local communities love and depend on their libaries, and hopes to influence those who are making plans to close these resources.

There'll be a mix of live music and speeches, and the impressive list of bands playing is:

Jens Lekman + Darren Hayman + Pocketbooks + Leaf Library + Horowitz + A Fine Day For Sailing + A Little Orchestra + The Sweet Nothings + The Give It Ups + The Sunbathers + Scared To Dance DJs + Big Pink Cake DJs

Tickets sold out within a minute of going on sale, so we're sorry if you don't have one already. However, we're also playing in London on Friday 18 March with The Felt Tips and Falling And Laughing. If you'd like to come to that, tickets are just £5 and are available from We Got Tickets.

And, sticking with the library theme, we're also playing at Librarians Wanted on Saturday 7 May in London, with the amazing Stars in Coma, Hella Better Dancer, Corporal Machine & The Bombers and Haiku Salut. Tickets are just £5 from We Got Tickets.

In other news, we've a new video for our song 'Fleeting Moments', made by 400 Blows, who also made our 'Footsteps' video. It was filmed at the Luminaire in London back in 2008. Sadly the Luminaire has now closed, despite being one of the best places for gigs in London. Here's the video - enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Shows in early 2011

Happy new year! Just a quick post to let you know about our first gigs of 2011.

Saturday 22 January - Birmingham
Autumn Store 5th Birthday @ The Victoria, 48 John Bright Street, Birmingham B1 1BN

Ace Bushy Striptease + KateGoes + Horowitz + Pocketbooks + LookIMakeMusic + MJ Hibbett and his Dinosaur Planet + Vom Vorton + My Autumn Empire.

This will be our first trip to Birmingham since 2007, and we’ll be helping celebrate the fifth anniversary of Birmingham’s finest indiepop night. They’re promising an action-packed all-dayer with bands, zines, dancing, sugary food stuff and dinosaurs!

It’s £5 entry and we think there’s no need for a ticket, just stroll up on the day! It starts at 3pm and we’ll be on early evening sometime.

Facebook / Last.fm / Songkick / Autumn Store blog

Sunday 13 February - London
The Loves Retirement Party @ The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB

The Loves + Comet Gain + The School + The Lovely Eggs + The Vinyl Stitches + Pocketbooks

Sadly, after 11 years The Loves are retiring, and to mark the occasion they'll be holding a retirement party the day before Valentine's Day. It looks like it'll be an all-day event, featuring lots of bands that The Loves have played with over the years.

Tickets are £8.50 from We Got Tickets.

Facebook / Last.fm / Songkick

Friday 18 March - London
Which Way Is Up? @ Wilmington Arms, 69 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4RL

The Felt Tips + Pocketbooks + Falling and Laughing

Which Way Is Up! is a new night from our friends at Odd Box. It takes place every third Friday of the month at The Wilmington Arms. The first WWIU! is on 18 February with This Many Boyfriends, Lisa Bouvier from Stars in Coma and The Give It Ups. Then in March we're playing a show with Falling and Laughing and The Felt Tips, whose fantastic album was a highlight of 2010.

Tickets are just £5 and are available from We Got Tickets.

Facebook / Last.fm / Songkick

Hope you can make it to one of the shows. We'll be playing a bunch of new songs and hope to have some new recordings available later in the year.

Andy, Daniel, Emma, Ian and Jonny x