Tuesday, 28 April 2015

[Video] Death From Above 1979 - Virgins

Death From Above 1979 have shared the rather, well, disturbing, video for 'Virgins', a track from last year’s album 'The Physical World'.

In Eva Michon's video, Amish kids ho wild in a barn, eating mushrooms, snorting cremation ashes, and licking each other's eyeballs. Standard, really. Don't watch while eating.

The band, who appear as cops, said of it: "The video takes cues from the lyrics of the song which are a meditation on innocence and coming of age. That very precarious time in life when sex is elusive, maybe even frightening but always compelling.”

Introducing :: Spears

Words: Linn Branson

Oh, these impossibly young kids, all getting up and leaving their school work to make raucous sounds in bands - as well as making anyone above the age of 20 feel rather old.

Spears are a bunch of 18-year-olds from Sheffield, fronted by 16-year-old (and potential indie girls' Harry Styles heartthrob) Rowan Scott, who can sing, play guitar, flick blond floppy hair and chew gum simultaneously - which will no doubt go down well when they front up at The Great Escape in a few weeks' time. Given they only formed in the first quarter of this year, and have already bagged a major festival, as well as having BBC Introducing lauding them, is not too shabby a start at all.

As yet they have put out one video track, 'Little White Lights' - below - and played a few local gigs. "We're looking to come to London soon, exams permitting," Rowan informs us, as we catch up with him in between classes. "And there'll be more [gigs] in Sheffield. We are kind of waiting to see the response to the single."

Following in the footsteps of other Sheffield bands rockin' their way out of the steel city, Spears are focussed on their aims. "The main idea behind 'Little White Lights' was to mess with people's ears in a pleasing way. It comes in off the beat - then once you're used to that it comes in on the beat. It has many time signature changes. And, most importantly, there's also a song in there. Which seems obvious, but people tend to forget the song bit sometimes!" laughs the wise young frontman.

Spears are not perfect - hell, they've not been at it long enough to be - but there's a rawness and urgency to them (not to mention some nifty guitar hooks and a little frisson of attitude) that with a little more time, could turn them into something rather special.

Spears are: Rowan Scott - vocals / guitar, Mark Wills - guitar, Aeddan Lockett - bass, Tom Monk - drums

Watch :: Lia Ices - 'Creature'

Words: Ed Francis

California-based electronic dream-pop singer-songwriter Lia Ices has collaborated with artist Tom Jean Webb to create an innovative animated video for 'Creature', the latest single off of her new album 'Ices', out now via Jagjaguwar records.

The track itself undulates along to the rhythm of muted percussion and a rolling synth line, propelled to occasional but never overblown peaks by Ice's softly-soaring, Kate Bush-like vocals. The video is designed to perfectly match this understated beauty- composed of simple moving line drawings, it depicts an equally straightforward love story in a fashion that is evocative and touching.

You can watch the video for 'Creature' below.

Track Of The Day :: Tessera Skies - Out Of Sight

The Newcastle art-pop trio Tessera Skies follow up last year's 'Droplet' with the release of 'Out Of Sight'.

Produced by Mick Ross and out on June 1 via North Base Records in conjunction with Amazing Record Co. Label Services, Tessera Skies once again have created something impossibly lovely that in four minutes transcends boundaries, with the sound of atmospherically radiant guitars and distinctive synths, along with sharp, yet also warm, vocals, that remind one of Sigur Ros or Wild Beasts in essence.

Tessera Skies play The Sage, Gateshead with Bridie Jackson and The Arbour plus Immy Williams on May 22.

[Video] The Vaccines - Minimal Affection

The long-awaited follow-up to The Vaccines' 2012 album 'Come Of Age', finally comes next month with the release of third full-length 'English Graffiti

Recorded with Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, Flaming Lips) and Cole MGN (Ariel Pink, Beck) in New York, they have already unveiled two tracks - 'Handsome', 'Dream Lover' - and have now dropped us a taste of 'Minimal Affection'.

The Vaccines will play a November UK tour with dates as follows.

10. Blackpool Empress Ballroom
12. Plymouth Pavilions
13. Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
15. Bournemouth BIC
16. Bridlington Spa
17. Wolverhampton Civic Hall
19. Brighton Centre
20. Nottingham Capital FM Arena
22-23. London Brixton Academy

'English Graffiti' is out on May 25 via Columbia.

Monday, 27 April 2015

First Listen :: Lucha Libre - Stream Debut EP In Full

Just over 19 minutes-worth of five tracks on this debut EP, 'Alive At Best', released last week from Brisbane indie quartet Lucha Libre.

Now, if you happen not to be Australasia-based you may not have come upon this band who premiered the first single from the EP -'Backstreets' - last month, despite their having been around for a few years now (almost three). Their stirring alt-rock style (think Bombay Bicycle Club), however, is immensely listenable, and there is some really competent work here, with plenty of striking guitars and forceful drums.

EP highlights: 'Back And Forth', 'Faces'.

Lucha Libre are: Liam Quinn - vocals / guitar, Michael Valenta - drums, Ben Long - bass, Ryan Lamplough - guitar

JAWS Premiere New Single 'Bad Company' Tonight - Listen

Premiered tonight (April 27) on Huw Stephens' Radio 1 show, JAWS unveiled their new single. 'Bad Company'.

Following previous singles ('Toucan Surf', 'Surround You', 'Friend Like You', 'Gold', 'Think Too Much, Feel Too Little') and debut album 'Be Slowly' released last September, the latest track - one of two new songs, along with 'Simplicity', which the band had introduced into their live set last month - gives a possible clue to a change in musical direction, exhibiting a grungier side to the Birmingham quartet than we have hitherto seen.

'Bad Company' - which may refer to the company they've been keeping - shakes off the beach-pop towel, and goes full commando on dirty fuzzy Nirvana-like riffs, with a catchy hook chorus that looks like becoming a big draw for their summer festival round.


23. Common People Festival, Southampton
24. Weird Era All Dayer: The Hop, Wakefield
30. Camden Rocks Festival, London
06. The Institute, Birmingham
19. 110 Above Festival (Lainfest), Atherstone
17. Truck Festival

Listen :: The Derevolutions Cover Phil Collins' 'Another Day in Paradise'

Words: Ed Francis

There's a fair bit of mystery surrounding the origins of the project known as the Derevolutions. From what we can glean, they are/it is the brainchild of Boston-based producer Brett Boucher, who's been using the name to semi-anonymously post solo output to Soundcloud at an obscene rate since early 2014.

There's nothing too ambiguous about the sound, however, which never shifts away from relentlessly sunny and upbeat as it oscillates between sample-heavy psych workouts and straight 4/4 pop structured around stomp-clap rhythms. The same approach is brought to this cover Boucher dropped of Phil Collins' 'Another Day In Paradise' over the weekend, which is reconfigured as an thrumming electro-ska jam that breathes new life into a strong melody that was previously trapped in a rather tired-sounding track like a mosquito in amber.

You can listen to the track below.

New EP From Waylayers // Listen To Tracks 'Pharoah' / 'Sleepwalking'

After the release of their 'Fault Lines' EP last year, we have not heard too much from East London's Waylayers. But now the trio kick the summer underway with the announcement of their forthcoming EP 'Re:Verse', as well as two new songs 'Pharaoh' and 'Sleepwalking'.

'Re:Verse' will be released on June 8 thru  Alcopop! Records, and features current BBC Radio 1 favourite and Rankin-approved - the above shot is one from their session with Rhe acclaimed photographer - 'Sleepwalking'.

Both tracks highlight the band's way with big synth-led, power pop melodies, and are the result of their work with Grammy-nominated producer Tommy Forrest.

Waylayers play the following confirmed live dates:

05. Start The Bus, Bristol
08. Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen,
15. Royal Pavilion Tavern, The Great Escape, Brighton
18. Truck Festival, Oxfordshire

[Video] Circa Waves - Stuck In My Teeth

Circa Waves have revealed the visuals for 'Stuck In My Teeth', taken from the Liverpudlians' debut album 'Young Chasers', which was released in March.

Produced by Jim Abiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele), the song was first aired last year.

Circa Waves embark on a UK tour this autumn, including London's O2Academy Brixton on October 10.

08. Norwich, Waterfront
09. Bristol, O2 Academy
10. London, O2 Academy Brixton
13. Glasgow, ABC
14. Manchester, Academy
16. Birmingham, Institute
17. Oxford, O2 Academy

Track Of The Day :: Captivves - Shattered Fragments

There's nothing like a few drones...or even a lot of drones, particularly if they happen to be industrial punk ones. Yes, and Captivves have, well, captured them all.

Side One of this AA side single digitally released today (April 27), 'Shattered Fragments', is just so darned good that we could hardly bear to leave it to venture on to its partner, 'O-U-T-L-A-W-S'. Both of which mark the follow-up to last year's double whammy single debut, 'Dive In'/'Don't Defy Us', which we covered here.

And whilst we may have said then that the Reading post-punk three-piece sounded like "drills driving against a stone wall", their sound (which they term as comprising "winding reverb and thunderous bass lines coinciding with rhythmic precision. Words of lust, hunger and disorder cut through the dense blackness of a post-punk nostalgia.") is showing signs of developing along the right lines, with a melodic structure around the drones of distortion.

Recorded at Lightship95 in the Docklands area of East London with the ubiquitous Rory Attwell, 'Shattered Fragments' was inspired by the idea to create "an industrial soundscape" the likes of Savages or My Bloody Valentine. It's definitely one that requires a heap of hearings too, we'll say that.

Captivves have the following live dates confirmed:

30. London New Cross Inn
30. Reading South Street Art Centre
20. Reading Rising Sun
24. Reading Purple Turtle (BBC Introducing)


Linn Branson

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Listen :: Riding In On A Sea Breeze, Brighton's Latest Band Heath Unveil 'February' EP

Our first thoughts on hearing Heath, were something along the lines of "hmm, very nice"; our second thought, on seeing the absence of any substantial information about them, was "oh dear" - our 'mystery band' alarm bell being set off.

Heath are an alternative pop three-piece who formed in the latter part of last year, and their launch on a fresh Brighton sea breeze and a waft of fish 'n' chips in January, "won attention from blogs worldwide" (the PR says) upon the release of debut ‘Give Me Over’ (and perhaps partly on the hype of mystery...), the lead track from the four-song EP, 'February', which came out through the Killing Moon label on April 14.

They played their first gig in March in Brighton, and that is near enough it, apart from that first debut - deemed as "epic" by some - and the other EP tracks. They don't even supply a stock group shot: the photo above being taken at the aforementioned live show.

When we put a few questions to Heath, the response, whilst not wildly illuminating, did proffer a smidgen of 'colour':

"We have been over here all your life - hey!

The dark pining melodies are dictated to us by our disfigured older brother who we keep in the loft. He can't speak but he plays little tunes on an old harmonica. I'd imagine he's pining for a better life in a cruel world.

We all play a bit of everything but in the main, Sam is the keys and chords man - building layers of colour from a strip of black and white, Rory is the 80s head - having to be restrained from the chorus pedal of his guitar, and the bite of his favourite snare samples, Tom is the pained crooner out front - bringing those pining melodies to life, whilst adding the finishing touches to the sound with the echoed strum of a six-string, or the pounding of a drum.

We were up to many things before HEATH. But we don't talk about that any more ;)


"Tom" turns out to be Tom Staniford, who aside from being a former folk artist also makes music videos, including last year's visuals to 'Hurt' by acoustic guitarist Mike Dignam.

As to the songs themselves, lead track ‘Give Me Over‘ is a well-crafted indie-pop number that moves at a fairly slow pace for the first part, before picking up and swelling extravagantly over broken beats and an elegant piano. Vocally in a similar vein to Fyfe and Bastille and Fyfe, standing out particular on ‘Hope So High‘; while the near five-minute ‘Dartmoor‘ and closer 'Speak Out' are of a deeper, more brooding persuasion.


Linn Branson

EP Review :: Tandem Felix - Comma

Tandem Felix


April 27 2015 (Trout Records)


Words: Alison Mack

The five-track Americana/psych blues EP from Dublin's Tandem Felix is filled with enough pedal steel that if they were a Sheffield band they'd probably be afforded freedom of the city.

While not a great deal happens on this EP, filled as it is with the band's signature tranquil melodic structures, they do have a way with mixing it all together so tracks like opener ‘Nothing I Do Will Ever Be Good Enough’, with the warbling sounds of Harrison-esque Leslie speaker guitar and pedal steel, played by veteran steel-guitarist Bobby Lee; and the heart-aching 'Mandarin' - a funeral dirge of piano, pedal steel and vocal - in particular, are easily and smoothly executed. The Neil Young reminiscent ‘Moon Tingles’ will set a literal tingle with its superbly worked percussion and vocals.

Comparisons to a watered down Neil Young, Kurt Vile of Wilco abound, but no bad thing when they do what they do with such ease.

[Video] Blis. - Floating Somewhere High And Above

The Atlanta-based math rock trio Blis. take the lead single from their recent EP, 'Starting Fires In My Parents House', and have put together a video for 'Floating Somewhere High And Above'.

Fierce rhythms and downcast lyrics on a math base is put into Travis Lamb's live performance shots, vintage film footage, and Blis. playing in someone’s home, stepping on faded family photographs on the floor.

Track Of The Day :: Adam Cleaver - The Salt Mine

Alt-folk artist Adam Cleaver unveils his latest single 'The Salt Mine' on June 15 via Veta Records (also available as a free download).

The 24-year-old Wembley musician has produced in 'The Salt Mine' one of those delightfully relaxing low-key affairs that floats over you on a delicate breeze of Cleaver's vocal delivery and gentle acoustic guitar strains, augmented by soft percussion touches.

With his first EP - the four-track 'Boxed & Braised' released last June - receiving attention from the likes of John Kennedy at XFM and Amazing Radio, and with a follow-up set for release this autumn, Adam Cleaver looks like a new force in the indie folk genre.

Adam plays a single launch show on May 20 at New Cross Inn, south London, with support from Daniel Glover, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, and John Parry.