Tuesday, 31 May 2016
The Great Escape, Brighton (Day 3)
Thursday May 19 - Saturday May 21 2016
Reporting team: Linn Branson, Kenny Davies, Alison Mack
The last day of 2016's Great Escape festival seems to have come round impossibly soon. While some are preparing a late afternoon return home, others are sticking out the fun, sun and music galore til the last band has sung their final note.
Rozi Plain garners a midday queue outside the Komedia Studio Bar, joining the queue on the opposite side of the door for Komedia's main room where The Big Moon, followed by Clean Cut Kid are opening up. Rozi and her fellow musicians provide some soothing alt-folk that is surprisingly relaxing considering the group have had something of a calamitous journey from France overnight. The Big Moon girls, on the other hand, pack out the big space with their brand of happy, bouncy vibes, while the Liverpool 'kids' succeed in proving beards, an infectious ‘Runaway' and great guitar solos are the way to go.
Copenhagen-based duo Palace Winter - Carl Coleman and Dane Caspar Hesselage - deliver their indie/synth genre-crossing set over at The Hope and Ruin, laying on fuzz guitars and synth, and offering a well-constructed repertoire of their melodic numbers, including closer and latest single 'Positron', all 60s dreamy riffs with Coleman's vocals coming in to provide an evocative partner to Hesselager's keys. South London outfit Shame tear straight into The Hope and Ruin's packed crowd. Big heavy beats, loud guitars and a ferocious lead singer who by the time the set has finished has stripped to his trousers sets the tone for this semi-political-cum-Fat White Family display.
Egyptian Blue play in the small setting of Molly Malone's and it's quite clear from the start that they want you to listen. 'High The Hyena' has a nice guitar melody combing pounding drums to create a Yak meets Nivana sound and a loud sound at that. Not the most inventive lyric-wise, but it's more about the sound and how the song feels.
Playing in your home town must always be special so for Brighton lads White Room today is that day. With plenty of fans in The Hope and Ruin the band tear through songs like 'Freaking Out' and 'In My Head' creating a 90s sound with melodic guitars, catchy hooks and excellent vocals, a band to watch out for. Following them on stage are the American Swedes Fews. The Play It Again signees up the ante in motorik house-pop, and include new track 'If Things Go On Like This' for good measure. For those without hearing protection it was possibly an endurance, for others it was just a pack load of goosebumps - 100, in fact.
Next to The Prince Albert to watch still unsigned Sheffield band The Sherlocks and by the amount of fans and big tunes they won't stay unsigned for long. Catchy pop indie anthems are on the menu today, great melodies and Arctic Monkeys style lyrics get the crowd moving. Songs such as 'Will You Be There', 'Last Night' and 'Chasing Shadows' sound great close up but these are made for the big arenas, massive potential. The four-piece Teleman deliver off-kilter pop late in the evening at the Paganini Ballroom, and prove that the last day can offer some of the best music.
A quick dash down to the Corn Exchange to watch the last band of the night, Aussies DMAs, is yet further proof. They might look like scruffs, but the songs do the talking, 'Feels Like 37' is washed in Britpop and has the crowd singing, dancing and small moshpits breaking out. The biggest cheer and sing-along is reserved for 'Delete', with its gentle guitar picking intro exploding into life when the rest of the band join in. Hands in the air lighters out moment create a rousing end to the almost perfect set; it's easy to see why they're fast becoming one of everybody's favourite bands.
May 27 2016 (Innovative Leisure)
Words: Alison Mack
This is Toronto-based electronic collective Holy Fuck's first full-length album in six years, following 2010’s 'Latin'. But the intervening years seem to have been spent in carefully crafting a ten-track work of incendiary big hitters from fuzzy opener 'Chimes Broken', through first single, the driving, distorted bass-amped 'Tom Tom'; to the superb 'Xed Eyes', and the funkish overtones of 'Neon Dad'.
That all these come in the album's first half indicate the full on profusion of bombastic percussion, synths and distorted electronic onslaughts. There's a slight wavering thereafter with the remaining tracks not quite living up to the senses-punch of its start. 'Shivering' chills out on shimmering synth that builds over electronics and female vocal, while 'Sabbatics' is a sub-four minutes of techno dubstep. 'House Of Glass' delivers a disco beat with funk and dubstep effects. Penultimate track 'Acidic' brings the album up again with relentless percussion, and the sprawling jangle of 'Crapture' brings closure on 'Congrats' swathe of intensity.
Words: Ellie Ward
Released last week via the Hybris label, 'Somehow' is the official debut single from Swedish post-punks Delagoon that has seen the four Stockholm 18-year-olds compared to The Cure and The Teardrop Explodes.
Taken from their first EP 'Archipelago' which appeared late last year and now seems to have disappeared, after one track, 'Techno Kids', was put out - another you'll be hard pressed to find now. Delagoon, previously known as Amatörkapellet when putting up online their first demo tracks back in 2014, have now re-emerged with a more fully defined sound.
The near four-minute 'Somehow' echoes more to the sound of Joy Division in its opening guitar sound, before building in waves of pulsing drums and darkly delivered vocals that Julian Cope would probably approve of.
Monday, 30 May 2016
The Great Escape, Brighton (Day 2)
Thursday May 19 - Saturday May 21 2016
Reporting team: Linn Branson, Kenny Davies, Alison Mack
Day Two of the big Brighton Escape starts off with a fine morning, and whilst most of the local inhabitants are off to their day jobs, Escapers settle in to planning their must-see-sets itineraries.
Blossoms - who can't seem to tear themselves away - fit in an acoustic sun-kissed set in the Wagner Hall garden, their second of three appearances at the festival. It's great to hear songs like 'Charlemagne' and 'Getaway' stripped back where Tom Odgen's vocals can really shine and also show what great musicians they are. Contender for highlight of the day already.
It's all things Scottish at the Brighthelm Centre with BBC Radio Scotland's Vic Galloway hosting a showcase of talent. Edinburgh duo Man Of Moon - Chris Bainbridge (vocals/ guitar) and Mikey Reid (drums/backing vocals) - command an early afternoon slot and an already full room as they deliver some kraut-psych inspired drones and receive as good a reception as if they'd just headlined an evening set.
WHITE up next on the same stage couldn't be more different. The Glasgow electro-pop five-piece get those still nursing hangovers from the night before right behind their razor-sharp guitar tunes - and even sharper fashion attire. Kirstin Lynn on drums, is resplendent in silver sequinned top, while enigmatic frontman Leo Condie, decked out in tie-fronted open shirt and silver boots, whips his black locks back and forth as they kick out enough bangers in the set, from 'Touch Yourself', debut single 'Future Pleasures' to 'Living Fiction', to start a sweaty fire amongst the dancing crowd.
Back out in daylight, the New Road stage sees Aussie Brit Emmi - a cross between Lorde and Sia - with her band entertaining tourists, shoppers, and curious onlookers with some soulful pop, including last year's debut 'My Kinda Swag'. The Dunwells sort themselves out after a delay and play to a ten-row deep crowd, with Joe Dunwell belting out each number as if playing to a 100-row Glastonbury throng.
Back at East Street Tap, we have newly signed (to Fierce Panda) band Coquin Migale. They've had a few issues recently but that doesn't stop them putting in an excellent set that catches Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq's attention. Full of driving choppy guitars and dreamy vocals the packed pub and neighbouring streets are awash with a loud and commanding performance that highlights why they're picking up fans very fast.
Also at the Tap, an Alternative Escape venue (yet another in the sterling showcase put on by End Of The Trail Records), Northern 'mysteries' Eat Fast not only play fast, but play bloody well and get the punters pouring in through the door. The likes of ‘Fenham Dread(Lock)’, ‘Byker Drone’ and 'Byker Lime Slicer' are played with all the Northern grit and insouciance they can muster, demonstrating why they have been placed in this year's veritably small and exclusive 'band to watch' group.
Sheffield threesome Baba Naga are an interesting one, filling out the Shipwright's Yard venue with a mix of psychedelic, doom and cosmic vibes. They only manage about three songs, 10 minutes being the longest number, but capture the attention of the crowd with electric guitar solos, pounding drums and haunting vocals. At The Arch, five-piece London lads The Bulletproof Bomb - think Jamie T, but with more attitude and aggression - play a set of fast, catchy songs about everyday life that get the crowd going and mini mosh pits emerge which the band feed off and deliver a fine set in the now hot and sweaty venue.
Playing just their second live gig, Brighton locals Lunar Quiet are a band to keep an eye on. In the unassuming subterranean room of The Globe, the space may be minuscule and this quartet may be less than six months old, but debut track 'Endless Migraine' is enough to see why they are destined to hit tastemaker radars: reverbed distortion, scorching fretwork that dips and dives on a rollercoaster of fiercely constructed soundwaves, make for an intriguing opening shot.
Diet Cig bring energy and expectation to the Green Door Store, and succeed in fulfilling on both counts. The New York duo send out vibes of jumping and raucous pop aplomb tray sweeps up the room to the delight of all.
Essex lads Blush pitch up at the Tap with some swagger and a bunch of jangly good songs with infectious rhythms, which includes new single 'WRNG', that belie the fact that they have still to reach their twenties. They sign out on a Pete Townshend finale as guitar is crashed into the drum kit and they exit stage right. London quintet Swimming Tapes play the charmingly named Mucky Duck. A band who have recently emerged to good notice, their jangly dreampop hitting just the right note.
The queues are long for LOYAL at Wagner Hall, where the Annie Mac championed, electro-pop-house artist and her band of musicians offer a genre-warping set of richly atmospheric dance numbers and engaging spacey instrumentals.
Photo: Chris Sullivan
Words: Linn Branson
There's one word - well, two actually - that springs to mind on hearing this: bloody hell. That is, of course, bloody hell in a good way, for this new single by Atlanta, Georgia quartet Big Jesus, 'SP', thunders through you like a dose of salts.
Big riffs and big scuzzy pop hooks are all in keeping with this first taster from their debut album 'Oneiric', out later this year via Mascot Records. Over the brutal onslaught of metal riffs, Spencer Ussery's surprisingly controlled pop punk vocals lay a dreamy shoegaze filter that melds in in a beautifully melodic way.
Sunday, 29 May 2016
June 17 2016 (Virgin EMI)
Words: Kenny Davies
'Cave Song' is the first official EP release from the young teenage Merthyr Tydfil wastrels, and although the title track has been around since the end of 2014 it has been re-recorded for the EP. On first listen you might not hear any difference but after touring extensively and playing lots of festivals in 2015 the band have grown into a fearsome live act and it has rubbed off onto the recordings. This time around 'Cave Song' has some more meat to its bones and that comes in the form of Brad Griffiths (vocals) and Tom McCarthy's guitars, the latter is more present in the choruses and gives the song a fuller and more powerful sound. Add in Jarvis Morgan's meaty bass lines and Elliot Jones' relentless machine gun-like drumming and you have a loud wall of sound that sets the scene for the rest of the EP.
'Down My Way' starts off subdued and slow with lines like "this town is greyer than the roads", before some short sharp guitar and bass kick in and the song explodes into life in true Pretty Vicious style. Vocally creating visions of trying to find happiness in a place you hate, about wanting to leave the town you're in as Brad howls "leave it all behind". Next up, 'Ambien' sees the band in full Pearl Jam mode, the first minute is a pure attack to the senses with a great guitar hook and pounding bass and drums. Sitting on top of the wall of sound are some raw emotions being sung; "this empty space within my chest/where no love is left" and "I hate you when you smile" make for a bleak landscape, but coupled with the ever present evil guitar hook and the thunderous backing from the drums and bass, make this one of the band's most accomplished songs to date.
Closer 'Black and Blue' starts off with some despair and desperate words which lead to Brad screaming "he kicks us in our heads" and is probably their heaviest song yet. Like the previous tracks it best showcases what the band are all about live. Flowing through the song are some great guitar licks and a heavy bass line that perfectly accompanies the powerful and sometimes violent drumming, which is what this song is - violent. And just when you think the song is finished, there's one last guitar solo and an all out musical assault.
They may be young but Pretty Vicious have the fire, skill and desire to take on all comers.