Friday, 7 March 2014
Skaters + Drowners
Deaf Institute, Manchester
March 4 2014
Words: Dave Beech
Tonight sees one of Manchester's most eclectic venues play host to one of New York's current 'buzz' bands, Skaters - two, if you include Drowners in support; both of whom have released their full-length debuts this year.
The indie masses are out in their droves, the venue's upstairs area packed wall-to-wall with shabby-chic twenty-somethings anticipating an evening of old fashioned indie-pop, followed by snotty garage rock. Drowners oddly enough for a support band, manage to rattle through their entire eponymous album, almost chronologically. Released in January to generally favourable responses, 'Drowners' was 12 tracks on unadulterated indie-pop, that swings to and fro, bouncing between Strokes-esque vocals and Smiths-esque guitars. Thankfully, live, the band seem to encapsulate the same energy that the album exhibits, with tracks such as 'Ways to Phase a Rejection' and 'A Button On Your Blouse' spawning early sing-alongs from these in the know. It's always a worry when you see a band for the first time as to whether or not the same spark that caused you to buy the ticket in first place would be present in a live environment: thankfully with Drowners it most definitely is.
Skaters' demeanour drips with the same anti-swagger that the characters of any given Larry Clarke film do. They are the embodiment of those kids from Kids; they're not part of the New York sophisticate, they're part of the city's rough and ready underbelly, and it shows through in their set. Depending on your outlook though, this is somewhat of a double-edged sword. On one hand their laid-back, effortless cool is completely in keeping with both their sound, and attitude; on the other, it could on occasion almost be mistaken for apathy. As it happens though, their set is peppered with excellent moments, with tracks such as The Clash-inspired 'Band Breaker' getting the whole floor moving, and early inclusion of 'I Wanna Dance (But I Don't Know How)' providing the crowd with a perfect opportunity to do just that, (whether they know how or not). They end the night with 'Schemers', giving fans one final chance to go all out.
To their credit, their album (incidentally titled 'Manhattan', just in case you forgot where they were from) has only been available for about a week before tonight, and even on those tracks which lack a full-blown sing-along, the crowd seem very much in to it. Both Skaters and Drowners may be relative newcomers to the scene, but both have the potential to go far.
TENSE MEN - NONENTITIES
As darkly hypnotic and intense as you would expect, all five-minutes-plus, from a Faux Discx production of Cold Pumas-ish drones. Out March 10 on the six-track 'Where Dull Care Is Forgotten'. Fabulous.
THE SAVAGE NOMADS - PORNO
A band we introduced and interviewed here last year are back with this bouncy little single out on April 7.
BARE JOHN - ALL LOVE MAKES
Female-fronted Stoke-based rockers. Not as heavy as their description would have you believe, and this debut single - out April 7 - has echoes of the early 90s.
TWO WEEKS RUNNING - HOLY GHOST
We get a slight touch of The Twang here on this just released single from the Bolton five-piece. Already being hailed by the likes of Steve Lamacq and Tom Robinson.
MALPAS - PROMISE
Currently in tour with Cloud Boat, the new single - out this week on Killing Moon - taken from the self-titled debut EP by Birmingham duo, songwriter Ali M Forbes & producer Andy Savours.
GIVE BLOOD - SLIDING DOORS
Our One To Watch from last October return with another hypnotic piece of synthed-up electronica...with an edge.
MOSES GOLD - PARADISE LOST
Produced in collaboration with Espher, Manchester's Phill Young's (Moses G) latest darkwave release to stir the inner senses.
WARMTH - KING CALM
Jon and Thom hail from Walthamstow; have a Facebook and Twitter, but as yet, have said nothing on either. So letting the music speak for itself, this is quite a crunchy little number for their debut.
SHRINE - SAVIOUR
Lead track from the debut EP 'Closer To The Sun', out April 7 on Mountains Of Records, by Brighton-based math rock outfit. Some catchy riffage and enough melody in amidst the rock to guarantee more than one listen.
YOKO TEMPLE - MOODS
Solo dreamgaze project of Cardiff-based Jevon James. Taken from the just released 'EP 02', wrap your ears around these lo-fi vibes.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
In advance of their forthcoming album release 'Lost In The Dream' set for March 17 thru Secretly Canadian, The War On Drugs have released a new video for lesf track 'Red Eyes'.
The album - written and recorded by
Adam Granduciel over the course of two years in Philadelphia, New York, North Carolina, and New Jersey - will be their first since 'Slave Ambient' of 2011.
01 Under the Pressure
02 Red Eyes
04 An Ocean in Between the Waves
06 Eyes to the Wind
07 The Haunting Idle
09 Lost in the Dream
10 In Reverse
The War On Drugs have so far confirmed two live UK dates and a further in Dublin.
27. Koko, London
28. Academy 2, Manchester
29. Button Factory, Dublin
Forthcoming single from the Oz Londonphiles Dark Bells. Out on April 24 via RIP Records, 'In Head' is released on the back of their current UK tour with Temples, which concludes this Saturday (March 8) at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire (to be followed by a further three solo dates - see poster below).
'In Head' is a three-minute neo-psych steak dream, laden with singer/guitarist Teneil Throssell's coolly tenacious inflections and reverb-filled riffs, coupled with Ash Moss packing a solid punch of bass.
New York doom grunge trio GHXST drop the music visuals to new track 'Death Town', taken from the band's new EP expected in May.
Tracks like 'Black Camaro' and 'Doomgirl' of 2012 immediately set the seal with their energy-blasting, fuzzy guitar sound awash with reverb, and Shelley X's power vocals on par with the likes of Allison Mosshart.
In the video to 'Death Town' we see director Liudi Hara's interpretation of the Big Apple on a deserted night journey, as the band waft eerily in and out blazing a trail of scuzz.
GHXST are set for a midnight show at SXSW on March 11 at Lit Lounge.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
New Acts Confirmed For Saturday June 7
Arthur Beatrice / Avey Tare's Slasher FlicksBake / Eyedress / FunkinEven (live) /Jamie Isaac/ Jamie xx / Neneh Cherry / Only Real
New Acts Confirmed For Sunday June 8
Childhood / Drenge / Shy Nature / Telegram / The Bohicas
Field Day have announced a raft of new additions to this year's Victoria Park line-up. Making a return is Jamie xx. The producer, remixer and one third of Mercury Music Prize winning band The xx, will join latest additions, Animal Collective's Avey Tare's Slasher FlicksBake as well as iconic 80s legend Neneh Cherry.
Also added are Filipino boy wonder Eyedress, West London's Only Real, minimal indie pop quartet Arthur Beatrice, and 18-year-old singer/producer Jamie Isaac, who will bring the delicate textures of his infectious electronic production to Victoria Park.
For the Sunday bill, which so far includes seminal band Pixies headlining their only London show in 2014, as well as The Horrors, Temples and Pond, they are now joined by grunge brothers Drenge, London rockers Childhood and psychedelic band Telegram, who will bring their kraut beat with a dash of glam to Field Day. Also confirmed are Domino's latest signing The Bohicas with their ambitious and arresting rock'n roll as well as new guitar band Shy Nature.
Listen here to a special Field Day Radio episode hosted by Field Day founder Tom Baker, featuring an exclusive interview with Neneh Cherry, as well as music and new tracks by Field Day artists The Horrors, Fat White Family, Arthur Beatrice, and some classic Don Cherry.
March 17 2014 (Acid Jazz Records)
Words: Dave Beech
Guitar bands, it seems, have faded somewhat in to obscurity over the last few years. Overshadowed by a sudden onslaught of synth-driven disco pop, the “boys in bands” mentality shrunk beneath the brim of it's trilby, allowing for a far more electronically disposed mindset to come to the fore. Things look set to change however, as bands such as Eagulls, Drowners and SKATERS are bringing in a new wave of guitar bands. One such band perpetuating the ideas of a dual-syllabic band names are London's Dexters.
With their previous single 'Start to Run' earning them lofty praise, what does 'Shimmer Gold have to offer? What becomes apparent early on is that this is a debut that's built on solid foundations - and is a great example of what guitar driven indie-pop should sound like in 2014.
Opening track 'Cloudfest' is a light and breezy start to proceedings, and a straightforward introduction in to the band's overall sound, whilst establishing frontman Tom Rowlett as the quintessential indie vocalist. Forthcoming single 'Recover', on the other hand, could have been taken from either of the first two Strokes records, fuzz and all. Rather than be completely derivative, however, the chorus is entirely steeped in mid-00s British indie, giving it some welcome homegrown flavour.
Tracks such as 'The Hard Way' and 'Oceans' are your usual indie fare, coming off sounding not dissimilar to The Enemy, only with less inflated ego and more ambition. Often these mid-album tracks would be deemed as filler, but with Dexters, they build up to the highlights, rather than fill the gaps between them.
The title of stand-out track - unsurprisingly - falls to the eponymous 'Shimmer Gold', a hazy number built around a chunky bassline and hypnotic guitar. Lyrically the track draws from narrative styles of blues, learned from Rowlett's childhood spent watching his dad in the backstreet pubs of the East End. Rather than maudlin however, 'Shimmer Gold' is a charismatic and uplifting affair whose rich and vibrant layers of instrumentation are capped off with some crisp brass and even a harmonica that sounds like something from a Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin record. Interestingly enough, it feels as though 'Shimmer Gold' was only the heady first part of psychedelic duo, the latter half coming in the form of final track 'Shimmer Forever', feeling somewhat like a direct extension of the former (split in half by 'Can't Sleep') only this time the summery psychotropics have kicked in, allowing for the bluesy harmonica to give way to a atmospheric, dream-poppy conclusion.
With a host of other bands eschewing synth sounds in favour of the more traditional four and five piece guitar bands, it seems that Dexters, along with many of their contemporaries, will see themselves as part of another guitar-pop resurgence, such as that that we saw eight to ten years ago. And whilst many of those bands aren't around any more, Dexters et al seem far more ambitious than the laddish nature of Pigeon Detectives and friends, hopefully affording them a longevity that other bands of that era weren't fortunate enough to have.
Following two sold out UK tours, Ghostpoet's - aka Obaro Ejimiwe - new single ‘Dial Tones’ ft Lucy Rose is out now on Play It Again Sam.
‘Dial Tones’ comes from Ghostpoet’s critically acclaimed second album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’ which was nominated in two categories at the AIM Awards and was named 6th best album of 2013 by The Sunday Times.
Co-produced with Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Darkstar, Egyptian Hip-Hop) Ghostpoet mixes the abstract and the concrete with uncanny skill. Industrial beats and sonorous piano lines provide a backdrop to Ghostpoet and Lucy Rose’s haunting vocal interplay.
Secret Colours the Chicago four-piece grew up listening to early 90’s British music like Blur, The Stone Roses and Oasis. There's a chance too that you will detect some of those influences, with small traces of the Inspiral Carpets in there too, with their psychedelic organs and ability to create alternative rock with a clear pop-sensibility.
Don’t mistake them for simply an ‘indie’ band though, for Secret Colours make a heavier, meaner sound. Their 2013 ‘Peach’ album was rich full-on psych, while new track ‘It Can’t Be Simple’ (taken from forthcoming album ‘Positive Distractions’) is described as hazy Southern-style rock, perhaps influenced by ‘Positive Distractions’ recording in Texas by producer Dan Duszunki.
Secret Colours have just announced two SXSW showcases (with more to be added shortly):
March 13. Hotel Vegas @ Volstead stage (11:45pm)
March 15. Parish Underground (10pm)
'Positive Distractions' is released on May 5.
Lykke Li has announced her forthcoming album 'I Never Learn' will be out on May 5 via LL/Atlantic .
Today, releasing tracklisting and music video for album track 'Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone'. The video, directed by Tarik Saleh, is a close-up portrait of Lykke.
The album was co-produced by Björn
Yttling (of Peter Björn and John), Greg Kurstin, and Lykke, and is the last of the trilogy with 2008's 'Youth Novels' and 2011's 'Wounded Rhymes'.
01 I Never Learn
02 No Rest for the Wicked
03 Just Like a Dream
06 Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone
07 Never Gonna Love Again
08 Heart of Steel
09 Sleeping Alone
Also announced are a string of live dates across Europe and the US.
24. Stockholm, Sweden - Berns
27. Brussels, Belgium - AB
29. Berlin, Germany - Astra
30. Munich, Germany - Kesselhaus
02. Cologne, Germany - E-Werk
03. Utrecht, Netherlands -
06. Paris, France - Trianon
08. London, England - Village
09. London, England - Village
15. New York City, NY - Apollo Theatre
19. Los Angeles, CA - The Theatre at the Ace Hotel