Friday, 27 February 2015
Liverpool Sound City has added a further wave of names to its line-up. Joining the likes of already announced Flaming Lips and The Vaccines are The Cribs, Peace, Everything Everything, Fat White Family, George the Poet, Swans amongst others.
With more still to come, the country’s largest city-based festival, taking place between May 22 - 24, is looking like one festival not to be missed this year.
Commented Sound City CEO Dave Pichilingi: “It’s a really big year for Sound City - with the move to our incredible new industrial home at Bramley Moore Dock we promised to create a bill that smashed expectations. We believe we have more than delivered on this promise. We have brought in some of the biggest names in the business this year from The Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian to The Vaccines and some of the acts we’re announcing today including The Cribs and Peace. We’ve also selected the very best of the scene’s emerging talent. You would literally pay three times the price of our tickets to see half the bill we have put together and we haven’t finished yet – we’ve still got a surprise or two up our sleeve."
Tickets are available at £35 per day or £65 for 3 days. For further information, go to Liverpool Sound City website.
The Louisville, Kentucky, post-punk trio Young Widows (often compared to The Jesus Lizard) have just debuted the video for 'King Sol', taken from their 2014 third album 'Easy Pain', produced by Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket).
The psych doom rock sound that is as atmospherically intense as it is big on decibels, and is here accompanied by darkly brooding visuals in the Christopher Wiezorek directed video - which are interspersed with apocalyptic solar flare footage.
Young Widows are on tour in the US next month.
12. Louisville KY Headliners Music
13. Chicago IL Beat Kitchen*
14. Cleveland OH Grog Shop**
15. Philadelphia PA The Boot &
16. Allston MA Great Scott^
17. Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus^
18. Washington DC DC9^
19. Richmond VA Strange Matter^
20. Charlotte NC Milestone^
21. Atlanta GA The Earl^
* w/ Shannon Wright, Tropical Trash
** w/ Shannon Wright
^ w/ Shannon Wright, Austerity Program
WEED - STAY IN THE SUMMER
Vancouver-based outfit with first single (out this week) since signing to Lefse Records. Precedes album 'Running Back' due in April. Just under three minutes of fuzz pop guitar whammys and diluted vocals.
SWOONS - THE NIGHT
Something to swoon over with the Buckingham trio's catchy three-and-a-half minute debut, an indie rock stomper. See them live on the night of March 9 when they support Allusondrugs at The Cellars in Portsmouth.
WATERSTRIDER - CALLIOPE
Percussion rich second single to be unveiled from the Oakland, California-based five-piece's debut album ‘Nowhere Now’, released April 6 (UK)/7 (US). Let the lush beats and dreamy vocals wash over you.
MAUI - SLIDE IN
Not from the Hawaiian resort, but Kingston, south-west London, the garage rock four-piece's debut single from their first self-released EP 'Winter High'. Scratchy power at work.
HAZELS - IN CONTROL
Beaty power pop, released earlier this month as a free download, the second single from the Durham five-piece. Catch them live at The Cluny, Newcastle, on March 2.
MEXICO CITY BLONDES - SHOT THE MOON
Lushly produced latest single from Allie Thompson and Greg Doscher, continuing the duo’s way with style of complex layered synths and artfully arranged song lines.
BIG SIXES - UNLESS I'M MISTAKEN
Grower of a track with a big melody and tight harmonies, romantic, hazy vocals, poetic lyrics, and elegant instrumental sound, taken from the Chesham (Bucks) trio's recently released five-track EP, 'The Idles'.
SHOWSTAR - ADULTS
From the self-titled Rory Attwell produced fourth album - out March 2 - by Belgian electro pop outfit who may it out with the morose chorus, “Work work work until you die.”
WILD PACIFIC - THIS PLACE
Washington garage-surf trio who formed last year, meander along the dude road with this first single from their upcoming EP. Slacker vocals woven around plenty of guitar riffs, and minimalist synth.
LOLA COLT - HEARTBREAKER
More brooding psych rock, taken from last year's debut album ‘Away From The Water’. Out March 2, it was produced by Bad Seed/Grinderman's Jim Sclavunos. Catch them on tour tonight (February 27) at Nottingham Bodega.
Thursday, 26 February 2015
When Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt dropped 'Hungry For Love' back in January under his Marching Church project (read more here), it was exciting enough with its sexual overtones and bellow moaned vocals. Now, as a prelude to 'This World Is Not Enough' the Church's debut album, come the equally captivating visuals.
The video, created by Rønnenfeldt with Lukas Bay Højlund and Lower’s Kristian Emdal, is a blue-lit work of shadowy images and forms, nighttime city skylines, flashes of decadent clubs and scraps of Japanese writing. What's the connection? Who knows - but can someone feed that poor bloke.
'This World Is Not Enough' is out on March 31 via Sacred Bones (North America, Australia), Posh Isolation (Europe) & Big Love (Japan).
February 10 2015 (Exploding In Sound / Inflated Records)
Words: Richard O’Hagan
It has taken a couple of years for Leapling to get around to releasing their debut album, but on the whole it has been well worth the wait. ‘Vacant Page’ is the first time that Dan Arnes has recorded with the full live version of Leapling and it has made such a difference; this is a full, rounded record which showcases the abilities of Arnes and Co to the full.
It is also an interesting recording. In these days of download everything and only release a physical copy if you really need to, it often seems that little thought has been given to the actual running order of the record. That is emphatically not the case here. If anything, ‘Vacant Page’ seems to have been recorded in precisely the order in which the band would wish to play it live.
Opening track ‘Negative Space’ is short and sharp, a sparse little number until the muted vocal creeps in and brings the song to a sudden halt. From then on the entire album seems to build to a crescendo, each track seemingly progressively louder and more beguiling than the next. Midway through comes ‘Silent Stone’, with a driving refrain of "what have I been told?" that will take every listener back to the uncomfortable errors of their childhood.
Everything comes to a climax with ‘In Due Time’ where the tempo finally reaches a peak and the band seem just one step away from being out of control, and yet at the same time perfectly in control. ‘Vacant Page’ is already one of the best things you will hear this year.
Those 'weirdy' blokes with whom we had words (of the interview kind, of course) back in July of last year (see here), Weirds, are about to follow up the rather good 'Dig' they put out late in 2014 - and which you can hear here - with the rather excellent 'Off The Hook'.
Regular Little Indie eagle-eyed readers may well remember our including this track last summer in our weekly hot ten, when the band self-released the track as a free download. It now reemerges via the Too Pure Singles Club label as their April release, and seeing as we rather like these Leeds riff-rockers, we are bringing it back to the fore.
Take a listen below to the track, all three-minutes-plus of grungy-riffed, psych-influenced desert rock.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
It probably wasn't quite the reaction Madonna may have been hoping for at her Brut Awards performance, but when she closed the ceremony with her new single 'Living For Love', a wardrobe malfunction caused her to fall backwards down a flight of stairs whilst attempting to untie the floor-length cloak she was wearing. The 56-year-old icon gamely got back on her feet after a few seconds and completed the song.
Watch as it happened, above.
The ceremony, held at London's 02 Arena, also saw live performances from Royal Blood, Paloma Faith, Sam Smith, George Ezra and an expletive-ridden new track 'All Day', performed by Kanye West, taken from his upcoming new album, but was so heavily censored by ITV, a large part of the song was bleeped out. Check it out here.
Full list of Brit Awards 2015 winners:
Best British Male Solo Artist: Ed Sheeran
British Group: Royal Blood
International Female Solo Artist: Taylor Swift
Best British Female Artist: Paloma Faith
BRITs Global Success Award:Sam Smith
International Male Solo Artist: Pharrell Williams
British Single: Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars ‘Uptown Funk’
International Group: Foo Fighters
British Breakthrough Act: Sam Smith
British Artist Video Award: One Direction
MasterCard British Album of The Year: Ed Sheeran ‘X’
Interview + Live Review
The Louisiana, Bristol
February 23 2015
Words/ Photos: Pollyanna Sheehan
Plastic Mermaids, the Isle of Wight five-piece outfit, are headlining The Louisiana in Bristol. Having earned themselves a reputation for a fine live performance, notable for its stage production involving handmade sets, lasers, projections and samples from films, tonight is an opportunity to combine such with a mixture of songs from their 2014 EP ‘Drømtorp’, as well as plenty of new material from their upcoming follow-up, ‘Inhale The Universe’ (out on March 9).
Before the Mermaids hit the stage two of the band, Doug Richards and Chris Newnham, kindly took the time to answer a few questions, explaining what the island Mermaids are all about…
Plastic Mermaids are: Douglas Richards, Jamie Richards, Chris Jones, Tom Farren and Chris Newnham.
Okay, could you tell us who all of you are - and maybe one word for each member that you feel best sums you up?
Doug: Douglas: goat. Jamie: is 'god' allowed? Chris: ethereal. Tom: tallest.
Chris: techno (Austrian).
Chris: Yes, and…Douglas - sassy, Jamie - upright.
How did you all come together to form the band? Had you all been friends beforehand?
Doug: We all knew each other before Plastic Mermaids in varying degrees. We kind of formed gradually over a couple of years. Good musicians are rarely not already in a band or busy with some other musical project, so you kind of have to poach them. This was bit of a slow process.
Chris: I used to live next to Tom when I was younger - which is a random one!
'Plastic Mermaids' is a pretty unique name - how did it come about? Which one of you was set on being a 'mermaid’?!
Doug: Uniqueness was definitely a factor in deciding on the name - you don't want to be sharing a name with someone else or even something else, it makes searching for a band online difficult. It's pretty straight forward to spell, you don't want to challenge people before they've even heard your music. I think Jamie had the MySpace for Plastic Mermaids for some reason back in the day and it'd got a couple of hundred views despite having no content. We thought this was probably a sign, so named the band that.
Doug: Home audiences are generally more receptive, as half of them are your friends, but I really like going out and playing our music to people who've never heard it. Generally some of them are into it by the end of the set, which is all that matters really.
Chris: It’s nice to leave the island and go to new places and play gigs to different people - it’s what it’s all about really.
How does the songwriting process take place - do you try to focus on any main themes?
Doug: We all write bits and pieces and every song seems to come together differently. We've got a hatful of ideas we haven't finished, so if we ever find ourselves with some time on our hands - which is pretty rare - we'll pull one of these out and work on it. For us, writing words and actually finishing songs is the tricky bit - everything else comes pretty easily.
Chris: Yeah, the initial ideas always come together pretty quick. It’s the numerous choices of direction to send that idea in that takes the time. Some of the songs we’re playing and recording now sounded very very different a year ago. The whole process tends to involve lots of tea and going round in circular debates, but it gets there eventually - and it's the best feeling when it all comes together.
Who would you cite as your most notable musical and non-musical influences?
Doug: Musical, Bowie. Non, George Greenough (kneeboard pioneer)
Chris: Musically, Hendix got me into guitar (but I don't get to shred much, I get shut down pretty quick for widdling). Non musical, this is hard, I only really care about music. Oh yeah, and my girlfriend, I'm going to say my girlfriend, thanks babe.
Your sound is often described as ‘psychedelic' - do you agree with this, and how would you describe what you do?
Doug: I'm way happier with other people describing our music than having to do it ourselves, I mean, they're the ones listening to it, so if they say its psychedelic then I guess it is.
Chris: I don't think the music is psychedelic at all really, you could probably say the videos are...visuals definitely have a massive impact on how you perceive the music.
Your upcoming EP has a delightfully dreamy vibe - have you in any way gone for a different approach this time?
Doug: Before making a record you always have ideas in your head of what you'd like it to be and what you didn't like about the last one, especially when you're recording and mixing it yourself. I think one of the main differences is we put a lot of thought into trying to make the new EP feel like a complete record: something which flows from track to track rather than just a collection of unrelated songs. This is one of the things that drove it towards being quite large for an EP, but I'm pretty happy with the final thing.
Chris: I don't think so. Quite a lot of time has passed since putting out the first EP, we've done a lot of writing, a lot of jamming, bought and made new instruments and effects. I guess it’s a very organic progression. Doug's on a new diet too, no onions, tomatoes, dairy, wheat… actually 4/5 of us have made the switch to decaf now! And we drink a lot of tea…maybe all this has had an influence!
Doug: There'll be an amount of stuff going on for sure to keep it vague. It’s tricky when we've only got a small van, so can't tour with a heap of stuff at the moment. Yeah, it's definitely something we feel is important, like if you turn up to a gig and the stage looks rad you're already more excited before the music even starts, also from our point of view it's just more fun performing when there’s a good vibe on stage and stuff looks good.
Chris: Smoke and lights make everything better, so you can expect lots of that.
Will you be treating the crowd to any music that does not feature on either EP?
Doug: We haven't done a gig in about five months, which has been really nice to have time to go over the set and make sure everything is sounding as good as possible. We've got a couple of new ones, which we're quite excited to give an airing. Our set up on stage has changed too, a couple of new synths (Jamie's just finished making a fully analogue synth and sequencer which will be getting its first outing for these two gigs).
Chris: We're always coming up with so much new music that we like, doing something new at most gigs, whether it’s a new song or an instrumental. I think it makes it more exciting for an audience that they never get the same show twice.
Do you have a favourite part of live show playing? Has there been one memorable performance that sticks in your mind?
Doug: We did a big gig on the island last year with an eight-piece choir, string quartet and two drummers which took a lot of organising / orchestrating, but was a lot of fun. When you've got that many people involved with something you can never be completely in control, which makes it pretty exciting.
Chris: I bloody love playing live. Probably twice as much as anyone else, if I could do that forever I’d be happy.
What goals have set yourself as a band that you’d like to achieve this year, or in the future?
Doug: We’ve got a load of music we'd like to get out and that’s about it really, you never really know what people are going to like, so just want to get as much recorded and released as possible. Hopefully do some good gigs to people who haven't heard us before too.
Chris: Long term, I'd like to have a hot tub.
Taking to an impressively set-up stage featuring a range of instruments and equipment from loudspeakers to maracas, Plastic Mermaids went on to deliver exactly the type of mind-blowing set you would expect from a band dressed in every colour imaginable - with added sequins and glitter for good measure!
Starting their hour-long set with an astounding amount of noise through combining layers of electronic sounds, light and rhythmic drumming with prominent synths, they proceeded to perform ‘Window Display’ and ‘Polaroids’. Both are impressive tracks from their first EP - the latter being the track that first brought them to attention - that come to life through their live performance. The combination of background animation and vivid lighting add to the electric atmosphere that they create.
The quiet piano interlude of ‘Window Display’ and the incredible extended instrumental section of ‘Polaroids’ highlight the diversity of the sound that the band is capable of. Following lively and appreciative applause the Mermaids produce yet another impressive live track, ‘For Nothing’ - also ser to appear on their upcoming EP. Regardless of the familiarity of the song, the characteristic electronic sounds and upbeat drums served as more than enough reason to get the crowd dancing on their feet and wholeheartedly singing along.
Plastic Mermaids’ set culminates with exceptional performances of ‘Drømtorp’, and ‘Playing In Your Mind’, before finishing with the mind-blowing ‘Saturn’, for which they are joined on stage by guest vocalist Rhian Teasdale, whose operatic vocal tone lend a delightfully dreamy edge. In true PM style, this performance would not have been complete without the use of cowbells, epic synths, megaphones, unexpected drops, energetic bass-lines and incredibly lively drums. To say that seeing and hearing this band perform live was quite literally something of a truly incredible experience, is no exaggeration.
Brighton foursome Black Honey have announced their new single: a double A-side, 'Madonna'/'Spinning Wheel'.
Which is pretty standard, however, on this occasion the release - on physical CD by Duly Noted Records - will see the first five records (one-a-day) being made available via bidding on eBay, where the band will also include exclusive polaroids. The auction will also mean that fans outside the UK will be able to buy the band's CDs. Those in the UK that want to wait can pre-order ahead of the band's live shows via text to: 07578533359.
Since forming early last summer, the band have steadily been making a name for themselves. Although as Little Indie readers will remember, Black Honey previously dripped some pretty sweet tunes in their former guise too - when they were known as as Kill Moon (see here for more).
28. Cavern Club - Exeter
21. Club Milk @ The Cookie- Leicester
02. Live at Leeds
14-16.The Great Escape
25. Focus Wales Festival @ Central Station
30. Wychwood Festival
22. Croatia Rocks
24. Secret Garden Party
31. Y Not Festival
01. Standon Calling
02. Kendal Calling
Ex-Supergrass man Gaz Coombes has just released his second solo work, 'MATADOR', and now shares the video for album track 'Detroit'.
The video, directed by Peter Franklyn Banks, follows a runner taking in the miles as he paces through a picturesque terrain of mountains and rural roads. Coombes himself appears every so often too.
San Fermin, the Brooklyn baroque-pop outfit, have today unveiled a new track from their forthcoming 'Jackrabbit' album.
'Emily' is the second single to be taken from the full-length following 'Parasites', and their second album after their 2013 debut. which premieres here. Of 'Emily', the band's composer and songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone, says: “It’s basically about the paradox of wanting to indulge a feeling of loneliness, even though it makes you unhappy.”
Listen to 'Emily' below.
The band have also just been announced to play Reading and Leeds Festivals, and last week they also played a very special show at The
Lincoln Centre in NYC for the American Songbook series.
UK & European Live Dates:
27. London Jazz Cafe
28. Dublin Whelans
30. Amiens, France Lunes Des Pirates
01. Amsterdam, Holland Bitterzoet
02. Hamburg, Germany Prinzenbar
04. Paris, France La Maroquinerie
05. Brighton The Hope
28-30. Reading and Leeds Festival
‘Jackrabbit’ is out on April 27 via Downtown Records/Sony RED.
Oh, what a Holy schmozzle of a track this is. Here we are, nicely floating along to some Scandi ambience of a psych persuasion for two minutes, then blow me down, faster than you can say 'IKEA', it all goes stark bollocking brilliantly garage-punk mad for the final 60 seconds.
'Lights' is taken from Swedish newcomers HOLY's debut album, 'Stabs'. The project of one Hannes Ferm, it follows last year's opener EP 'Silver Of Your Heart'. Tripping out on a lo-fi start with reverberant melody and heady vocals with a tenacious “ooh la la, ooh la la” refrain, 'Lights' then changes direction so sharply on the crazy end section that you would be forgiven for thinking it was another song entirely.
Simply underbar, as they say in Swedish.
'Stabs' is out on March 11 thru PNKSLM Recordings/Ny Våg Records.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Eoin and Rory Loveless, the Derbyshire brothers known as Drenge, unveil the video for 'We Can Do What We Want', taken from their upcoming 'Undertow' album.
This will be Drenge's, now a three-piece with the joining of bassist Rob Graham, second full-length after releasing their self-titled debut in 2013.
The band are on tour in April to support the release, playing:
10. Nottingham Rescue Rooms
11. Birmingham The Library
13. Gateshead The Sage
14. Glasgow Classic Grand
15. Liverpool Kazimier
17. Sheffield Leadmill
18. Norwich Waterfront
20. Bristol The Trinity Centre
21. London Electric Ballroom
'Undertow' is out on April 6 (UK)/ 7 (US) on Infectious.
LA-based foursome Flor, who have just released their 'Sounds' EP, are now offering the record to stream and download via Soundcloud for free.
Melding warm indie alt-pop, with washed-out synths and dreamily oozing vocals, the EP is their first full offering; written by singer Zachary Grace, and produced by bass player Dylan Bauld. Kyle Hill (drums) and Mckinley Kitts (guitar) round out the alt-pop quartet.
The band embark on various dates on the American Youth tour with Halsey and Young Rising Sons. Check their Faceboook for details.
Texan trio Purple return to the UK next month for a run of shows, following their successful inaugural
visit late last year.
The band follow a series of European dates with their first UK shows of 2015 in support of forthcoming single ‘DMT’.
Check out the video below for live favourite ‘DMT’ which features vocalist/drummer Hanna Brewer full throttle ahead blitzing through all six minutes of riotous wig out aided and abetted by fellow thrill seekers, bassist Joe ‘Prankster’ and guitarist Taylor Busby.
07. LONDON The Stillery - free entry show
10. HULL The Sash At The Polar Bear
11. GLASGOW King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
12. YORK Fibbers
18. ST ALBANS The Horn w/Sleaford Mods
23. LEICESTER O2 Academy w/Sleaford Mods
26. BOURNEMOUTH The Winchester
28. EXETER Cavern
29. BRISTOL Louisiana w/Demob Happy
30. MANCHESTER Ruby Lounge w/Demob Happy
31. LIVERPOOL Arts Club w/Demob Happy
02. LONDON Shepherds Bush Empire w/The Subways