Tuesday, 24 June 2014

#307: dressmaker - Glass (EP review)



June 23 2014 (self-release)


A running-time of seven minutes is ambitious for any single, let alone for a band's debut release, but with 'Skeleton Girl' that is exactly what London's dressmaker did last year. For lesser bands that might have been fatal, for these four from Hackney, however, it was a stroke of genius.

#306: Paul Orwell - Tell Me, Tell Me (single review)

Paul Orwell

Tell Me, Tell Me/Little Reason

July 21 2014 (Heavy Soul Records)


Did the '60s have swagger? Everyone knows that it swung, but did it swug? Is swag even a verb that can have a past tense, at least when used in the irritating context it's used in today? What am I even talking about? The point I'm trying to make is, if their was ever a decade that had actual swagger and not the cringe-worthy kind Nicki Minaj tries to epitomise, then it was the '60s. Unfortunately for London-based multi-instrumentalist Paul Orwell, his blend of '60s garage-pop meets '90s mod revival doesn't quite work. At least visually, that is.

Friday, 20 June 2014

#305: Catching Up With...A Dead Forest Index

Securing yourself a record deal with the lead singer of the band you recently supported probably doesn't happen as often as it should, but that's exactly what happened to brothers Adam and Sam Sherry, otherwise known as A Dead Forest Index. Having supported Savages on their European tour late last year, the duo impressed all the right people, soon finding themselves as the third release on Pop Noire Records, brainchild of singer Jehnny Beth and producer Johnny Hostille.
Fast forward a couple of months, and A Dead Forest Index are set to release their debut EP 'A Cast of Lions' with a launch show at London’s The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington on 5 June. The night will also have Jehnny herself performing a DJ set.
We caught up with the band prior to record's release to see just what it is that went in to making such a fantastic EP.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

#304: Catching Up With...Spring King

Having spent last Summer making it his own personal mission to write and record a song a day, Tarek Musa, AKA Spring King, is a man who isn't afraid of urgency. First making a name for himself producing the likes of Stealing Sheep amongst others Spring King has since go on to become the fully fleshed out five-piece it is today.
From ripping out bathrooms to songs about frogs, we caught up with Tarek to see just what makes Spring King tick and to see what's in store for the band over the coming few months.
This interview was originally done for Shout4Music. Click here to read in full.

#303: Lower - Seek Warmer Climes

Post-punk – a literally named genre if ever there was one – pretty much epitomised alternative music in the 1980s, whilst mirroring the disaffection felt by the working class British public under Thatcherism. As such, it was a logical progression for those who saw through the punk’s gimmicky exterior and often laughable political ideologies, whilst bringing the music they spent their teens listening to in to a more contemporary (at the time) setting, channelling their angst and tired indifference in to a genre of music that’s ultimately far more introverted and much more claustrophobic than it’s safety-pinned predecessor.

Monday, 16 June 2014

#302: Catching Up With...The Hope Edition (U&I Music Magazine - June Edition)

Manchester is synonymous with bad weather; a perpetually grey city built on industry and with a wholly engrained history of the working class and unemployment. As such, with such limited prospects for the city's youth of the past, the musical output never really glittered with optimism. It may have been poetic, but never pretty, and only when flooded with pills in the late '80s, early '90s did the Happy Mondays dare to cheer up a little bit, followed by Oasis' laddish hope, both lyrically questionable bands. It seems now though that solid lyricism and an irresistible optimism have finally found a pairing in the form of the aptly named The Hope Edition.

Despite forthcoming single 'Tony Adams Vs the World' being their official debut, there's been a handful of recordings online for a year or so now; charming, heartfelt, and at times whimsical tracks that range between spoken word, post-punk and old fashioned indie-pop/twee. What sets the band apart from most however, aside from the inherently sunny disposition, is the intelligence that runs through the lyricism, allowing Manchester to painted in a far more romantic light than it's perhaps worthy of. There's an age old adage that suggests you can't polish a turd, in the case of The Hope Edition however, that isn't true and as images are conjured of kisses on the 192 and sick-stained hotel rooms, you can't help but smile.

Though the band have been described as being similar to both The Talking Heads, and Manchester's own Buzzcocks, it's not easy to pin a direct sound on the band, as each track seems to explore a different aspect of their influences. What is obvious though, is that their previous experience in other bands has allowed a maturity to emerge within their song writing, and though the lyricism might not always be as uplifting as their name suggests, hope seems to be a theme that runs throughout their music regardless, making each track as irresistible as the last. With the post-punky 'Tony Adams...' due for release in June, let's hope the latter half of the year sees The Hope Edition begin to get the recognition they deserve.  

Friday, 13 June 2014

#301: Felt Tip - Simple Things (EP review)

Felt Tip

Simple Things

June 9 2014 (Fierce Panda)


As Brits go, angular, somewhat self-deprecating indie has always been a penchant of ours, right from the genre's inception in the '80s. Thirty years later, and it's still as strong as ever, with new bands proving time and time again that one of alternative music's main tributaries isn't likely to run dry soon. At least not if Felt Tip have anything to do with it.

Monday, 9 June 2014

#300: Kult Country - Trembling Moon (single review)

Kult Country

Trembling Moon/Atlas Haze

June 30 2014 (No Self Records)


When Kult Country released their debut single 'Slowburn' a little over a year ago, Manchester's music scene shook. It shook not only with the weighty bass and motorik force of the song's shoegazey sensibility, but with the cultural repercussions felt in the wake of the musical explosion that had just happened within the city as well. Brought about almost single-handedly by SWAYS Records, and spearheaded by the likes of MONEY, the movement brought about a definite change within some of the city's musicians, feeling like a breath of fresh air in a city renowned for it's laddish tendencies.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

#299: Acre Tarn - This Once (single review)

Ethereal and atmospheric, two adjectives which are very much ‘in’ at the moment, thanks in no small part to acts such as London Grammar, and more recently BIRD. However, whilst Acre Tarn‘s debut single ‘This Once’ might well appeal to fans of the aforementioned, the reality is that it feels more fleshed out than the former, and far more optimistic than the latter, leaving listeners clamouring for a further taste of what this recently-emerged two-piece has to offer.

Friday, 6 June 2014

#298: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Days of Abandon

Label: Fierce Panda
Release: June 2
Rating: 7/10

New York's The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, have, for seven years now, been breathing new life in to a genre many consider archaic; their upbeat, emotionally loaded indie-pop - a welcome contrast to the overtly masculine indie that's currently reigning supreme. Indeed, where once indie-pop was a product of Britain (and arguably the NME's greatest contribution to music), the ball has since been picked up by America, causing those of us with a slightly softer disposition to look across the Atlantic to get our fill of heart-on-the-sleeve jangles.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

#297: Alice Boman - EP II (EP review)

2014 has been a busy year already, at least as far as Swedish songstress Alice Boman is concerned. Festival appearances and an EP release have seen her profile rise somewhat dramatically over the last few months and one can’t help but think it’s likely to rise even more. Her 2013 debut EP, Skisser’(‘Sketches’), was a collection of tracks home-recorded for the benefit of Boman herself, however when Adrian Recordings first heard the record “time stopped” and the Swedish label knew they were on to something. Fast forward almost exactly a year, and Alice has just released her follow-up, EP II, six tracks of fragile, Scandinavian folk-pop that shimmers with the icy allure of the surroundings in which it was conceived. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

#296: Parquet Courts - Sunbathing Animal

When you think of punk, Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts might not be the first band to spring to mind. And indeed, why should they? They certainly don’t adhere to the leather, bristles studs and acne uniform that typical punk conforms to. Their sound isn’t inherently punk either, at least not in the British sense of the genre. Parquet Courts are in fact rooted far more deeply in the art-punk of their hometown in the ’70s and ’80s, more Black Francis than Black Flag. And with Sunbathing Animal, their third full-length, the band look set to further their already impressive reputation.