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As we mentioned yesterday in this (SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch feature to properly introduce him, Dorset singer/songwriter Roo Panes will play three live shows in England next month, just ahead of the release of his new LP ‘Paperweights’. The album is due out on the 4th of March via independent label CRC Music, and the official audio stream for its title track can be found just below the tour date listing.
Tickets for the following shows are available now. TGTF’s collected coverage of Roo Panes can be found here.
Tuesday 1st March 2016 – Manchester Band on the Wall
Wednesday 2nd March 2016 – Bristol Colston Hall
Thursday 3rd March 2016 – London Cadogan Hall
Leading into the release of their debut LP ‘Alas Salvation’, YAK have just unveiled the video for their latest single ‘Victorious (National Anthem)’. This dizzyingly kaleidoscopic visual representation is matched only by the sonic psychedelia of the song itself, which compresses its frenetic, fuzzed-out intensity into a concise, 2-minute clip.
Discussing YAK’s upcoming album, frontman Oli Burslem explains: “I was trying to make it a slightly schizophrenic record that had all these different elements, but had so much of everything that by the end . . . everybody would be like, ‘What the hell was that?’”. Whether or not the full album lives up to that description remains to be seen, but ‘Victorious (National Anthem)’ could easily be the shot in the arm that gets things started.
YAK’s first full album ‘Alas Salvation’ is due out on the 13th of May on Octopus Electrical/Kobalt. The band will appear at SXSW 2016 ahead of May headline dates in the UK. Our past collection of YAK coverage can be found right back here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 11th February 2016 at 4:00 pm
Oxfordshire singer/songwriter Lewis Watson wowed me live 2 years ago with tracks from his album ‘The Morning’. This month, he’s previewed upcoming material with a taster, ‘Maybe We’re Home’. While most of the tracks on ‘The Morning’ LP favoured a more folky, simpler feel, this new single is fuller and richer, suggesting Watson’s songwriting is maturing at a good clip. That said, there is still plenty of emotion in the shades of Watson’s voice, which I consider one of his greatest gifts to us. Watch Lewis Watson and his band perform ‘Maybe We’re Home’ below. Let’s hope we hear much more from him soon!
All past coverage on Lewis Watson on TGTF is through this link.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 11th February 2016 at 12:00 pm
From the outset, an act’s name like Let’s Eat Grandma sounds awfully aggro, doesn’t it? So you might be quite surprised that the duo are actually a pair of teenagers from Norwich. Multi-instrumentalists Rosa Walton, aged 16, and Jenny Hollingworth, aged 17, have been best friends since the age of 4. Given the fact that they look like they could easily pass as twins, you have to wonder how long they have been making music together. It must have been long before Let’s Eat Grandma was even a thing. Based on their tender age, I was mighty sceptical upon hearing the buzz about the girls ahead of the first night of Norwich Sound and Vision in their hometown last October.
The scepticism continued when I saw their garb onstage at Norwich Arts Centre: yellow-green sparkly tops, baggy trousers and bared midriffs. Based on this, and perhaps if I’d not heard anything about them prior to that moment, I’d have expecting something along the lines of Lorde or Charli XCX to come out of the speakers, but I was in for a refreshing surprise. Now on famed indie label Transgressive Records, ‘Deep Six Textbook’ is Let’s Eat Grandma’s first offering since being signed. Instead of going in a far too predictable pop direction for youngsters their age, they’ve decided to do something totally different, which is what I’m guessing their act’s name is supposed to suggest: forget what’s expected, and get ready to be wowed by the unexpected.
The debut Let’s Eat Grandma single is exactly along those lines. There is an unending feeling of atmospheric desolation: unemotional programmed beats with equally unemotional chords emanate from a synthesiser. The girls’ voices, both innocent and unearthly, are then introduced alongside the slowly lumbering melody. I can’t think of anyone else doing music right now like this, described on the press release as “[crossing] the worlds of experimental pop and progressive weirdness”. They’re like a plodding, non-rhythmic, ghostly version of the xx, but with loads of hand-clapping games. Which can’t be a bad thing, right?
Let’s Eat Grandma’s debut single for Transgressive Records, ‘Deep Six Textbook’, is available for digital download now. A special coloured vinyl 7” release follows on the 18th of March.
Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.
Dorset folk-pop singer/songwriter Roo Panes is set to release his second album, titled ‘Paperweights’, at the beginning of next month, just before he heads across the pond to Texas for an appearance at SXSW 2016. Editor Mary recently featured the video for his newest track ‘Where I Want to Go’ right back here, and the song’s deep bass groove, perfectly matched by the reverberant depth of Panes’ singing voice, inspired us to take a deeper look into his catalogue.
Panes’ first LP, 2014’s ‘Little Giant’ was a bit more traditional than what we’ve heard so far from ‘Paperweights’, employing layered vocals, bowed strings and foundational piano figures under Panes’ rhythmically plucked acoustic guitar. One of the album’s most dynamically expansive arrangements is found in its title track, where the anticipatory bass line and drum pattern build strong dramatic tension under Panes’ exquisitely restrained vocals.
In the press release for ‘Paperweights’, Panes presents the new songs as a very genuine sort of gift: “Here’s a bit of me, to help you understand a bit of you.” The songwriting quality he most prides himself upon is his heartfelt authenticity, which leads him to write “material that truly connects on an emotional level.” His broadly soaring instrumental arrangements are indeed the kind that make your heart swell, even while his richly-textured vocals and redolent poetic imagery slowly seduce your imagination.
SXSW-featured track ‘The Original’ has a hint of Bon Iver in its airy introduction, but Panes doesn’t succumb to the incoherent falsetto of Justin Vernon, instead allowing his warm, rich mid-range voice to blend with the round tones of the acoustic guitar. Like many a songwriter before him, Panes explores the feminine mystique in his lyrics, reverently singing “behind that painted lady, there’s a masterpiece” in the song’s first verse and in the second, “when the sun descends, she’ll be the swan song silhouette”. He gives the vague impression that this might be a song about lost love, but it’s the kind you would expect from an older man about a woman far in his past, perhaps the one who got away. If Panes’ velvety vocal timbre seems incongruous to his relative youth, the subtle wisdom in his poetry certainly contributes to the illusion.
Roo Panes is scheduled to play three live dates in England at the beginning of March, leading up to the release of ‘Paperweights’ on the 4th of the month. TGTF’s previous coverage of Roo Panes, including a brief preview of his trip to SXSW back in 2013 can be found here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 10th February 2016 at 6:00 pm
Things have definitely gotten…interesting in the Vampire Weekend camp as of late. Two weeks ago, founding member Rostam Batmanglij announced he was leaving the band, but he left the door open to future collaborations with his former bandmates, or at least one of them: “[Vampire Weekend frontman] Ezra [Koenig] and I will continue to collaborate on future projects and future VW”. Three days after the announcement, he revealed the track ‘Wood’. (The remaining band members – Koenig, drummer Chris Tomson and lead guitarist Chris Baio took to the Midwest last month to stump for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, where they sung ‘This Land is Your Land’ with the presidential candidate.)
But this all is nothing new to Vampire Weekend’s lead guitarist Baio, who released his solo debut album ‘The Names’ last September. If his Facebook is to be believed, he’s left New York for London, and perhaps this may give us a clue on dance pop direction. Or so I’m guessing, anyway. While there’s definitely still a feeling of Vampire Weekend – see ‘Contra’ track ‘White Sky’, for one – the song is much more dancier than the NYC band went in for 2013’s ‘Modern Vampires of the City’, which seems to suggest Baio wasn’t ready to give up the dance groove and African rhythms just yet.
I was actually more amused by this video for album title track ‘The Names’ than I expected, with Baio and a skull hamming it up. I thought their unconventional “date” would be appropriate ahead of Valentine’s Day. Watch it below. ‘The Names’ the album is out now on Glassnote Records.
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