By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 4th December 2013 at 4:00 pm
If this interview I did with The Heartbreaks in London back in May is any indication, the band’s second album is shaping up to be in fantastic shape for release in the new year. In October, they revealed new single ‘¡No Pasarán!’, glowingly reviewed by our Martin here. Off the back of the single release excitement and two rammed free shows in Manchester and London in November, the band have two additional dates in January scheduled: Thursday the 23rd of January at London Madame JoJo’s and Saturday the 25th of January at Manchester Deaf Institute.
The lads are in a giving mood this holiday season and we’re pleased to have a Heartbreaks prize pack up for grabs to give to a lucky TGTF reader. The winner will receive a copy of the lads’ debut album ‘Funtimes’ and their choice of either a ‘Fun Times’ or ‘¡No Pasarán!’ t-shirt like the one sported by drummer Joe Kondras below.
Want to win? Fill out the contest form below with your full name and your email address. Then to make sure you’re not a robot, correctly answer this question: what seaside town are the band from? (This is easy, right?) Get your entries in by noon British time on Monday the 9th of December. We’ll choose a winner from all the correct entries received then. Good luck! Please note: this contest is open to UK residents only, as the prize will be posted. To make this fair for everyone, all duplicate entries will be discarded.
By Mary Chang on Friday, 6th December 2013 at 12:00 pm
What never ceases to amaze me is the number of electronic and DJ acts that get shouts to SXSW. It makes sense though: who else will keep the bodies, in their various states of inebriation, moving, bumping and grinding into the wee hours, but these titans of technology? One such whiz is Tourist, the electronic brainchild of one Londoner William Phelps.
Having been signed late this year to 2013 Mercury Prize-nominated and fellow electro heads Disclosure, Phelps has already made waves on both sides of the Atlantic. While it might have been a no-brainer for Disclosure to have Tourist live at their Warehouse Project night in Manchester last month, Phelps’ appearance at the inaugural Mountain Oasis electronic festival this autumn in October 2013, alongside heavyweights Nine Inch Nails and Gary Numan, is no small feat. NPR recorded his performance in Asheville, North Carolina, and you can listen to it here. I guess he made a big enough impression, as he’s been invited to showcase at next year’s SXSW in Austin.
With two EPs to his name – the ‘Placid Acid’ EP in 2012 that you can get for free from this previous MP3(s) of the Day post and this year’s ‘Tonight’ – he certainly has the talent in him to put out an entire album of new material. How to describe the music? While title track ‘Placid Acid’ on his debut EP is exactly as advertised – a gorgeously chill slow build-up of epicness – the otherworldly charms of ‘Jupiter’ and head boppiness of ‘Forgive’ prove he’s not a one-trick pony. The ‘Tonight’ EP sees Phelps taking a turn to more upbeat (handclaps!) and sounding more industrial than the debut, though for sure based on these releases alone, the kind of dancing I’m thinking you’re likely to see at Tourist shows is of the languid, fluid, beautiful creature variety. Then again, track ‘Together’ revealed from upcoming EP ‘Patterns’ seems to indicate for his next release, he’s going into higher octane, faster tempo territory. Either way, you’re in for a good show if you see him when he stops in your town. Or, if you’re lucky like us to be going to SXSW, if you have the good fortune to catch him in Texas in March.
A band who started out gigging and recording in 2007 are probably seen as a strange addition to a list of the bands whose sounds will sculpt your 2014. But 2014 will be the year in which everybody and anybody has their heads turned by this Kingston Upon Thames three-piece.
Arcane Roots screamed their way in to my attention with their cover of Nirvana’s anthem ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, which provoked a mixed reaction from the twitter/blogosphere: a spread of opinions that ranged from utter revulsion in the way only commenters on a YouTube video can (Joe Jordano says, “Nice way to make a hit into the worst song I ever heard, the lead singer should consider taking some shotgun mouthwash. NIRVANA RULES, THIS SUCKS!!!”, to some people commenting that they felt it was a great take on an original classic. Covering a classic song, by a band with a cult following like Nirvana is always going to bring you in for criticism, but being ballsy and having a bit of flair while doing it is a definite way of getting in my good books.
It’s that spirit of adventure, of innovation which reminds me (WARNING: inevitable comparison because the bands are mates and the lead singer looks a bit like Simon Neil, oh, and they sound similar) of Biffy Clyro, in their ‘Blackened Sky’, ‘The Vertigo of Bliss’ and ‘Infinity Land’ eras. Songs like ‘Energy Is Never Lost, Just Redirected’ and ‘Million Dollar Question’ would fit nicely in any of these records, whilst the anthemic choral hooks of ‘You Are’ and ‘Slow’ wouldn’t be amiss in ‘Puzzle’, ‘Only Revolutions’ and ‘Opposites’. However, it should be noted that Arcane Roots err on the heavier side of the post than the bonny Scots, bringing a more fret-wobbling sound then Biffy.
With tour support slots with Biffy Clyro and Muse, their obvious potential has been seen. 2014 will be a year of consolidation after the release of ‘Blood And Chemistry’ in 2013, but with a relentless work ethic and a live set which brings a mound of carnage in their wake, they most certainly will be one of THE rock bands to watch in 2014.
By Mary Chang on Friday, 6th December 2013 at 10:00 am
It’s been 2 years since Cashier No. 9 released their debut ‘To the Death of Fun’ on Bella Union. I was just wondering the last couple of days when I was writing this post on ‘Goldstar’ on my lyrics interpretation site Music in Notes what the Belfast band were up to these days. Well, we now know they were recently busy recording this cover of Harry Nilsson’s ‘Moonbeam Song’, from his 1971 album ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’. More chill than we’re used to from the folks that gave us ‘Oh Pity’, it’s still nice to know they’re still together. Have a listen and grab the mp3 for free if you like from the Soundcloud widget below.
By Mary Chang on Thursday, 5th December 2013 at 6:00 pm
Turned off by Lily Allen‘s latest video and all that twerking? Maybe you’re like me and would prefer something a little more innocent, but with a message no less important in value. Enter BON-BON, better known to her mum as Sian King, who might just be the next big indie pop starlet: she’s already garnered attention from 6music’s Tom Robinson,and performed at Glasto this year.
We’re told ‘She Don’t Want to Know’, the title track off her recently released EP, is “about a friend who doesn’t know how good she’s got it”. Sonically, it’s got a wonky backing rhythm and a desperately feminine vocal reminiscent of Lesley Gore, and I can’t get it out of my head. Watch the relentlessly colourful promo video for the song below.
By Mary Chang on Thursday, 5th December 2013 at 3:00 pm
Marika Hackman is releasing her new four-track EP ‘Sugar Blind’ next week. Ahead of that, we’ve got a stream of the entire EP so you can have a listen now. Like/love it? Buy it next Monday, the 9th of December, on Dirty Hit Records.
Hackman will be coheadlining an English tour with Sivu starting next Tuesday; all the details of the tour are here.
The hipster literati in Austin next spring will no doubt flock to see British singer-songwriter Kieran Leonard, whose esoteric and often politically-charged folk rock challenges both emotion and intellect. His intensity may be off-putting at first, especially to a casual listener, but his entrancing singing voice and cynically provocative lyrics are worth a bit of extra attention.
The subject matter and presentation of Leonard’s work have been startlingly unique from the beginning of his career. His first EP ‘Scapegoat’ contained four songs, which were released individually on the first day of the full moon in four consecutive cycles, beginning in October 2009. In December 2010, Leonard released his debut single ‘Jerusalem’ to positive reviews, despite its stinging criticism of the Western cultural establishment. The song garnered Leonard a wider audience when film director Ridley Scott used it in his 2011 documentary ‘Life In A Day’.
At just over 4 years into his career, Leonard might be considered a journeyman by today’s manufactured pop music standards, especially after supporting larger acts like Bob Dylan at London’s Feis Festival in 2011 and Keane at Nottingham in November 2012. Leonard’s full-length debut album ‘Out of Work Astronaut’ was released in August 2012 and included the musically ironic, lyrically sardonic single ‘Harold Pinter is Dead’. But earlier this year, in what might be seen as an abrupt shift in the evolution of his musical style, Leonard released the hypnotically groovy, decidedly not folky ‘Hipster Jesus’. Whether this sudden change of pace is a temporary deviation or a permanent stylistic transformation for Leonard remains to be seen. Perhaps his performance at SXSW 2014 will provide more insight leading into the release of his second album.