By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 31st July 2014 at 6:00 pm
‘Cocoon’ is the new promo video from Catfish and the Bottlemen, and the song will appear on the band’s debut album ‘The Balcony’, out on the 15th of September on Island / Communion Records. The video is set in a mental hospital, which may seem like a strange location, but there’s a story in here that’s better than most of the music videos I’ve seen in a while. Interesting and beguiling. Watch it below.
Catch Catfish and the Bottlemen on their winter UK tour, starting in November.
On Saturday the 26th of July, on the occasion of its fifth birthday, Deer Shed Festival finally came of age. I mean no disrespect to Villagers or Darwin Deez, but Johnny Marr is the perfect climax to Saturday night at Deer Shed. He drew a crowd to Baldersby Park’s gently sloping natural auditorium unmatched in both size and enthusiasm than in any previous year. By virtue of writing the music to countless songs that soundtracked the lives of the adults in the crowd when they were young, free, and unencumbered by the offspring who were variously marauding around the site in frenzied glee or asleep in their arms despite the noise, for an hour or so they gave Marr their undivided attention and appreciation as he reeled off one classic after another.
Even though perhaps not as much a household name as his Smithsian lyricist and singer, by virtue of avoiding the latter’s rum pronouncements on vegetarianism, race, and sexuality, and sticking to what he does best – playing decent music – Marr succeeds in a similar, but much larger fashion, to that which Gaz Coombes did the previous year. A combination of life-affirming back catalogue hits, each of which instantly evoke dusty memories of life past, together with new material that easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the older stuff, is a recipe for success at Deer Shed Festival. Thusly are memories of the future made.
But Deer Shed Festival is far from being just the Johnny Marr show, and the adventure commenced the previous sultry afternoon. For those that don’t know, Deer Shed festival is held in North Yorkshire, just off the A1 on the way to Thirsk, in the beautiful grounds of Baldersby Park. The unwritten rule of Deer Shed: bring the kids. Even though the music is as good as anywhere, the real focus is on giving children a good time throughout the weekend, so if you’ve an aversion to the little blighters, look elsewhere. If you need an event where the kids are kept amused as Dad moshes down the front, Deer Shed is for you.
After a less-than-arduous 5-minute walk from car park to campsite, silently congratulating oneself for attending an event of a sensible acreage, and a bout of fumbling with canvas and string in the baking hot sunshine, refreshment and musical entertainment are less desired than demanded. Teleman were welcome succour. Comprising three of the admired Pete and the Pirates but swapping jaunty guitars for more considered electronica-enhanced melodies, they mix Erasure’s way with a dramatic synth-pop arc with Belle and Sebastian’s observational twee. All We Are eased the main stage into the late afternoon sunshine with the gentle ebb and flow of their gently atmospheric, shoegaze-influenced pop. Contenders for “The xx imitators of the Year” award, along with Woman’s Hour.
PINS are impeccable now. Watching them transform from a rickety band of noiseniks just a couple of years ago into today’s whirlwind of glamour and red lipstick is a life-affirming experience. They combine the power of 1970s New York glam-punk rock with an overlaid sweetness of melody and delicacy of touch comparable with any Supremes classic. While the phrase “girl band” has loaded connotations of manufactured, shallow pop nonsense, bands like PINS are doing their best to reclaim it for groups of talented musicians who just happen to be women. Whether or not there’s any great feminist insight is open to debate, but nevertheless, theirs was one of the performances of the weekend.
Next comes the only major misstep of programming of the whole weekend. Just as the sun starts to think about lazily drifting towards the horizon, and the main stage crowd are tucking into their evening meal of organic houmous and vintage prosecco, along come Toy to blast away the early evening reverie. On record, TOY are more considered, melodic, and song-focused, but live they come across as an incessant wall of noise; they’ve got three guitars and they’re going to turn it them all up to 11. ‘Join the Dots’, the title track from their début album, is a case in point – its climax of multi-layered guitars, phased into the next universe, is an undoubtedly viscerally thrilling piece of music, but perhaps not enjoyable if it disturbs little Johnny’s digestion and makes the whole family go scrabbling around for the ear defenders.
It’s not that they’re a bad band. Far from it. In fact, along with Temples, they’re one of the most convincing neo-psych bands in the country right now. But in this instance it’s a case of right band, wrong stage. Various overheard grumbles pay testament, including the old classic, “it’s just noise!” A considerable chunk of the Deer Shed crowd rock up to the main stage auditorium in the morning with their camping chairs and stay there all day, so in a way have little choice as to what they are made to listen to. Whatever is on the main stage influences the enjoyment of the entire site, and the Friday evening slot needs to be something less challenging, a little funkier, to properly match the mood of the audience.
A band on the correct stage are Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – they play the tented Lodge stage, so aural participation is distinctly optional – but certainly recommended. Pip’s gently political and moderately sweary diatribes (“that last song had an MF in it, sorry parents!”) combined with Sac’s dubstep-flavoured soundtrack excites many audience members into a display of such extrovert dad-dancing that any child would be excruciatingly embarrassed. The atmosphere in the tent is genuinely charged with enthusiasm; Deer Shed’s first foray into urban/rap/hip-hop is superbly received. More please. In common with several other acts, Pip seems genuinely pleased to have such a diverse range of ages in the audience – officially the most people on shoulders ever at one of their gigs, as children are raised aloft to experience “the man with his head on upside down”.
The main stage headliner is British Sea Power, but inevitably for many parents their slot coincided with trying to settle one or more very excited children to sleep. They sounded great from the campsite. When eventually the kids are settled, the last attraction of Friday is the genius that is Darius Battiwalla accompanying a silent film: this year, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. It was intended to be The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari but had to be changed for licensing reasons, which would have suited the time travel theme far better, and also the patience of the crowd: Caligari is a mere 67 minutes long, whereas Hunchback is over 2 hours. Whilst I’d happily listen to Battiwalla play over a cornflake advert, that’s a long time to spend watching Lon Cheney gurning, and by the time the film’s impenetrable plot reached its climax, the audience were variously physically uncomfortable or sound asleep. It’s surprising how loud a small boy’s snores can be in the auditorium of a silent film!
Stay tuned for more of Martin’s coverage of Deer Shed coming soon on TGTF.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 30th July 2014 at 6:00 pm
Slow Club released their third album ‘Complete Surrender’ earlier this month; read Carrie’s review of the album here. The next single from the new LP will be ‘The Pieces’, out on the 25th of August on Caroline International. The promo starts out simple enough, showing the exterior of a house in what appears to be on a sleepy street. But then the makeup application begins and…well, watch below and see what happens.
Previous TGTF coverage on the Sheffield duo is right this way.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 30th July 2014 at 4:00 pm
German classical meets techno trio Brandt Brauer Frick have now shared this fantastic performance video they did for online electronic music mag Resident Advisor. In what comes across as a pretty tense performance of ‘Bommel’, with two band members hanging over masses of sequencers and at times in each other’s faces, this video will challenge your notion that electronic producers are boring live. Watch the video below.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 30th July 2014 at 12:00 pm
Words by Jess Mason
Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s play how many bands you can count whose name starts with the word ‘we’. We Are the In Crowd, We Are the Ocean, We Are Scientists, the list goes on. Now, you may not have heard of them yet, but I reckon there’s one more band that are about to get themselves on this memorable list for all good reasons.
We the Living are a five-piece alt rock band who threw themselves onto the new music scene with their debut gig in Sheffield’s Royal Standard a few Saturdays back. I know when you hear the word debut, you tend to expect a bunch of stubbly dudes wailing along to covers of Green Day and having about as much stage presence as a bunch of bananas. But this time, it was definitely not the case.
Straight out onto the stage, We the Living’s frontman Nick Phillips – looking like Russell from Disney’s Up grew up and stole Don Broco’s stylist – stares into the crowd and yells ‘We are We The Living, and our songs don’t have titles’. Boom, and straight into song number one.
What they lack in ability to name songs, they certainly make up in talent. These boys packed so much energy into the performance, they genuinely made ‘that pub between the 24-hour gym and the rental car place’ seem like a much, much bigger venue.
Now we all know that your first time isn’t perfect, but We the Living damn well know how to carry on playing in times of crisis. Not even stopping when guitarist Tom Gammon’s amp cut out, or when Tom’s D string snapped mid-riff (all in one song, poor guy), and they even managed to get through a song while kicking the bass drum back into place as it was shimmying off the stage and into the poor guy’s face in the front row.
This band is fun, they’re new and they’re definitely a band to watch if you’re into the likes of Mallory Knox, Lower Than Atlantis and that fast-paced smooth vocal area of alt rock.
Get these boys to Rock City. But before then, you can find out for yourself what the fuss is all about: catch We the Living at The Frog in Worksop, Nottinghamshire on the 13th of September.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 30th July 2014 at 10:00 am
Celebrated Danish indie pop duo The Asteroids Galaxy Tour will be releasing their studio album ‘Bring Us Together’ on Rough Trade in September. Ahead of that, they want you to have the title track from the album for free. Framed by bluesy piano, the vocals make it classic Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Listen to the track below and if you like it, go here to download the mp3.