By Mary Chang on Monday, 9th December 2013 at 3:00 pm
Beatnik Geek Records is an independent record label located 15 miles from London. Formed in 2006, their aim is “to cultivate a self-sustainable business through which artists can release the best records they can possibly produce”. Focusing on bands and individuals who they can work with as a team, Beatnik Geek Records have been very lucky to be working with artists who buy into this methodology and are willing to help the label by working together with them to produce their music, to then give these acts the best possible chance of success.
We’ve featured some of Beatnik Geek’s bands on TGTF, and we were so pleased when they offered to give us the debut albums of four of their acts, Van Susans, Keston Cobblers’ Club, The Lightwings and Melic (pictured at top), so we could in turn give them to a lucky TGTF reader. Whoever wins this treasure trove of four albums will have plenty of music to entertain them and their loved ones during this holiday season and for days to come. To give you a bit more information on the bands and their releases:
Van Susans – ‘Paused in the Moment’
The Bromley band’s debut was released in 2012, but we recently gave away their latest single, which was a reworked version of the album track ‘Served Cold’. This year the band supported Little Comets at a charity gig in Manchester and played festivals such as Lounge on the Farm, Crystal Palace Garden Party, Victorious in Portsmouth and Galtres Parklands Festival.
Keston Cobblers’ Club – ‘One, for Words’
Their debut was released in 2012, but they haven’t stopped moving since, having graced Glasto, Green Man and Larmer Tree festivals and also made radio appearances with Bob Harris on Radio 2 and Steve Lamacq on 6music. In June 2013, they released the ‘A Scene of Plenty’ EP.
The Lightwings - ‘Sleeping is Not for Dreamers’
Their debut came out this year but songs from it have already been nicked for the Louise Brealey indie film already making the film festival rounds, Delicious.
Melic – ‘An Hour to Anywhere’
Our Ben caught the band at their launch party for their debut album back in the summer. Despite being a relatively new band in town, they’ve already played high-profile shows at London Koko and Islington Academy, as well as International Pop Overthrow Liverpool, Cornbury, and Southern Sounds festivals.
Want to win? Fill out the contest form below with your full name and your email address. Next, we want to be sure you’re not a robot, so correctly answer this question: what country do Melic originally hail from? Get your entries in by noon British time on Thursday the 12th 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 Tuesday, 10th December 2013 at 6:00 pm
London band Fanfarlo have revealed their latest visual, the promo for ‘Landlocked’, featured on the band’s third album ‘Let’s Go Extinct’, to be released in the new year. The video was filmed by Inga Birgisdóttir, who has previously collaborated with fellow Icelandic countrymen Sigur Ros. (This isn’t the first time Fanfarlo has had a connection with the Icelandic greats; the cover of their 2009 debut ‘Reservoir’ included a photo of Jonsi‘s little sister.) Watch it below.
Not your typical indie five-piece, Soar Patrol has three drummers, a guitarist, and a set of bagpipes. Wait, what? Yes, this is not an indie folk band. This is a real, traditional, Scottish folk band. In fact, the band is “part of The Clanranald Trust for Scotland a recognized non-profit charity based in Kincardine, Scotland. The Trust was established in 1995 as an educational organization, […] existing to support Clanranald’s efforts”. Playing what they have dubbed ‘medieval Scottish rock’, Soar Patrol – which translates as ‘freedom guard’ in Scottish Gaelic – kicks up the amperage on other traditional folk music. Not content to stick with the 100% traditional sound, these guys add a grinding guitar to pull it just this side of modern. Completely instrumental, the combination of this driving guitar overlaid with a bagpipe melody is just different enough from traditional bagpipe bands to turn heads.
I know what you are thinking, how do they fit in with the new music-laced, hipster-heeding, sweat-bath that is SXSW? Honestly, I don’t know. I listened to some of their music, and while I enjoyed it quite a bit, after about 15 minutes the pipes grated on me. I think, however, I would love to be under a blue sky at a festival romping around with them. Because of that, I would put money on this being one of the most fun, rousing shows in Austin next year.
With both a new live album, ‘Die Krieger’, and a joint album with fellow trad folkies The Dolmen called ‘Crann Tara’, released in 2013, the band are ready to take in some new fans. Saor Patrol is not exactly the first kind of band that you think of when you conjure up an idea of a music festival like SXSW. But they are the real deal: tough looking highland men with rough hewn kilts and an authentic sound. I think they are going to kick some major Scottish arse come March.
Sheffield’s High Hazels have been a favorite here at TGTF since we first featured them in this Bands to Watch back in July. They played four shows at this summer’s Tramlines Festival as part of a growing number of up-and-coming Sheffield bands whose sound hinges on catchy guitar melodies and heart-wrenchingly romantic lyrics.
Going back to the end of 2012, High Hazels have had a productive year, winning the attention of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and the BBC’s Steve Lamacq. They were featured in Sheffield’s Exposed magazine in February 2013 as part of that publication’s In Session series. (Check out the band’s YouTube page to see videos from that session.) Then, in July, just around the time of Tramlines, High Hazels signed with indie record label Heist or Hit Records, who coordinated the release of debut single ‘Hearts Are Breaking’ (reviewed by Mary here). In September, ‘Hearts Are Breaking’ won a coveted spot on Lamacq’s BBC 6Music Rebel Playlist, ahead of its official release on the 7th of October.
According to an interview Mary did with High Hazels frontman James Leesley, the band have been working together for a number of years, perfecting their craft before presenting their work to an already growing legion of fans. While the similarities with local contemporaries such as Arctic Monkeys and The Crookes are readily apparent, High Hazels reveal the softer side of Sheffield. Songs ‘Five Weirs’ and ‘Loose Stitches’ in particular call to mind the sound of Simon & Garfunkel, which Leesley cites as a major influence in the band’s songwriting. ‘French Rue’, the track initially heralded on Lamacq’s radio show, is a nostalgic, slow-burning rumination on heartache, which carries over into the poignantly wintery ‘Hearts Are Breaking’. Leesley’s smooth, evenly measured singing voice is perfectly suited for the subtle yet palpable sentimentality of the lyrics, but it’s the shimmering guitar riffs that will echo in your ears to begin 2014.
By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 10th December 2013 at 10:00 am
Just in case you haven’t bought Christopher Paul Stelling‘s wonderful sophomore album ‘False Cities’ released earlier this year yet, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter is offering up a track from the album for free download. Listen to and grab the powerful ‘Free to Go’ for your very own below.
And in case you’re stuck on getting a unique Christmas present for that someone special, look no further: Stelling is handy with leathercraft and is selling limited edition leather wallets handmade by him. They’re US$20 plus shipping and can be bought from his official Web site.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 9th December 2013 at 6:00 pm
Geordies Maximo Park have decidedly taken a turn towards dance – or at least industrial-y, beat-heavy / -driven music – with their forthcoming 2014 album ‘Too Much Information’, scheduled to be released on on the 3rd of February. First evidence was first taster from last month, ‘Brain Cells’, which you can get for free from this previous MP3 of the Day post. Now, we’ve got another taster, this one called ‘Leave This Island’, to be released as in 12″ and download forms on the 27th of January. While not as groovy as ‘Brain Cells’, it’s got an interesting, uplifting quality to it, reflected in its promo. Watch the video below.