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I thought it might be a nice idea to commemorate the historic Irish marriage referendum taking place earlier this week with a visual representation of the complex ideas of what love is courtesy of Owen Pallett. The Canadian singer/songwriter describes the ‘The Passions’, off his critically acclaimed 2014 album ‘In Conflict’, like this:
“I wrote ‘The Passions’ after a period during which my definitions of “love” were being redefined. Queers are united by our desires, by our prioritization of the needs of our bodies and souls over the needs of tradition and societal structures. But I feel there is more to it than that. Our lovers are our family, our brothers and sisters as well as our sexual partners. ‘The Passions’ is about the blurry distinction between these definitions.”
Watch the promo video for ‘The Passions’ below. ‘In Conflict’ is available now on Domino Records.
Have you ever been sat at work daydreaming about what life would be like in a band? We’ve all been there. However, this dream became a reality for Clay, a four-piece band from Yorkshire. By day, they are your everyday builders and supermarket workers. By night, they tear up the stage with their unique sound that spans multiple genres.
Formed in October 2014, Clay is made up of four lads aged between 17 and 20: two brothers, Joe and Jack, and two friends, Rob and Danny. Heavily influenced by the likes of Jungle, The Charlatans and Primal Scream, the group brings together synths, guitars and drums to form an exuberant, indie funk mix.
Their debut single ‘Sun Dance’ received huge support from radio stations, including airplay from the likes of Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, as well as XFM. Since then, they have embarked on their first nationwide tour, which included a sold-out headline show at Oporto in Leeds, and appeared at The Great Escape and Dot to Dot Festival; quite the achievement for a band that have been together for less than nine months.
Riding off the success of their debut single, Clay have unveiled ‘Oxygen’, a highly infectious track that features crisp vocals and a throbbing beat. It’s the type of track that will make you want to turn the volume up loud and belt the chorus out at the top of your lungs. To coincide with the launch of the single, the four-piece are performing at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on Monday 22 June.
Having got off to a flying start, there’s certainly a bright future for Clay. If they can keep the momentum going, they could very easily follow in the footsteps of fellow Yorkshire talent such as Kaiser Chiefs and The Pigeon Detectives. And, if it doesn’t work out, they always have their day jobs to fall back on.
Following up on their riotous reception at The Great Escape festival earlier this month, Dublin punk rockers Girl Band will play a short list of live dates in the UK and Ireland this November, which will conclude with a hometown show at Dublin’s Button Factory. The band will also play London’s 100 Club on the 6th of October before a run of European autumn festival appearances.
Along with their tour date announcement, Girl Band have released a teaser video for their upcoming debut album, which is set for release on Rough Trade Records later this year. You can view that preview just below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following live dates are on sale now.
Tuesday 3rd November 2015 – Brighton Patterns
Wednesday 4th November 2015 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Thursday 5th November 2015 – Leeds Nation of Shopkeepers
Saturday 7th November 2015 – Dublin Button Factory
Previous TGTF coverage of Girl Band can be found right here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
Django Django‘s recently released their second album ‘Born Under Saturn’, and on it is ‘Shake and Tremble’, which sees the band being less rhythmic but push out the boat on their more psychedelic roots. This is also true for the promo video for the song, which is trippy as hell, the band themselves performing in a hot, sweaty jungle. During a storm. Check it out below.
Past coverage on the Scottish band is this way.
Part 1 of John’s coverage of Friday at Liverpool Sound City 2015 is this way.
Sticking with the theme with big chugging riffs in a warehouse, loud enough to make the meek and wimpy head for exits – not a daisy chain headpiece in sight – Yak were the next band on The Baltic Stage as the day became more and more Baltic in temperature and people gathered in the confines of the warehouse to escape the near arctic winds coming in off the river Mersey. Their bluesy Band of Skulls-esque riffage was enough to get everyone grooving at the front of the stage, despite the acoustics of the warehouse playing havoc with Oliver Burslem’s vocals. (6/10)
It was the turn of one of the big hitters next, or was it?
WHERE’S YOUR BAND, DEBBIE? As four Parisian musicians stepped onstage, the look of collective bafflement spread across the venue. Where were Slaves? A quick search on #SoundCity15 led me to the conclusion that they’d pulled out to another collective look of bemusement and a united sigh of disapproval. Oh well, on the bright side it meant I didn’t miss the triumphant return of the bespectacled groovesters of Spector, who were next up on the Atlantic Stage.
Now these guys were met by *yet another* collective look of bemusement. That’s not Frederick Macpherson, they’ve changed frontman! NO, he’s just gone hipster 2.0 and grown his hair down to his neck. Still, despite a wee change of hair-do could Spector build the anticipation to their new record? The answer, a resounding and still endearingly dapper YES. With all the charms and singalongability Spector brought on their delightful debut, the five-piece Hits like ‘Chevy Thunder’ had the now sizeable crowd standing on the precipice of the Mersey jumping up and down without due concern. While new track ‘Bad Boyfriend’ is the kind of heart-meltingly warm live track Spector are going to make their own over the next year of touring and promoting. Macpherson still has glorious presence on stage and while his band seem to keep the personality to a minimum by staring blankly into the Liverpool sky, Macpherson manages to carry the energy of the entire group and make a stunning show. (8/10)
Starring as the penultimate act on a strong bill were Everything Everything who get extra points in my boom as their guitarist Alex Robertshaw is from sunny Guernsey. They admit it’s been 18 months since they’ve graced a festival stage, but you’d struggle to believe it as they’re tighter than a cat’s bumhole – in musical terms that is. In the space of around six years they’ve gone from a band with a quirky new sound, to indie pop behemoths with a serious reputation amongst the industry. Jonathan Higgs voice remains one of the most unflappable and tonally malleable in the industry. Every note is perfect, and when you have to hit the kind of ranges Higgs is, that’s no mean feat. The tunes are still as inventive and quirky as the first time ‘MY KZ UR BF’ became an immediate hit and catapulted them into the mainstream consciousness.
The band as a unit looked impeccable in their faux-jester robes – the point of which I’m yet to put my finger upon. The set is a hit after hit affair, with a fair bit of audience reaction to each of the more well-known tracks like ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Cough Cough’. The latter proving a huge success as it built to its noodling crescendo. One thing is for sure, this set was one which loosened the hips of half the audience, with 90% shaking and shimmying in the small space they had on the docklands. (8/10)
Once the sun had set around 10 o’ clock and Everything Everything had departed the anticipation started to build for the night’s headline act. When I asked around, ‘what were most people looking forward to on the Friday’ barring the rather null answer of Slaves there was only one other constant: The Vaccines. My first thought was, with two albums each clocking in around half an hour and a third one imminent; they’d struggle to fill one and half hours. The second one was what a frontman Justin Hayward-Young is becoming – he’s got just the right amount of arrogance to pull off the look he’s going for.
Rockstar credibility is in toe as he petulantly throws his mike stand around the stage for the roadies to pick up after almost every song, and the pride to know from minute one to the time they make their bow (no encore) that he’s got the crowd eating from the palm of his hands. It’s a set chocked to the nines with hits, which every one of the crowd can sing along to, not matter the demographic. The new stuff goes down well, but it’s the tracks from ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines’, especially ‘Norgaard, which go down the best. A splendid end, to a full-on day! And the music only started at 5. (9/10)
When I think of teenage musicians, my mind immediately conjures images of fleeting pop sensations like Justin Bieber, whose music is largely of the disposable and generic variety. As a general rule, their songs are cloying and one-dimensional, with unrelenting dance beats and tritely catchy lyrics but without emotional depth or any indication of thoughtful musicality. But there are exceptions to that rule, the ubiquitous Taylor Swift being one that immediately springs to mind. Swift’s music career, already long and storied even at her young age of 25, has endured because she has been willing to evolve from her original plainspoken acoustic country style to her current iteration as a brazenly in-your-face pop culture diva.
“Diva” is the very last word in the dictionary that one would choose to describe 19-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson, better known on stage and on record as SOAK. SOAK is about as far removed from Taylor Swift as she can possibly be, on the pop culture continuum and the music continuum as well. Where Swift successfully employs the aforementioned sick-beat-catchy-lyric technique (am I allowed to use the phrase “sick beat”?), SOAK takes a much more subtle tack on her debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’. Dressed modestly in black and armed only with an acoustic guitar and loop pedal, SOAK mesmerized her audiences at SXSW 2015 earlier this spring with the austere sincerity of her performances. And though her album features fully fleshed out instrumental arrangements of the songs we heard in Austin, its outstanding characteristic is still SOAK’s delicate singing voice, the fragile sensitivity of her delivery matching the tender honesty in her introspective lyrics.
SOAK’s skater-teen background does show itself momentarily in the youthful text-speak spellings of some of her song titles, including ‘B a noBody’, whose video is just below, and ‘Blud’, which we featured as a Video of the Moment back in April. Despite their initial appearance, these are not superficial teen pop tunes with computer-generated backbeats and lyrics about boys and fashion. ‘B a noBody’, which follows the instrumental ‘My Brain’ to open the album, lingers in the ears with the haunting, vaguely sad refrain, “come on, come on / be just like me / come on, come on / be a nobody”. ‘Blud’ is a bit grittier, as SOAK intones the line “you’re in my blood” with an affected pronunciation suggestive of the track’s spelling. This mildly irksome vocal mannerism persists throughout the album, clearly a deliberate artistic choice made to enhance the expressivity of SOAK’s singing, but the overall beauty of the songs assuages the minor annoyance.
Following the opening three-track sequence, SOAK continues to intersperse her songs with short, curiously-titled instrumental interludes, which provide moments of reprieve and reflection among the fluctuating moods of the proper songs. The more upbeat tracks like ‘Sea Creatures’ and ‘Garden’ nicely balance the darker tone of ‘24 Windowed House’ and the ethereal ‘SHUVELS’. SOAK revisits the rougher edge of her singing voice on standout track ‘Reckless Behaviour’ before closing with the piercing melancholy of ‘Oh Brother’, which contains the album’s title lyric, and starkly moving final track ‘Blind’.
‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ is eloquently written from a truly special vantage point at the precise intersection of adolescence and adulthood. The songs are replete with SOAK’s unique combination of poignant emotionality and growing intellectual awareness, a distinctive juxtaposition she might never be able to again achieve. However, my overwhelming sense upon hearing the complete album is that SOAK has enormous potential to evolve, both musically and personally, just as her pop counterpart Taylor Swift has done. In which direction that evolution might take SOAK of course remains to be seen, but the sky will be the limit if she keeps her own dreams in sight.
SOAK’s debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ is due out next Monday, the 1st of June, on Rough Trade Records. The album is currently streaming in full on NPR. SOAK will support the album release with live dates in the UK and Ireland; find all the details here. If you’ve missed our previous coverage of SOAK, including her appearance at SXSW 2015, you can find it all right back here.
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