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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 22nd August 2014 at 6:00 pm
So you’re telling me you need a song to jump start your weekend, eh? Look no further than Young Guns‘ forthcoming single ‘I Want Out’, out the 28th of September on Virgin/EMI. Their third album, the follow-up to 2012′s ‘Bones’, is expected to drop in early 2015, and from the sound of this first taster, they’re going towards a more mainstream sound.
With enough brashness in its rock sensibility for Kerrang! to deem the tune “upbeat and anthemic” but with an underpinning of bright synths to match its colourful video, ‘I Want Out’ neatly bridges the gap between rock and pop and is sure to gain admirers from lovers of both genres. Watch the promo below.
Header photo by DL Anderson
This past Tuesday night, I continued my foray into the Arizona music scene with a trip to Tucson’s Club Congress to see North Carolina electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso. The venue itself is situated in the historic Hotel Congress, which has a lovely restaurant and separate bar area in addition to the club itself. Since I was running a bit late, I didn’t spend too much time exploring, choosing instead to head straight to the stage area. The room was sparsely populated at that point, about 30 minutes before the show was set to begin, but it gradually filled in, and there were clearly some fans there who had come to see the opening act, Portland-based band Dana Buoy.
Headed by frontman Dana Janssen, formerly of experimental rock band Akron/Family, Dana Buoy is an indie-rock act that mixes hints of warm West Coast sunshine in with their heavily psychedelic leanings. They opened the show with the expansive ‘Let Go Awhile’, which boded well for the rest of their set, but during their second number, ironically called ‘So Lucky’, things began to fall apart a bit. Janssen broke a guitar string (the low E, for those of you who care to know), and though he finished the song, he had to ask his bandmates, bass/keys man Justin Miller and drummer Logan Corcoran, to do an extended instrumental vamp while he changed it for a new one. The relatively sparse ‘Isla Mujeres’ was plagued a bit by the hastily tuned string, and Corcoran had some issues throughout the set with a rickety snare and cymbal, but he band were able to find a placid groove by the middle of their surprisingly lengthy opening set. They played a mix of brand new tracks and older favorites, including a nifty cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, which features on recent EP ‘Preacher’, before closing with ‘Satellite Ozone’, from 2012 album ‘Summer Bodies’.
At the end of Dana Buoy’s set, the crowd in the small venue tangibly swelled, pushing toward the front of the room for the eagerly awaited entrance of the headline act. With no live instruments other than singer Amelia Meath’s velvety voice, Sylvan Esso’s stage arrangement is almost ridiculously simple; it took more time for Dana Buoy to clear off the stage than it did for Sylvan Esso to set up.
Is there still any debate as to whether the computer is a musical instrument? Producer Nick Sanborn put the question to rest right away, using only a rather spare looking electronic array to put down the rhythm tracks and sonic effects behind Meath’s lyrical stylings on the hot popular hit ‘Hey Mami’. Throughout the set, Sanborn turned knobs and manipulated sounds with an amazing degree of precision and technical skill, especially considering the rhythmic complexity of some of the duo’s tracks.
Sanborn’s previous experience in electronic music was fairly obvious (his solo project, Made of Oak, is pure electro), but Meath’s background in a cappella folk music seemed much farther removed from Sylvan Esso as I watched her onstage. Her sensual vocals and and saucy dance moves played to the visceral sensibilities of the crowd, who had come to get their groove on despite the tight space. Meath not only sang the liquid lyrical lines, but also displayed impressive physical prowess as she very gracefully gyrated and undulated through the dance beats in a pair of 4-inch platform soled boots. Sanborn’s dance moves, performed as he hunched over his computer, were markedly more rigid, but rather in keeping with the pair’s constant juxtaposition of organic and electronic elements.
Meath and Sanborn played through almost the entirety of their debut self-titled album, which was only released in the spring of this year on Partisan Records. Despite the relative newness of their songs, the punters in the crowd were clearly familiar with the tunes, singing along with Meath’s sexy rendering of the borrowed line “my baby does the hanky panky” in the addictive single ‘Coffee’ and her crooning “oohs” in hypnotic track ‘Wolf’.
Sylvan Esso closed the night with the track that started their collaboration, ‘Play It Right’, which was originally written for Meath’s folk trio, Mountain Man. Recontextualized by Sanborn, the song takes flight in live performance, and it left the crowd chanting for more. Unfortunately, the duo didn’t have more to give; being a new band with only one album to play from, they had by that point exhausted their repertoire. Sylvan Esso’s free trading collaboration has been abundantly fruitful in a short amount of time, and if the response at Club Congress is any indication, their audience would clearly love to hear it continue.
Sylvan Esso will tour the UK and Ireland beginning this September. Stay tuned to TGTF for a full list of tour dates.
After the cut: Dana Buoy and Sylvan Esso’s set lists.
Continue reading Live Review: Sylvan Esso with Dana Buoy at Club Congress, Tucson, AZ – 19th August 2014
Glasgow-born foursome Twin Atlantic have always walked on the poppier side of the alternative rock road. Nowhere near heavy enough to share the sidewalks with the likes of Biffy Clyro and far too prone to a spate of jazzy piano – take ‘I Am an Animal’ as case in point – to brush shoulders with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age. Yet with their rock credentials on show, they’re still keeping well clear of the likes of Snow Patrol and Travis.
I was never really one to question their rock credentials, but after the release of ‘Heart and Soul’, I felt a swift check over their authorisation was in order to allow them access to the venerated Alt-Rock circle. ‘Heart and Soul’ is a bold statement, it’s not exactly the most subtle in the message conveyed – “When you open up your heart and your soul / take my love and never grow old, yeah / open up your heart and your soul” – and after a few listens, it did sound rather formulaic. However, to release a single after your breakthrough album that strikes such a tangent from what’s expected from the band is about as courageous a statement as you can make with the band in its infancy.
Their new album released this week, ‘Great Divide’, feels a bit schizophrenic. There are light hearted numbers like ‘I Am an Animal’, which feel like Beatles-inspired pop bouncers, whilst ‘Hold On’ and ‘Cell Mate’ both have all the hallmarks of balls out guts or glory arena rock. It’s in these big, kilts up charge the English moments where Twin Atlantic are at their best (yes, I’ve gone full Mel Gibson in Braveheart). OK, so Sam McTrusty may not be painting his chest, swinging his cock around and screaming, “they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!” But ‘Cell Mate’ is an absolute stormer, with a stomping riff and a huge chorus of “Don’t let me down / from so far away/ ’cause I’m you’re cell mate / yeah I’m you’re cell mate”, where McTrusty, Barry McKenna, Ross McNae and Craig Kneale do their best to talk champion fraternity and put the boot in to the bonus-grabbing, office dwelling bourgeoisie. Their sentiment, not mine (I worked in a bank once).
‘Brothers and Sisters’ (watch it here) is one of McTrusty’s most poignant pieces of songwriting and is certain to be a hit with the already enamoured Radio 1-ati – especially as Fearne Cotton, Zane Lowe and Greg James are all already drooling into their respective buckets, which they’ve of course used for drool after their ice bucket challenge, after listening to ‘Great Divide’. The more timid of the tracks, in particular ‘Rest in Pieces’, do feel slightly clichéd and almost forced. The four-piece are certainly at their best when they’ve got their amps turned up to eleven and are going for a solid bit arena sized cock-rock.
That’s where the disappointment in ‘Great Divide’ lies, as it feels like an album with, to forgive the pun, but a Great Divide of its own. It’s a record from a band, that are almost having a post-university, quarter-life crisis. They’ve had a great time touring and promoting the incredibly successful ‘Free’ and now they’re stuck at home deciding what exactly they want to do with themselves. Sadly, like most people suffering from their own quarter-life crisis, they will probably have to learn from their mistakes here; the clichés are overdone and all too obvious. But, there’s solace in some of the Foo Fighters / Bon Jovi-lite stadium rock they’ve clocked up. They may not have found a niche, but hopefully when they tour and festival the bejesus out of this material they’ll get to the ‘Heart and Soul’ (pun #2 of this review) of where *they* want to be going. I don’t think it’s the soppy cliché ridden ballad route, and I don’t think they want to go that way either.
Twin Atlantic‘s third album ‘Great Divide’ is out now on Red Bull Records. Catch the band on tour in the UK in October; all the details are this way.
Northern Irish transplants Southern will follow their upcoming appearances at the Reading and Leeds Festivals with a full headline tour of the UK this autumn. They will take a brief mid-tour break in October to support Jake Bugg on his Dublin and Belfast dates (find the complete details of Bugg’s tour here). Southern’s new single ‘Where I Want to Be’ is out now courtesy of Marathon Artists. You can listen to the official audio of that track below the tour date listing, and for more on Southern, check out our recent Bands to Watch feature on them.
Saturday 27th September 2014 – Southampton Lennons
Sunday 28th September 2014 – Birmingham Sunflower Lounge
Monday 29th September 2014 – Coventry Kasbah
Wednesday 1st October 2014 – Reading Oakford Social Club
Thursday 2nd October 2014 – Bournemouth 60 Million Postcards
Friday 3rd October 2014 – Banbury Also Known As
Saturday 4th October 2014 – Bristol Birdcage
Monday 6th October 2014 – Oxford Academy
Tuesday 7th October 2014 – Brighton Green Door Store
Wednesday 8th October 2014 – Sheffield Leadmill
Friday 10th October 2014 – Stockton-on-Tees Ku Bar
Saturday 11th October 2014 – Wakefield Hop
Sunday 12th October 2014 – Glasgow Nice N Sleazy
Monday 13th October 2014 – Dublin Olympia Theatre (supporting Jake Bugg)
Tuesday 14th October 2014 – Dublin Olympia Theatre (supporting Jake Bugg)
Thursday 16th October 2014 – Belfast Odyssey (supporting Jake Bugg)
Friday 17th October 2014 – Leeds Cockpit
Saturday 18th October 2014 – Sunderland Independent
Sunday 19th October 2014 – Newcastle Think Tank
Tuesday 4th November 2014 – London Barfly
Friday 21st November 2014 – Manchester Victoria Warehouse (Whiskey Sessions)
Morecambe indie-pop quartet The Heartbreaks will hit the road for a short tour of England this November. Their most recent album ‘We May Yet Stand A Chance’ is out now. Tickets for the following shows are already on sale.
Tuesday 4th November 2014 – Leeds Oporto
Wednesday 5th November 2014 – London Lexington
Thursday 6th November 2014 – Manchester Sound Control
Saturday 8th November 2014 – Liverpool East Village Arts Club
Friday 28th November 2014 – Nottingham Bodega
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 21st August 2014 at 6:00 pm
Brighton via Peterborough threesome The Wytches are getting ready to release their debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ next Monday on Heavenly Recordings. If there was any questions whether or not they’d be changing their DIY, lo-fi style of music video, fear not. The promo for ‘Burn Out the Bruise’, which features on the new release, is as scuzzy as ‘Robe for Juda’ and ‘Wire Frame Mattress’ that came before. Watch it below.
Catch the band live on tour in the UK in the last quarter of 2014.
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