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By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 1st August 2015 at 10:00 am
Belle and Sebastian have kept busy this year, touring around the world and playing quite a few festivals already, and July isn’t even over yet! As if to keep the dance party going, they’ve released a promo for an extended version of ‘Perfect Couples’, whose original stars on the band’s ‘Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance’ album released in January. Beyond one couple dancing, they wanted many more people to get into the act, and what resulted was a unique parade of people through one room who all eventually get in perfect sync to cut a rug together. Watch it below.
Want to read more on Belle and Sebastian on TGTF? Head this way.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 31st July 2015 at 6:00 pm
Following on from their teaser back in June in the form of fourth album title track ‘What Went Down’, Foals have revealed the promo for the new LP’s second teaser via a special interactive ‘virtual reality music video’.
When you watch the video for ‘Mountain at My Gate’ – filmed through a spherical GoPro camera – either on Google Chrome on your desktop or laptop or on the YouTube mobile app, there’s navigation arrows ala Google Maps that let you scroll and turn the black and white video presentation itself. Try it out. Even pressing the left or right arrow continuously will give you some interesting results.
‘What Went Down’ drops the 28th of August on Warner Records. Past coverage of Yannis Philippakis and the entire Foals company on TGTF is this way.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 31st July 2015 at 12:00 pm
Following their 3-year long absence from the music scene, the first song the Maccabees offered up to the public was their new fourth album’s title track single in mid-May, ahead of summer music festival season. ‘Marks to Prove It’, with a memorable guitar hook and a rhythm destined to incite field pogoing, is exactly how I remembered ‘Pelican’ from their last album. This frenetic, high energy number, accompanied by a promo video showing the frantic pace of living and working in London, is very different to ‘Something Like Happiness’; the new LP’s second single, which will be released on the same day as the LP. It’s laden down with horns and has moments reminiscent of ’70s style Spector-ising. This matches right up to how the group’s frontman Orlando Weeks described the new release to Gigwise as it has “a ‘really nice mix’ of all the members’ different styles” and he feels more confident than ever to sing on this new material.
After having listened to the album all the way through a few times, I’m finding little that stirs the senses as well as its title track. The feeling I’m getting is similar to what I felt for Maximo Park‘s album last year, ‘Too Much Information’: there are bright spots for sure, but most of the tunes lack immediacy or catchiness and don’t grab you. It seems false advertising to have released as your first taster a song that isn’t at all representative of the album as a whole. Feedback and effects are a hallmark of this album, even on a more introspective turn like ‘Silence’. An almost jazzy piano presentation frames the regretful lyrics of a man who chooses to stop communication altogether, thinking it’s easier if he shuts out those he loves: “I understand that it never ends / she’s waiting round every corner, round every bend / when you’re scared or lost, don’t let it all build up / break the silence.” On ‘River Song’, the pace is still one that lurches rather than speeds along, the guitars wailing before turning strident, drowning out both Weeks and any backing vocals. Maybe that was the point, that the instrumentation and voices were to become one? For sure, it’s less melodic than the psychedelic leanings of ‘Ayla’ from their last album, the 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated ‘Give to the Wild’.
When the tempo speeds up as on ‘Spit It Out’, the closest the London band get to the pop magic of ‘Marks to Prove It’, they choose interesting note progressions on both the guitars and vocals that cause the song to sound chaotic. That is, until you pass the halfway point and things start to make sense. I see what you did there, Maccabees. You have to give them credit for doing something unexpected and different. This continues as they approach both the loud and the soft on the same song, which can be jarring if you’re not expecting it. Second track ‘Kamakura’ has gentle verses that are punctuated by Weeks’ yelling, “giving a bloody nose to the best friend he knows / the only time he’s cried since he was 7 years old / your best friends forgive you, your best friends forgive you / you get old” before the outro practically whispers the song out. On the other extreme, ‘Dawn Chorus’ is a dreamy number in which the horn guy (or gal) comes back in as if to wake you up from a trance.
You’ll enjoy the gentle slow-burning quality of standout ‘Slow Sun’, its masterful guitar throughout, a lonesome horn player in the distance calling you home, its piano notes adding a shimmering complement to Weeks’ voice, as he shows his admiration for a woman who has stuck it out through thick and thin: “no-one else knows it / the lengths that she goes to / to keep it together / that’s real enough.” While the rolling beats and soothing high-hats of ‘Ribbon Road’ and the dreamy ‘Pioneering Systems’ are pleasant enough, does pleasant and inoffensive cut it these days?
‘Marks to Prove It’, the Maccabees’ fourth album, is out today on Fiction Records in the UK and Communion Records in North America.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 30th July 2015 at 6:00 pm
The Slaves train keeps rolling along. Need evidence? Today we have for you the brand spanking new video for ‘Sockets’, their upcoming single out the 4th of September on Virgin EMI. As is usual fashion with these two, there is a lot of shouting in this PR-described ‘anarchic video’, during which a mild-mannered bloke watching the tv is accosted by yup, you guessed it, the duo themselves. Watch it below.
Earlier this month, we featured a live version of ‘Sockets’ performed by the raucous duo from May at London Scala. Tickets to their previously announced November 2015 tour of the UK is rapidly selling out (several venues have been upgraded, sold out, or both; details here), so if you plan to see them, don’t wait and be disappointed. All past coverage on Slaves on TGTF is here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 29th July 2015 at 6:00 pm
It’s been a bit since we heard from Bromley’s Van Susans – their debut album ‘Paused in the Moment’ was released in 2012 – but they’ve shared their newest single with me, and I’m pleased to announce we’ve been given the exclusive premiere for its accompanying promo video. The words of the title, ‘Lipstick Teeth’, conjures up images of nights out, when all caution has been thrown to the wind, when unkempt makeup applied to one’s lips goes…erm…awry.
In Van Susans’ story, what started as a one-night stand with an irresistible vixen in a leather jacket has turned into a relationship that frontman Olly Andrews questions when he goes beyond the surface, “between the pet names and the sex”, and he realises discovery what was beyond the superficial wasn’t so great after all. A sign that Van Susans are growing up? Perhaps. Have a watch of the video for ‘Lipstick Teeth’. The single can be pre-ordered now; its release will be in September.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 29th July 2015 at 4:00 pm
It seems to be the month for reworkings. Following on from Matthew E. White‘s redone ‘Visions’ that Carrie wrote about on Monday, today we have Gaz Coombes having a go of it.
He’s reworked and extended the title track from him album released earlier this year and called the effort ‘Matador (Da Capo)’. It features on the new ‘Matador (Da Capo)’ EP, which will be released on the 18th of September on Hot Fruit Recordings / Caroline International. Just for you collectors, the limited edition EP will be numbered and be on coloured 12″ heavyweight vinyl. The reworking will be accompanied by a demo of the track, a new instrumental called ‘4 Track Loop’ and two live recordings of ‘Buffalo’ and ‘To the Wire’ (both from the album ‘Matador’) at Coombes’ recent show at Brighton Old Market.
Ahead of the EP’s release, you can settle in and watch Coombes performing the reworked ‘Matador (Da Capo)’ in the below live and tour video that he himself directed. Enjoy.
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