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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 12th June 2012 at 9:00 am
Maryland’s Animal Collective have announced a short tour of the UK for November 2012. The mini tour culminates with an appearance at the Warehouse Project in Manchester on the 8th of November (which, come to think of it, is kind of weird…because it’s the Warehouse Project over?). Tickets go on sale soon.
Sunday 4th November 2012 – London Roundhouse
Tuesday 6th November 2012 – Dublin Vicar Street
Wednesday 7th November 2012 – Glasgow ABC1
Thursday 8th November 2012 – Manchester Warehouse Project
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 6:00 pm
Two Wounded Birds‘ self-titled debut album releases today (11 June) on the Drums‘ Jacob Graham’s label Holiday Friends Recording Co., and here is the video for ‘If We Only Remain’. The song stands testament that all you need is a standard rock instrument setup (nothing electronic!) to play an incredibly evocative song.
And we should all heed the advice: “don’t change!”
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 4:00 pm
Influential DFA dance band LCD Soundsystem played their final show ever at New York City’s Madison Square in April 2011, and how convenient: it was all filmed not just for posterity but so it could be turned into a motion picture called ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’. The film will be premiered at a select group of American movie theatres for one night only on the 18th of July but a worldwide release is expected in late summer. To get people excited about the film, they’ve released this performance of ‘Dance Yrself Clean’. Enjoy it below.
I feel pretty lucky I got to see them once at Roskilde 2 years ago; you can read about that experience here.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 3:01 pm
Lower Than Atlantis have announced a new UK and Irish tour for October. A presale begins Wednesday (the 13th of June) on the band’s Web site, and the general sale follows on Friday the 15th of June at 9 AM. The band also make an appearance at Gloucester Underground Festival on the 30th of September.
Sunday 30th September 2012 – Gloucester Main Room at Guildhall (Gloucester Underground Festival)
Monday 1st October 2012 – Exeter Phoenix
Tuesday 2nd October 12 – Southampton Mo’Club
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 – Bristol Trinity
Thursday 4th October 2012 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Friday 5th October 2012 – Glasgow Garage
Sunday 7th October 2012 – Manchester Club Academy
Monday 8th October 2012 – Norwich Arts Centre
Tuesday 9th October 2012 – Birmingham Academy 2
Wednesday 10th October 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Thursday 11th October 2012 – London Electric Ballroom
Friday 12th October 2012 – Dublin Academy 2
Saturday 13th October 2012 – Belfast Speakeasy (matinee show)
Sunday 14th October 2012 – Cork Cyprus Avenue (matinee show)
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t really paying that close attention to the sessions I attended on the Friday of this year’s Liverpool Sound City. My mind, running a mile a minute, was worried about the stage we were running that night at the Academy of Arts. The day before, I’d really enjoyed the sessions and had a completely unplanned introduction to John Robb by a mutual friend that I somehow eked by without revealing that I was completely unnerved talking to one of the Northwest’s most enduring and well-known musician/journalists. However, during a particularly boring afternoon on Friday in which some major label folks showed the big companies don’t know how much is discovered, really, I was relieved to get a text from John saying he’d arrived. John ran our stage at Brighton Coalition at the Great Escape with his girlfriend last year, so he is more qualified than the rest of us to see that a TGTF stage runs smoothly. After a comedic meetup – John is way taller than me, so much that he completely walked passed me and I had to yell “John!” – we went to go have dinner in a pub and discussed our plan of attack for the evening before heading out to the Academy of Arts at 5.
It’s a good thing we got there early, as the production team had posted our banner in the wrong place, far, far away from our table. Enter giant John, who quickly moved it with the help of Tyler, the chap who was running all the logistics of the stage for us that night. It was a little nerve-wracking to make sure we had all the merchandise we were going to give away, but we got everything in time: 5 signed copies of Clock Opera’s new album ‘Ways to Forget’, a extra-large Temper Trap shirt (John convinced me that it was better to offer up a big one in case a bloke won it, or a girl could use it as a nightie) and a signed ‘Need Your Love’ vinyl single that even our friend Larry of The AU Review coveted. John pretty much manned the table himself (and swimmingly so), as I went to photograph the bands, take notes and do something I tried to psych myself up for, but was so nervous about: speaking on a mike to get people over to our table for the contests. I had envisioned standing on the stage as I’d seen people at Roskilde do for the smaller stages there, but for logistic and safety reasons, they said I had to do it from the mixing desk. Hearing my voice – and loud – was so scary! And probably I’m guessing all the locals were thinking, “what is an American doing, talking on the PA?” But the contests went well, and everyone who won went away very happy, so that’s all that’s important.
Let’s get to the bands. So first up was Dear Prudence from Brighton. Their debut single, ‘Valentine’, just came out in early May, so this was a good first ‘big’ show for them, one of their first outside of their hometown. I really like how they sound and they’re a synthy, electro rock band (right up my alley!) so they were the perfect support band for our stage. I’m going to keep an eye on them. You can watch the official video for ‘Valentine’ below; it’s got a great beat and it had me dancing.
After an intermission, it was time for Clock Opera. I thought it very sweet that Guy Connelly recognised and say hello to me before they went backstage to situate their gear. A punter named Paul declared on Twitter, “WOW!! Think @clockopera may have just taken the best band award @SoundCity with that! #Incredible #SoundCity12”. Good observation.
Clock Opera have the energy and the goods – in super infectious rhythmic tunes that should get every molecule of your body dancing. If you don’t believe me, watch the video below of ‘A Piece of String’, the song Dan Armstrong pointed out to me in this pre-festival interview as the one they all break out pieces of crockery to bang on. Overall, their set was brilliant.
During the day it had been announced Niki and the Dove had cancelled their appearance due to illness, which I think led to our stage getting rammed even further, since the times of their set and the Temper Trap’s overlapped. This was fine by us, as the space kept getting more and more crowded by the minute. In another bit of hilarity, I was refused entry into the photographer’s pit because every photographer in the Northwest and their nan had already taken their places there. Thanks to Tyler’s talking-to that “it’s her stage!” I finally got in. Now, this was my seventh time seeing them, and there is no denying they’re a great live band. I’m still not sold on all the new songs yet, but it was crystal clear after just minutes into their start and after Dougy said, “hello Liverpool, you doing all right?”, it was going to be a night to remember.
From the new love anthem of ‘Need Your Love’ to the gaiety of ‘Down River’, there was something for everyone. To prove their mettle, before the encore the band played a punishing trifecta of rock: ‘Science of Fear’, ‘Resurrection’ and ‘Drum Song’, all with so much raw power and passion, and the crowd loved every minute of it. It should come as no surprise that ‘Sweet Disposition’ closed out the night, cranking up the energy way up inside the venue for a song that so many people hold dear. And then it was over. After handing out the prizes, Toby and Lorenzo briefly stopped in the venue and Lorenzo said to me with a smile, “Mary! It’s been a long time!” I had been a long time since we’d talked; we had a completely unharried chat outside the House of Blues in Boston before their show there. One of the greatest things as a blogger is to watch a band you saw promise in just keep rising in stature in the music scene. If my intuition is correct, I said it before and I’ll say it again: the Temper Trap are well on their way to conquering stadiums. I feel honoured we had them – and the wonderful Clock Opera and Dear Prudence as well – on our first-ever stage at Liverpool Sound City. We’ll be back next year, so here’s to many more! Thank you everyone for making our stage such a success.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 12:00 pm
It feels like I saw The Hundred in the Hands open for the Temper Trap lifetimes ago in Philly and Boston, when in actuality, it has been less than 2 years. Given the change in musical climate, I think I could be forgiven for my mind being deceived. While there are some acts that have flourished by using electronics in an obvious and knowing way (Grimes, James Blake), it seems to me that there seems to be a bit of a backlash, reminiscent of disco being booed off the baseball field in the early ‘80s: Ladyhawke’s ‘Anxiety’ (review here) is Pip Brown’s way of trying to extricate herself from the electropop label, and Little Boots’ new singles ‘Every Time I Say a Prayer’ and ‘Headphones’ are garnering mixed response. Their 2010 self-titled debut (reviewed here) relied on Eleanore Everdell’s voice, dreamy at times but always rising to the occasion above relatively clean instrumentation, such as catchy synth melodies and Jason Friedman’s crashing guitar riffs. On their second go around, the real life couple from Brooklyn appear to be taking a darker approach with the new release ‘Red Light’.
You can tell things have changed straight away as the album opens with ‘Empty Stations’. It’s a slow build towards the 1-minute mark, with melancholy guitar allowed a couple spare notes before the driving beats lay into you. Everdell’s voice comes in, sounding as great as she did on ‘The Hundred in the Hands’, before the song builds to a climax into minute 2. Whoa. I need to take a step back. The assault on your ears feels like war has been waged, and I’m not sure if the cacophony is what the doctor ordered: the overall effect is too much. Frankly, the song leaves me frightened. Maybe the ‘Red Light’ album name is a warning?
So it was with much relief that ‘Recognise’, the next song, shows much more restraint. Dreamy vocals, even dreamier synths and gentle passes of a guitar = the electronic world’s definition of sexy. ‘Faded’ is even more dreamier, if it’s even possible. Now this is more like the Hundred in the Hands I used to know. ‘Keep It Low’, which we gave away in April, feels both New Order and Depeche Mode in its industrial clanking but with its dance beats, it pulls me in, completely mesmerising in its rhythms and Everdell’s ever expansive voice. ‘Tunnels’ is Bananarama and an ‘80s vibe, combined with a menacing, thudding beat. It’s like ketchup and mashed potato together: it shouldn’t be good, but it is. (Yes, I do eat my mashed potatoes with ketchup. Don’t judge.)
‘Come With Me’, while showing signs of bleakness and hardness akin to ‘Empty Stations’, has more focus than the first track and comes across well in an epic rock way, almost Muse-like. ‘SF Summer’ does this also, but to a lesser extent. (I do pray the Hundred and the Hands won’t be compared with Amy Lee and the American band Evanescence, which I’m guessing the lazier of music journalists will compare this album to on the basis of one or two songs on here.) In 2010, three out of my top five albums were made by bands with a dance bent (Delphic, Two Door Cinema Club, then the Hundred in the Hands). From my perspective, Delphic came out and did well out of the gate in January 2010 because they offered an alternative to either straight dance or straight rock, melding a combination of the two that worked and gave respect to the two genres from which their new sound was forged. There are clearly some tracks on ‘Red Light’ that sound like they went through a similar thought process, and I’m guessing these are the ones that will prove more popular and have a better shot at mainstream success, or at least what passes for mainstream success in the indie world. Not completely a dance album or a rock album, ‘Red Light’ shows maturity in direction. Or at least the realisation that a dance album, when taking the right kind of cues from rock, can offer something great to people who might not otherwise check them out.
‘Red Light’, the second album from The Hundred in the Hands, is out today on Warp.