By Mary Chang on Tuesday, 26th July 2011 at 12:00 pm
John Wean is an unsigned Glasgow quartet that self-describes themselves on their official Web site as follows: “four Scottish lads who write songs about love, life and their biggest interest – girls.” Have to give them credit for being honest! Further, they’ve already admitted they’ve made beginners’ mistakes: listening to the wrong people, entrusting their money to the wrong people and going into the studio to try and record before they had rehearsed and played enough and were ready to do it. Despite these early missteps, they’ve committed themselves to the band; all four of them have quit their day jobs in order to spend all their time to make their dream into a reality, and
I’ve only heard this one song, which is purported to be their debut single. Called ‘Desperate Dan (She Told Me She Was Single)’, I think you know where this song is going. (My reaction? My heart went all fuzzy.) It’s been already described on this Web site as “This tune could be bigger than the Loch Ness Monster” (giggle). It’s pretty good for some guys who recently supported Young Rebel Set at King Tuts after the promoter personally asked them to support on the back of an excellent performance opening for Inspiral Carpets’ frontman and now solo artist Tom Hingley there. And come on, you will agree with me that the Scottish brogue is just adorable, right? Listen to ‘Desperate Dan’ below.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 11th July 2011 at 12:00 pm
Words and photos by Martin Sharman
Representing the oft-overlooked genre of Scottish hip hop, The Church of When the Shit Hits the Fan blend bleeding-edge beats and classic hip hop stylings with diverse Celtic and metal influences. TGTF caught up with them at the launch gig of their second EP, the night before their biggest performance to date, on the T Break stage at T In The Park. Whilst their combination of dark, almost nihilstic lyrical tendencies and so-called “Doomcrunk” beats might be too much for some, their intensity is tempered by a tongue-in-cheek delivery. With a background in slam poetry, and previous experience as a professional clown, MC Harlequinade’s mixture of the literary and ridiculous makes for an entertaining and listenable show.
“I consider hip-hop to be a metagenre – instead of using funk and soul, we take our influences from black metal and integrate that into the hip-hop sound,” claims Harlequinade after the set. “Talk of the apocalypse doesn’t have to be negative – my approach is, the world could end tomorrow, so let’s have a party tonight!”
Citing obscure yet prolific hip-hop practitioner Noah23 as an influence, he’s sceptical about the relevance of more mainstream artists. “The underground hip hop scene is in a healthy state – but you have to dig deep beyond the usual knuckle-dragging, chest-beating mainstream acts to find the quality. I want to do something more cerebral.”
Is he looking forward to the band’s biggest performance to date tomorrow? “I’ve got mixed feelings about it. It’s great to be playing such a prestigious gig, but it’s an audience I never thought we’d be exposing ourselves to. We’re just going to have some fun.”
Has the time come when Scottish hip hop to makes a break for the mainstream? Only time will tell. Have a listen to and download a free EP from the band below. More photos of the band from T in the Park are behind the cut.
It’s safe to say that the world of atmospheric pop is still expanding. Artists such as Clock Opera and Gallops (featured on Kitsune’s recent release ‘Kitsune Maison 11: The Indie-Dance Issue’) have carved out a niche that many people in the UK want to be a part of. One of the newest bands on the scene are East London trio Waylayers. Since their formation last year, the band have begun to find success at a phenomenal rate. Their personal style of indie-pop electronica has already proved a hit with music buffs across the board, most noticeably 6Music’s Steve Lamacq who recently named them as an ‘Unsigned Band of the Week’. The London three-piece are now readying themselves for the release of their debut single, ‘Hear No Lies’ on the 1st of August (video below).
‘Hear No Lies’ was produced by Ewan Pearson (who notably has worked with the likes of TGTF favourite Delphic and Tracey Thorn), and his influence is noticeable. The catchy synthline stands out in what is a prime example of new atmospheric pop. Having only been a band for a short period of time, they’re still brimming with new ideas and styles. The haunting vocals and ambient melody create a chilling but conversely relaxing soundscape, which still keeps its indie-pop undertones.
Waylayers are due to release ‘Hear No Lies’ on 1st of August. They’re also playing the following dates over summer:
Tuesday 12th July 2011 – London Macbeth
Sunday 17th July 2011 – London Queen Of Hoxton
Friday 5th August 2011 – London Old Blue Last
Since starting out under the name of Kunek in 2004, Other Lives have been honing their craft of sophisticated indie. Forming seemingly in the middle of nowhere (Stillwater, Oklahoma to be exact), Other Lives are only now gearing up to release material over the pond. Having already found famous fans in the likes of Zane Lowe, the Flaming Lips and Radiohead, the buzz around the orchestral quintet is rising.
The first single from upcoming album ‘Tamer Animals’ is one of big sounds but similarly a minimal feel. ‘For 12′ (video below) mixes the instrumentals of acoustic guitar, percussion and keyboards to create music that isn’t overly dominating in any way and allows the vocals of Jesse Tabish to soar. Tabish’s vocals really do lift the song above its original platform, his ability to hit high notes and sing majestically give the song a sombre yet powerful edge. It is this style of intricate, orchestral, expansive almost dream pop which have made Other Lives such a hot commodity in certain circles.
The band’s first album to be released in the UK, ‘Tamer Animals’, is scheduled for release on the 29th of August. The LP was recorded over a period of 16 months in the band’s own recording studio, where every nuance and note was carefully structured to create what will prove to be an astonishing (almost) debut.
Other Lives are playing the following dates in August/September:
Friday 12th August 2011 – Leicester Summer Sundae Festival
Wednesday 17th August 2011 – Manchester Deaf Institut
Thursday 18th August 2011 – London Lexington
Friday 19th August 2011 – Green Man Festival (Brecon Beacons, Wales)
Saturday 3rd September 2011 – North Dorset End Of The Road Festival
By Luke Morton on Wednesday, 15th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
Hailing from the relatively unknown music scene of Lincoln, Midnight High are beginning to make a name for themselves across the UK. Formed from the ashes of various teenage bands, this indie-folk quartet have matured in recent years and are now focused solely on making catchy, emotive music.
Currently at the end of a mini-tour of Britain, Midnight High are determined to spread their own brand of indie-folk to the masses. Influenced by the likes of Paolo Nutini and The Strokes, the Lincoln four-piece have created an original sound in a scene populated by beige guitar bands.
Track ‘Dead Rabbits’ (which is available on their current self-titled EP) begins with a Johnny Cash-esque guitar, which continues throughout. Jace Weaver’s gravelly vocals really compliment the music, instead of the increasingly common whiny vocals found on a lot of indie releases – Midnight High are hopefully the breath of fresh are the indie scene needs. ‘Somewhere Along the Riverbed’ is much more akin to conventional modern guitar bands, but the vocals and lyrics are what differentiate Midnight High from the rest. Weaver’s voice stands out as the driving force behind the originality the band possess, although, without the rest of the group’s input the Lincoln lads could just become another ‘The’ band.
Despite still being unsigned, these guys are working hard to rectify it. Currently in the semi-finals of the Manchester leg of Surface Festival and playing many gigs across Britain, it hopefully won’t be long until you see the indie-folk foursome down at your local Barfly.
So what act is Raymonde’s latest acquisition? Cashier No. 9, a young-ish band from Belfast. The strange name? Comes from the name of a coffee bar that lead vocalist/guitarist Daniel Todd used to work at, before he gave it up for the musician life. And evidently (and to my great surprise), they’ve been around for a while: Paul Lester wrote about them on the Guardian New Band of the Day 3 years ago. Interestingly, back then Lester grouped them with Madchester bands the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. Perhaps…
This band calls their sound “pop / psychedelic” on their MySpace. I usually go running away from bands that call themselves “psychedelic” – which conjures up images of trippy dippy, stoned musicians wearing tie dye shirts. Regardless of how you feel about that label, listen to and watch the video for the Cashier No. 9 track ‘Goldmine’ below. It’s like they took the introverted dreaminess out of Coldplay (note: no piano in here at all), dipped it in honey and put it to a jaunty tempo. With the echo effects, okay, I can see in this track a possible comparison between them and shoegaze.
I don’t know enough about Belfast bands to say if they’re in front of the next big wave to come out of the Emerald Isle, but they don’t sound anything like Two Door Cinema Club (so don’t even go there). So hopefully they will come into their own and not be compared to that other indie band from Northern Ireland. Good luck to them, I say. But if you stop to consider that one of their tracks just missed getting playlisted on 6music recently, I don’t think they really need my help.
Cashier No. 9′s debut album, ‘To the Death of Fun’, will be released on 20 June on Bella Union.