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By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 26th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
Good ol’ Manchester can always be counted on to bring a great new band to our attention. Today’s topic? According to Braden, The 1975 used to go by the name The Big Sleep but changed their name to avoid any confusion with this band from New York or anyone else. Unlike most of their contemporaries from greater Manc who all seem to be running as fast as they can from the electronic ghosts of Joy Division and still soldiering on New Order, the 1975 is a band willing to take the best from what they absorbed growing up while opening their ears to urban references like TLC and ?uestlove. Further, these friends since their schooldays haven’t limited their influences to just purely musical ones; they point to fashion greats Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel as inspirations, leading us to believe that either forward-thinking clothing for sale or stylish album designs are in their future, as well as philosopher Bertrand Russell and beat poet Jack Kerouac.
The 1975′s debut EP ‘Facedown’ will be released on the 6th of August on Dirty Hit Records. If the label sounds familiar to you, no doubt it should be: they’re the brains that brought us Benjamin Francis Leftwich and General Fiasco, as well as Little Comets, after Columbia stupidly dropped them. ‘The City’ is a track off ‘Facedown’; great guitars, punishing drums and the nice buzz of a synth underlie an extremely poppy melody. Expect the line “if you wanna find love, then you know where the city is” to be on everyone’s lips very soon. We here at TGTF are keeping a close eye on this quartet.
Sometimes even the finest songs can wilt under the pressure of overfamiliarity. Joy Division’s most popular work ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ has surely suffered the fate of one too many earnest DJs attempting an easy bit of reflected cool by giving the doom-laden Mancunians another airing. Thankfully for fans of the song, Revere have recorded a spanking new acoustic version with none other than the legendary Malian kora player Toumani Diabate.
The song is transformed into a delicate acoustic piece, its dynamics turned from a stark, nihilistic edge-of-sanity documetary, into a lush, nihilistic edge-of-sanity documentary. There’s harp, cello, that blowy thing with a keyboard sounding better than ever before, and of course the 21-string African kora, which fits perfectly into the arrangement as if it always belonged there. Truly that rare thing, a cover version which genuinely adds extra complexity whilst revealing the true beauty of the original.
Revere are an epic septet from London – their enormous sound has inevitably been compared with Arcade Fire, and with good reason – there’s nothing the Canadians can do that these lot can’t do just as well, whether it be a bombastic vocal or a beautiful orchestral backdrop. There’s hints of Baltic folk, nods to John Barry, and with any justice they should be just as much household names as the Radioheads or Muses of this world.
Currently running a Pledgemusic campaign to raise funds for the follow-up to their self-recorded debut ‘Hey! Selim’, the aforementioned Joy Division cover can be downloaded from their pledge page in return for the small effort of signing up to their mailing list. Their epic live show can be sampled at this year’s Standon Calling, taking place 3-5 August.
There is a far too much maligned type of band in the music business: the boyband. Having been a massive fan of the late ’90s boyband scene (Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, 5ive, most of the lot), I have a fondness for this genre most likely not shared by my blogging contemporaries. While boybands won’t win any music awards except in popularity polls, what they do – and what they do very well is sing well and present incredibly catchy songs in an attractive package – shouldn’t be minimised or belittled. You might not like One Direction, but (don’t groan) they’re already starting to gain traction in America, as are the Wanted, who had their first headline North American tour last winter. Love ‘em or leave ‘em, boybands are here to stay, so you might as well stop whinging and get used to it.
The latest? We’ve heard about a new band from Cheltenham who’s been signed by well thought of Manchester indie label LAB Records. Called Young Kato, they’re six boys, boys being the operative word here: the collective average age of the band is 18. They’re making a big splash this weekend.. Tomorrow they will play their biggest gig yet with another teenage idol you’ve certainly heard of, Pixie Lott, at the Bristol Diamond Jubilee Concert at Cribbs Causeway. And then on Sunday (3rd of June) they will release the single ‘Drink, Dance, Play’.
I know what you’re going to say. That title sounds awfully trite. Then watch the video below. A gentle synth intro leads into a rather suburban scene. They’re drinking coffee (or perhaps tea?) out of little cups, not pints. Good on them for not glamourising drinking; after all, don’t forget who their core audience will probably be. A woman in dress clothes dances with reckless abandon; there’s something very freeing about that. There’s also brief scenes of a scantily clad couple snogging – let’s face it, sex sells – but it’s not for long, so it can get by the censors. Verdict: pretty good. And get used to it, because you’ll be hearing it on the radio soon enough.
But what actually turned me on to this band initially was going through my feed on Soundcloud and finding their track ‘When Lights Go Out’, which I think is actually catchier and less boyband-ish than the single. If you’re still reading this post, you have got to have a listen to this song too. (And ooh, it’s even a free download.) Remember what I said about boybands and not dissing them because their songs are insanely catchy? I can’t stop playing it. While I’m not agreeing with their press release stating this is “an amazing, punchy track likened to the pop offspring of Friendly Fires and Morrissey” – they sound like neither, though you could argue the wide-eyed wonderment of their singer sounds awfully like early Two Door Cinema Club – this track is likeable, fresh and fun enough that they could be the next hit of this festival season.
Definitely one to watch. With their debut EP out on the 23rd of July and produced by Gordon Mills, Jr. (Placebo, Ed Sheeran), you can expect quality product. Good luck, lads.
Saturday 2nd June 2012 – Bristol Cribbs Causeway (Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Festival)
Wednesday 20th July 2012 – Cheltenham 2 Pigs
Thursday 21st July 2012 – Gloucester Park Festival
Thursday 26th July 2012 – Birmingham Rainbow
Friday 27th July 2012 – Bristol Thekla
Golden Fable is the side project of Tim McIver and Becca Palin, otherwise known as cult act Tim and Sam’s Tim and the Sam Band with Tim and Sam. Got that? Tim and Sam are known for their gentle instrumental pieces and produced a well-reviewed album in 2010’s ‘Life Stream’, but mid-2011 they decided a new style and name was in order, and Golden Fable was born.
Maintaining the delicate instrumentation, but adding more loops and proper lyrics to their material made the name change worthwhile. First single ‘The Chill Pt. 2’ is a fragile, delicate thing, building with mellotron flutes to a dispersed vocal peak. New release ‘Always Golden’ (video below) has a more conventional song structure, with Becca’s keening, ethereal vocals the main hook, as gentle drums, strings, and sundry electronic clicks add depth and detail. Not afraid to include found sounds such as birdsong and running water, the sound is as clear and refreshing as a Welsh mountain stream.
See Golden Fable play Liverpool Sound City on Saturday (the 19th of May) at the Bombed Out Church at 19.00; they just appeared at the Great Escape last weekend. They will also make an appearance at London’s Oh Inverted World club night at the Old Queens Head on the 24th of May (this is a free gig) and Standon Calling the first weekend of August.
2:54 have already made 2012 theirs with an acclaimed showing at this year’s SXSW and supporting role on the Big Pink’s February UK tour. Their eponymous debut LP is set to be thrust in to the ether on the 28th of May and was produced by the legendary Alan Moulder of Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails fame). Also, they’ve somehow managed to shoehorn in a European tour, with a brief return for the UK festival season. The Bristolian sisters have laid out a smorgasbord of live tantalisers in anticipation of the release of lead single ‘Creeping’ on the 18th of June, supporting the xx at their comeback gig tonight, followed by their biggest show yet at London Scala with Gross Magic and Echo Lake on the 7th of June.
Originally from the green shores of Ireland, siblings Hannah and Collette (separated by 2 years of existence and little else) did as many sisters do and ended up sharing both tastes and possessions. Luckily for the discerning music lover, their tastes were weighty and abrasive grunge and their possessions were a pair of beaten guitars.
Their curious moniker is derived from their love of the Melvins, specifically the point in ‘A History of Bad Men’ (from their 2006 release ‘[A)] Senile Animal’) where the girls describe the bass as “doomy and dreamy”. It follows that they cite their most potent influences among the ‘Riot grrrl’ movement with bands like Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney and Huggy Bear. In reality their sound is closer to the shoegazing, adolescent angst of early Queens of the Stone Age, Bad Brains, The Melvins (of course) as well as recent tour compatriots Warpaint and Effi Briest.
The minimalist grunge of the title track from their debut single ‘Creeping’ has an air of Horrors latest release ‘Skying’, made viscous by the powerful fuzz of the guitars, a Joy Division bass line and slight incoherence of the lyrics. The imagery is that of a Vivienne Westwood style interpretation of urban decay, as it builds through a walking bassline, up to a satisfying crescendo given air by the tone of the guitar solo.
Accompanying track ‘The March’ has a fluidity to the guitar that reverberates cavernously, and while the vocals are again muffled (by this time you get tempted to search NHS Direct to check for the effects of tinnitus) you can make out a melody that wouldn’t be out of place in 90s dance music. You can only assume that this powerfully minimalist formula of a stock core rhythm dressed up in differing shades will form the basis to the entire first album. The formula has already proved ample enough to persuade Zane Lowe to give them air time on his Radio1 show; Huw Stephens has done the same but saw fit to dedicate the entirety of his to 2:54 on May 10th. So, if this response is anything to go by, then there may be a fair few more people ready to rave about this refreshingly original partnership come album release day.
2:54 play Chats Palace with the xx tonight, with an album preview show at Rough Trade on the 31st of May and Scala (all London shows) on the 7th of June. Their eponymous debut will be released the 28th of May while their lead single ‘Creeping’ will be released the 18th of June on Fiction.
By Tom Mughal
on Monday, 14th May 2012 at 12:00 pm
I’m not sure what’s in the water lately, but there’s definitely an increase of ‘60s-influenced bands. Just this week I had the pleasure of reviewing Weird Sounds’ debut album, ‘Choreography,’ which could pass as a lost Beach Boys album; now we’ve been introduced to Surrey six-piece who have obviously been dusting off their Beatles records.
Led by frontman Max Kinghorn-Mills, Wildeflower are releasing their debut single today via a new UK label Stella Mortos. Entitled ‘Good Girl’, the song is rife with Beatles-esque three-part harmonies that makes for perfect listening on a spring morning.
If I had to compare them to a band of recent time then the pianos and vocals are extremely similar to some of the slower Grizzly Bear tracks. Think close to ‘Ready, Able’ from their 2009 album ‘Veckatimest’.
Wildeflower may spend their time recording in bedrooms and in the countryside, (‘Good Girl’ ends with some beautiful rain sounds), but the band are performing live at the Fire Station in Windsor to celebrate their single release; an acoustic show that looks to be well worth the ticket price.
Wildeflower’s single ‘Good Girl’ is out today (14 May) and is available in extremely limited edition (limited to 250 copies) 7″ vinyl.