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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.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 9th May 2012 at 12:00 pm
You’re probably wondering why it’s taken us so long to cover Django Django officially. I already had an inkling they were going to be a big deal after their self-titled debut album came out at the end of January, following on the strength of the very poppy and very infectious ‘Default’. However, it wasn’t until I caught them at the Vic Galloway-curated SMIA night at Easy Tiger Patio on the Wednesday of this year’s SXSW that I felt had a better informed opinion of the band. Now that I have that, I feel comfortable talking about them with some level of authority. That and I figured it wasn’t worth fighting with everyone else over the last 3 months, every other outlet that was anointing them just solely based on ‘Default’ that they were the best thing since sliced bread. So here goes…
The basics: they met at art college in Edinburgh but didn’t actually get together until later, and in London; they’re not named after Django Reinhardt but ‘Son of Django’, a rave record that caught the attention of singer Vincent Neff, who turned his back on a probably lucrative and successful architecture career; Neff is from Northern Ireland (Templegrove, Derry to be exact), a tidbit gleaned out of an interview he did with RTE 2fm’s Jenny Huston at SXSW; ginger drummer David Maclean acts as their producer. Got all that?
I’d now like to dispel the ‘psychedelic’ label. While there’s a definite detached air of cool pervading their music, I think ‘psychedelic’ is a too simple genre for Django Django. The psychedelic age back in the ’60s is probably best remembered for stoned hippies, smelling of hash and going round with their flower power, and the music of the times, which seemed to be made by slightly better looking, better dressed musicians who were also under the influence. What seems to be forgotten is that even with the drug haze that hung in the air, there were some really lovely harmonies that came out of the period, typified best by bands like the Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, and later on the Eagles. The harmonies on ‘Django Django’ make this album transcend any other pop album; there’s a richness just on the vocals alone that have few real competitors in the music market today.
But it’s not just the harmonies that shine on this fine debut. The music, which is rhythmic and wholly engaging at times, mesmerising and beguiling at others, sometimes fights with the vocals for centre stage on this album. In other cases, I’d say this is not a good situation of the two halves of a song being at odds with each other. But instead, Django Django plays the lyrics off the music and vice versa, creating a mini-world with each song. Take for example, ‘Storm’ (video below), their latest single that was on this past Monday. Yes, it’s psychedelic looking with its bright colours and unfocused images, but forget that for a moment.
Listen to the beginning rhythms right from the start. Hypnotising. There’s a verse that goes “you are made / of complex sums / I’m counting all my fingers now I’m down to my thumbs” – it’s witty in the droll funny way Morrissey did it with the Smiths, but Django Django have the benefit of an even more earworm-y melody. ‘Waveforms’ follows a similar rhythmic path, though the vocals lift off from the ground to reach the heavens, with admittedly a trippy lyric of “and you wanna know why / all the rivers run dry / when I see you again / I see the look in your eyes…”, before heading back into percussion land, bouncing in such a way you’d have to be dead not to bop your head around and chair dance. Incredible, memorable pop. Good stuff.
What I hope you take from this piece that Django Django is far, far more than just ‘Default’. You’d be doing yourself a grave disservice if you didn’t check our their debut album, which is guaranteed to be an album everyone will be talking about in years in come, as well as appearing on top albums of 2012 lists. They’re not just psychedelic. They’re timeless.
Catch Django Django at the Great Escape on Thursday 10 May at the Pavilion Theatre at 23.45 and Friday 11 May at 22.15 at Blind Tiger as part of the Fly Magazine showcase. They will also appear at the Red Bull Studios Live at the Garage at Liverpool Sound City on Thursday 17 May at 23.30.
For some reason, I have a soft-spot for Omaha, NE. Home of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst and the college baseball’s World Series, Omaha is pretty much dead center of the United States and is not the easiest place to get to – or leave, I imagine.
But what is seeping out at the moment is the wind-whipped Midwestern sounds of the So So Sailors. Focusing on bright, piano-driven pop melodies, they evoke a laid back, happy mood that can easily accompany your afternoon gin and tonic. Headed up by Chris Machmuller on vocals and piano, and rounded out by Dan McCarthy (Wurlitzer), Alex McManus (guitar), Brendan Greene-Walsh (bass) and Dan Kemp (drums), the So-So Sailor Sailors are still shopping for a label in America, but No Dancing Records snapped them up for an Ireland/UK release on 10 June. Their six-song EP ‘Young Hearts’ features the free track ‘Des Moines’, which you can listen to and download for your very own from, the widget below.
There’s been an explosion of bands with deliberately un-Googleable names – The Internet, College, and now we have Money. Although after getting to know the band’s music and modus operandi a bit better, I wouldn’t be surprised if being difficult to find on the internet suited them just fine. They have selected their few recent gigs carefully: a well-reviewed set at Salford’s Sacred Trinity church, and more importantly, a star-studded appearance at David Lynch’s exclusive Paris club Silencio appear to have cemented Money’s reputation as the act that hip trendy people want to be seen to like. But what of the substance – whither the music itself?
They specialise in atmospheric, emotive songs of almost indeterminate length, full of portent and innuendo. ‘SOLONG(GODISDEAD)’ (video below), their latest 7” single released on French imprint Almost Musique, weaves gossamer vocals with a droning two-chord rhythm section performance that sounds like it was recorded at the very far end of an enormous cathedral, all the time Jamie Lee emoting like an Alpine cowherd’s morning yawn. Initially completely impenetrable, and even after several listens more of a mood piece than a song, it could be immense, or it could be really dull and not go anywhere at all, depending on one’s mood at the time.
That Money are making waves after several name changes and not much more than a year together, indicates that they are doing something right. Whether it’s the vagueness of their promotional material, or some primal human urge to protect such a fragile sound that might collapse at any moment like an under-done soufflé, they are attracting the right attention right now. Whether they can maintain the halos after a gruelling tour of tiny provincial venues, as mere mortal bands are required to do in order to become well-known, remains to be seen.
Despite having been compared to a mellow Manic Street Preachers (surely not their latter incarnation as pious tune-free middle-aged pop-socialists), what Money are most reminiscent of is a young Barrett-era Pink Floyd. Their meandering songs, impenetrable yet vulnerable vocals, and fondness for psychedelic visuals are all shared, as is the vague sense of genuine unease and slight danger. Money add a darker edge, presumably born of one too many rainy Mancunian afternoons, and seem so cavalier with their entire ethos that they might change direction tomorrow. But for now, the dark, experimental sound remains, and for those who want to buy the hippest of hip 7-inchers, spend some money on Money.
Money are scheduled to perform at 20.30 (8:30 PM) on Friday 11th May at Horatios (NME Radar showcase) as part of this year’s Great Escape programming.