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By Mary Chang
on Monday, 5th September 2016 at 10:00 am
Oh dear. The new Spring King promo video for ‘Detroit’ should take you back some years. Chuck Woolery and Love Connection, anyone? For those of you who need a quick primer: three suitors are separated by a wall from a woman they (presumably) all want to go on a blind date with. The single appears on the Manchester band’s debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’, which was released back in June on Transgressive Records. Carrie reviewed it for us here at TGTF, and you can read her thoughts back here. For more of our coverage of Spring King here on TGTF, including Steven’s interview with drummer and band leader Tarek Musa at Leefest 2016, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 2nd September 2016 at 6:00 pm
I don’t think anyone saw this coming, especially on the back of a new album released this summer. Big Deal announced yesterday that they were breaking up. It’s unclear why the band, led by Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe, would choose now to dissolve, especially off the back of their third album ‘Say Yes’, unveiled on Fat Cat Records in June. (You can read Adam’s review of the album back here.) As if they knew they needed an appropriate parting gesture, they revealed the promo video for ‘Idyllwild’, though I guess the word ‘promo’ is the wrong word to use in this case. We wish the band well. To reminisce and read our past coverage on Big Deal, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 2nd September 2016 at 4:00 pm
New Forest group Natives, now described on their press sheets as purveyors of ‘tribal-pop’, have unveiled a new live video from an influential trip they took abroad. The official promo video for the band’s single ‘Stop the Rain’ was released last month and sees the band carousing around Morocco. It appears, though, that they spent their time productively during their trip there, as they have also revealed this week another live video they recorded, performing the song stripped down on a rooftop, lit only by the moonlight behind them.
As these are uncertain, trying, upsetting times, I wanted to share with you this nice bit the group wrote to accompany the previous promo video for ‘Stop the Rain’. It’s a reminder that despite all the awfulness we are subjected to in the media that seems to get the lion’s share of attention, most of the folks inhabiting this planet have humanity for their fellow man. Those being vilified are not always the monsters some people make them out to be. Think for yourself and spread the positivity. ‘Stop the Rain’ is available from LAB Records now; for more on Natives on TGTF, go here.
“There’s a lot of negativity and Xenophobia in the world at the moment so It feels like the perfect time to share a positive story about mixing with other cultures…
Our love for percussion led us to Morocco, a muslim country where the Arabic East meets sub-Saharan Africa. We instantly fell in love with the rhythm of the place, from the main squares to the mountains, everything had a beat. We met Berbers in Agadir, where drumming circles are a part of everyday social life and were captivated by the way rhythm was used to bring people together and tell stories. This idea, coupled with the welcoming warmth of the culture formed the heart and soul of Stop The Rain.
The people we met couldn’t have made us feel more welcome, we were repeatedly invited to play music with locals who were keen to pass on their techniques and knowledge and often invited us into their homes to share stories. It was a life-changing experience for us and completely reinforced our outlook on community, culture and the world.”
The sunny days of summer may be drawing to a close, but TGTF’s monthly Spotify playlists are just getting started! This is our third installment of the monthly playlist, which includes all the new music we’ve featured here on the site through the month of August. (If you missed our first two monthly playlists, you can find the June collection here and the July compilation here.)
Our August tracklisting is remarkably heavy on female artists, including new music from London soul singer JONES, Irish sister duo Heathers and understated teenage songstress Billie Marten. You’ll also find on the list a lovely live acoustic performance from up-and-coming American singer/songwriter Julien Baker. We featured Baker’s cover version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Badlands’ just last week, but as that cover isn’t available on Spotify, we’ve included the original recording instead. New songs from Travis is a Tourist and Crocodiles were also unavailable via Spotify, but you can click their names to find our original features and have a listen.
We’ve had positive feedback on this monthly playlist feature so far, and we’re excited to keep it coming. If you like the monthly playlists and want to subscribe to the TGTF Spotify account, you can plug “spotify:user:tgtftunes” (no quotes) into the search bar and hit the Follow button.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 1st September 2016 at 6:00 pm
Twenty-something Melbourne artist Woodes has something new for us this week. The producer and singer/songwriter based in Melbourne who wowed me with a stripped-down appearance outside Drake One-Fifty during CMW 2016. In her new single ‘The Thaw’, she will remind you of minimalists the xx, but with more of a pop and r&b edge, perfect really for the BBC Radio 1 crowd. For the monochromatic accompanying promo video, Woodes – known to her mum as Elle Graham – takes off to the wilds in a black coat and her trademark blonde braids and to where else but a snowy scene. Watch the video for ‘The Thaw’ below. We’ll be looking forward to much more from the 23-year-old very soon, hopefully.
Madrid band The Parrots formed in 2008 when members Diego Garcia, Alex de Lucas and Larry Balboa met at university and instantly found comfort within a group of like-minded artists, photographers, DJs and musicians. The band’s previous EPs ‘Aden Arabie’ and ‘Weed for the Parrots’ were released in 2013 and 2015, respectively. Following their signing to Heavenly Recordings, the trio wasted no time in preparing for the release of their debut album: ‘Weed for the Parrots’ was released in May last year and by September, their album was already fully recorded.
I’m not very clued in on the music scene of mainland Europe, let alone specifically the DIY scene. But when you take The Parrots, often described as a garage rock band, and their debut album ‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’, there seems to be quite a focus on rehashing previous eras of popular music and regurgitating them. Some would say note for note. However, their album takes us back further than garage, as far back as the Sixties’ Los Angeles surf scene, when bands like The Road Runners and The Surfaris were topping the charts. The Parrots employ devices of surf rock but with the added apathy of stoners, because essentially that’s what they are. Twangy lead guitars weave around chord progressions that don’t stray far from chords 1, 4 and 5, held together with bass lines that stick to said chord tones with a simple open drum groove, would sum up of the album if boiled down to technical terms. But that’s not what we’re about here at TGTF, so let’s dig in further.
‘Too High to Die’ isn’t exactly the perfect example of what The Parrots are about, but it clearly showcases all of the elements listed above. There is a delicacy within the opening track that is almost misleading towards the rest of the album. Lightly reverberated guitars and a bass line that uses the major third exclusively lead the listener to believe The Parrots are serious about what they do, when actually they are three party animals that smoked and drank their way through the recording process of this album. The additional percussion and irregular hand clap rhythm are a nice touch, which show a bit of thought went in somewhere to keep the song interesting. The atmosphere is instantly shattered towards the midpoint of the track, when Garcia rips into a badly played solo, on a guitar with so much gain it sounds more like feedback than notes being played. I must add in here that these solos are somewhat of a constant throughout the album, even though they add no significant value to the music and do not progress the tracks in any way.
‘Let’s Do It Again’, along with ‘Casper’ and ‘E.A. Presley’, make up the bones of ‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’, each of them carrying the same fundamental elements heard in ‘Too High To Die’. On each, there’s an allowance for a bit of experimentation within the production as well as the band’s delivery. As each of these tracks pass, there is a growing sense of relaxation on the band’s part, to such an extent they aren’t caring at all when it comes to the boundaries of what is acceptable or not, notably with Garcia’s vocal projections. He applies more grit and gradually turns his projection of notes into a moaning of sounds. As the album progresses, Garcia’s vocals become more and more erratic and less confined to the fact that he is a singer in a band.
But the album isn’t totally filled with light-hearted jangly guitar melodies and major chord progressions. Sometimes songs don’t even have a progression at all, as is the case in ‘Jame Gumb’. A constant rolling bass line goes over one chord that Garcia rings out once every four bars plus a vocal melody that disguises itself within the depths of the sound creates an heavy, eerie atmosphere. Again, the track doesn’t seem to have much substance. With the Parrots, there is very little movement when considering song structure or subject matter. So rather than triggering a specific emotion or telling a story, it’s more like music for the sake of being music.
The Parrots do a great job in providing a sense of nostalgia within their surf rock reminiscent sound. However, instead of attempting to further the genre, with fresh and innovative ideas, The Parrots provide a basic outline of the greats they idolised and filled in the rest with whatever they felt like playing. If this album had of come out during the time of any of their biggest inspirations – Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Groupies or Marc Bolan – the Parrots as a band wouldn’t be so openly accepted as they are today. The level of musicianship and performance quality within ’ Los Niños Sin Miedo’ wouldn’t live up to standard of the greats listed above. As far as they’re concerned with 2016, it appears that The Parrots have decided music has gone has far as it can go and now that we’ve reached the limit, they’ve started over.
‘Los Niños Sin Miedo’, the debut album from Madrid garage trio The Parrots, is out now on Heavenly Recordings. For more on The Parrots on TGTF, go here.
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