Withered Hand, the band project of Scottish singer/songwriter Dan Willson, will tour the UK next month in support of their album ‘New Gods’, which was released back in March, just before SXSW 2014. I had the pleasure of a quick chat with Willson as part of TGTF’s SXSW coverage, and you can read my review of ‘New Gods’ here.
The upcoming single from ‘New Gods’, called ‘Black Tambourine’, is due out on the 15th of September on Fortuna Pop! Records. The animated video for the song, which you can view just below the tour date listing, was created and directed by visual artist Cameron Watt.
Friday 10 October 2014 – Paisley Arts Centre
Saturday 11 October 2014 – Newcastle Mining Institute
Sunday 12 October 2014 – Wakefield Hop
Tuesday 14 October 2014 – London Scala
Wednesday 15 October 2014 – Nottingham Maze
Thursday 16 October 2014 – Coventry Tin
Friday 17 October 2014 – Manchester Kraak
Indie alt-folk collective Cocos Lovers have just announced a list of October tour dates with fellow folkies Hot Feet. In addition to the following dates, the two bands will appear at the Homegrown Festival in Bury St. Edmunds and the Carefully Planned Festival in Manchester on the 18th and 19th of October, respectively. They will wrap up the tour with a late November show at the Canterbury Gulbenkian. Tickets for these dates are available now.
Wednesday 15th October 2014 – Surrey Riverhouse Barn
Tuesday 21st October 2014 – Leeds Oporto
Wednesday 22nd October 2014 – Huddersfield Bar 1:22
Thursday 23rd October 2014 – Newcastle Cluny 2
Friday 24th October 2014 – Bristol Grain Barge
Saturday 26th October 2014 – London Lexington
Monday 27th October 2014 – Norwich Arts Centre
Tuesday 28th October 2014 – Cambridge Portland Arms
Wednesday 29th October 2014 – Leamington Spa LAMP
Thursday 30th October 2014 – Winchester Railway
Saturday 29th November 2014 – Canterbury Gulbenkian
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 10th September 2014 at 6:00 pm
‘Month of Sundays’ is Metronomy‘s fourth single from their current album ‘Love Letters’, which was released earlier this year. I don’t think I would have known this song was theirs if it hadn’t been labelled as such; it’s pretty understated as Metronomy hits go. Watch the promo below.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 10th September 2014 at 2:00 pm
After having seen sold out shows at U Street Music Hall starring the Gaslight Anthem, Kodaline and more recently, Glass Animals 2 months previous to the day, it seems that from here on in I should just expect ridiculous scenes at the place. This past Monday night, the initially dance-orientated but now fully indie-friendly venue played host to a Cherrytree / Interscope Records label tour starring some of the brightest stars in their universe. Interestingly, the three bands chosen for this tour – opener Secret Someones and co-headliners Sir Sly and Wolf Gang – all make pretty different music, but pop is the thread that unites them all.
Like seemingly 90% of all the bands in the United States, Secret Someones hail from Brooklyn. Seeing three girls onstage in a band, I was expecting a Bangles-esque sound to come blaring through the speakers. However, it soon became apparent that whether drummer / multi-instrumentalist Zach Jones’ maleness makes a difference or not is moot. This is a young band with a lot of potential, if they only could decide on the direction they want to take. Given the way the music business is right now, maybe it’d be better if this group continued the way they are going and then be a quadruple threat in indie rock, straight rock, pop and folk? That’s a lot of keep track of. So what happens to them remains to be seen.
Bess Rogers, Hannah Winkler, and Lelia Broussard are clearly gifted in singing (they take turns taking lead vocals) and in particular their combined harmonies, which are wonderful. If you’d never seen them before, you might think incorrectly that they were actually sisters. That’s how tight their harmonies are, making me think of the pure pop sensibility of Wilson Philips. But such sweet harmonies make more sense in softer pop or folk contexts, don’t they? Those styles seem diametrically opposed to the kick-arse rendition of Nirvana’s ‘Breed’ they unleashed on us, which also makes an appearance on their debut EP ‘I Won’t Follow’. Jones felt it necessary to explain after that they’d just played a Nirvana cover, which should tell you a lot about the average age of punters at the show. The title track of the EP, which Secret Someones used to close out their set, sends the right kind of message not only for young women but for everyone of all ages and genders: be confident in your own strength.
I’ve seen London indie pop band Wolf Gang multiple times now at U Hall, it’s now a running joke with me and the guys, and even frontman Max McElligott himself mentioned it onstage on this night, saying it was practically like their second home. Not a bad thing at all. Now fully a four-piece band comprised of McElligott, guitarist Gavin Slater, bassist James Woods and drummer Lasse Petersen, instead of just McElligott’s vision of grandeur with backing touring members, is readying for the release of the second Wolf Gang album, ‘Alveron’, here in the States.
Early single ‘Lay Your Love Down’ revealed a couple weeks ago has been a clear indication that McElligott intends to continue Wolf Gang with the epic pop songwriting that continues the reign of ‘Lions in Cages’ and ‘The King and All of His Men’ to this day. While McElligott proffered an acoustic version of ‘Ghost in My Life’ in the second half of the set to “change things up a bit”, it was left to the core love and relationships’ type of songs this band is known for to keep things upbeat. The exuberance of spring 2014 single ‘Black River’ grabbed hold of your attention straight out of the gate, while the sweeping yet funky ‘Back to Back’ wowed and proved a definite standout of the night. The sexy, r&b-tinged ‘Now I Can Feel It’ off the new album shows the band isn’t afraid to spread their wings.
The most tender moment of the night was when McElligott dedicated ‘Midnight Dancers’ to a couple they’d met earlier at the meet and greet, who had explained tearfully this was the song they used for their first dance when they married recently. He said they felt so special and honoured to have been a part of their lives. And when a personable band like Wolf Gang does come into your life, you can’t help but feel grateful that as a massive fan of the band, you’re being taken along on the ride while that band works hard for their successes. You feel like family. Having followed their story since 2009, I anticipate with the release of ‘Alveron’, their time will finally have come.
Stay and Defend
If You Could Believe (new song)
Lay Your Love Down
Back to Back
The King and All of His Men
Ghost in My Life (acoustic)
Now I Can Feel It (new song)
Lions in Cages
Alveron (new song)
Like Wolf Gang, Sir Sly have toured America several times as support for bands I’m not particularly fond of, and I was certain it would not be long before they returned to DC as a headliner. While they are a three-piece on paper, live they are a five-man crew creating a massive wall of sound so magnificent and loud, I had to excuse myself from the pit about 25 minutes in because the beats were so relentless. Watching them further back didn’t diminish their impression at the slightest. When I saw the vertical light strips hung on the back wall of the stage, I knew we were about to be sonically and visually assaulted.
I’ve been watching this band, comprised of frontman / guitarist / keyboardist Landon Jacobs with multi-instrumentalists Jason Suwito and Hayden Coplen pretty closely over the last couple of months, primarily because I’ve been beguiled by the intoxicating combination of electronic, r&b, hip hop and pop they’re offering up. Considering the disparate populations of fans we have in the world who like one of two of these genres and might hate the others, Sir Sly does an incredible job putting it all together in a way that’s palatable to all. I thought it was a quite ballsy move to begin with ‘Where I’m Going’, one of their biggest songs to date; it was the gig equivalent of putting your cards out on the table right from the very start. It could have set a terrible tone for the night if it’d gone badly.
Instead, the massive underlying buzzy synths, combined with Jacobs’ oozy yet boy next door vocals, electrified the audience. The buzz from the synths continued with ‘Ghost’, with a super infectious backbeat and Jacobs’ little boy lost vocal delivery. With a rapped intro and heavy-hitting percussion, previous EP title track in minor key ‘Gold’ was a crowd favourite, punters’ hands in the air. But for me, the defining moment was when they brought out ‘You Haunt Me’, their most recent single and coincidentally the title track of their debut album out next week. The song has a bouncy ‘80s style rhythm throughout and features a glittery synth chorus that could have gone into cavity-inducing territory in the wrong hands. But no. Sir Sly brings it back far enough where it sounds fresh and new AND catchy. No mean feat. If I were to pick the next American band to be huge in 2015, no contest. Give Sir Sly the crown now.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 10th September 2014 at 12:00 pm
This week sees the release of London band Duologue‘s second album. Their 2012 debut ‘Song & Dance’ featured the epic ‘Cut and Run’ and the wholly mesmerising ‘Machine Stop’, so the question was always going to be, in what direction would the band going to go for album #2? Even having listened to ‘Never Get Lost’ a couple times, I’m still not sure myself, as the songs contained within it vary from track to track in tempo and mood. The best description I can come up with so far is that like some of Broken Bells‘ music, it sounds like Duologue were trying to make a record that sounded like it had come from another world or at the very least by seriously unconventional means, which I realise could be take either as a compliment or insult, depending on the company.
The two early teasers from the band this summer were certainly intriguing. The suitably electronic geek-titled ‘Drag & Drop’ shows off singer Tim Digby-Bell’s soulful yet at times nearly desperate vocals, while the glitchy wub wub wubs and big beats go on as if in indifference to his emotions. It’s pretty brilliant. ‘Forests’, which we gave away in mid-June in this previous MP3 of the Day post, features a catchy, shuffling electronic rhythm that draws you in. Important to note are Digby-Bell’s expansive vocals in its chorus, in addition to the overall feel of the song, is much gentler than those of ‘Drag & Drop’. But what of the other tracks on ‘Never Get Lost’?
The album begins rather darkly and in a brooding way with ‘Memex’. The electronics are minimised on this track, presumably to invite the listener in slowly but surely into the world that Duologue has woven so carefully. Shortly after the 3 and a half minute mark, the song is thrown into urgency, as electronics essentially take over the album. ‘This is Happening’, with its sardonic synth line and its all-pervading sinisterness, it is one of the album’s standouts as a memorable slow groove. Whoever decided to place ‘Drag & Drop’ after it deserves a gold star, as the pair of songs sound perfect one after another.
Going back to that alien feeling, ‘All Night Shows’ in the middle of the LP is the most otherworldly of the bunch. If you’re an electro head, I can see you digging this. I couldn’t imagine myself listening to it often, only when I was in the mood, but I can appreciate the effort. But for anyone else, I suspect it sounds overdone, overwrought and over the top and in some ways, entirely inhuman as it squeaks and squeals its way to its end. Rhythmically engaging ‘Traps’ also falls into this alien music category. Contrast these songs with the album’s last two tracks and most of ‘Departures’ and the first third of ‘Parts of the Blame’, which showcase more conventional pop songwriting structures. Are we still listening to the same album?
The schizophrenic ‘Siblings’ is a good example of where this album falls flat: it’s admirable with its many layers of textures but nevertheless, it lacks focus. For sure, there are some great electronic beat heights and some truly wonderful moments on ‘Never Get Lost’. But if one looks at the sum of its parts, it feels like this album might have done better with a case of less is more. Any electronic artist will tell you the most difficult part of creating music is self-editing.
Duologue’s second album ‘Never Get Lost’ is out now on Wild Game Records.
You Me at Six have just announced a co-headline arena tour with All Time Low for February 2015. Ahead of the five arena dates, You Me at Six will release a special edition of their 4th album ‘Cavalier Youth’, which will feature several acoustic studio recordings and an exclusive poster booklet. The special album release is due on the 20th of October, but in the meantime, you can check out latest single ‘Room to Breathe’ below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Monday 9th February 2015 – Cardiff Arena
Tuesday 10th February 2015 – Birmingham Arena
Thursday 12th February 2015 – Glasgow Hydro
Friday 13th February 2015 – Manchester Phones 4 U Arena
Saturday 14th February 2015 – London O2