By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 27th August 2014 at 6:00 pm
Electropop dance band Fenech-Soler are currently in America to support the release of their second album ‘Rituals’ just made available in the States this week. Naturally with this brand new effort behind an album that was released last year, they’ve filmed an alternate video for ‘Last Forever’.
The first version unveiled last year was a love letter to the sea and surfing, with the band conspicuously absent; this new one stars all four band members – brothers Ben and Ross Duffy, Daniel Soler and Andrew Lindsay – playing their instruments and playing around while you’re watching the scene move right in front of your eyes. I don’t think it was meant be as funny as it is, but the guys say it’s “The most fun we’ve had making a music video.” so just go with it! Watch the promo below.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 27th August 2014 at 4:00 pm
Kent space / prog rock band Broken Hands performed last weekend at Reading/Leeds Festivals 2014, and even if you weren’t there to see them, BBC Introducing has you covered. The five-piece performed the rockin’ track ‘Hanging Off a Meteor’ and have committed it to tape.
We’ve heard Broken Hands are now hiding out working on writing new songs. Is a debut album on the horizon? We certainly hope so. In the meantime, watch the live performance below.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 27th August 2014 at 12:00 pm
This week marks the release of ‘Closing Time’, the latest album from Erland and the Carnival. While the band are on an indie (Full Time Hobby), considering that many bands can’t even get past their first albums without getting dropped, losing interest in the endeavour or breaking up, being able to say you’ve put out your third LP to the wild is a major accomplishment. The band, featuring the strong songwriting partnership of Orkney frontman Erland Cooper and ex-Verve guitarist and keyboardist Simon Tong, show off in fine fashion on ‘Closing Time’ their best work yet.
While 2011′s ‘Nightingale’ saw the band stretching their artistic arms towards the fanciful, with songs that might have felt more at home soundtracking films and/or utilising quirky electronic sounds, this album’s strengths are the storytelling in each of the individual tracks and the emotional content therein. The album begins with the twinkly title track, with precious xylophone and keyboard notes. Is it a death knell for a release to announce, repeatedly, from the start, “closing time / time to get you out of my mind / time to get you out of my life / nothing lasts forever”? Not necessarily.
The feeling stands more as a motto for the collection of 10 songs, an indicator of what is to come. And when I used the words ‘emotional content’ before, I meant it. There are some truly heart-wrenching moments on this album. ‘Closing Time’ expresses regret over a failed relationship and also possibly death (“please don’t talk about me when I’m gone / I’ll keep to the shadows after the light has gone”). Despite its upbeat tempo and seemingly gay guitar work, Cooper’s self-deprecation is on display in ‘Wrong’, as Cooper insists he’s “plain wrong” and begs for someone “can you help me?” as strings sympathetically hum.
Previous single ‘Quiet Love’, which features backing vocals and guitar for surprise guest Paul Weller, is a study in loneliness, a lilting paean to waiting for the Right One to come along but in the meantime, it’s perfectly okay to find peace in being alone. On standout ‘That’s the Way It Should Have Begun (But It’s Hopeless)’ Cooper might not be as witty as Neil Hannon, nor would the Divine Comedy mastermind be likely to use electronic chords or effects, but the feeling of hopelessness in a relationship being played out over a pop melody is very Hannon-esque.
The other major theme on this album is mortality. While touched upon on the title track, closing number ‘Daughter’ best exemplifies this. Written with a half bottle of whiskey and shortly after Cooper became a father for the first time, his process to describe leaving this world is an attempt to reassure (“just before I say goodbye / loving you won’t die”). Of the song, Cooper says, “I was trying to write and record the simplest song that can say a number of deeper things while saying something completely obvious.” The song is actually not that simple: while it features a repetitive but music box-like soothing piano melody, it features some looped backing vocals interspersed throughout that I guessed were the band’s attempt to mimic the disorientation one feels when nearing the end. The result is a song that is beautiful but also unsettling, unearthly.
Also haunting is ‘They’re Talking About You Again’, a conversation about “a different kind of love” (presumably homosexuality) and whether we will arrive in Heaven exalted (“will there be stars in my crown? / the evening sun’s going down / are we blessed in the mansions of rest? / will there be stars in my crown?”). In the tune, the guitars are suitably downbeat, as are the descending piano notes that are alternately forlorn and beautiful.
In the face of all this darkness and depth, some lighter moments feel out of place. ‘I Am Joan’ was originally titled humorously in honour of Tong’s nickname of ‘Joan of Arc’ for Cooper and sounds more like the prog folk rock band they began as 6 years ago; it comes across as enjoyable, but it’s fluff nevertheless. ‘Birth of a Nation’ is poptastic with its bright synths and marching gait, so there’s no question why this was chosen as a single. But it’s lightweight compared to some of its song brethren on ‘Closing Time’. Still, as a whole, this album proves Erland and the Carnival can write and record serious, yet touching, beautiful stories with engaging melodies. They also aren’t afraid of putting their heart on their sleeve or broaching some serious topics in popular song. And on all three counts, they should be truly commended.
Erland and the Carnival‘s third album ‘Closing Time’ is out now on Full Time Hobby. The band will be on tour in the UK in October. If you’re quick, you can hear the band live on BBC 6music iPlayer on a session they recorded with Marc Riley on the 6th of August.
Ben Howard blew my mind recently with the teaser track ‘End of the Affair’ from his upcoming 2nd album ‘I Forgot Where We Were’, due out on the 20th of October via Island Records. Howard has now announced the release of the first single and title track from that album, which you can hear at the bottom of this page, along with a short list of tour dates for the end of this year. Tickets for the following shows go on general sale this coming Friday, the 29th of August, at 9 AM.
Wednesday 3rd December 2014 – Manchester Apollo
Thursday 4th December 2014 – Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Saturday 6th December 2014 – Edinburgh Usher Hall
Sunday 7th December 2014 – Dublin Olympia
Wednesday 10th December 2014 – London Brixton Academy
Thursday 11th December 2014 – London Brixton Academy
Continuing their comeback effort, The Kooks will follow their summer festival appearances, which included Glastonbury as well as Reading and Leeds, with a full headline tour of the UK this November. Their new album ‘Listen’ is due out on the 1st of September; tickets for the following shows go on sale this Friday the 29th of August at 9 AM.
Thursday 6th November 2014 – Leicester Academy
Friday 7th November 2014 – Brighton Dome
Saturday 8th November 2014 – Manchester Academy
Monday 10th November 2014 – Newcastle Academy
Tuesday 11th November 2014 – Aberdeen Music Hall
Thursday 13th November 2014 – Leeds Academy
Friday 14th November 2014 – Sheffield Academy
Saturday 15th November 2014 – Birmingham Academy
Monday 17th November 2014 – Bristol Academy
Tuesday 18th November 2014 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Wednesday 19th November 2014 – Bournemouth Academy
Friday 21st November 2014 – Norwich UEA
Saturday 22nd November 2014 – Cardiff University Great Hall
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 26th August 2014 at 6:00 pm
Glaswegian synthpop band Prides have a new video for “I Should Know You Better’. According to the promo, the yeti of our nightmares is actually a pretty cool dude. Sadly, as happens too often, humankind becomes scared of things it knows nothing about. Watch the video below.
Catch Prides on tour this October; all the details are this way.