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By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 9th October 2014 at 4:00 pm
Carrie and I were just talking last week about us catching CYMBALS perform live at SXSW 2014 at Cheer Up Charlie’s, where I almost missed them by accident. The English band were over here in the States over the summer for a short string of live dates. Naturally, when they were in Seattle, they recorded a live set for radio station KEXP, as you do. In the video below are ‘Erosion’ ‘You Are’, ‘Winter ’98’, ‘The Natural World’ and ‘Like an Animal’, now committed to film for posterity. Enjoy.
Irish singer/songwriter duo Hudson Taylor, comprised of brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor, have slowly but surely gained a steady following of fans with their energetic, heavily harmonic brand of folk pop, inspired by classic folk rock acts like Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills and Nash. They officially declared themselves a band in 2011 and have since released 3 EPs (‘Battles’ and ‘Cinematic Lifestyles’ in 2012 and ‘Osea’ in 2013), as well as touring in support of Kodaline and Jake Bugg.
Hudson Taylor’s latest single ‘Chasing Rubies’ is due for release via Polydor Records on the 19th of October, just as they are finishing another round of support shows with Bugg. Like their previous songs, ‘Chasing Rubies’ is an energetic, lovelorn track featuring infectiously singable melodies and the type of seamlessly blended vocal harmonies that are best achieved by finely tuned sibling voices (think of Swedish duo First Aid Kit or fellow Dublin-based sister act Heathers).
The brothers show the full depth of their songwriting skill with the darkly dramatic ‘Battles’, a stomping Mumford-esque track about competing for a lover’s affection. In the accompanying video, featured below, they temper their fiery, vengeful lyrics, “I will lift her love and I’ll break your spirit / I will dig a hole and I’ll throw you in it” with imagery of colorfully costumed children playing battle in the woods. The children’s wide-eyed innocence contrasts sharply with the final line in the song’s chorus, “only time will tell if we’re all just cynics on the run / if we’re all just cynics come undone”.
Hudson Taylor are currently working toward a full LP release tentatively planned for early 2015. You can listen to a full playlist of their music on their YouTube channel, or sign up to their e-mail list to receive a free download of their jaunty acoustic track ‘Strangers’. Better yet, catch them live on their just announced headline UK tour scheduled for February 2015.
Singer/songwriter Paul Thomas Saunders has announced a brief tour of England for this coming November. Tickets are on sale now.
Saunders‘ debut album ‘Beautiful Desolation’, released in April on Atlantic Records, includes the track ‘In High Heels Burn It Down’, which you can preview below the tour date listing.
Wednesday 19th November 2014 – Brighton Green Door Store
Thursday 20th November 2014 – London Oslo
Saturday 22nd November 2014 – Leeds High and Lonesome Festival
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 8th October 2014 at 6:00 pm
The latest video from Cloud Nothings‘ current album ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is for ‘Now Here In’. An old-fashioned VHS style treatment seems to fit perfectly with the driving, hard-rockingness of the song. Toro Y Moi bassist Patrick Jeffords even makes a cameo. Watch it below.
‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is out now on Wichita Recordings.
Maximo Park’s Paul Smith and Field Music’s Peter Brewis have a new collaboration. ‘Frozen By Sight’ combines Brewis’ formidable musical chops with Smith’s rum lyrics, inspired by, or possibly lifted verbatim from, notes collected on his travels. Which amounts to some jazz-rock noodling overlaid with Smith’s momentously banal observations. There’s more than a whiff of Grauniad-endorsed chin-stroking implied here, with a side order of 6th-form pretension: imagine your least favourite uncle’s holiday slide show commentary with a soundtrack by Creme Brulée from The League of Gentlemen and you’re in the right ballpark.
‘Exiting Hyde Park Towers’ comes first. Ignore the ugly Americanism “exiting” and focus on the fact that the story largely comprises Smith hanging around in a London park observing a chap taking a phone call, meeting up with his girlfriend (who, it is noted, is wearing pink flip-flops), and wandering off into the distance. And there was I hoping for some incisive social commentary. ‘Barcelona (At Eye Level)’ is similarly dramaless – some people wander around the marina and lightning flashes a few times. Why did Gaudi bother?
Having said all that, as you might expect Brewis is as strong as ever, intertwining delicate yet assertive strings throughout his arrangements, showcasing the south-of-Tyne sounds we’ve come to know and love – big, thudding ’70s-style drums, fluid time signatures ebbing and flowing as required, and meaty, up-front production. Smith is known for his, as Yoko Ono would put it, “moon, spoon, june” lyrical style, so it’s quite pleasant to hear him take a more stream-of-consciousness approach here, which suits the meandering nature of the soundtrack and indeed the concept as a whole. And to be fair they do deliver on the concept – Smith has frozen a moment in time by visual observation, and baldly recorded it in a literary form halfway between prose and poetry, rather than a more conventional medium – that of photography, say.
Both tracks essentially desperately want to be ‘A Day in the Life’, and whilst Brewis does have a good stab at that multi-movemented style of orchestral pop, sadly Smith is no Paul McCartney when it comes to telling a story. He’s far too literal, lacking any sense of the fantastic, not letting his imagination intervene in his transcriptions of the day-to-day goings-on he observes. A decent dose of fancy, perhaps a tinge of psychedelia, or a few thousand conceptual holes, would have helped him climb out of a literal, lyrical one. But it will in all likelihood make a decent live happening, so for those of you lucky enough to live in London, Manchester or Gateshead (coincidentally the finest three cities in the UK), their live show is coming to you in December.
‘Frozen By Sight’ is due to be released on the 17th of November on Memphis Industries. The three-date English tour is set to take place in mid-December; all the details are here.
Sheffield quartet High Hazels will be heading out on tour next month in support of their upcoming debut album, due for release on the 27th of October via Heist or Hit Records. Our own editor Mary recently featured the video for their latest album track ‘Banging on My Door’. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Sunday 2nd November 2014 – Glasgow Broadcast
Thursday 6th November 2014 – Cardiff Gwdihw Cafe Bar
Saturday 8th November 2014 – Southampton Lennon’s
Tuesday 11th November 2014 – Leicester Cookie Jar
Wednesday 12th November 2014 – London Garage
Thursday 13th November 2014 – Nottingham JT Soar
Sunday 16th November 2014 – Harrogate Blues Bar
Thursday 20th November 2014 – Sheffield Leadmill
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