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By Mary Chang
on Monday, 25th August 2014 at 6:00 pm
Time is ticking down to when I get to see Tom Vek perform live for the first time. This new promo video for ‘Pushing Your Luck’ from his latest album ‘Luck’ (read my review here) is just exponentially increasing my excitement!
In a Vegas-style fruit machine type format with three windows that flip downwards, showing in Vek is various modes of too cool for school in a pair of shades, sometimes playing various instruments, sometimes appearing in front of way too brightly coloured backdrops, it’s visual genius to accompany the rhythmically engaging track. Watch the video below.
All the TGTF Tom Vek-flavoured goodness is this way. He’ll be touring the UK in October.
Sitting in a bizarre juxtaposition to early Black Sabbath and the Indian subcontinent are The Wytches. It’s an odd place to be, but this three-piece are relishing the company – not in the way Bombay Bicycle Club did, mind – but more in a “look, here’s a snake charmer, OK? We’re done now, let’s melt your face off” kind of way.
‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is the band’s debut album and from the start, it grabs your attention with its ambition. We’ve got a vocalist in Kristian Bell who’s a mix between Eoin Loveless at his most lyrically scathing and Steven Ansell at his most lovelorn, spinning guttural, powerful yarns about his dejected heart-broken existence. Song number two ‘Wide at Midnight’ introduces you to the underlying concept of the record, dejection. Prior to that and almost through the entire first half of the record you’re transported to a grungy Mumbai market, as a snake-charming tune underlies the melody.
‘Fragile Male for Sale’ is a plundering tub-thumper of a track with some thudding, juddering drum pelts and a booming bass line. The entire record reeks of this DIY nu-grunge revolution that seems to be gathering force under the banner of bands like Drenge, Slaves and, to a lesser extent, Royal Blood. I’m steering away from the term Great British Guitar Band Revolution, because firstly it doesn’t fucking exist and secondly because it’s a figment of NME’s imagination.
The Wytches are most definitely the new poster boys then, as they tick all the right boxes in their debut outing. I mean, even in their promo shot they look effortlessly cool, whilst still managing to pull of the faux-grunge look by having questionable hair styles. The record spins between remarkably heavy going, in both melody and prose: Dan Rumsey and Gianni Honey are an indomitable engine room behind the musings of Kell. Some of the heavier tracks almost merge into the territory of doom rock; however, the subject matter veers away from the bloody and dismembered, which I’d most certainly count as a positive development.
If you’re a guitar purist, you may be perturbed by the sheer quantity of reverb on most of the songs. But if you like your riffs unrefined and dirty as the floor of your car, then ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is the place for you. There are hints of The Melvins and The Scientists, in their noise-punky sound, but it’s got a far more 21st century edge, the kind which will undoubtedly see them compared to Nirvana.
As frontmen of this nu-grunge revolution, this Brighton born triumvirate will be waving their tricolore abroad as they are one of the chosen few bands, alongside acts like The Wombats, Dry the River, Fenech-Soler, Hadouken, Imogen Heap and Waylayers, in receipt of a share of £1,750,000 over the next two years. Why you ask? So the UK government can encourage them to promote their music around the world as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme.
With the 47-minute belter that ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is in The Wytches arsenal, I doubt audiences in America and afar will struggle to become as enamoured with the band as I have. The record is effortlessly powerful and manages to show a real heart in ‘Summer Again’ and ‘Weights and Ties’, showing that the boys can play it tough, but can also connect with an audience through some overwhelmingly powerful narratives.
Viva La Revolution, then?
The Wytches‘ debut album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is out today on Heavenly Recordings. Catch the band live as they traverse the UK in the last 3 months of 2014; all their touring plans are here.
The Drums have just announced their latest single ‘I Can’t Pretend’, along with a short list of UK tour dates for this November. (Mary featured earlier single ‘Magic Mountain’ here.) The pared-down pair will make three appearances in support of their upcoming album ‘Encyclopedia’, which is due out on the 22nd of September on Minor Records. Tickets for the following headline dates are available now.
Past coverage of the Drums on TGTF is right this way.
Tuesday 18th November 2014 – London Scala
Wednesday 19th November 2014 – Manchester Gorilla
Thursday 20th November 2014 – Glasgow Art School
Manchester indie rockers the Courteeners have recently announced a lengthy tour of the UK for this autumn in support of their fourth album ‘Concrete Love’ (reviewed here by our own editor Mary). The band will also appear at the Reading and Leeds Festivals this weekend. Tickets for the following headline dates go on sale Friday the 29th of August at 9 AM.
All of TGTF’s coverage on the Mancunians is here.
Monday 27th October 2014 – Sheffield Academy
Tuesday 28th October 2014 – Aberdeen Music Hall
Thursday 30th October 2014 – Dumfermline Alhambra
Friday 31st October 2014 – Glasgow Barrowland
Monday 3rd November 2014 – Blackburn King Georges Hall
Tuesday 4th November 2014 – Oxford Academy
Thursday 6th November 2014 – Newcastle Academy
Friday 7th November 2014 – London Brixton Academy
Sunday 9th November 2014 – Hull University
Monday 10th November 2014 – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 11th November 2014 – Leeds Academy
Thursday 13th November 2014 – Bristol Academy
Friday 14th November 2014 – Southampton Guildhall
Saturday 15th November 2014 – Leicester Academy
Monday 17th November 2014 – Cardiff University Solus
Tuesday 18th November 2014 – Cambridge Junction
Thursday 20th November 2014 – Birmingham Academy
Friday 21st November 2014 – Liverpool Echo Arena
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 22nd August 2014 at 6:00 pm
So you’re telling me you need a song to jump start your weekend, eh? Look no further than Young Guns‘ forthcoming single ‘I Want Out’, out the 28th of September on Virgin/EMI. Their third album, the follow-up to 2012′s ‘Bones’, is expected to drop in early 2015, and from the sound of this first taster, they’re going towards a more mainstream sound.
With enough brashness in its rock sensibility for Kerrang! to deem the tune “upbeat and anthemic” but with an underpinning of bright synths to match its colourful video, ‘I Want Out’ neatly bridges the gap between rock and pop and is sure to gain admirers from lovers of both genres. Watch the promo below.
Header photo by DL Anderson
This past Tuesday night, I continued my foray into the Arizona music scene with a trip to Tucson’s Club Congress to see North Carolina electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso. The venue itself is situated in the historic Hotel Congress, which has a lovely restaurant and separate bar area in addition to the club itself. Since I was running a bit late, I didn’t spend too much time exploring, choosing instead to head straight to the stage area. The room was sparsely populated at that point, about 30 minutes before the show was set to begin, but it gradually filled in, and there were clearly some fans there who had come to see the opening act, Portland-based band Dana Buoy.
Headed by frontman Dana Janssen, formerly of experimental rock band Akron/Family, Dana Buoy is an indie-rock act that mixes hints of warm West Coast sunshine in with their heavily psychedelic leanings. They opened the show with the expansive ‘Let Go Awhile’, which boded well for the rest of their set, but during their second number, ironically called ‘So Lucky’, things began to fall apart a bit. Janssen broke a guitar string (the low E, for those of you who care to know), and though he finished the song, he had to ask his bandmates, bass/keys man Justin Miller and drummer Logan Corcoran, to do an extended instrumental vamp while he changed it for a new one. The relatively sparse ‘Isla Mujeres’ was plagued a bit by the hastily tuned string, and Corcoran had some issues throughout the set with a rickety snare and cymbal, but he band were able to find a placid groove by the middle of their surprisingly lengthy opening set. They played a mix of brand new tracks and older favorites, including a nifty cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’, which features on recent EP ‘Preacher’, before closing with ‘Satellite Ozone’, from 2012 album ‘Summer Bodies’.
At the end of Dana Buoy’s set, the crowd in the small venue tangibly swelled, pushing toward the front of the room for the eagerly awaited entrance of the headline act. With no live instruments other than singer Amelia Meath’s velvety voice, Sylvan Esso’s stage arrangement is almost ridiculously simple; it took more time for Dana Buoy to clear off the stage than it did for Sylvan Esso to set up.
Is there still any debate as to whether the computer is a musical instrument? Producer Nick Sanborn put the question to rest right away, using only a rather spare looking electronic array to put down the rhythm tracks and sonic effects behind Meath’s lyrical stylings on the hot popular hit ‘Hey Mami’. Throughout the set, Sanborn turned knobs and manipulated sounds with an amazing degree of precision and technical skill, especially considering the rhythmic complexity of some of the duo’s tracks.
Sanborn’s previous experience in electronic music was fairly obvious (his solo project, Made of Oak, is pure electro), but Meath’s background in a cappella folk music seemed much farther removed from Sylvan Esso as I watched her onstage. Her sensual vocals and and saucy dance moves played to the visceral sensibilities of the crowd, who had come to get their groove on despite the tight space. Meath not only sang the liquid lyrical lines, but also displayed impressive physical prowess as she very gracefully gyrated and undulated through the dance beats in a pair of 4-inch platform soled boots. Sanborn’s dance moves, performed as he hunched over his computer, were markedly more rigid, but rather in keeping with the pair’s constant juxtaposition of organic and electronic elements.
Meath and Sanborn played through almost the entirety of their debut self-titled album, which was only released in the spring of this year on Partisan Records. Despite the relative newness of their songs, the punters in the crowd were clearly familiar with the tunes, singing along with Meath’s sexy rendering of the borrowed line “my baby does the hanky panky” in the addictive single ‘Coffee’ and her crooning “oohs” in hypnotic track ‘Wolf’.
Sylvan Esso closed the night with the track that started their collaboration, ‘Play It Right’, which was originally written for Meath’s folk trio, Mountain Man. Recontextualized by Sanborn, the song takes flight in live performance, and it left the crowd chanting for more. Unfortunately, the duo didn’t have more to give; being a new band with only one album to play from, they had by that point exhausted their repertoire. Sylvan Esso’s free trading collaboration has been abundantly fruitful in a short amount of time, and if the response at Club Congress is any indication, their audience would clearly love to hear it continue.
Sylvan Esso will tour the UK and Ireland beginning this September. Stay tuned to TGTF for a full list of tour dates.
After the cut: Dana Buoy and Sylvan Esso’s set lists.
Continue reading Live Review: Sylvan Esso with Dana Buoy at Club Congress, Tucson, AZ – 19th August 2014
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