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Dark. Indie. Shoegaze. Pop. If any of these words grab at you, then take note of Insect Guide, a three-piece band hailing from Leeds who are set to release their second album, ‘Dark Days & Nights’ this May.
The band received widespread praise and recognition for debut album ‘6ft in Love’ in November 2007, and their momentum in the musical underground clearly hasn’t slowed down since, having released a limited EP of remixes by Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3/Spectrum) in 2008.
Now with their future sophomore release, the band brings their distinctive skills and veteran know-how of flowing into the mainstream. Title track and upcoming single ‘Dark Days & Nights’ is a moody, poignant tune which talks of ‘sticky club floors’ and see-through love, all while being beautifully smashed up against an atmospheric wall of sound.
Meanwhile, ‘This City’ offers a distinctive blend of sounds raining down from the pop clouds. Clocking in just over two minutes, the track carries kind of infectious riff reminiscent of 1980s English post-punk band, Psychedelic Furs.
Finally, for those of you who remember the time when Manchester indie-rock band James hit their ‘commercial’ peak in the mid ‘90s -or if you just simply have great taste and are a fan of the band – listen to Insect Guide’s ‘Down From Here’ and try to convince me that the fantastic drum line doesn’t resemble ‘Sometimes’ from the glorious ‘Laid’ album. As with the band’s previous tracks, ‘Down From Here’ offers a supersonic collision of chaos and beauty, making the overall song poppy and very much accessible.
To think that I’ve been blown away by just sampling of songs from the band’s forthcoming album is quite remarkable. Needless to say, I look forward to enjoying their full LP, as I’m sure many others will too.
When I reviewed London “indie-disco-pop” trio Cha-Cha‘s first single, ‘Phonographic Love,’ I was sure its power to cause spontaneous dancing couldn’t be topped, but I was wrong. With their second single, ‘The Fellowship,’ they’ve created a song SO catchy I could barely stay in my seat long enough to write this post!
A crowd favorite at their gigs, this track is heavy on the bass and the synths and has a killer hook, though I have to disagree with lead singer Blain McGuigan’s claim that he ‘ain’t no upbeat Casanova’. Put on your dancing shoes and check out out the brand new, home video-style music video for ‘The Fellowship’, “featuring a game of golf, a dog, featherdusters, a caravan, skateboards, hiding and running”:
While you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to hear it on their album (the release has been delayed from 14th March to 10th May 2010), to make up for it their label, Pop Noodle Records, is offering the song as a a free download on their website.
If you pre-order a copy of Cha-Cha’s forthcoming debut album, ‘We Are…,’ between now and 9th April 2010, it will arrive in the post by 17th April, nearly 3 weeks before its official release. Be sure to check back soon for the TGTF review of the album.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 19th March 2010 at 6:00 pm
Broken Bells is the new alt-rock project of Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) and James Mercer of the Shins. By now you’ve probably heard their single ‘The High Road’, taken from their self-titled debut album released in the UK last week (on 08 March).
I am totally digging their sound that recalls the expansiveness of the Eagles, psychedelia of the late ’60s, the great falsettos from ’70s disco, and even ’80s video game blips. The two met at Roskilde Festival in 2004 and discovered they were fans of each other’s work. They worked in secret on new music until September 2009, when they finally revealed their new project.
Here’s a live performance of their groovy ‘The Ghost Inside’ on American telly’s ‘Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’ earlier this month. It even features trippy lighting!
Broken Bells’s self-titled debut album is available now from Columbia Records.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 19th March 2010 at 12:00 pm
From accounts I’ve heard so far, We Were Promised Jetpacks have been wowing audiences across North America on their latest tour, which just wrapped up on 15 March. And at these shows, singer Adam Thompson has been referring to “our new EP” which is called ‘The Last Place You’ll Look’ and will be released digitally in the UK on 12 April. I’ve seen the Scottish quartet twice now and really love the immediacy of their debut album, ‘These Four Walls’. So I’ve been itching to get my hands on their new material.
‘A Far Cry’, the first song on the new EP, sounds like the Jetpacks’s “going to war” song. Darren Lackie’s drumming on the song should bring everyone to attention. The spare guitars from Thompson, guitarist Michael Palmer and bassist Sean Smith in the lyric-less ‘The Walls are Wearing Thin’ are proof that these Scots are technically dextrous with their instruments. They put in good effort with ‘With the Benefit of Hindsight'; the only problem with the track is that in the joy of putting horns with their usual backing, Thompson’s vocals are muddled and lost in the mix. For me, his powerful vocals are a central source of power in the band’s songs, so it’s the one disappointment I have with this EP.
Two of the songs should be familiar to WWPJ fans: for this EP, ‘Short Bursts’ and ‘This is My House, This is My Home’ have been reworked and give way to amazing results. An uncle of mine once asked me what they sounded like, and at a loss of how to describe their hard-hitting live sound I said, vaguely, “uh…punk? Rock-ish?” But you’d never think of these songs as punk. The re-do of ‘Short Bursts’ is less raw, warmer. And the new version of ‘This is My House…’ is slowed down, with added strings and Thompson’s emotional Scottish brogue coming together to feel like your mother wrapping you in a warm blanket. Lovely. While this EP is a good stop-gap between albums, it’s made me look forward to their sophomore effort and hope that they’ll be able to take the maturity evidenced in this EP and combine it winningly with the ‘These Four Walls’ laddishness.
As alluded to in my Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel gig review last month, I couldn’t buy this EP at the show because the merchandise table had disappeared from its post before I could get over there. And I’ve found out why I couldn’t find information on the physical release of the new EP: the physical format will only be available at their shows this year, so word to the wise: if you’re like me and prefer physical CDs, be sure to see them live and buy this great EP in person.
We Were Promised Jetpacks’s new EP, ‘The Last Place You’ll Look’, will be released digitally by Fat Cat Records on 12 April and can be pre-ordered now. The physical format of the EP will be available exclusively at the band’s live shows this year.
Yes, you’re probably fed up of going on and on about Blog Off!? This Saturday night – Theregoesthefear’s first gig night at London’s Roundhouse with Victoria & Jacob, Jazica and Starlings all playing.
We were all geared up for Saturday night. Then a friend mentioned about the lack of between set entertainment, so rather than the classic “pop the ipod on shuffle” trick, we asked a few friends, dug around, called in a few favours and managed to blag the rather fantabulous Ou Est Le Swimming Pool to DJ between sets. Yes, that’s right, the same Ou Est Le Swimming Pool that finished in our top “10 for 2010″ poll last year. The same Ou Est Le Swimming Pool that are supporting La Roux in a few months. Oh yes.
So, if you’re at a loss as to what to do on Saturday night, why not pop down to Camden’s Roundhouse studios to catch some ace live music? doors are at 7:30pm on 20th March 2010 and tickets are on sale now for those of you that like a discount and planning ahead – they’re just £5 now and will be £6 on the door. Or, if you don’t fancy paying, you can win one of two pairs of tickets to the event here.
You can order your tickets now on the Roundhouse’s website, or join the Facebook event.
If you’re a fan of electropop and NOT a fan of JLS, then you’ll love Hot Chip‘s hilarious new video for ‘I Feel Better.’ The video takes place at a gig for a boy band that looks an awful lot like JLS, and is pretty straightforward until a man in a white robe floats in and starts shooting lasers from his mouth…don’t ask me to explain, I don’t get it either. I’m not usually a fan of music videos that put sound effects over the song, but it works in this case. Directed by actor/comedian Peter Serafinowicz, it’s as entertaining as it is random. Check it out below:
‘I Feel Better’ is the second single from Hot Chip’s latest album, ‘One Life Stand.’ Check out Mary’s review of the album here.