‘Act on Impulse’ is the recently released taster for the forthcoming We Were Promised Jetpacks album ‘In the Pit of the Stomach’, to be released on Fat Cat on the 3rd of October. The very definition of a slow builder, this majestic track features a no less than 2-minute intro, with simple plucked guitar and kick drum developing into a complex groove of hypnotic future echoes. Suddenly, the edifice vanishes, and the song is afoot.
With an opening couplet of “He died alone / he died on impact”, this is never going to be a floor-filling party tune. But together with the second verse’s “we act alone / we act on impulse”, a sense of the song’s portent starts to develop. But before the sombre lyrical content can be fully realised, the attention is grabbed by a full Mogwai of sound, the vocal fading behind a morass of layered guitars. The drums are processed to within a micron of their life; guitars are similarly thrashed. A plaintive repetition of the vocal refrain later, it’s all over.
On this evidence, ‘In the Pit of the Stomach’ will be full of grand gestures, powerful arrangements, and serious if not maudlin lyrical content. Just the ticket for those ever-lengthening autumn evenings.
Download ‘Act on Impulse’ for free by entering your address below. We Were Promised Jetpacks go on the road in October (details here), right after the new album’s release on 3 October.
By Mary Chang on Wednesday, 6th July 2011 at 12:00 pm
As briefly alluded to in this MP3 of the Day post 2 weeks ago, Manchester DJ / production duo Heavyfeet will be working on a special remix project during the entire month of July. At the time, we here at TGTF didn’t know which Manchester-based bands were participating in the project. But now we can announce them:
The idea for the project came about from a conversation with a local landlord and music lover who had been there for the notorious days of Madchester in the late ’80s and early ’90s. And Heavyfeet’s thought was, why not build on the strengths of the strong Manchester music scene and merge their production talents with the gifts of their fellow Mancunian songwriters? So was born the “Manchester : Remixed” project, which will see Mike and James of Heavyfeet be hard at work all July on remixing a track from each of the above-named artists.
Want to keep up with their progress? Check back on the blog on their official Web site. On Sunday the 7th of August, an exclusive BBC Manchester / BBC Introducing programme featuring all eight of these remixes will be broadcast. After this broadcast, the remixes will be available for free download from Heavyfeet’s Web site and other great music blogs, including TGTF.
To get people excited about this project, Heavyfeet is giving away a brand new remix of the Delphic tune ‘Doubt’. It’s a high-energy, bouncier reinterpretation of a song that we’re all familiar with. Can you believe ‘Acolyte’ came out 17 months ago? Now, I’ve heard a lot of Delphic remixes, but this is really a refreshing version, with a great build-up to the vocal and a wicked summery groove that should get you up on your feet. Listen and download it below.
By Mary Chang on Monday, 27th June 2011 at 12:00 pm
I recall my first “run-in” with Bjork vividly, back in the mid-’90s. My brother, who had just purchased his first car (or should I say massive four-by-four), wanted to show it off and take little sister for a spin. After what felt like climbing a small mountain, I finally situated myself and he pulled out onto the road. “You gotta listen to this!” he said excitedly, popping a homemade CD into a then-fancy, car-specific CD player, cranking up the volume. (Yes kids, there once was a time when most cars were only outfitted with cassette tape players, so this was pretty exciting.) In those days, even with my limited knowledge of music outside of the British Invasion, I was pretty picky when it came to music. So at the time, being assaulted by strange music and an equally strange-sounding woman singing, all I could think of was, “what is this?” and “why in god’s name is my brother listening to this?” And so this was my introduction to Bjork’s ‘Debut’.
I still don’t get the appeal of this kooky Icelandic songstress – and to be honest, I’ve never had the suspicious “why were you going through a Bjork phase back then?” conversation with my brother – but she always manages to grab the limelight whenever she’s got something exciting in the pipeline. And yes, this summer she’s got everyone hot and bothered with her upcoming 3-week residency at Manchester’s Campfield Market Hall during the city’s annual International Festival, which includes seven live “previews” of her new music / art / technology (did someone say iPad app?) project, ‘Biophilia’. While she might not be my cup of tea, I can appreciate her originality and commitment to be true to herself. Take for example this “gameleste”, a new instrument Bjork had made for this project that is supposed to sound like a full musical ensemble from Thailand but is operated like an organ. How this is supposed to look and sound? Watch the video below.
As can be expected for Bjork’s first appearances in Britain in over 3 years, the tickets went quickly for the first set of tickets and only the first night’s show (tonight, 27 June) are still available. But if you can’t be in Manc this summer to hear the new music or see the related exhibition, the first track from ‘Biophilia’, ‘Crystalline’, has been proffered ahead of the album. First, it sounds like this gameleste is being used to good effect, which is pretty cool considering everyone and everybody is using the xylophone these days. There are sci-fi synth effects (which I suppose make sense, considering the song is about “crystalising galaxies”) and a minimal drum track going on while the plinky plony gameleste continues on throughout the whole song. Bjork’s voice is staccato at times, more expansive and operatic at others, but more interesting is the last minute of the track, which sounds like power tools let loose in an evil genius’s workshop. Maybe a Flying Lotus vibe too? Overall, it sounds okay, but Bjork’s voice in general gets on my nerves and after a while I’m sure this song would get on my nerves too. However, if you’ve been watching her every move since her days in the Sugarcubes, I imagine you will love this.
Bjork is scheduled to play seven shows at Campfield Market Hall in Manchester, starting tonight. The other shows (all sold out) are on the 30th June and 3rd, 7th, 10th, 13 and 16th of July.
By Mary Chang on Thursday, 23rd June 2011 at 12:00 pm
Three years it’s been since their debut album, ‘X Marks Destination’, was released. But the Whip, originally from the outskirts of Manchester (Oldham to be exact), have announced they’re going to release their sophomore long player, ‘Wired Together’, in mid-September. This is good news for electro / dance / rock loving kids like myself, those who didn’t really completely connect with Metronomy’s ‘The English Riviera’, for example. Three months of the new album dropping in your local music shop, the band are offering up a stream of five of the tracks for your early consumption, to get you psyched up for the actual release, of course. To be fair, it’s the perfect time to get people thinking about the upcoming album, as the band is scheduled to appear at Wireless, Shoreditch, Secret Garden Party and Kendal Calling festivals in July, and support the Music in August on their farewell tour, and then follow these live appearances with sets at Newcastle Ignition and Leefest in mid-August. (Specific details on the album and these live gigs are on the band’s official Web site.)
Things start off in fine fashion with ‘Secret Weapon’ and ‘Movement’; I used the words “fine fashion” because these tracks have got so much spunk, so much confidence, they makes me want to prance down a catwalk in some groovy chic Vivienne Westwood and 5-inch stillettos. (To be honest, this whole sampler should be snapped up for London Fashion Week. I get some royalties for the suggestion, surely?) I can totally see people getting down and dirty to the groove to these songs in a club. The last minute or so of ‘Movement’ for the track breakdown is very sexy.
Then comes the pulsating beats of ‘Riot’. This one has a bigger, Tiesto / deadmau5 kind of sound, especially when you’ve explored the track about a third of the way in, and I suspect the track is geared towards and will be welcomed wholeheartedly by fans of those famed DJs. Have the Whip ever played Ultra Music Festival? If not, they sound ready for 2012, ready to raise the roof. Even with the slow down at the 3-minute mark, the song comes roaring back in great form.
After three phenomenal tracks, you might feel a bit let down with ‘Master of Ceremonies’ (new age-y and not nearly as exciting). But ‘Slow Down’ renews your faith. It reminds me a bit of Savage Garden (which is kind of funny, given we just reviewed Darren Hayes’ latest single yesterday). But I guess the explanation for the slower pace of this song is that ravers can’t go on forever. I guess this appears on the album so you can catch your breath.
But my interest has been piqued, which is what samplers are supposed to do, right? Can’t wait for the album. Roll on September!
‘Wired Together’, the new album from the Whip, will be released on 19 September on Southern Fried Records. (But fried chicken doesn’t really go with electronic music…or does it?)
By Mary Chang on Thursday, 21st April 2011 at 12:00 pm
Last year, thanks to Philadelphia Grand Jury and the Paper Scissors, I was convinced Australia was yet another untapped, rich musical resource that was just waiting to be discovered. (And I’m not just talking about the Temper Trap‘s quick rise to fame when I say this.) Sounds Like Brisbane is a collective of labels from that Western town in Australia that have chosen to band together for marketing and promotional efforts, with the main goal of getting music out to the masses.
Just like with any industry, music is a lot about networking, so what better way for bands and their management/PR to help each other out. Organising artists to tour on the same bill and play shows together can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to break new regions of the world, so ‘partnering up’ with like-minded individuals from your town is a really intelligent way to go, especially in this day and age when something as simple as an embedded Soundcloud player allows artists to spread their music easily and globally.
My personal favourites of the bunch are ‘Shanghai Surprise’ by My Fiction (melodic guitars and frenetic vocals a bit like Two Door Cinema Club but darker?) and ‘The Thought Police’ by Ektoise (atmospheric alt-electronica). But have a listen to the tracks below and who knows, maybe you’ll discover some new favourites. Certainly let us know if there’s one (or some) you’d like us to feature here on TGTF. We’re definitely going to keep an eye on the burgeoning Brisbane scene.
By Mary Chang on Thursday, 31st March 2011 at 2:00 pm
So Manchester indie rock/dance band Delphic have been in hiding somewhere in the Cheshire countryside since last autumn, working on new tunes for public consumption. They’ve teased fans since early February with a new, pared down Web site with beautiful photos and bits and pieces of songs (and inexplicably, a chicken head coming out from behind a tree) that may or may not show up in future musical efforts (see their YouTube channel or their official Web site for more on these). But today is the first ‘track’ they’ve uploaded to their Soundcloud in quite a while.
It’s all very mysterious. First off, it’s not a full song. (Darn.) Second, there are no lyrics. (Double darn.) Third, the photo on your upper right (a photo of a nice sunrise taken on holiday, perhaps?) was uploaded as ‘cover art’, though it seems quite appropriate given the title of this piece of a song they’re calling ‘Colours of the Day Break Out’. They’ve obviously been busy tinkering with the ol’ synths, echoing and compressing chords. This bit of sound would work really well if, say, you were standing on a Tibetan mountaintop and admiring the impressive vistas from your most excellent vantage point. It sounds spring-y, or possibly summery to me and very chill.
The timing of bringing out something new couldn’t be better, as Delphic will be playing live next week (the 5th of April at London Koko, alongside the likes of the Naked and Famous, Pony Pony Run Run and La Roux [DJ set]) for the first time since their sold-out appearance at Manchester Warehouse Project on 30 October late last year. The big question on everyone’s mind is, will they be playing new songs? We’re still waiting for the finer details but the gig at Koko is purported to be the first ever to be broadcast live on Spotify. If you have Spotify, keep an eye out for more information on this in the coming days.
So what do you think? Comments on this brief peek into what the self-described purveyors of “euphoric melancholy” have been doing the last 5 months are welcome.