By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 17th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
Sometimes the best results come out of spontaneous activity. Such is the case with Oxford band Spring Offensive‘s impromptu decision to tackle Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Coming Home’ and film it last minute on their smartphones. I really like this cover. Watch it below.
Earlier this month, we posted the band’s latest promo video for ‘Bodylifting’, which you can watch here.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 16th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
I don’t know about you, but in DC this morning, we had sub zero temperatures. So this new documentary-style video via Adio Marchant – better known at the moment under his solo stage name Bipolar Sunshine – from his time at SXSW 2014 couldn’t have come along at a better time. Sun, shades, good tunes…man I miss Austin!
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 14th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
Why suffer through the Californian desert heat (not to mention the damage to your wallet) when there are nice people on the internet that film entire sets from Coachella such as this one of Haim this past Friday afternoon? I don’t know if acoustics are to blame, but they don’t sound very good at all. Also, is it just me or do the Haim sisters look like they’re in pain and not actually enjoying performing at the festival? And it’s not just Este suffering as John witnessed at Reading 2013. Watch the whole shebang below.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 11th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
This past Wednesday, Brooklyn rockers Real Estate appeared on American late night talk show David Letterman to perform ‘Talking Backwards’. The song is featured on the group’s current album ‘Atlas’, out now on Domino. Watch the performance below.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 10th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
County Wicklow born singer/songwriter Hozier wowed the audience, including Carrie, at the Communion night at St. David’s church at SXSW 2014 last month. But this seems an even more appropriate venue for him to perform in: the Langton House Ballroom, where he filmed this acoustic performance of ‘To Be Alone’. Watch it below.
‘To Be Alone’ features on Hozier’s upcoming EP ‘From Eden’, out on the 28th of April on Rubyworks.
One would be forgiven for not understanding the subtle difference between School of Language, in which David Brewis sings and Peter Brewis plays the drums, and the Mercury-nominated Field Music, in which David Brewis sings and Peter Brewis plays the drums. Well, School of Language is ostensibly David’s solo operation, so despite the live presence of Pete (and the bassist looks somehow familiar too), pretty much everything on the album was written and recorded by David. So tonight there’s no Field Music-style instrument swapping: David takes full frontman responsibility throughout.
And he’s rather good at it, clad in ‘70s-dad chic complete with slacks and linen jacket, displaying an awkward cool which reflects the mindset of the music. He helpfully points out that this is the first School of Language gig since September 2008, a fact which surely does nothing to calm first-night anxiety – nervous fiddling with guitar controls and an in-and-out-of pocket plectrum are telling giveaways. Perhaps the knowledge that bro isn’t going to step out from behind the drum kit tonight adds an extra frisson of tension. But as the photos attest, when initial nerves give way to concentration and growing confidence, Brewis certainly looks the part, sharp of cheekbone and jawline, even throwing some modest guitar-hero moves.
The songs are as precise and efficient as the workings of a Swiss watch. ‘A Smile Cracks’ has two electric guitar solos and a drum solo, which in another context could be a byword for excess, but in fact both are the very model of restraint. There’s acres of space in the arrangements, allowing exact placement of the various melodic components. As the album cover art suggests, this is the motion of an architect’s pencil made music: line, form, and placement are elegant, specific and unambiguous – as if played on a set square and recorded in thin graphite strokes.
One shouldn’t assume that such methods preclude the portrayal of emotion, or that the end result must be soulless. Far from it: the whole SoL experience is one of restrained white funk. Mary has already mentioned Talking Heads in her review of ‘Old Fears’, and the comparison is apt indeed. Self-described “kinda the single” ‘Between the Suburbs’ hints at Nile Rodgers-era Bowie in its stop-start rhythm and chorused Stratocaster work. ‘Dress Up’ is so retro it hurts, heavy with FM synth, tremendous auto-wah guitar, and drums that again refuse to play anything even vaguely resembling a conventional beat. ‘Suits Us Better’ is a dreamy interlude of ethereal backing vocals and reverbed guitar, and a groove conjured from looped beatboxing: at once ethereal and lo-fi.
The introspective-on-record ‘So Much Time’ is slightly faster and certainly more intense live, and works well as a full-stop to an evening of fine virgin music. It’s the sort of gig one wishes to experience again – not because of any particular mind-blowing spectacle, more because of the nagging certainty that with music as subtle and charming as this, the first reading cannot reveal the true depth of everything that’s on offer. Oh well – that’s what records are for.