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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 10th April 2013 at 9:00 am
Frankie and the Heartstrings will be touring the UK in June. Tickets are on sale now. Their next single, ‘Nothing Our Way’, has already made the BBC 6music rounds and will be released officially on the 20th of May. You can listen to it at the bottom of this post.
I am also very pleased to announce that the Sunderland band will be appearing on the Saturday (18 May) at this year’s Great Escape. So if you want to find me there, that’s one sure shout…
Saturday 18th May 2013 – Brighton Great Escape Festival (venue TBA)
Wednesday 5th June 2013 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 6th June 2013 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Friday 7th June 2013 – Newcastle University
Saturday 8th June 2013 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Sunday 9th June 2013 – Hartlepool Studio
Tuesday 11th June 2013 – Bristol Louisiana
Wednesday 12th June 2013 – Leicester Scholars Bar
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 29th March 2013 at 9:00 am
Carrie interviewed the lovely Bo Bruce last week; you can read the entire interview here. Bo will be heading out on a pretty big tour in June, but she has dates in April (London Social), May (Great Escape 2013) and later this summer at multiple music festivals. Tickets to the regular gig dates are on sale now.
Tuesday 16th April 2013 – London Social
Friday 17th May 2013 – Brighton Komedia Bar (Great Escape Festival)
Friday 14th June 2013 – Bristol Fleece
Saturday 15th June 2013 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 16th June 2013 – Newcastle Academy 2
Tuesady 18th June 2013 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Wednesday 19th June 2013 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Friday 21st June 2013 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 22nd June 2013 – Norwich Arts Centre
Sunday 23rd June 2013 – Southampton Joiners
Tuesday 25th June 2013 – Birmingham Glee Club
Wednesday 26th June 2013 – London Bush Hall
Sunday 7th July 2013 – Oxfordshire Cornbury Festival
Fri day-Sunday 12th-14th July 2013 – Kinross T In The Park
Saturday 27th July 2013 – Kendal Calling
Sunday 28th July 2013 – Stockton Weekender
Friday 30th August 2013 – Bingley Live Music Festival
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th February 2013 at 10:00 am
Ghostpost is offering up this free download of track ‘MSI MUSMID’, from his forthcoming album ‘Some Say I So I Say Light’, which is scheduled for release on the 6th of May on PIAS. This second album is the follow-up to Ghostpoet’s 2011 Mercury Prize-nominated debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam’. Listen to and download the teaser song below. He’ll be touring in May and June, all the details are below.
Saturday 18th May 2013 – Coventry Kasbah
Tuesday 21th May 2013 – Liverpool East Village Arts Club
Wednesday 22nd May 2013 – Sheffield Queens Road Social
Thursday 23rd May 2013 – Newcastle Cluny
Friday 24th May 2013 – Glasgow Broadcast
Saturday 25th May 2013 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Monday 27th May 2013 – Bournemouth Winchester
Tuesday 28th May 2013 – Manchester Gorilla
Wednesday 29th May 2013 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 30th May 2013 – London Village Underground
Sunday June 2nd – Leicester Academy
Monday June 3rd – Oxford Academy
Friday June 7th – Suffolk John Peel Arts Centre
Around since early 2007, when they were still being called 21 Demands, the band now known as Kodaline became the first group to have an independently released track hit #1 on the Irish singles chart. And now the Dublin-based band, most recently honoured with a BBC Sound of 2013 longlist nomination, has something new for us. The ‘High Hopes’ EP has two original songs, a cover and a remix.
With influences from indie and a touch of the modern folk rock movement, both ‘High Hopes’ and ‘The Answer’ are gorgeous simple tunes. Singer Steven Garrigan’s clear, earnest delivery gives us the perfect foil for the quandary of an enamoured suitor. Even the cover of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’ (video here) fits this mould. Only the remix of ‘All I Want’, originally from their first EP, seems out of place, all audio pixelated and jangly. However, you may be able to pick out recognisable parts to it because this tune was reworked as an instrumental for the music in Google’s quite amazing ‘Zeitgeist 2012’ advert (see below).
I think it was brave to attempt a cover of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’, and it is the track I am most taken with on the EP. Rather than a bouncy description of life traveling where one’s music will take you, this treatment is quite stripped back. It’s more a mournful exhortation of the plight of the musician on the road, moving on day after day to yet another gig. In this version, you can really hear that it’s not always the party life on the road can seem to be; but maybe if you have your friends there with you, it’ll be all right.
The video below for ‘High Hopes’ develops the kind of story that only a masterful storyteller can achieve in just four minutes. Up, down, downer still, and then, thankfully, up again the redemptive quality of hope is perfectly mirrored between the lyrics and images.
Kodaline’s debut album ‘In a Perfect World’ is due out on the 1st of April on Sony, but before then, catch them as they traipse through Britain from mid-March through to early April. The band will head on over to Austin for SXSW. (We previewed them in the singer/songwriter and folk UK bands chapter of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013.)
Saturday 23rd March 2013 – Bristol Thekla
Sunday 24th March 2013 – Norwich Arts Centre
Monday 25th March 2013 – Sheffield Leadmill
Tuesday 26th March 2013 – Manchester Academy 3
Thursday 28th March 2013 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Friday 29th March 2013 – Newcastle Cluny
Saturday 30th March 2013 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Sunday 31st March 2013 – Glasgow King Tuts
Tuesday 2nd April 2013 – Birmingham Institute Library
Wednesday 3th April 2013 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 4th April 2013 – London Scala
The NME Awards Tour is a long-established way to kick off the musical year with a quartet of bands that gathered plaudits in the preceding months. This year, we have Brummie style from Peace, noisy London shenanigans from Palma Violets, Liverpudlian swagger from Miles Kane, and sort-of-Scottish art-pop from Django Django. Surely something for everyone, and TGTF was there in Newcastle on opening night to see how things went down.
One’s heart goes out to Peace: their set began just as the Academy’s doors were opening, meaning the crowd was more stunted than they deserve. Nevertheless, there were whoops and hollers aplenty from a knot of dedicated fans right down the front. And any plaudits coming their way are well-deserved. Peace have a knack of honing in on any particular guitar music sound from the last couple of decades, and brilliantly recreating it as their own. ‘Follow Baby’ is a fine bit of pop-baggy last heard from EMF in the very early ‘90s. ‘Wraith’, shorn of its dubious blaxsploitation visuals is altogether more considered, with its funky guitar chops and enormous singalong chorus revealing a fine almost-love song.
But where Peace really sound most at home is in the unashamed power ballad ‘California Daze’. Sweet, sweeping backing vocals melt into a gentle guitar figure, the drums kick things up a gear about 90 seconds in, and the emotion is unashamed. A true lighters-in-the-air moment, which shows their maturity as songwriters and talent as performers. Perhaps for my sins, in the widescreen guitars and breadth of scope, I was reminded of a young U2. Peace deserve the latter band’s wider recognition, and tonight is a decent step towards achieving that.
Palma Violets (pictured at top) eschew subtlety in favour of noise, wild abandon, and onstage theatricality. Their sound owes a lot to punk – I’m sure there’s one or two Sex Pistols and Clash records in Sam Fryer’s parents’ record collection. Vocals are artfully tweaked out of tune, instrumentation is simple: a synth organ parping underneath distorted guitars. Fryer and bassist Chilli Jesson have a sweaty bromance going on, mic stands intimately close together, double-headed guitar action never far away. Certainly this is raucous, powerful stuff live, artfully lo-fi (as per the obvious and unnecessary tape noise on their recorded material). Are they the true heirs to the art-punk throne? Until their forthcoming album is properly analysed for the presence of decent songs, the jury is still out, but they’re certainly a fun way to spend half an hour.
As Miles Kane takes the stage, it becomes pretty clear that the crowd is his. Perhaps this is because, as his Wikipedia entry states, he is “very attractive”, or perhaps it’s the glint of his diamanté slippers that prove irresistible. Whatever the cause, the audience are big Kane fans, and he doesn’t disappoint them. Having been in bands since the age of 18, Kane knows a thing or two about throwing an onstage shape – for any young trainee frontmen watching, this was a masterclass in the art of swagger. Kane knows this is his big chance, and has got his pedal pressed hard to the floor. Imagine Liam Gallagher’s vocal sneer, his brother’s guitar technique, Alex Turner’s way with a tune, and Paul Weller’s haircut, and we have Miles Kane – a patchwork dadrock man in leather trousers.
But then again, there’s a big hole right now where all the big beasts used to prowl. So step forward Miles Kane, a pseudo-tribute to them all, to keep the guitar-loving public downloading content for the time being. The fact is, most people know what they like, and like what they know, and what they know is what Miles Kane is offering. If that sounds like damning with faint praise, it isn’t really. Kane is 100% professional, committed, and no box in the rock playbook is left unticked tonight. And, cynicism aside, that’s not an easy feat to pull off.
And so it’s left to Django Django to top that. And frankly, it’s a little too much of a jarring contrast to really work well, as the Djangos’ artful and considered musings requiring a little too much concentration in comparison with Kane’s balls-to-the-wall rock. Most of the crowd do stick around, although the atmosphere is noticeably more subdued than previously. Perhaps this is all the better to hear the subtleties in the music, of which their multi-layered arrangements are full. There’s the echo of The Beta Band throughout, which can only be a good thing. To their own audience, with the correct support, Django Django would make a lot more sense. As it is, they are a little too cerebral for the headline slot here tonight. Perhaps a less fickle crowd might await them in other parts of the country…
Overall, this is five-star entertainment: four set of deeply professional musicians, playing somewhere around the top of their game. If you want to find out about new bands before everyone else, this is not the event for you. If you’ve not been paying attention over the last 12 months or so, or just can’t be bothered to keep up, a quick trip to the NME Tour every winter should get you right up to speed with where pop music is right now. That would be a pretty good place, then.
There’s more to seeing Dutch Uncles live than the spectacle of the synesthetic dance moves of Duncan Wallis. But, by Jove, they’re worth seeing just for that. The UK tour in support of third album ‘Out Of Touch In The Wild’ began last night in Newcastle upon Tyne, and TGTF was there to soak up the atmosphere.
First we must address the issue of support act Francis Lung, a most singular practitioner of maudlin karaoke. Stick thin and clad exclusively in white, accompanied by nothing more than an iPod fed through a tiny Fender practice amp, Lung proceeds to emote heavily, skipping between styles like a spring lamb, fringe flapping like bed sheets on washday. Quite what he was on about is something of a mystery. Perhaps his abilities on bass for WU LYF have had some influence on his selection for this prestigious support slot; certainly his drunk-cousin-at-the-end-of-a-wedding-reception demeanour left a question mark on the lips of most of the audience here tonight. A second reading might reveal hidden depths, and he’s brave to attempt it at all, but such a bald presentation does him no favours.
Perhaps in a conscious effort not to upstage Mr. Lung, Dutch Uncles manage to fluff both ‘Pondage’, their first song of the evening, and ‘Bellio’, their second. But Wallis’ tender apologies for both mistakes are well received, and they subsequently put nary a foot wrong. On record, Dutch Uncles can be glassy and arch, but seeing them live puts those attributes into deep perspective. There’s oodles of funk, acres of space in the arrangements, yet the focus is deeply and permanently fixed on Mr. Wallis. His gentle, helium-tinged speaking voice is almost at odds with the powered delivery when the band is under full steam. His spidery arpeggios dominate even the double-pronged guitar attack, holding the complex arrangements together, providing a point of sharp focus around which the band rotate.
There is no more accessible song in their oeuvre than current single ‘Flexxin’. And nothing demonstrates better the frontman’s talents for moving his limbs. Check out the video if you haven’t already – this isn’t simply a bald retreading of second-hand Michael Jackson moves… this is something new altogether. An ability to move with sharpness, yet still portray a gentle humour. An ability to discard the shackles of self-awareness, yet be fully conscious of the importance of letting one’s artistry express itself how nature intended. Superb stuff. And the music holds up to the dancing, being at once complex through cymbal treble to bass guitar, yet eminently insistent, telling of the power of fun and funk to energise the listening crowd.
All that remains is to prove Dutch Uncles’ proper rock credentials with a trio of songs of increasing heaviness, ably led by ‘X-O’. As the funk of ‘Flexxin’ fades into memory, the complexity, and, yes, heaviness of their alter ego makes itself heard. Which proves the perfect coda for a performance of exquisite good taste, eloquent musicianship, and uncommon dance moves. As the band humbly leave the stage, the rest of the country should capitalise on their good fortune of having the experience of Dutch Uncles yet to come. And maybe a few Newcastle mirrors will witness a few Wallis moves over the coming days. Certainly mine will.
See more of Martin’s photos – and in high res! – on his Flickr.