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By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 28th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
Django Django‘s recently released their second album ‘Born Under Saturn’, and on it is ‘Shake and Tremble’, which sees the band being less rhythmic but push out the boat on their more psychedelic roots. This is also true for the promo video for the song, which is trippy as hell, the band themselves performing in a hot, sweaty jungle. During a storm. Check it out below.
Past coverage on the Scottish band is this way.
When I think of teenage musicians, my mind immediately conjures images of fleeting pop sensations like Justin Bieber, whose music is largely of the disposable and generic variety. As a general rule, their songs are cloying and one-dimensional, with unrelenting dance beats and tritely catchy lyrics but without emotional depth or any indication of thoughtful musicality. But there are exceptions to that rule, the ubiquitous Taylor Swift being one that immediately springs to mind. Swift’s music career, already long and storied even at her young age of 25, has endured because she has been willing to evolve from her original plainspoken acoustic country style to her current iteration as a brazenly in-your-face pop culture diva.
“Diva” is the very last word in the dictionary that one would choose to describe 19-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson, better known on stage and on record as SOAK. SOAK is about as far removed from Taylor Swift as she can possibly be, on the pop culture continuum and the music continuum as well. Where Swift successfully employs the aforementioned sick-beat-catchy-lyric technique (am I allowed to use the phrase “sick beat”?), SOAK takes a much more subtle tack on her debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’. Dressed modestly in black and armed only with an acoustic guitar and loop pedal, SOAK mesmerized her audiences at SXSW 2015 earlier this spring with the austere sincerity of her performances. And though her album features fully fleshed out instrumental arrangements of the songs we heard in Austin, its outstanding characteristic is still SOAK’s delicate singing voice, the fragile sensitivity of her delivery matching the tender honesty in her introspective lyrics.
SOAK’s skater-teen background does show itself momentarily in the youthful text-speak spellings of some of her song titles, including ‘B a noBody’, whose video is just below, and ‘Blud’, which we featured as a Video of the Moment back in April. Despite their initial appearance, these are not superficial teen pop tunes with computer-generated backbeats and lyrics about boys and fashion. ‘B a noBody’, which follows the instrumental ‘My Brain’ to open the album, lingers in the ears with the haunting, vaguely sad refrain, “come on, come on / be just like me / come on, come on / be a nobody”. ‘Blud’ is a bit grittier, as SOAK intones the line “you’re in my blood” with an affected pronunciation suggestive of the track’s spelling. This mildly irksome vocal mannerism persists throughout the album, clearly a deliberate artistic choice made to enhance the expressivity of SOAK’s singing, but the overall beauty of the songs assuages the minor annoyance.
Following the opening three-track sequence, SOAK continues to intersperse her songs with short, curiously-titled instrumental interludes, which provide moments of reprieve and reflection among the fluctuating moods of the proper songs. The more upbeat tracks like ‘Sea Creatures’ and ‘Garden’ nicely balance the darker tone of ‘24 Windowed House’ and the ethereal ‘SHUVELS’. SOAK revisits the rougher edge of her singing voice on standout track ‘Reckless Behaviour’ before closing with the piercing melancholy of ‘Oh Brother’, which contains the album’s title lyric, and starkly moving final track ‘Blind’.
‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ is eloquently written from a truly special vantage point at the precise intersection of adolescence and adulthood. The songs are replete with SOAK’s unique combination of poignant emotionality and growing intellectual awareness, a distinctive juxtaposition she might never be able to again achieve. However, my overwhelming sense upon hearing the complete album is that SOAK has enormous potential to evolve, both musically and personally, just as her pop counterpart Taylor Swift has done. In which direction that evolution might take SOAK of course remains to be seen, but the sky will be the limit if she keeps her own dreams in sight.
SOAK’s debut album ‘Before We Forgot How To Dream’ is due out next Monday, the 1st of June, on Rough Trade Records. The album is currently streaming in full on NPR. SOAK will support the album release with live dates in the UK and Ireland; find all the details here. If you’ve missed our previous coverage of SOAK, including her appearance at SXSW 2015, you can find it all right back here.
Manchester psych-pop quintet Blossoms will embark on a 13-date headline tour of the UK this autumn, after their scheduled summer festival appearances at T in the Park, Festival No. 6 and Kendal Calling. The video for the band’s latest single ‘Cut Me and I’ll Bleed’ can be viewed just below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following live shows go on sale tomorrow, Friday the 29th of May, at 9 AM.
Previous TGTF coverage of Blossoms is right back here.
Friday 2nd October 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Saturday 3rd October 2015 – Newcastle Riverside
Wednesday 7th October 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 8th October 2015 – Sheffield Leadmill
Friday 9th October 2015 – Liverpool Academy 2
Saturday 10th October 2015 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Wednesday 14th October 2015 – York Fibbers
Thursday 15th October 2015 – London Village Underground
Friday 16th October 2015 – Norwich Arts Centre
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Birmingham Institute
Wednesday 21st October 2015 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 22nd October 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Friday 23rd October 2015 – Manchester Ritz
Arguably the hottest indie rock act of 2015, Catfish and the Bottlemen have announced that they will follow their sold out spring tour with more live dates in the UK this autumn. The band’s previously announced November shows at London’s Brixton Academy are already sold out, but the new dates include a back-to-back booking at the Manchester Apollo. Catfish and the Bottlemen will also appear at a slew of upcoming summer festivals, including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, T In the Park, Latitude and Festival No. 6.
The next single from Catfish and the Bottlemen’s debut album ‘The Balcony’ released last year will be the acoustic ballad ‘Hourglass’. The video for ‘Hourglass’, which features actor Ewan McGregor, can be viewed below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows go on general sale tomorrow, Friday the 29th of May, at 10 AM.
Our extensive previous coverage of Catfish and the Bottlemen can be found right back here.
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – Exeter Great Hall
Thursday 29th October 2015 – Cardiff University Great Hall
Saturday 31st October 2015 – Aberdeen Music Hall
Sunday 1st November 2015 – Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Tuesday 3rd November 2015 – Manchester Apollo
Wednesday 4th November 2015 – Manchester Apollo
Friday 6th November 2015 – London Brixton Academy (sold out)
Saturday 7th November 2015 – London Brixton Academy (sold out)
Sunday 8th November 2015 – Birmingham Academy
Tuesday 10th November 2015 – Nottingham Rock City
Wednesday 11th November 2015 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Thursday 12th November 2015 – Southampton Guildhall
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
Ahead of the release of their debut album for Transgressive Records, ‘A Dream Outside’, which sees its release on the 15th of June, Gengahr has released the video for their ‘Heroine’. The promo for the London indie rock band’s latest single is special in that it’s the first one of theirs in which the band actually appear in. Check out the artsy visuals for ‘Heroine’ below. If you preorder the album, you’ll get the single for free and instant download.
Catch Gengahr on tour in the UK in October; all the details of their tour are this way. All past coverage on Gengahr, including their interview with Carrie in Austin at SXSW 2015, is available here.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 26th May 2015 at 6:00 pm
We can now anoint Frankie and the Heartstrings with the title of Sunderland’s nattiest dressers. In their new video for foot stomper ‘Think Yourself Lucky’, they’re all images of lounge lizard loveliness, clearly vying for the title too of the North East’s answer to the Temptations with their smooth moves. And if you like the idea of Frankie Francis romancing a tattoed man in a dress, this video’s for you. (Ha!)
Frankie and the Heartstrings have also just announced today an album launch party at Newcastle Cluny for the 10th of July, when their third album ‘Decency’ sees the light of day. Buy tickets for the event here, and while you’re at it, check out our past coverage of the band, will you?
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