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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th April 2015 at 6:00 pm
I’m definitely of the mind that for every one of us, we all need a special friend all to yourselves. In the promo for Bridlington duo Seafret‘s single ‘Atlantis’ out the 11th of May on Sweet Jane Recordings, a young misfit boy befriends a furry monster with horns who others are scared of, and for no good reason. Or is it all a dream the boy concocts in his head to escape the unpleasantness of real life? Watch the video below and find out.
Read Chris’ review of the single, posted earlier this month, here.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 23rd April 2015 at 6:00 pm
Leeds alt rockers The Dunwells will be releasing a new EP, ‘Lucky Ones’, on the second bank holiday Monday, the 26th of May, next month. Ahead of the EP hitting the street, the band – starring the eponymous brother Joseph and David Dunwell, half of their group – have premiered the promo video for the EP’s title track. Catchy with a definite pop edge and uplifting message, it’s perfect for the start of summer. Have a watch and listen to ‘Lucky Ones’ below.
We’ve been supporting the Dunwells for quite a while, and you can read all our past coverage on the band through here.
Brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson Taylor picked up their craft from a young age, busking on the streets of their hometown of Dublin. With that experience in mind, along with the success they’ve since had across the UK and Europe, the pair’s debut album ‘Singing for Strangers’ has managed to capture their endearing presence and disarmingly beautiful folk-pop.
Amidst their young years, their warming collection of handclaps and triumphant harmonies exude a charming maturity, first highlighted by ‘Just a Thought’. A racing piano melody and rousing choruses keep their opener light and bouncy, leaving it all too easy to draw comparisons with fellow Irish gents, Kodaline. The same goes for the blissful hooks and anthemic choruses of ‘Chasing Rubies’ and ‘World Without You’. However, the duo can, and do play the aces up their sleeves.
On ‘Butterflies’ they produce a resplendent folk ballad, a gorgeous arrangement of genteel acoustic guitar chords and yearning lyrics. It gives you the first notion of how versatile their sound can be: it’s timeless if you wish to coin the cliché, but there’s a sense of honesty and growing confidence through the record. “Wish I could have told her I’m freaking out” and “when I broke into her heart, I threw away the key” cry the vocals on ‘Night Before the Morning After’; by the time you reach ‘Weapons’ however, they’re shouting out to shed any secrets and “put down your weapons”.
From this confidence comes the blistering Americana inspired ‘Battles’. They’ve found a different pool of influences, channelling fiery folk this time, as their love story transpires and burns vehemently. “We are tied to the truth….the tie that binds me to you” they spout with fierce delivery, as they do battle with your emotions in the album’s closing stages.
Their call to arms is followed by another burst of personal defiance, as the tempo-shifting, blues inflected ‘Don’t Tell Me’ carries similar gusto. It feels a little repetitive and relentless, but nonetheless they manage to create some impact; it’s not as punchy as the track’s predecessor, but it’s got all the right intentions, even if it doesn’t have the same vigour and lunging refrains. ‘For the Last Time’ and ‘Off the Hook’ go on to highlight their stripped-back heritage; it’s something of a sobering and delicate come down after the radio friendly first half of the album.
In all, Hudson Taylor’s debut is a brief moment to sit back, mull over their many EPs and think “well, aren’t these chaps going to be about for a long time”. The production of their songs has become more elaborate and grandiose, but, the songs remain straightforward and heartfelt. Though it is not a re-education of folk music, nonetheless it’s an incredibly enjoyable explanation of where modern folk has got too; and in a number of places, where it’s heading too.
‘Singing for Strangers’, the debut from Irish brothers Hudson Taylor, is out now via Polydor Records.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 22nd April 2015 at 6:00 pm
Beth Jeans Houghton‘s down and dirty alter-ego Du Blonde has a new video for the world, in the form of ‘Black Flag’, which we gave away in February. Showing off a bigger mouth than usual (ha!), then frolicking in a gold lame cape in a Zola Jesus kind of way (I’m stretching, I know…but I’m at a loss to explain this any further.) Watch the video below.
Du Blonde’s debut album ‘Welcome Back to Milk’ (huh?) will be out on the 18th of May on Mute Records.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 22nd April 2015 at 12:00 pm
One of the most important milestones for a young band is the release of the debut album. Although they’ve been poking round under the radar for some time now, London-based indie pop/rock band Life in Film finally see this goal come to fruition next month with the release of ‘Here It Comes’. At the helm of production duties was Stephen Street, famous for his association with the Smiths and Morrissey’s subsequent first solo album ‘Viva Hate’, as well as his long production history with Blur that includes ‘The Magic Whip’, out next week.
Life in Film’s style is one based on the rugged, lovely simplicity of the guitar band, and without fancy tricks or crutches, something that has rung true for years with the supporters of The Crookes and The Postelles. With the basic rock band-building blocks of guitars, bass and drums, an amazing song framed by a memorable melody can be written and performed. That is, if talent is present in spades, which is the case with this band.
Several tunes familiar to long-time fans such as myself appear on ‘Here It Comes’. ‘The Idiot’, with frontman Samuel Fry’s lamenting of a relationship gone bad (“love is wasted on you / and you don’t have a clue”), is a corker but counterintuitively, its peppy melody and happy guitar notes belying the tone of regret. Its unleashing on an unsuspecting, uninitiated public should be interesting. ‘Needles and Pins’, the title track of their 2012 debut EP, is another winner, driven by a jaunty, jangly guitar hook that swims and swirls around in your head and refuses to leave. Album opener ‘Alleyway’ is a much newer song, yet smartly doesn’t stray too far from this formula, except to increase the vigour with more prominent drumming from Micky Osment.
Another newer song and ‘Here It Comes’ standout ‘Get Closer’ starts sweetly enough with xylophone and oohs. But the track has a melody that never stays very long in one place, so as you’re trying to keep up with the band and shout along with them, “get closer! Get closer! Get closer!”, it feels like you’re in the middle of a cardiovascular workout. An enjoyable one at that, in which the boy next door apologises to the girl he loves, “I’m sorry that it’s not quite how you thought this would be / it’s always the fucking same, always the same / come round, I’d really like to see you / we could watch the television, you could cook a pizza”; not exactly Shakespeare, I know, but endearing nonetheless. And this the song that got them called the British Vampire Weekend? Can someone please explain this? I’m lost.
While there are high energy, fun moments on the record, there are also slower ballads to provide some welcome emotional shade. With its complex guitar pickings by lefty Edward Ibbotson against a gorgeous string section, ‘Anna, Please Don’t Go’ is a rare beauty as Fry plaintively sighs, “Anna, please don’t go, your heart’s in the right place / don’t be fooled by pain, it comes but it goes away”. The strings make another welcome appearance on the tambourine-tinged ‘Forest Fire’. Another slower tempo highlight is ‘Carla’, which I first became aware of after watching a Watch Listen Tell session the band did in Stoke Newington Cemetery in 2009 (yes, 2009, you read that right). The album version showcases the band members’ harmonies and the lovely guitars, with the overall sound as rich as its lyrical content.
I find it somewhat ironic that while title track ‘Here It Comes’ has a definite good time Charlie feel and has the makings of a summer festival anthem, its YOLO / carpe diem sentiment and yelps for “fun fun fun!” feels forced with this group. As much as I enjoy bands getting away from the topics of love and ending relationships, a band like Life in Film who are so good at writing such songs and making them memorable should refrain from fixing it if it ain’t broke.
Life in Film’s debut album ‘Here It Comes’ will be released on the 4th of May on ECC Records. They are currently on tour in North America supporting Liverpool’s the Wombats. For previous TGTF coverage on Life on Film, head here.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 21st April 2015 at 6:00 pm
San Francisco duo Moon Duo released their third album ‘Shadow of the Sun’ on Sacred Bones Records last month, and now they’ve got a new promo video for a single off the LP. The visuals in ‘Slow Down Low’ are right in line with the duo’s trippy psych aesthetic, as described by the video’s director and label mate Domingo Garcia Huidobro of Chilean group Föllakzoid:
A black mirror monolith articulates an inter-dimensional pathway between present time and an alternate slowed down present in a teenage night out in Buenos Aires. The video was shot with digital cameras and then filtered with a analogue VHS table.
…right. I like the song so even if the premise of the promo goes over your head, there’s good music to be had here. Watch (and listen to) the video below.
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