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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 11th November 2011 at 12:00 pm
Hurts should be seriously concerned, because there is a new band in town that looks like they’re directly encroaching territory Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson already laid claim to with their 2010 debut ‘Happiness’, a move that have made them huge across Europe. Enter Strangers, founded by David Maddox-Jones, formerly of the Northampton band the Departure. So what do Strangers sound like? I’d describe it as bombastic yet dark pop mixed with the dance sensibility of Monarchy. On their side are richly programmed synths, a fun dance beat that is sure to get bodies bumping and a sexy lead male vocal from Maddox-Jones. I’m also seeing the words ‘New Romantics’ being thrown around when this band comes up in conversation, but I think I’ll leave it up to my first live encounter with them to decide if this label fits. (And it turns out if you’re in London, you can see them play Electricity Showrooms as part of an Amazing Radio bill on the 24th of November.)
Let’s switch gears now to examine more closely their third EP named, rather unimaginatively, ‘EP3′. (And yes, if you are wondering, there were two EPs prior to this, named ‘EP1′ and ‘EP2′. Are they trying to be funny? And I used to call Adele lazy for naming her albums ’19′ and ’21′ for the age at which she wrote the songs appearing on them…) The lead track, ‘Promises’ (video of clips cut and pasted together below), features Laura Smiles duetting with Maddox-Jones, interestingly in harmony even though the song obviously is about a completely inharmonious relationship. The chorus beckons “why won’t you need me, like I needed you / why won’t you love me, like I want you to / all your words are meaningless” while synths crash darkly, as if in deference to this broken bond.
Second track ‘Because I’m Human’ is probably what Morrissey would have sounded like in the ’80s if he told Johnny Marr to get a Casio and that the Smiths were going to be making dance music. There is imagery of a ‘mask’ that the protagonist hides behind because he “can’t take this” – surely stress is something anyone can relate to, as the pressures of daily life build and snowball into something insurmountable. Maddox-Jones asks “is it because I’m human? / is it because I can do better? / you know I’m not sure I can change” in the chorus, further cementing the band’s song subject matter firmly down on earth. A lot of synth-driven dance music is purposely escapist: this is taking something uncomfortable and putting it in your face, granted with slick synth programming.
After two brilliant songs, EP closer ‘Sweet Nothing’ is a bit of a let down. Down tempo compared to the songs before it, I can hear Paul Lester’s comparison of the group’s sound with Elton John clearly in the front half of this song. Beat-wise and lyrically, it is lacklustre put up against either ‘Promises’ or ‘Because I’m Human’, but what was it that Meatloaf said? Oh yeah: “two out of three ain’t bad.”
Strangers’ ‘EP3′ will be released on the 28th of November through Stranger Sounds.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 11th November 2011 at 10:00 am
From the word ‘prog’ some people tend to scatter. I should know; I am one of them. Usually. This band, however, may change your mind about prog. They’re called Amplifier and I have been advised by TGTF writer John that they will be huge. The band released a double CD called ‘The Octopus’ that has garnered rave reviews in the media. The Times have said about the band “There is something heroic about Amplifier’s embrace”; is there? First, you can listen to and download their track ‘Planet of Insects’ below. Second, you can be visually wowed by the video they made for the song. Third, you can catch the band on tour in the UK next month: all the details are at the end of this post.
Sunday 4th December 2011 – Nottingham Rock City
Monday 5th December 2011 – Glasgow Cathouse
Tuesday 6th December 2011 – York Duchess
Wednesday 7th December 2011 – Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
Thursday 8th December 2011 – Colchester Arts Centre
Friday 9th December 2011 – London Islington Academy
Sunday 11th December 2011 – Manchester Academy 3
Monday 12th December 2011 – Bristol Fleece
The second single ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ from Snow Patrol’s upcoming album ‘Fallen Empires’ was filmed in a genuine Argentinean tango club while the band was in South America for two festival slots. While the heartfelt lyrics chronicle three different tales of loss and strength, the video takes a harsher look at what strips a person of their self. In both instances, the song implores you to find the strength within to resist the abyss. It’s classic Snow Patrol.
This song is available concurrently with a Snow Patrol app available both from the iTunes app store and the Android Market. This app offers backstage looks, additional videos and access to Gary Lightbody’s personal blog.
Snow Patrol’s sixth studio album ‘Fallen Empires’ will be released on 14 November.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 10th November 2011 at 4:00 pm
Bands In Transit were present at the Huw Stephens-curated SWN Festival in late October to capture the best of the bill in front of the iconic Cardiff Castle.
Clock Opera (pictured above) previously toured with Everything Everything (read Luke’s review of their support slot in 2010 in Leeds here) and been associated with Metronomy (download their remix of ‘The Bay’ on this previous MP3 of the Day post). In the first video, they play ‘Lesson Number 7′, the hard working band’s forthcoming single on Moshi Moshi, which shows off their ethereal and theatrical sound.
Next up we have London’s Theme Park, described by many including Paul Lester as having a desire to take Talking Heads’ funk-rock mantle as their own. The band have already supported Bombay Bicycle Club this autumn and many think this is a band to watch in 2012.
Last but certainly not least, to have a bit of local flavour, we also have a video from Cardiff’s very own Race Horses. They play their track ‘See No Green’ (not to be confused with Cee Lo Green…a little editor humour…)
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 9th November 2011 at 6:00 pm
Here’s the new video for General Fiasco‘s song ‘Waves’, from their new EP of the same name released next week. It’s shot in the “a day in the life of a band” kind of way and it’s pretty neat.
More info on this EP is available from this In the Post.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 8th November 2011 at 6:00 pm
Real Estate‘s new video for ‘It’s Real’ will appeal to those who rank their furry friends highly. Watch it below. You can read John’s review of their latest album ‘Days’ here.