In case you missed it, I Am Kloot have released a new album, ‘Let It All In’. I say ‘in case you missed it’ because not one, but two members of one of my favorite bands, Elbow, were the producers and they are SHAMELESS! Craig Potter, keyboardist and oft-times producer for Elbow is quite worth a follow on Twitter, but when faced with a promotion task, he and his partner in crime Guy Garvey really stepped up their game. After a fast and furious set of hysterical tweets regarding the album’s release on Monday, they ended the day with a haiku. Yes, a haiku:
yes. let it all in.
like moon light in that bedroom
buy new I Am Kloot
But on to the album. The almost title track ‘Let Them All In’ is indicative of the kind of music we get from I Am Kloot. It’s not big music, but neither is it dismissive. Less folky than 2009’s ‘B’, yet not quite as slickly orchestrated as 2010’s ‘Sky at Night’, ‘Let It All In’ explores both the past and the future in a raw and honest way. Carefully crafted to leave just enough space between the bits to make it rich without being overly done, the tune fills your mind with sensation. This sixth studio album from the nonconformist Manc players is full of the dark twisted songwriting and slight sonic surprises that has marked their career in years past.
To my ear, ‘Bullets’ harkens back to the Richard Hawley/Guy Garvey duet found on Elbow’s Mercury Prize-winning ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’. With the same kind of push and pull that made that song so appealing. ‘Hold Back the Night’ (video below), the first single released in October of last year, is reminiscent of ‘60s activists, maybe a Dylan-esque feel. One of my favorites wraps everything up. ‘Forgive Me These Reminders’ is the perfect blend of loneliness and regret. With a plaintive, simple voice and a gently picked guitar it builds with a jazzy brush played drum and low bass thuds. It’s very torchy and finishes fully developed with delicate strings. They have taken what is awesome about their past offerings and stripped it back a bit. Still found are the jazzy touches, the bit of northern accent creeping in, the strings. But whereas the orchestration felt just a tad too much on their last album, I felt like it really added to what they were doing this time.
Previous album ‘Sky at Night’ was shortlisted for 2010’s Mercury Prize and with heavyweights like Potter and Garvey providing their particular kind of prize winning magic, we could very well see I Am Kloot’s name popping up again this year.
I Am Kloot’s latest album, ‘Let Them All In’, is out now on Shepherd Moon.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 29th January 2013 at 11:00 am
Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.
So here we are, the last week of January. Each Tuesday we’ve been bringing you genre ‘chapters’ of the UK bands that have been given the all important shout for this year’s SXSW 2013 taking place in venues across Austin the 12th to the 17th of March 2013. On the 8th of January, we brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list, with a follow-up addendum on the 14th of January after the SXSW people updated their books on the 10th. The 15th of January saw the posting of the sound heavyweights, on the list of rock, metal and punk acts. Last week, on the 22nd, we wanted to showcase the wizards of the music world with the list of electronic and electronic-based bands and DJs.
This week? Possibly the genre that is most prolific – and the most crowded: the singer/songwriters and folk artists. Last week it was interesting to read that in an interview with SPIN, singer Scott Hutchinson of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit complained of being compared to current folk rock behemoths Mumford and Sons. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they brought folk rock to the forefront of popular music and proved that that brand of ‘popularised’ bluegrass could be popular around the world. There is no doubt a whole new generation of folk rock artists that are being given a second glance, instead of being ignored, thanks to the hard work of Mumford and other acts soldiering on in this genre. And then there are the singer/songwriters: we may romanticise the image of a solitary, guitar-wielding man in front of a crowd, the reality is that there are both men and women who are pouring their hearts out into song, sitting in their bedrooms wondering what might be. In that respect, SXSW does its best in giving these folks the proper credit – and surely the proper platform – that might propel them into the big time.
What I had envisioned this weekly guide to be was simply a handy resource if you were wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But even if you’re not attending the big event, I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music. And that isn’t limited to one place or one event. You can find new music anywhere. And without further adieu…
‘Allo Darlin – Australia collides with Britain in this folk pop band fronted by Elizabeth Morris. Their songs are so cute, you wish you could just pinch their cheeks! Martin caught them at the End of the Road Festival in 2011.
Sounds like: the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, with a female lead
Read our previous coverage of the band here.
Lauren Aquilina – This 17-year old is from Windsor, but knock off the Royal Family jokes, please. She independently released her debut EP ‘Fools’ in October, so what a coup to get the SXSW nod when you’re still unsigned!
Sounds like: Lucy Rose, Ellie Goulding (but minus the synths)
Jake Bugg (added 10/01/13) –Noel Gallagher’s young protégé who has already found fame in the last year at the Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City, the Nottingham native has made folk and country guitar rock popular again with his debut album
Read our previous coverage of Bugg here.
Bo Saris – blue-eyed soul delivered in a falsetto. It’s difficult for me to listen to, but if a Dutchman described as ” the new, male equivalent of the late Amy Winehouse” doesn’t make you shrink in horror…
Bwani Junction – Edinburgh band invoking the Afrobeat spirit of Vampire Weekend with their jaunty guitars. They even describe themselves as “Big Country were from the Soweto”. They made their Great Escape debut in 2012 with the Scottish contingent, so it seems only fitting that they make their SXSW debut this year.
Matt Cardle (added 10/01/13) – the winner of the 7th season of the UK’s X Factor, it’ll be interesting if his popularity in Britain will translate into fame in America.
Jamie N Commons – Has singing the blues, just like plaid shirts, become trendy again? If yes, then Jamie N Commons is its poster boy. And if for some reason you miss him and you live in America, don’t fret: he’ll be supporting Lianne La Havas (his fellow BBC Sound of 2012 longlist alum also at SXSW) on her North American tour directly following the festival.
The Dunwells – it is unfortunate that in the post-Mumford and Sons world, other folk bands that came out in 2009 were left behind. Hopefully, Leeds’ Dunwells will use this opportunity in Austin (and New York in January and Colorado in March post-SXSW) to show everyone just how talented they are and they’re not Mumford wannabes.
Paloma Faith – imagine my surprise to hear that Paloma Faith is now on my mum’s approved list, after watching her perform on Graham Norton. I’m kind of interested to see what kind of people would show up to see her in Austin: Amy Winehouse fans?
Read our previous coverage on Paloma here.
Fossil Collective – If you transported the Byrds to Leeds, what would they sound like? Probably something similar to Fossil Collective. I might have compared them to Fleet Foxes, except that in the press shots I’ve seen of Dave Fendick and Jonny Hooker, only one of them has a beard so…
For some mp3s and John’s review of their EP ‘On and On’, head here.
Goldheart Assembly – Having loved their 2010 debut album ‘Wolves and Thieves’, I felt like it’d been nearly forever since I last heard anything about Goldheart Assembly. When I checked on TGTF, the last thing I’d written on them, a post about their single ‘Harvest in the Snow’, was posted in March 2011. It’ll be 2 years, then, when they make their way to Austin, and not a moment too soon. Were they waiting for the Fleet Foxes love – and expected backlash – to die down? We’ll never know for sure, but I for one will be eager to see them live for the first time.
Catch all our previous Goldheart coverage here.
Ed Harcourt – Compared to the other singer/songwriters on the SXSW list, Ed Harcourt is a relative granddaddy – at 35, he’s released five studio albums to date, with an sixth, ‘Back into the Woods’, to follow in late February 2013. ‘The Man That Time Forgot’, the first song to be offered up from the new album, can be downloaded for free here.
Robyn Hitchcock – When your own Web site is called ‘a museum’, you know you’ve paid your dues to the music industry. This is where cult singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock finds himself, revered in the UK for his English eccentricity, though I am very curious at the kind of turnout for his shows at SXSW and indeed, where they will have him play.
Jesca Hoop (added 10/01/13) – to some of us, she’s better known associated with Elbow. Not actually British (she’s a Californian transplant to Manchester after Guy Garvey discovered), she started with a very eclectic sound which turned decidedly poppier with ‘Hospital (Win Your Love)’, the last time we checked in with her.
Read our previous coverage of Hoop here.
James Hunter – from the same town as Lammo (Colchester) comes this r&b and soul singer, previously nominated for a Grammy for his 2006 album ‘People Gonna Talk’. This is exactly the kind of music I don’t usually seek out, so I’m rather keen to see him play. I’m imagining the scene to be as hopping as JD MacPherson’s at last year’s Great Escape.
Josephine – if Morrissey was a young black woman, he might just sound like Josephine. (And yes. I didn’t believe Paul Lester either until I heard ‘What a Day’.) I haven’t heard her debut album but I’ve been told the rest of it doesn’t sound Smiths-esque, so you can’t blame Manchester for it.
Kodaline – Gary Barlow’s favourite new band from Dublin doesn’t show any signs of slowing down after getting a BBC Sound of 2013 longlist nod, We’ve written quite a bit about this band, so you can read all of that here. They have new EP out in March, and the promo video for its title track ‘High Hopes’ is below.
Cate Le Bon – Cate Le Bon is a breath of fresh air compared to most of the other Welsh acts tipped for 2013’s SXSW, which appear to all be thrashy, hard rock bands made up of men.
Sounds like: Beth Jeans Houghton with a fixation on death
Let’s Buy Happiness – happy guitar rock/pop band from Newcastle.
Sounds like: ‘Allo Darlin, without the harmonies.
Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun – Jim Lockey sans band was the first band of the Xtra Mile Recordings showcase on my first night at SXSW 2012, so let’s see if he can manage to bring his entire band out for 2013. I think of his as ‘Frank Turner lite’, if that helps you imagine what he sounds like.
Read our previous live coverage of Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun here.
My Darling Clementine – ‘country/soul’ duo from Birmingham by husband/wife coupling Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish. Long Facebook profiles seem overdone to me, so…
Willy Moon (added 10/01/13) – placing #6 in the TGTF 10 for 2012 readers’ poll, signing to Jack White’s Third Man Records, having one of his songs play on a new iPod advert in America? Willy Moon’s life just gets better and better. A little bit pop, a little bit soul, a little bit ‘50s styling for one hip sound.
Read our previous coverage on Willy here.
Tom Odell (added 10/01/13) – Having already won the BRITs 2013 Critics’ Choice award, the sky’s the limit for this Chichester-born singer/songwriter.
Christopher Rees – Cardiff singer/songwriter that NME describes like this: “It’s not easy to achieve noise metal god status accompanied by a cello but Christopher Rees makes an awesome, bloody fist of it. Pumped up and snarling but managing to wrench beautiful tunes out of the wreckage… This is seriously amazing stuff”. This description has us intrigued!
Roo Panes – ‘classical folk pop’ is not a genre normally explored here, but I’m always up for a challenge. This is Andrew ‘Roo’ Panes’ project with a strong backing and voal harmonising band. He has already been singled out for his handsomeness, as Burberry chose him to model their autumn/winter 2012 collection. Given Mumford and Laura Marling‘s recent meteoric rise to fame in America, Roo Panes is the odds-on favourite to follow in their footsteps.
Sounds like: he should be signed to Communion, if Ben Lovett hasn’t come sniffing round yet
Lucy Rose – We, of course, already knew how talented she was. But 2013 could just be the year that Lucy Rose breaks out of Bombay Bicycle’s shadow and becomes a huge worldwide success in her own right. Though I worry what would happen to Lucy if she suddenly became massive; would she stop doing the things like Tweet at her mother on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable that make me go, “oh, bless!”? A scary prospect…
Read our previous coverage on Lucy Rose here.
Paul Thomas Saunders – it must be hard to be Paul Thomas Saunders, a Leeds singer/songwriter in his late twenties and allergic to alcohol. But I guess he must use all that extra free time not boozing at the pub to write. Evidently I missed a “triumphant” appearance at last year’s Great Escape. Need to rectify that.
Jack Savoretti – part Italian, but that’s where any comparison to Paolo Nutini ends. Savoretti has already been on the road with Corinne Bailey Rae and shored up Radio2 support, but why isn’t he massive? Just wait until one of his songs gets synced on a major film soundtrack.
Sounds like: a harder, more pop Bob Dylan, a gentler Bruce Springsteen
Skinny Lister – this London folk band have already made quite an impact on America, through a previous appearance at SXSW and then an even more surprising appearance last year on the Vans Warped tour of North America. Could they be riding the Mumford wave? Possibly. Their debut album ‘Forge and Flagon’ gets an American release this month, so we’ll see if the momentum lasts.
The Staves – three harmonising sisters with guitars from Watford who are no stranger to America, having toured here a couple times now with the (now defunct?) Civil Wars, I was surprised to see them get another turn at SXSW. If they do get an opportunity to sing in St. David’s again like in 2012, go, go, GO. You won’t be disappointed.
Story Books – Kent band sounding at times haunting and at times bombastic. Not really sure why they’re not more popular or, frankly, why we haven’t heard of them yet.
Richard Thompson – like Robyn Hitchcock, I’m not entirely sure what Richard Thompson is doing on a list of acts scheduled to perform at SXSW. Having already made a name for himself as a member of Fairport Convention and then with his wife Linda and now as a solo artist, I suspect he’ll be using the guest spot to advertise his latest album ‘Electric’, out in February.
Washington Irving – jaunty folk rock wrapped around a Scottish accent.
File next to: Arcade Fire
That’s it for the genre chapters in the TGTF Guide to SXSW in January. To not miss any of our SXSW 2013 coverage, bookmark this tag and of course, keep it here on TGTF for even more great content in the weeks leading up to the big event in March!
Delphic’s debut outing ‘Acolyte’ brought with it a wave of freshness that indie music was drastically in need of. Where pretenders like Hadouken! had attempted to go boldly, and failed with a screeching squelch, of pre-pubescent, dance-infused rock, Delphic had managed to fuse the two with an elegance that was unheard of. The record wasn’t perfect, but it had all the makings of a group of stars to be born.
Cliché alert: then comes the difficult second album, and what a difficult second album it has proved to be for the Manchester trio who stormed the scene with ‘Acolyte’. ‘Doubt’ was a standout track of 2010. You will find no such gems on ‘Collections’. Instead, you’ll find a well-produced, professional and entirely forgettable record. Merit can be gathered from the solid production at least, as the album comes together well. But as a ‘collection’ of songs, it ranges from the bizarrely clichéd and camp in the form of ‘Freedom Found’, to the unashamedly awful.
OK, this is turning nasty, let’s get some positives. I, unlike many, am a big fan of ‘Baiya’. It may just be my attraction to the kind of faux-confrontational tune that it is. I mean, the whispered “feel your fingers down my back” is just a bit creepy and a tad cringey, but the simplicity of the call and return of “all hell is breaking loose” has me a bit excited. Plus the video is genuinely a testament to the band’s creativity and is an example of the level of thought that has obviously gone into the production.
But back to the negative, and by that I mean third song ‘Changes’, which has me harping back to the sonic abomination that was Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne’s effort. It’s drenched with the kind of lyrical soppiness you’d expect from a certain Mr Murs, or even dare I say it, Senor Mars, while the jinking, squelching synths and piano reek of pretentiousness. It’s just upsetting to see a band, tipped in 2010 as on the BBC’s Sound of… stars, to be creating the kind of mainstream crawling drivel that this song is.
So far in 2013, bands like the innovative yet simple Bastille are leading the way with their dance-indie infusions, and Everything Everything are showing just how catchy and incisive the genre can be. This album sadly falls down as a failed attempt at some kind of commerciality, which is a real shame, as there is promise within the tragic bars of tunes like ‘Baiya’. It’s just a shame it’s surrounded by the drivel as in ‘Exotic’, a song which delves into the deep dark world of hip hop, stumbles, falls flat on its face and does a number on its nose. Yeah, it really does.
To conclude, there’s still promise there. Anyone who listened to the New Order-inspired debut can realise that there is talent there and the ideas are sound. It just seems that over the past 3 years, instead of hammering down their own specific sound, they hashed together whatever they could to make a commercially viable album. Which, sadly, has backfired to produce a mismatch of screeching, indie pop, which will be easily forgotten by casual listeners and lambasted by diehards.
Better luck next time, eh lads?
Delphic’s ‘Collections’ is out today on Polydor.