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SXSW 2015: visiting bands around the world before returning to Britannia (Thursday night part 1) – 19th March 2015

 
By on Tuesday, 31st March 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

The first must-see act on Thursday night of my dogeared and beaten up paper schedule for SXSW 2015 didn’t go on until 9:30 PM, which let Carrie and me have an actual sit-down dinner at one of our favourites, Crave, before going back out to see bands again. In a span of an hour, I had tasters (some good, some so-so) from Canada, Brazil, America and France before going forward with my previous plan. Something else funny: on my way to my first band of the night, I spied a famous quiff-cum-mohawk that couldn’t belong to anyone but Daniel Heptinstall of Skinny Lister. “Skinny Lister!”, I shouted. That’s the sort of thing that happens at SXSW: you’ll be walking down the street, minding your own business, and then you’ll run smack dab into someone (or several someones) famous. But I had to run. I’ll have to drink from their flagon of rum another time.

Canada: friends during our time in Austin and on Facebook had recommended a Montreal girl duo named Milk & Bone, which I decided to give a shot at the M for Montreal show at Sledge Hammer. They were running terribly behind schedule and it was unclear if it was an issue with the sound system, the duo’s own equipment or even a delay from the first band having trouble getting started, but a famous friend with me that night said this sort of thing never happens at Reading and Leeds because the stage manager makes sure bands start on time.

Milk & Bone at SXSW 2015

Finally, the ladies were ready to roll. I think when you’re doing pop, especially with the ever ubiquitious synth, you need to set yourself apart from everyone else, and that’s especially true in female vocal-led dream pop, an already crowded field with fellow Canadians Purity Ring, The Hundred and the Hands, Beach House and acts of similar ilk. My impression? Milk & Bone are a downbeat CHVRCHES in monochrome. Not my thing, thank you. Next!

Brazil: The Autoramas from Rio de Janeiro have been going since 1997, so we’re talking nearly 2 decades in the business with no signs of slowing down. The way they were working the crowd at B.D. Riley’s, punters stood up and cheering, I’d say they make a good living from their keep. They blend no nonsense punk and garage rock into a winning formula. In the moment, I kind of wished I knew Portuguese. One wonders though how much bigger they might be if they had a couple of songs in English?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr0_QsgR1Nc[/youtube]

America: When in doubt in Austin (well, if you like electronic music like me), follow the big beats into a grimy basement, and you can’t go wrong. If I didn’t have a full evening lined up already, I might have been quite happy staying at Barcelona all night, giving myself to the beats and scratches of the DJs for the evening. I only stayed long enough to hear San Francisco DJ Landau do his thing. (I can’t find anything on this guy, and at the moment I’m assuming he’s one of the head honchos of Surefire Agency, who put on this night. ) I noticed nothing exemplary about his style but there were plenty of punters cutting a rug, drink in hand, having a good time and being good to one another, and we need more of that in Austin. Good stuff.

France: Opening your SXSW 2015 band pocket guide and choosing a showcase to visit without any sort of idea of what you want to see is pretty much like throwing a dart on a map. So I went with the most ridiculous sounding venue on the list: the Vulcan Gas Company. According to Wikipedia, it was once the place to see psychedelic bands in Austin back in the ’60s, which is pretty cool to begin with. But as I walked through its doors, you could immediately tell the place had gotten a major facelift, as it’s now a handsome dance club, complete with a sign welcoming you in that’s literally in flames. What a different vibe than Barcelona. You’re beautiful, Vulcan Gas Company. Live long and prosper.

Dream Koala at SXSW 2015

I stopped in just in time for Dream Koala, French teenager Yndi Ferreira and his dreads, who was playing the Kitsune party there. Up to that point, despite my support of many Kitsune compilation albums and Kitsune-related artists (Delphic, Is Tropical, Juveniles, Owlle, Two Door Cinema Club) who have gone on to bigger things, I’d never been to an actual Maison Kitsune-sponsored show, so it was nice to have things come round full circle. As you might expect from his act name, Dream Koala’s music is sleepy, atmospheric pop, yet with some interesting things on guitar and dreamy falsetto vocals to give an overall feeling of cool. This isn’t normally the kind of thing I like, but even to a small crowd, it was evident Ferreira was killing it, consumed by the music and letting it take him where he needed to go. I’ve read he showcased at last year’s CMJ but I’m wondering why we hadn’t heard of him! You’d think this is exactly the kind of man fans of the xx would be eating up.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPf1jAgxTBo[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Various artists – Kitsune Parisien II

 
By on Monday, 13th February 2012 at 1:40 pm
 

It must be nice to live in Paris. If only for one thing, I have this idea in my head that you must never be far from the music influence of Kitsuné chief Gildas Loaëc. I really should send him a bill for all the incidentals surrounding my 2010 Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club gig chasing because after all, he’s the one who gave these bands the green light and now both bands are known the world over.

We’re in 2012 now, and Gildas has hand-selected another batch of bands who are either Paris-based or have some kind of Parisian/French connection and as the press release suggests, the purpose of this compilations is to “gather and present to the world some of the romantic city’s freshest players”. This couldn’t come at a better time; as Editor of TGTF it hasn’t escaped my notice that we haven’t posted a review of a true dance album in a while (partly because I am outnumbered by the mostly male, rock-loving writership of our blog), but this is something that needs to and can be to swiftly rectified with my sharing of thoughts on this comp. So here we go…

Let’s start with the standouts of this album. ‘Angelina’, the offering from Nameless (promo video below), is the earworm of the collection, with Two Door Cinema Club style-y guitars and an infectious as hell chorus. I’ve been unable to find a Web site for the band, as there seems to be a hip hop producer, bands in America and Argentina and even a digital communications in Bristol that go by the ambiguous name ‘Nameless’, so if anyone can hook a sister up… Juveniles’ ‘Ambitions’ is cut from a similar cloth, except I’m guessing those of you who don’t like dance clubs will think it too in your face; it should come with a defibrillating warning.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAmMx7lr-bE[/youtube]

It should also be noted that this album is heavy on strong female vocals: ‘So Long My Love’ by girl/boy duo Tomorrow’s World is minimal on the beats but heavy on class, solo artist Birkii’s beauteous voice dazzles over ‘80s synths, while Owlle’s ‘Free’ (Parisien mix) will conjure up Bat for Lashes.

Need a break from vocals? Beatacue’s ‘Kiho’ is a refreshing and freeing orchestration of sound that should get bodies bumping. At barely over 4 minutes, they could have kept going and I wouldn’t have noticed, lost in the music. Pyramid, a 21-year old from Lyon who has admitted Daft Punk is a massive influence, proffers ‘The Race’, which was recorded on a laptop in his bedroom. When you listen to well-formed dance tracks like this, you figure you might as well give up.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8vWc42r8-g[/youtube]

On the other side of the spectrum, Wolfpack Beartrack’s ‘Modern Realm’ does go modern, in the sense that the vocals border on the hip hop side of the city that I’m not bothered with. No thanks. Kitsune is promoting Exotica as a supergroup, but the melody of ‘Spectrum’ seems tinned and rehashed from a previous era. ‘About the Girl’ by Tiger Evolution: Josie and the Pussycats? Thanks, but no thanks. Except for these few missteps, it just goes to show that Gildas Loaëc has still got it – it being the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, to suss the potential diamonds in the rough from thousands of contenders. It’ll definitely be interesting to see which of these newbies will rise to stardom. Until then, put on your dancing shoes and give this collection a whirl.

8/10

Kitsune’s latest compilation, ‘Kitsune Parisien II’, is out today. The digital release includes two bonus tracks: SingTank’s ‘The Party (Lucas Sorel remix)’ and KIT’s ‘Those Words’.

 

Album Review: Various artists – Kitsune Maison 11: The Indie-Dance Issue

 
By on Friday, 6th May 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

Gildas Loaec knows a thing or two about dance music. His music label, Kitsuné, has been the jumping off point to success for the likes of TGTF favourites La Roux, Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club. This month, Kitsuné will release their latest music compilation – their 11th – named ‘The Indie-Dance Issue’. When asked about how this came about, Loaec says, “because I find this new CD is taking us yet one more step towards maturity. We’re perceived as a club label when really we’ve always been between ‘club’ and ‘indie’, and this new compilation sits right at the crossroad of the two.” This is an interesting comment, especially when you consider Delphic and Two Door Cinema Club in particular, both acts employing synths and guitars to create the kind of music that sends punters into a dance frenzy.

Considering all this very carefully, it’s not surprising this album has some great tracks from acts you may have heard of and those that have yet to rock our world. Let’s begin with the possible familiar names. Just last month, Coco wrote about a free download, ‘The Greeks’, from London trio Is Tropical. Having previously remixed ‘Come Back Home’ for Two Door Cinema Club’s deluxe edition of ‘Tourist History’ last autumn, the band is now ready to release their own debut album on 13 June. With almost Oriental sounding guitars at the start, it then turns into great dance floor filler once the beats are introduced. ‘Big Things’ by from the London quartet Fiction might be familiar if you listen to BBC 6music; it was on their playlist a couple short weeks ago. It’s less dancey and more chill, in a kind of cool, measured, Vampire Weekend-kind of way, with wiggly guitar lines and a seaside feel.

Housse de Racket, a French electronic duo we wrote about in late 2009 when they were releasing the double A-sided single ‘Synthétiseur’ / ‘Sur le Papier’, are getting ready to release their second album on Kitsuné later this summer. Their track ‘Roman’ appears on this compilation and is probably my favourite on this collection, the perfect balance between beats, guitars and synths to get your heart pumping. And Azari and III, who collaborated with Friendly Fires on the Suck My Deck tune ‘Stay Here’, lend their remixing talent to Brooklyn band Creep‘s song, ‘Days’. The xx‘s Romy Madley-Croft contributes her sultry vocals to this number. You can watch the video for the song below, directed by Casey Fischer of Fischerspooner.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZkwLqhUKdk[/youtube]

So now we switch gears to the lesser known names. Cosmonaut from Australia (not to be confused with any number of American, UK, and Irish bands of the same or similar name) bring the beats from down under, and boy, are they wicked. These blokes know their way around a synth. Geordie trio Polarsets released ‘Sunshine Eyes’ as a single on its own by Kitsuné in mid-April. It’s pure sun-dappled delight, a luscious cross between Foals and Cut Copy (stream the single below).

But ‘Kitsuné Maison 11’ does contain some more difficult to swallow tracks. ‘Phantastic Phone Call’ by Alexander Dexter Jones (yes, he is the son of Mick Jones, now living in New York) have vocals that are perfectly fine in their new wave effects, but the backing is problematic: if you’re a fan of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy like me, you can’t help sniggering, thinking this would better be suited to soundtracking the 1981 BBC Two miniseries based on his books. I’m usually not a fan of extended dance instrumentals unless there’s something exciting that grabs me on first listen, so tunes like Beat Connection‘s ‘Silver Screen’ and Welsh act Gallops‘ ‘Miami Spider’ (even with the Radio1 backing), while these are okay, they don’t meet my high expectations for Kitsuné. All in all though, there are more winners than losers on this album. Expect to hear several, if not many of these acts burning up dance floors in the near future.

8/10

‘Kitsuné Maison 11: The Indie-Dance Issue’ compilation album will be released on 16 May.

 

Interview: Kitsune

 
By on Tuesday, 13th April 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Kitsuné may not have the history of some other record labels, but what they don’t have in age they more than make up for in sheer quality of their bands. They’ve released stuff from Bloc Party, Delphic, Two Door Cinema Club, Klaxons, Simian Mobile Disco and Crystal Castles, and are about to release their ninth compilation album, which is sounding frankly amazin’.

Get a sneak preview of the album by downloading this great remix of Two Door Cinema Club’s “Something Good Can Work” by the Twelves

To celebrate, we had a quick chat with the charming Gildas Loaec who founded the label, and the mastermind behind the whole series…

The Kitsune compilations always manage to introduce me to some amazing new tracks and new remixes of some tracks I’ve loved for a while. What’s your overall aim for the series of compilations? A good party album? Just great tunes? Bands that are gonna do great things in the coming months? Or something altogether different?

The Kitsuné Maison compilations are all of that. The idea for us is to introduce new bands, make discovering great songs, but also emphasise some existing projects we love – modestly we are looking to make the best pop compilation ever

Have there been any tracks you’ve featured on any of the compilations that have got far bigger than expected?

Some songs have been huge like ‘Quicksand’  by  La roux or ‘Pogo’ by Digitalism or Klaxons or more recently in clubs a Classixx remix of Phoenix ‘s Liztomania we made specially for the compilation. I think on the new compilation Kitsuné Maison 9 the Twelves remix of Two Door Cinema Club ‘Something Good Can Work’ is a going to be the club song of the summer.

We like to put on the compilation songs that last longer than the week of the release…

I’d imagine there are the occasional disagreements on who should appear on each compilation – how do you resolve any arguments / disagreements?

I got the final cut and actually I’m the only one deciding the entire tracklisting so that kind of resolve the possible discussions..

With Kitsune Maison 7 and 8 you introduced an “encore” silent track – what was the thinking behind this?

Oh just a joke, like when you go to the show, there is a gap between the band coming back from the encore

Are there any tracks you’ve wanted in the compilation but not been able to get on the compilations for whatever reason?

If that’s not happen it is just a question of clearance rights or timing, mostly clearance and always from major companies we try to avoid to discuss with them too much

Favourite tracks on Kitsune Maison 9? Why?

I love Two Door Cinema Club, cause they are young and spontaneous and they are a 100% Kitsuné band and we got the chance to have the brazilians genius producer to remix them…. which make the result even more dancey…

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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