Page 1

ISSUE TWENTYSEVEN FEB//MAR

FREE

BABYSHAMBLES GLASVEGAS HOLY FUCK BRITISH SEA POWER YOUNG GALAXY METRONOMY BELLA UNION KARIMA FRANCIS

LOWLINE GOFASTER

DENIS JONES


ISSUE TWENTYSEVEN FEB/MAR

“Next issue of High Voltage is out 1st April Fool!”

features Introducing… Karima Francis & Lowline SIX Introducing… Gofaster & Denis Jones SEVEN Young Galaxy & Metronomy NINE British Sea Power TEN Holy Fuck TWELVE Glasvegas THIRTEEN Babyshambles FOURTEEN Bella Union label profile TWENTYSIX

Regulars

Cover up!

Manchester news FIVE Single reviews SIXTEEN Album reviews EIGHTEEN Live reviews TWENTY New Noise TWENTYTHREE Manchester Listings TWENTYFOUR

This issues cover is not only brought to you in amazing technicolor, but is by, none other than the mighty Chris Drury, Fingathing’s silent but no less conspicuous third fiddle. Chris has built up a fresh and distinctive visual profile for Fingathing that’s as unique as the music they produce. The Fingathing sound is Parker (turntablist supremo) and Sneak (Jazz double bassist). Between them they produce, arguably, the most original sound to come out of Manchester, a Jazz/Hip Hop combo that shakes the most solid of foundations. For more artwork, music, info and an opportunity to buy a limited edition A2 print by the cave troll himself, check www.fingathing.com

For more reviews, interviews, comment and info on all HighVoltage activities log on to highvoltage.org.uk See highvoltagesounds.co.uk for label info and new HighVoltage releases

Andy Cake

EDITOR - Richard Cheetham - rich@highvoltage.org.uk ASSISTANT EDITOR - Alistair Beech - alistair@highvoltage.org.uk FEATURES EDITOR - Adrian Barrowdale – adrian@highvoltage.org.uk REVIEWS EDITOR – Fran Donnelly – fran@highvoltage.org.uk NEW BAND EDITOR – Stephen Eddie – stephen@highvoltage.org.uk LISTINGS EDITOR – Mike Caulfield – listings@highvoltage.org.uk DESIGN - Andy Cake | Soap | www.soapforall.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS - Alex Barbanneau, Hannah Bayfield, Hannah Clark, Neil Condron, Richard Fox, Jade French, Kelvin Goodson, Chris Horner, James Morton, Sophie Parkes, Liam Pennington, Andrew Porter, Simon Pursehouse, Gareth Roberts, Alexia Rogers-Wright, Jamila Scott, Benjamin Thomas, Simon Smallbone, Jack Titley, Megan Vaughan, Will Wright

two

three


Feb/Mar _News... Welcome to the original renaissance city of

Event of the Month

Manchester – where everybody is going to want to be in 2008. The first to make the trip from London, gothic girlies Ipso Facto and smart artrockers XX Teens make Up The Racket's Retro Bar agenda over February. At Night & Day, it's worth keeping on eye out for the most fashionable of indie kids in These New Puritans (12/02) and Cazals (06/03), whilst the more subtle, alternative substance of the Twilight Sad calms things down on 24/03.

That's right. Now you've no excuse for being

met in Berlin, heading for France) represent

uncool on a Saturday night. Down at Night &

their trendsetting label on the 16th February.

Day over the next two months, High Voltage have a right couple of gems lined up for you. Expect both dates to boast up-and-coming surprises in support.

Meanwhile, exciting Brooklynites MGMT and their weird twist of indie magic are making waves, so it's a good job HV got 'em booked well in advance for the 1st March. Their aptly-

If you're missing The Warehouse Project then miss no more, for they've reopened the

First up, Thieves Like Us bring their shady

titled debut album 'Oracular Spectacular' is out

old Factory HQ for some great nights of

dance-pop. Describing themselves as "Half Daft

now, but you'll watch to catch them live so you

dancing. In particular, Australian electro-

Punk. Half Factory. All Kitsuné", the

can say you "was there" this time next year…

behemoths The Presets play 21/03 and it's

cosmopolitan trio (two Swedes, one American,

gonna be mental. If you prefer your electronics more "intelligent" however, then tech-veterans Autechre head for Music Box 29/02. For your ever mind-boggling indie/dance fusions, console-bothering Crystal Castles make a strobe-lit dash to Club Academy (13/02) whilst currently cresting the hype on all fronts, Foals play their first Manchester show of the year on the 11th March. Love odd-ball indie? check out Misty’s Big Adventure on the 1st March at Academy 3. In the record shop, keep an eye out for singles from the local likes of Lowline, The Rascals, Modernaire, The Ting Tings, whilst Orphan Boy's debut album 'Shop Local' isn't far away. Our very own The Maple State play the Roadhouse 21/02 in support of their sharp mini-album 'Say Scientist', released on HV Sounds in March. It'll keep you happy until The Whip's hotly anticipated debut album 'X Marks Destination' arrives at the end of the month.

Words: Fran Donnelly

four

five


introducing... Karima Francis

With the kind of traffic-stopping voice that has earned comparisons with Tracy Chapman, Karima Francis’s harrowing tales of romance and alcoholism make for haunting performances. Whilst Kitchenware Records understood her magic when they added her to their roster in mid-2007, just a few years ago Karima was drumming in a band. That was, until she sang Lenny Kravitz to her partner, booked a gig at The Thirsty Scholar, and everything changed. “I always had this craving. Whenever I was in bands I always used to direct anyway. I used to just hear all this melody. You know when you were a kid and everyone sings, and you want to but you’re so shy? It’s one of those things; it never crossed my mind that I would ever do it. At my first gig there was this Irish guy sat there, all dressed in black. He was like, ‘Woooah!!’ He said, ‘you know, you’re gonna go far, you’ve really touched me’. From that moment I just couldn’t stop doing it every night. I could say it’s therapeutic but it’s more like an adrenalin rush. My whole body works in a different way when I’m up there.” Having been busy recording her debut album with Ken Nelson (Gomez, Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy) in Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, there have been few opportunities for Karima to gig. A short support slot with Newton Faulkner won new fans around the country, but extensive touring is planned to coincide with the album’s

six

springtime release. It would be an understatement to say that Karima is excited. “Basically, I don’t care if it’s just to one person, or ten thousand people, I just want to be gigging every night now. I’m really excited to write my next finished song too. When I write that, I’ll relax, because I’ve cramped up. It’s been such a hard experience.” The energy expended at Parr Street has been worthwhile. Sneak previews currently available on Karima’s MySpace prove that she is fast becoming one of the UK’s foremost songwriting talents. “The first single is going to be The Author,” she says with a smile, “and the new version is amazing! There’s a little bit of Hammond in there and the main guitar line is backed by electric, but subtly, so it’s thicker, and then when it gets to the bridge it just rushes up your back and everything!” Words: Megan Vaughan www.myspace.com/karimafrancis

Lowline

"I don’t think there's been anything in the mainstream over the last five years that's turned us on musically," reckons Lowline drummer Sam. "I'm not interested in some sweaty 23year-old telling us what he’s done day to day."

"You get bands like The Courteeners sounding like The Libertines. There's no atmosphere. There's no denying there's talent about, it's just nobody's writing the tunes that we wanna listen to right now. So that's what we're doing."

Tired of mediocrity but driven with self-belief, Lowline are a band to be reckoned with. Having gigged and re-jigged for the past twelve months, these four lads are ready to cause a stir in 2008. Their powerful debut single 'Monitors' is released in March and characteristically taking no halfmeasures, the band simply went straight into the studio with legendary Oasis/Verve producer Owen Morris.

What Lowline are doing follows a very particular local lineage. Beginning when Howard Devoto started Magazine, their sound takes influence from the post-punk of The Chameleons and the lush sound of Doves. It's a wash of guitar forced through five effects pedals over Robbie's cry of euphoric resentment. Scummy social commentary it is not. "There's ambiguity there and that's important," Mike emphasises. "The world will get sick of lyrics like "I got the 192 / I went to the post office / I went to the Late Shop". No one's arsed. Music's about touching loads of people, not about buying a 40p pick ‘n’ mix."

"It's a bang on single but the tunes we're writing now are better really," claims bassist Mike. "Previously we've all been playing in other bands, and it's taken a long time to get us where we are, but we're getting there and we're the complete outfit now." And it's really starting to show. Recording the video for 'Monitors', the band played a guerrilla gig in Ancoats one Saturday afternoon – joined by one Nick McCabe on guitar. Alienated by the way their hometown seems headed, Lowline have taken things into their own hands. "Manchester just doesn’t have a sound going for it at the moment," says their bassist.

Words: Fran Donnelly www.myspace.com/thisislowline Lowline release their debut single ‘Monitors’ in March on 1-2-3-4! Records

Go Faster

This year is set to be a very big one for our Scouse neighbours. The next 12 months will see Liverpool wearing the crown of European Capital of Culture, awarded largely on the back of its musical heritage. However, as the celebrations kick off, goFASTER>> have headed out on the road with best mates Elle s'Apelle, leading a charge of new bands that together are saying more about the city in 2008 than a million botched Mathew Street festivals ever could. In new single 'Flammable Leisurewear', goFASTER>> have probably captured the carefree spirit of a rejuvenated Merseyside scene better than anyone to date. Singer Rich takes up the tale of how a sorry spell in Liverpudlian fashion history became a sugary chunk of sherbet punk. "I remember, as a child, watching Watchdog, and they were setting fire to shell suits, saying how dangerous they are," says the tousle-haired frontman as Chris (guitars and keyboards) continues. "The song's about wearing trackies; it's about growing up in Liverpool, with all your mates going on the sunbeds. But it's also about taking the piss out of ourselves - I mean, I had a skinhead until I was 17!" The band's satirical, selfdeprecating edge has attracted early comparisons with former tourmates The Wombats and Hot Club de Paris, while the bands' hometown gigs with the likes of 28

Costumes, My Amiga, The Delta Fiasco and Arms At Last have placed them at the heart of Liverpool's emerging DIY scene. Does the band foresee a return to form for the city this year? "Everything's pointing to it, but you don't like to count your chickens!" Rich cautiously smiles. "The thing is, we're not anything madly different from what's come before," argues Chris. "Liverpool's always been a pop city - and we are a pop band. We're just putting our own spin on things." In truth, goFASTER>>'s ethic is one that would win them friends in any city - unless that city is London and a certain jealous electro act is on the bill. "Their [band name removed for punchline-related reasons] dressing room was the size of a school hall - you could have a club night in there!" rues Chris. "We thought, it must be for all the bands, so we and the Neon Plastics went in and helped ourselves to some drinks. Next thing, their manager comes over, telling us to leave!'" Did goFASTER>> offend them? Yeah. Words: Neil Condron www.myspace.com/gofasterband goFASTER>>'s single 'Flammable Leisurewear' is out now on Alcopop!

The music of Denis Jones combines incredible technological wizardry with traditional singersongwriter sensibilities. Breaking such genre boundaries has attracted admirers across the world since the initial release of his debut album, Humdrum Virtue, and Denis has been compared to acts as diverse as CocoRosie and John Martyn. “I’m massively flattered,” he says. “Thinking of the time, a lot of folk music of that era was stagnating because it was looking too far back, but he (Martyn) was one of the few people who was looking forward and I think he was probably shunned, like Dylan was at the time, for not doing the traditional thing. It’s like, ‘come on guys, this is what’s happening in your generation.’ You either embrace it or ignore it.” When a fifteen year-old Denis played Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit’ at his school’s Christmas Variety Show, he took his first tentative steps towards the unparalleled live reputation that sees him flying to festivals in Lithuania, supporting bands like Efterklang and regularly playing up and down the country. As a live performer, the breadth of his experience means each gig is tailored to each audience, as Jones alternates between low-key strumming and rib-shaking loops. Things have come on since that inaugural school concert.

“I started doing gigs straight away, but I was doing covers and slowly writing my own songs. I don’t remember an exact point, but eventually there were more of my songs than there were covers, I guess when I was about seventeen or eighteen.” It was while he was living in London that Denis began to explore electronic music. He was lent a sampler by a friend, and began to expand his listening horizons with ambient elecronica. “There was an album I was listening to by Fennesz that summer – kind of an ambient crossover between electronica and acoustic music. I listened to it non-stop.” Denis’s distinctive sound soon emerged, and the recording of Humdrum Virtue followed. A breathtaking album of looped samples and lyrics about “Elvis Costello playing the cello”, enormous demand for the original handmade copies has led to a large-scale pressing and nationwide re-release this coming spring. Following that, a 12” is planned, but you’ll struggle to find it on Google, as Denis explains. “We’re going to go under the name Menace Drones for that!” Words: Megan Vaughan www.myspace.com/denisjones Denis Jones is on tour throughout February and March

seven


Young Galaxy “I’m just a big music fan” admits Stephen Ramsey, one half of Montreal duo Young Galaxy. A late developer in song-writing terms (picking up the guitar in his early twenties) Stephen says it took time for a musical career to become reality; “I always assumed I’d have a group of friends to write songs, a gang to form a band with. I had people that talked, but never went through with it.” A couple of years ago he become a touring guitarist for Canadian super group Stars. “Stars definitely opened the door for me. At first I felt a bit of an impostor, but it was a fast track to Young Galaxy.”

ADVERTISING

£50 per issue!!

Catherine’s rural, earthy beginnings in Vancouver and their present home, the city bustle of Montreal. With label bank balances at their most precarious, Arts & Crafts artistic model of development is applauded by their latest protégés. “They (Arts and Crafts) always encouraged us and never interfered with the record. They were hands off in a way. At the moment there’s a legitimate need for labels to manage and nurture their acts. Just being a label is hard to pull off now.”

Live, Young Galaxy seek a connection and directness with their audience, and despite picking up the shoe-gaze tag “aren’t the types to hide behind our sound, we want to create an experience”, says Stephen. “Our songs are born out of a love of music” he beams at the end of our transatlantic chat. Love music? Then you’ll love Young Galaxy. Words: Alistair Beech www.myspace.com/younggalaxy

Metronomy Metronomy, code name for electro pop creator Joseph Mount, is making a return to our ears this year with the release of a second album. “The album will be called ‘Nights Out’ and it's due out sometime in March. It's got more singing and is hopefully a bit more concise than the first album,” Mount reveals.

Have your say in these pages from

In between breaks on Stars tours, Stephen worked on songs with his other half (personally and musically) Catherine McCandless at Jace Lasek’s (Besnard Lakes) Montreal studio. Released through super-indie Arts and Crafts (home to Feist, The Dears, and set up by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew) Young Galaxy’s self-titled debut is a rich, heart-warming LP perfect for winter sulking. Debut single and album opener ‘Swing Your Heartache’ is a 4am Spiritualized come down, full of sparkling melodies, broody verses and an uplifting outro. The album is a collision of Stephen and

Taking great influence from “science fiction, Talking Heads, pictures of space, David Bowie and growing up in Devon”, Metronomy make music that “sounds like a garage band playing electro music”. Since first album, ‘Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe)’ was released in 2006 Metronomy has developed into

more of a band than a one man machine, enjoyed SXSW ’07 greatly and has been trying to avoid second album syndrome. Not only that, but Joe is a household name for his remixing abilities. He has put a hand to just about everyone from Architecture In Helsinki to Kate Nash with pretty remarkable results across the board. In a live setting Metronomy does not adhere to the expected route of ‘man on stage with laptop behaving in a completely uninspiring manner’. To compliment the funky, yet eccentric, electro style sounds of Metronomy the live line up (which consists of Joe, Oscar Cash and Gabriel

Stebbing) is usually accompanied by some form of dance routine and light show. Recent single ‘Radio Ladio’ has been getting a fair share of attention from the blogging community, yet Metronomy is not concerned about the possibility of getting swept away amid a flurry of bandwagon fans or sudden mass mainstream industry interest. “There's been plenty of time for us to be hyped, no one's taken the bait yet. I can't imagine it'll happen,” Mount explained as the idea of a sudden Metronomy boom was brushed under the carpet.

having impossible ambitions, Metronomy are looking forward to the opportunity to write with new people on material and also anticipate a whole host of headline shows over the next twelve months. Words: Jamila Scott www.myspace.com/metronomy Metronomy play The Roadhouse in Manchester on March 1st

Not phased by potential hype or

Email rich@highvoltage.org.uk for more info (design facility availaible) eight

nine


BRITISH_ SEA_ POWER _BRAVERY EXISTS

Admittedly, I'm not much of a morning person. Or at least, not until I've got a litre of coffee and hoops on toast down me. However, Rock waits for no man, and by the time I've brushed my teeth, British Sea Power have woken up in their Travelodge, watched Trisha Goddard and made their way down to Night & Day for High Voltage. When a band claims that only "one in ten" interviews they give is remotely enjoyable, HV wakes up today expecting a quiet brew. Instead we got a lesson in life and a comprehensive discussion on the merits of a Full English. "The major priority was not to do it in London again," Scott 'Yan' Wilkinson starts, "so we went to a water tower in Suffolk. It was a bit of an adventure. Playing guitar inside it was like standing on top of a mountain. We recorded some pigeons." British Sea Power have been off the radar. They've been over the Atlantic and across the Carpathians. Their 2003 debut The Decline Of… made them critically adored. Follow-up Open Season proved how melodic their pastoral rock template could be. Third album, Do You Like Rock Music?, began by attempting what seems like the impossible. "We felt we've never really captured the sound of us live," explains guitarist Martin Noble. "You can't do it really, but we had a go. The original plan was to record it all live and keep it basic, but that didn’t seem to have any magic. So we brought it back from Canada to work on…" "…and find the key place to put the pigeons in. Then we made some pigeon noises ourselves. Just a part of trying to get closer to nature really." Stripped of their foliage and animal motifs these days, it seems that BSP are getting closer to human nature than anything else on their latest long-player. Its arrival was announced with a single to begin your 2008 with in 'Waving Flags' – an epic-rock invite to global unity. "Ideally, people would stop moaning about eastern European immigrants and stop being nasty about the whole thing," Noble laments. "It's not deadly politically serious, but the repeated phrase is 'welcome in', and it applies to any sort of alien." An honourable sentiment from the most British band of these shores, but the Lake District via Brighton quartet have ventured abroad themselves. Pledging allegiance with the drink-friendly fans of Slavia Prague FC, a foreign affinity was inspired by the band's decamping to rural Czech countryside to mix the album last summer. The motive was simple according to Yan; "It was cheap and it's got smashing beer. We got told we could do two weeks in London or five weeks in the Czech Republic. Seemed pretty obvious really." "They'll have a few pints at

ten

We felt we've never really captured the sound of us live. You can't do it really, but we had a go. The original plan was to record it all live and keep it basic lunchtime," speaks Noble of the culture, "You'd see this guy off his head in the forest at one o'clock in the afternoon doing this," [makes agonised scream to the surprise of the quiet bar] "I suppose it's an Eastern thing. It's cold there." Not only that, but it's the world's largest consumer of beer per capita. And not ones to forget their hosts' hospitality, BSP recognised the influence last month when they launched Do You Like Rock Music? on Czech soil, at their London embassy. It followed a history of unorthodox gigs that most recently included shows on cliff tops, afloat the River Mersey, and at Britain's highest inn above sea level. "Of all the embassies we approached, they were the most up for it," recounts Yan. "Romania and Poland were having none of it, but then we asked the Czech one and they just wanted some tickets. They're the kind of guys who think if it sounds fun, let's go with it. I think that's what we identify with." Produced by Graham Sutton and Arcade Fire's Howard Bilerman, Do You Like Rock Music? is an enormous achievement in the literal sense. Guitars ring endlessly with water tower reverberation whilst Woody's drumming marches onward across borders. The twin voices of

Yan and brother Hamilton share the songs as usual, a lyrical collection encompassing celebrated polarities: cherry wood and Kevlar, kerosene and acetylene, beers light and dark. If this is Rock music, then just what is Rock? Yan: Rock is more than loud music with guitars. Animate and inanimate objects can be Rock. Noble: For example, how was your breakfast? Y: It was a bit meaty really. And it was about a fiver. Overpriced breakfasts not Rock. Although having a cooked breakfast is pretty Rock. HV: How about, say, Radio One? N: Not Rock. Apart from Steve Lamacq. HV: Fabio Capello? N: He's Rock. He doesn’t mess about. He doesn’t take any shit from anybody. HV: OK, well how about Sven Goran-Eriksson? N: Difficult one. I'd say not Rock cos he never questioned that corrupt Thai Prime-Minister. Mark Riley was contesting this….

myself. Avoiding routine." But every lifestyle has its routines, and even the singer admits that from time to time, being in a band has banalities that are somewhat like "going to the dentist". So can British Sea Power just carry on with the band circuit? Exploring new places and going to strange, exciting new lengths even ten years from now? "I think we can yeah," reckons Noble. "I already feel like an old rocker now who's been on tour forever. I'm Lethal Weapon not one, but three or four. By the seventh album we could all have long hair and beards and do an epic kraut rock album." There's a moment of revelation between the two bandmates. "That's actually a great idea. Nobody does stuff like that anymore," says Yan. "But as for this album and sound, I'm hoping people will find out more what we're about now." Words: Fran Donnelly www.britishseapower.co.uk ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ and first single ‘Waving Flags’ are both out now on Rough Trade.

Y: He's a bit like Dracula, that Prime-Minister. Creepy. That's Rock. N: It's a tie. No pun intended. Famous football managers and hash browns apart, there's a lesson to be learned from all this. Where would you be without the music that inspires you everyday? Pay heed to British Sea Power's timeless philosophy; a space for heroics in the home, and where bravery still exists. As Noble states sagely, "Be as Rock as you can be. It's important to make sure you've lots of good things in your life, but it's difficult. There's a lot of Non-Rock in your face." "It's how you treat other people, what your values are, how often you take chances, have genuine excitement and do something you'll remember," adds Yan. "I'm up to the point where I'm doing more things that I want to do. It's a day to day thing. You've gotta build up your Rock batteries." Blood-rushing excitement and memories is all part of being in the fanatical following that pursue Yan, Hamilton, Woody and Noble to the far-reaches of the country. Continuing our lesson in Rock, we ask Yan to lead by example. "Sometimes it's good not to make your mind up," he begins, "but it's catch twenty-two cos then you've made your mind up not to make your mind up. It's like when I decided to go to the caff for a fried breakfast every morning. It was quite exciting to begin with but then I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to. So then I thought it'd be better to go for a walk by the sea, come home hungry, and cook the breakfast

eleven


Holy Fuck we were doing and try something different”. Different is an understatement. Unique and unprecedented are the most apt adjectives for this band. They exist in a state of splendid isolation, of suspended animation, immune to outside influence or cultural context. When asked to discuss their nationality, the response is ironic and alkaline: “If you look back through the subtext of just about any major historical event there is something to do with Canada or Canadians in there. If you dig deep enough you'll find that the First World War was pretty much provoked by Arcade Fire lyrics”.

Who the fuck are Holy Fuck? Don't worry if you can't answer that question. You're not alone. They are Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Mike Bigelow, Glenn Milchem, and Loel Campbell, a five piece band from Toronto, Canada and a band which made perhaps the most astounding avant garde album of 2007, their subtly untitled UK debut, 'LP'. Its moodswings veer in mere moments from the placid bliss of 'Lovely Allen' to the percussive aggression of 'Echo Sam' and the frenzied paranoia of 'Royal Gregory'. These sounds, constrained by the outer limits of our language, can only be described as electronic. Yet the simplicity of black words on white paper could never express the intricacy of this music. So, in search of a more relevant point of reference, let's play the word

twelve

association game: Electronica. Kraftwerk. Connotations of anonymous boffins in labcoats performing acoustic experiments in underground bunkers. Hold it right there. Holy Fuck are not the robots. Their music is faulty, it is imperfect. It is human after all. “I've been thinking a lot about the creative process, how to keep a bit of timeless charm to things”, surmises Borcherdt, spokesperson and chief Holy Fucker. “I'd rather make beats on shitty Casios than programme every little detail on a laptop. I like the shittiness of what we make. It's honest”. “We've played all kinds of different music outside of this band”, he says, a claim vindicated by his impassioned acoustic folk solo project, The Remains Of Brian Borcherdt. “But with Holy Fuck we just wanted to get away from what

Whilst 'LP' is Holy Fuck's first transatlantic transmission, they have previously released an EP and a full length album in their homeland, both eponymously titled releases on the band's own label, Dependant Records. “I started Dependant in my teens as a collective, promoting and helping a handful of bands from the east coast of Canada. It has been successful, although it becomes hard to maintain when everyone is busy”, explains Borchedt. As such, their music has been unleashed on the UK by Young Turks, the newborn offspring of XL Recordings. “I feel lucky to have gone from something very DIY to something that's starting from the ground up. We feel connected to the drive and spirit”. Unsurprisingly for a band who were selected as a highlight of last year's Glastonbury festival by the NME, their stronghold is not in the studio, but on stage. “We'd love to record every show we play. We want our records to be a mix of live stuff, either radio shows or live on stage or live in the studio. It's too fun playing together to just try to do

a conventional album with prewritten songs. We want to capture the energy of something spontaneous”. So, you're intrigued? And you want to hear Holy Fuck for yourself? Well don't stay tuned to your FM airwaves, because radio friendly unit shifting is most certainly not their style. “We value success, sure, and we welcome whatever we can get of it. But I don't think we ever expected it or wanted to be burdened with the pursuit of it”. Like notorious New Cross art rockers Selfish Cunt, their very name is sufficient to banish them from Chris Evans' BBC Radio 2 drivetime playlist. Yet they remain stubbornly unapologetic. “Why not name our band something like Holy Fuck? At least with a name like this we can stay focused and not worry about getting caught up in the mediocrity of daytime radio and mainstream mediums”. As for the topic of controversy and censorship in music, Holy Fuck are “not really interested.” “It's boring now. Save that one for 2 Live Crew, Tipper Gore, and bad Saturday Night Live skits from the nineties”.

GLASVEGAS _WE ARE ROCK Unsigned yet already playing to crowds of 2000+ (Ian Brown personally picked them to open his recent headline tour) Glasvegas have become one of the talked about new UK bands in 2008. If The Twang do docile lad-rock with a Brummie accent, then file Glasvegas under a shimmering Spector-meets-Mary Chain Wall of Sound. And then there’s singer James Allan’s stark Glaswegian vocal tone – you won’t hear a more accented singing voice this year. Glasvegas formed a couple of years ago, with James writing with cousin Rab (guitar), “totally learning from scratch”. “When I was younger I was never a massive record guy, I was more into football. The first album I really got into was Be Here Now, my sister would make tapes and when I heard ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ things clicked.” James says that his songs have to be “soulful – I have to be able to listen back and not be embarrassed” before being presented to the rest of the band (Paul Donoguhe – bass and Caroline McKay - drums make up the line-up). Influences have grown from Oasis, with James following his hero’s inspirations right back to the beginning – Elvis and Hank Williams provide just as much

Ian’s been really good to us. We got a demo to him and he asked us out on tour. He phoned up asking about our sound and how we record the songs

inspiration as Orange Juice and the Reid brothers. Lyrically, James goes over emotional ground, mainly concerning adolescence. “You tend to remember the daftest things from your youth – our songs aren’t meant to be social observations, they’re just what I think about and have experienced.” “I write about common stuff – its no big secret what I’m writing about” (the brutal ‘I’m Gonna Get Stabbed’ needs little explanation, while ‘Flowers and Football Tops’ details a mum’s despair after losing her son to a murder). “These things aren’t just about Glasgow, they happen everywhere” says James. The bands moniker might go on to provoke some cynicism, but James claims the name isn’t any big deal. “I like Glasvegas, it’s easy to say – simple as that.” Their songs have gone down well from Glasgow to Folkestone, says James. “The Ian Brown tour allowed us to play all over the UK to people we wouldn’t have been able to get to. His fans have been curious to check us out, they seem to get it.”

out on tour. He phoned up asking about our sound and how we record the songs. It’s the same with Andy Rourke (Brown’s touring bassist) – he couldn’t believe we’d recorded the songs in our living room.” Explaining the groups ‘Wall of Sound’, he drawls parallels with orchestral music and heavy metal. “To me Johnny Cash is heavy metal – we make heavy music. There’s a close connection between Spector and orchestral music, but it’s heavy as well. We’re somewhere between the two.” With second single ‘It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’ landing in February, James doesn’t see anything further than his next song or gig. “I don’t have an album on my mind just yet – we have enough songs but signing deals isn’t my job.” Words: Alistair Beech www.myspace.com/glasvegas

The quartet are whipping up curiosity with respected industry figures and senior musicians too. “Ian’s been really good to us. We got a demo to him and he asked us

Holy Fuck, quasi-nihilists, reject and reinvent each and every unwritten rule of songwriting, of technology, of the recording process and of the major label music industry. Like the psychedelic monochrome of a photographic negative, light and dark in harmony, they are strange and they are beautiful. And in 2008 they will rise to power with “Bionic powers. New outfits.” and “Cameo appearances on daytime soaps in foreign countries”. You heard it here first. Words: Benjamin Thomas www.myspace.com/holyfuck

thirteen


With the move to Parlophone for Shotter’s Nation, was there a shift in band mentality, moving away from your beginnings as a side project? Adam: We never considered ourselves a side project. It’s never been like that. It’s always been the same for us. Nothing’s really changed from our perspective. Mick: Pete only started doing Babyshambles because he had so made songs he wanted to release when he was with The Libs but

and he wouldn’t take any shit but he wasn’t in your face. Reading the reviews of Shotter’s Nation, the recurring opinion is that it’s more “polished” than Down In Albion. Do you think that’s a reflection on your own progression or of a major label budget? Drew: It’s a reflection on the studios that we recorded the album in. Adam: That’s Stephen Street. Drew: Yeah, we recorded the first

album on a hard disc. It wasn’t even Protools. It was rubbish studios. We wanted to go to a better studio but Rough Trade wouldn’t pay for it. So then, for this album, we went in with a brilliant engineer who knew where to place expensive, good mics and proper pre-amps and everything. We recorded in a big room where Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin had performed. What’s it like arriving for the first day of recording where such legends

have worked before you? Drew: It felt like home. Adam: I was in the toilet and I saw the ghost of Jimi Hendrix! (He puts on an American accent) Groovy pee, man… No, really! Mick: I felt kinda humbled in a way, cos it was really nice to have that kind of opportunity. In fact, the ceiling there was lowered or raised to alter the sound of the room. Adam: When you get in there, it

BABYSHAMBLES Rough Trade weren’t able to release the amount of songs that he wanted to as quickly. They wanted to do an album a year. He wanted to release songs constantly. Adam: We’re quite fluid really. We want to record something then get it out, the record companies squeeze the stuff as much as they can. They’re business people; that’s what they do. Try to get as much money, as much revenue from that single or whatever, and tour and tour... What was Stephen Street like to work with in the studio? Was he a disciplinarian? Drew: He was great. He knew what he wanted and he had confidence.

Life is full of surprises. Michael Jackson didn’t do

makes you almost… Well, you have to rise to the occasion.

it. Jordan and Peter are still together. Keith

Did it put pressure on?

Richards has just turned 64, and according to ‘statistics’, is healthier than your average ten year old. Similarly surprising, to those of you more interested in the tabloids than your record collections, is that there are four musicians in Babyshambles. Drew McConnell (bass), Adam Ficek (drums) and Mick Whitnall (guitar) have quietly toiled behind their charismatic band leader

Mick: He was an easy-going disciplinarian!

through two studio albums and more gigs than the

Adam: It was a good balance because he knew what he wanted

arrest warrants would have you believe.

Adam: The pressure was already on. We knew we had to do a good album cos people were starting to write us off. It has been said that one of the most exciting things about Shotter’s Nation is that it sounds like there is so much more still to come. Are plans already being made for album number three? Drew: Mick’s constantly writing songs. You can’t tell, but right now he’s thinking about chord progressions. Mick: There’s lots of songs ready, nearly a whole album’s worth. Is there going to be a quick turnaround for the next one then?

Mick: We’re hoping it’s going to be out this year at about the same time that Shotter’s Nation was. Adam: We hope so. That’d be good. One album a year is perfect for us. We get bored so it keeps us on our toes. We’re always most excited about songs that aren’t fully formed yet. We get to the end of a tour and we play by numbers. Sometimes it’s nice to have those songs that you can go to and work on for a change. Does it feel extra special getting good feedback when, as you said, critics had started to write you off? Mick: Well, reviewing music’s a difficult thing. You can talk about music, and listen to it, but you judge it for yourself. Like, with the NME; I’d buy it when I was fourteen but then I stopped buying it cos you know it’s someone else’s view. Everyone listens to different music. Who’s that journalist with the stupid hair? He was slagging us off, blah blah blah, really put it down, but the next week, in the same magazine, they were saying the album was brilliant! That guy can go and stick his head up his arse… Adam: It’s so subjective, isn’t it? I might play something and hate it, Drew might love it and Mick might think it’s great or it’s shit but it’s not fair. That the nature of it really, and it’s hard to do so you can’t blame them for doing it. It’s worse when it gets personal though. It doesn’t just say “I don’t like this but I can see the merits in this part and in that part” but

some of them inflict on people’s lives. Drew: Sometimes there’s a review, where you’ll read a whole page and they haven’t mentioned the music once. They haven’t mentioned the lyrics, they haven’t mentioned how the guitarist sounds, they haven’t mentioned the music! Mick: “Bunch of junkie bastards trying to create a new album even worse than their last measly effort!” It must be frustrating. Drew: I think you have your own personal belief about how good something is and you should keep steadfast to that because the bad reviews, you can’t take them seriously, but at the same time, you can’t let the good reviews mean any more. On ‘The Lost Art Of Murder’, Pete plays with Bert Jansch. Is there anyone that you would love to collaborate with in the future?

Adam: Ian Brown would be good. There was an idea to have him involved in ‘French Dog Blues’, cos some of those lyrics are accredited to him. We’re big fans of the Roses. Drew: Baby Cham, a Jamaican MC. It is at this point that Mick accompanies Drew in some dancehall singing, their accents moving somewhere between Bermondsey and Barbados. “Ay remember dose dayyyyyys…” It’s true that Babyshambles’ reggae influences can be clearly heard, and they’re openly dedicated to continuing the ska tradition. The next name mentioned warrants handclapping and hero-worship all round. Drew: Terry Hall (from The Specials) would be just brilliant. Mick: Yeah! Drew, how do you find the switch from Babyshambles to playing in Fionn Regan’s band?

One album a year is perfect for us. We get bored so it keeps us on our toes. We’re always most excited about songs that aren’t fully formed yet

Drew: Well, this is my band, Babyshambles, but I love Fionn’s music. He’s an amazing musician and I really enjoy playing nice melodies. He’s a great guy who writes some good songs, so when I’ve got some free time I’ll join him. Fionn calls Pete ‘Houdini’ and Mick ‘Top Gear’. Mick: It’s because of my nice clothes… Drew: It’s not just me that does other stuff though. Adam dee-jays and Mick… talks to himself. While they howl with laughter, it’s difficult to imagine how the Babyshambles dynamic is altered with Pete around. High Voltage is later informed that, had their frontman been present, the interview would have been terminated at the phrase “side project”, yet Adam, Mick and Drew joke around with one another like a band bonding over 2Tone classics in their parents’ garage. Priorities lie where they should, with health, happiness, and chord progressions. Words: Megan Vaughan www.babyshambles.net Babyshambles play Manchester Apollo on February 17th

High Voltage sat down with “the other three” to find out where their heads are at.

fourteen

fifteen


singles Single of the month Air Cav _ Alliance (Surbia) It's hard to be in Manchester and not notice the waves being made by Air Cav at the moment, and their debut release on fledgling Surbia Records is set to continue the industry "buzz". 'Alliance' has long been the band's signature tune, and this polished recording does it real justice. Beginning with urgent, dirty electric guitar, things develop the way intelligent rock music

Rachael Kichenside - Like The Tides EP The most important thing in a young songstress is not her songs per se but the potential she packs in her pipes. Rachael Kichenside doesnÅft so much "pack" her marvellous talent as she spins it like silk _ indelibly delicate but tangible enough to wrap yourself in for hours at a time. Over this EP, not every song stands

Kid Harpoon - The Second EP (XL) On one hand, this is a great EP, full of loping shanty choruses, quirky lyrics and vocals ranging from Syd Barrett's heightened Englishness to raw Captain Beefheart growls. On the other hand, it is forgettable radio-friendly boredom; its soul castrated by the influence of David Gray, Razorlight, Billy JoelÅc This is a genuine shame. When he

Cut Off Your Hands - Oh Girl (679) It takes a cynical soul not to award a song like 'Oh Girl' the full five flashes of High Voltage electricity. A chorus wrapped in treacly harmonies, tinkling music-box xylophones, guitars that could have been plucked from some 50s high school prom what's not to like?

sixteen

should; regularly twisting into something new and taking the listener on the kind of journey that would make lesser musicians travel-sick. With minimal vocals, the song is driven by 'Bittersweet Symphony' strings and unassailable, unforgiving percussion, along with beautifully dark post-rock guitar.

you off as a prisoner of rock'n'roll. Simply brilliant.

Megan Vaughan

shores, and are busy filling dancefloors with whistles, whoops and handclaps.

If ever there was a band to take us back to the heady days of 1986, when lipglossed ladies in towering shoulder pads threw balloons around on Top Of The Pops, Alphabeat are that band. Hailing from Denmark, where their debut album has already gone platinum, Alphabeat have now relocated to UK

'Fascination' is not groundbreaking, nor is it even modern, having the misfortune to sound like both Wham and Cyndi Lauper at the same time. What it does offer, however, is pure and undiluted Saturday night glee. With unashamed Europop roots, lyrics about "young dudes in high boots" match supercharged disco cheese that should

Pete And The Pirates Mr Understanding (Stolen)

Alliance will never be a song to chill out to, if only because it grabs your attention, flips you upside-down, and then carries

Ah, the magic ingredient that is The Chant. Few or no words are needed: just take that killer hook, add cheap off the back of a gold disc. It made The Fratellis a lot of money, and it may well do the same for our unlikely heroes Pete and the Pirates.

out. But that doesnÅft matter. Where 'Frailty' might

Karima Francis. She's a subtly different sweetness to Lucy & The

freeze you in your tracks, 'Measure Of Me' might pass you by. But for not one second during these four songs can you not tap into the spectral folk hush. 'Something To Say' resonates with this crystalline simplicity, chimes and all.

Caterpillar. Her songs' beauty is more understated than Liam Frost's. Never have we been short of songwriting quality round these parts, but I think Miss Kichenside is going to fit right in.

Kichenside certainly offers something different to the robust emotionality of

Fran Donnelly

shines, Kid Harpoon is a powerful lyricist, who can bring situations to life in one or two lines, and whose 'Suicide Grandad?' is a beautiful Pink Floyd oddity: "I won't count the days till I fall, piss my pants / I've got better things to do". Elsewhere, honky tonk piano brings 'Her Body Sways' to life, and the chorus of 'Fathers And Sons' is malt whisky in aural form.

shouldn't be an EP. Kid Harpoon can say everything he needs to say in three gorgeous songs, and there would be no great mourning party for the rest of the MOR nonsense. Moments like 'Suicide Grandad?' are in danger of getting lost amongst asinine Johnny Borrell "ooohs".

So why does it all sound so horribly weak-ass? The answer is that this

Megan Vaughan

Very little actually - New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands are guided effortlessly along by producer Bernard Butler, and all appears well in the land of lovely. The nagging doubt (that'll be the cynical soul) is that it's all just a bit too candyfloss for a band last seen here ripping it up with tour mates Foals.

monumental power pop of flipside 'Turn Cold' - a song that Idlewild may well have crafted if they knew how to dance. And therein lies the moral: if you can't melt a cynic's heart, punch him in the guts instead.

Indeed, those extra two bolts might have been all theirs if the track had not been so overshadowed by the

Alphabeat - Fascination (Charisma)

Neil Condron

'Mr Understanding', you see, is nigh-on indie perfection. The Reading five-piece have already been building a reputation among the purists for understated, chiming folk-pop, but with this latest release they've thrown their tattered hats into the ring with their cheekiest, most boisterous riff to date. And, of course, there's that chant.

sound like a rowdy mess, but thankfully doesn't. A brilliant slice of retro pop gubbins, you will love 'Fascination' for its sheer brainlessness. Grab your ra-ra skirt. Let's party.

Megan Vaughan

could be to Pete and the Pirates what '22 Grand Job' was to The Rakes. The difference being, of course, that you'll be hearing a lot about one of those bands in 2008.

Neil Condron

Bittersweet enough to charm the dreamers, rough enough to appeal to the terrace mobs, 'Mr Understanding'

MGMT are yet another tip for 2008, but they aren’t as easy to pigeon hole as the likes of Adele and Joe Lean, et al. Debut UK single ‘Time To Pretend’ (you’ve probably been charmed by it already through 6Music playlisting) sounds like The Flaming Lips scratching around in a basement studio with The Incredible String Band.

The duo (Brooklyn based Uni-pals Andrew and Ben) sing about ‘Heroin, the stars, and elegant cars’ on Time To Pretend, whilst demonizing the 9-5 office job. ‘Live fast and die young. We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun. Inspired by duos, MGMT’s sound has been hemmed together by Dave Fridmann’s (Flaming Lips) studio nous, while there’s a wide-eyed optimism about them that’s difficult not to be seduced by.

An intriguing first installment then, but whether these boys can carry their modern-hippy sermons through a full album remains to be seen.

Los Campesinos - Death To Los Campesinos! (Witchita)

xylophones to the saccharine girl/boy vocals, treading a fine line between life affirming pop for it’s own sake and nausea inducing tweeness.

discerning indie discos from now till summer.

‘Death to Los Campesinos!’ is the self referencing lead single from Cardiff sextet Los Campesinos! forthcoming Hold On Now Youngster LP. Forget the frankly deluded press release that proclaims this track ‘resolutely void of indie pop clich_s’, DTLC! ticks all the genres stylistic boxes from the

It’s a close thing but ultimately the song comes good through the sheer shambolic exuberance of its delivery. The exaggeratedly fey vocal affectations are undeniably irritating but the sugar rush melodies and sing along chorus are sufficiently catchy to ensure patronage by all the more

The Ting Tings - Great DJ (Columbia)

with huge tours and a debut album release planned.

fall back on an old song to announce their arrival on Columbia.

This re-recorded version of ÅeGreat DJÅf hasnÅft changed a great deal since its original b-side status, the sound is bigger and Åethe drumsÅf more prominent, but it still appears fresh and is worthy of the subsequent hype. With so much going on around them, The Ting Tings seem comfortable enough to

ItÅfll be interesting to hear what they have in their locker on the album, but we reckon they pretty much have 2008 sewn up already.

MGMT - Time To Pretend (Columbia)

We picked out Salford duo The Ting Tings as potential stars with last summerÅfs debut single ÅeThatÅfs Not My NameÅf and, several months on theyÅfve become ÅetheÅf band to name check among tastemakers. Now with major label backing, Jules and Katie are likely to enjoy a fruitful 2008,

Alistair Beech

Whether this sort of thing will be palatable over the length of an album remains to be seen, but for 2 minutes 45 seconds Death to Los Campesinos! offers a welcome injection of sunshine to these bleak winter days.

Billy Idle

Alistair Beech

seventeen


albums Clich_d business management guff has it that if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Consider Muscles' debut album to be a two-fingered salute (with accompanying raspberry) rebuke to such thinking. For, the young Aussie (aka DJ Flex) has created a dance LP that appeals to both electro smartypants and Ministry of Sound compilation buyers.

Album of the month Muscles - Guns, Babes, Lemonade (Modular) Hot Chip - Made In The Dark (EMI)

Made in the Dark is full of great songs, although perhaps only the first single, 'Ready For The Floor', will be sung badly by groups of shirtless men at three in the morning in the way that 'Over and Over' was. It too is an irresistible call to the dancefloor for those of us guilty of "carving up the wall". It sounds like about four different singles in one, each of them fighting for presidence. Yes, Kylie turned it down, but she chose a pallid Goldfrapp rip-off as her first single so what does she know? The album's title track and 'Whistle For Will' are both minimal, slow burning soul numbers that give Alexis Taylor's voice the space it deservers. They also show how far they

Dead Meadow Old Growth (Matador)

eighteen

The most un-DC band to have ever recorded in Fugazi's studio have moved. Upping sticks from their native Washington, Dead Meadow have relocated to California and recorded their fifth LP in the middle of nowhere in Indiana, places far more suited to their out there slacker retro. Sometimes it's like they can't be bothered to go all the way back to the 70s. They can be bothered with plenty of solos and pedals, though, as on 'Ain't Got Nothing' and 'Between Me and The Ground'. The psych is less psyched than on previous records (it's a lot more, erm, -adelic though). As a trio again, DM appear to have

have come as songwriters; from quirky joke tracks about Stevie Wonder to chord sequences that wouldn't be out of place on a Nick Cave or Rufus Wainwright song. 'Out at the Pictures' sounds like the manic opening number from a non existant musical, whereas 'Hold On' sounds like its deranged disco finale. 'Wrestlers' is the record Timbaland would make if he came from Putney. And was white. And never got laid. 'Shake A Fist' combines the unlikely love triangle of kraftwerk melodies, ravey synth stabs and dancehall rhythms. As the sample says, "you may be surprised".

solid groundwork of fantastic and accessible songwriting. Despite the huge range of music, it's still immediately recognisable as Hot Chip, and their best album yet. An instant classic.

mellowed out to brilliant effect. 'I'm Gone' is both angsty AND dreamy, and the best retro throwback since who knows when (Oasis, take notes). While 'Keep On Walking' and 'Either Way' are homely Americana numbers with hints of Jason Pierce at his most tender. Pick of the acoustic bunch though, is 'Down Here'. It'll make you comfortably numb, for sure. Not that the band which pretty much hold the copyright on 'beardy weirdy' have completely forgotten the art of rocking like Led Zeppelin's first coming: the garagey 'The Queen of All Returns' does a better job of it than the reformed Plant, Page

It was only so long before the people behind the excellent End Of The Road festival started putting out excellent records. They might only have two artists, Alaskan Port O'Brien and classically trained Bostonian ensemble The Young Republic, who are the more than accomplished authors of EOTR's first LP release.

Alex Barbanneau

The Young Republic 12 Tales From Winter City (End Of The Road)

Like the best of albums, Made in the Dark is ambitious, fresh and original, yet still built up from a

Granted the swelling rave synths and thumping drums with layered harmonised, shouty vocals that uniformly fill these eleven tracks will not change the world of electronic music, but it may well make it dance. Like the album's title,

and Jones. While 'The Great Deceiver' is a pub jam with soul and 'Seven Seers', with bassist Steve Kille taking up the sitar, is a hypnotic trance out. This is retro American style. Memory lane's never rocked so well.

Stephen Eddie

These New Puritans - Beat Pyramid (Angular)

With eight people who met at college and a menagerie of instruments (mandolin, viola, flute and, of course, an accordion), Arcade Fire and Montreal scene comparison are probably inevitable, but that would be to put TYR in a

Beat Pyramid is the debut LP of Dior Homme darlings and forerunners to the curiously London-centric 'Southend Scene' These New Puritans. Still only 19 years old TNP are a young band with big ideas, drawing inspiration from a gloriously pretentious gene pool where such disparate entities as Steve Reich, chain mail, Einsturzende Neubauten, syntax and the Wu Tang Clan are all reigned in beneath an archly fastened top collar button. Yet for all their aesthetic austerity Beat Pyramid is, as its name might suggest, a record steeped in that most primal of musical elements: rhythm. Album centrepiece 'En Papier' is grime bleached white, metallic 2 step

the lyrics are somewhat inane, ("Ice Cream is going to save the day, again") yet Muscles has cleverly injected an extra ingredient usually overlooked within this genre, emotion. On the face of it, these are throwaway electro party tracks but Muscles unrefined singing style and lyrics are so enthusiastic, honest, and above all endearing that the result is hard to resist: "I'm sweaty, but I still want to touch you if you'll let me".

between pop and dance music is a difficult area to navigate seriously, as fellow Modularites and Antipodeans, The Presets', pretentious debut album proved. We've little doubt he'll succeed but don't anticipate Kellogg's variety pack-like eclecticism; Muscles' one trick does begin to grate over forty minutes, but expect it to slow burn through 2008 regardless.

Simon Smallbone

The mantra-like repetition of "Peace, Love, Ecstasy, Unity, Respect" on 'Sweaty' illustrates Muscles' clear intention to make his music as accessible as possible. The space

pigeonhole they a repeatedly bust out of (although 'She Comes And Goes' is probably related to 'Wake Up' in some way or other). 'Excuses To See You', a noncheesy country ballad, is what they call Classic Song Writing, preceded by spiky Pixies surf vibes on 'Modern Plays' _ fitted with unexpected jazzy breakdowns. For the most part, though, things take on a folky alt. jangle, occasionally frequenting Beirut's Balkan territories ('Girl In A Tree'). And Julian Saporiti's voice is almost as idiosyncratic as Zac Condon's, but his songs are filled with even more romance.

rhythms pounding away like industrial machinery while TNP orator in-chief Jack Barnett fires cryptic missives of misheard conversation over the top. Forthcoming single 'Elvis' is a master class in instrumental minimalism, one chord bass and guitar riffs etch themselves onto your consciousness before the self restraint buckles to make way for a freeform noise freakout.

The knock-out 'She's Not Waiting Here This Time' and 'Everybody Looks Better In Black & White' are exactly how boys' songs about girls should be written. They're like audio versions of cool, low-budget American indie films. But it's 'Paper Ships' and 'When I See Your EyesĂ…c' that possess the most magnificent drama. End of the road? No chance. These are the only Republicans worth voting for in 2008.

Stephen Eddie

Regardless, Beat Pyramid is a record of striking coherence, subverting our expectations for a 'guitar' record and setting the bar high not only for the band themselves, but for every other release this year.

Billy Idle

This is indie by association only; on an album featuring a track which appears to be a field recording of a gentle breeze and two pieces which comprise of no more than two halves of the same sentence the only real oddity is 'MKK3' which sounds a little like The Rakes.

nineteen


gigs Just whom could promoters Pineapple Folk/Hey Manchester bring in to ease an audience into an evening of exotic Balkan folk, a large percentage of which may only be aware of them via Jeremy Barnes' previous drumming duties for mythic-alternative types Neutral Milk Hotel. With the exception of Beirut there are few options amongst the alternative crowd, making Montreal's Miracle Fortress as good a choice as any.

Gig of the month

The Chemical Brothers - Apollo 6/12/07

It should perhaps come as no surprise bearing in mind that they've been plying their trade for nigh-on 15 years, but it seems that even Ed and Tom aren't exempt from using The Big Book of DJ-ing's number one rule. When a series of power failures threatens to derail the evening's pounding vibe by plunging the Apollo into an uncomfortable quiet for 10 minutes, they mark the return of normal service with 1997's (yep, it's that old) Block Rockin' Beats _ when things go wrong, hit back hard. Tonight is one of the Brothers' more backward looking gigs of late, plundering 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl', 'Out of

Control' 'Music: Response' and more from Surrender, as well as guest appearances from 'Leave Home' 'It Doesn't Matter' and the aforementioned chart-topping big-beat behemoth. That said, they also find time to indulge in some of the more anonymous house tracks scattered across the last three albums, but mercifully prevent them from dragging in the way we've seen before.

electrical gremlins do appear to put the fun-fest in jeopardy, the crowd only remain silent so they can catch their breath for one last volley; a thrilling, apocalyptic finale.

Miracle Fortress / A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Music Box 6/12/07

Adrian Barrowdale

The hits are out in force, with 'Galvanise', 'Do It Again' 'Star Guitar' and 'Believe' each received with a barrage of whistles and cheers and there's very little left for anyone to complain about. In fact, when the

Big Arm / Ian Brown - Manchester Central 7/12/07

Holy Hail / Crystal Castles - Liverpool Korova

2/12/07

twenty

Openers The Ghost FrequencyĂ…fs intense electro punk intercourse is a hard act to follow, but New York new wavers Holy Hail rise to the challenge. Like the politicodisco of Le Tigre, their music has more grrrl power than a thousand Spice Girls reunion tours. 'Big Guns', 'Born Of A Star', and 'Cool Town Rock', their recent release on Adventures Close To Home, are highlights one and all. And by midnight, Liverpool has become the next town to capitulate to the Crystal Castles

worldwide invasion. As the Toronto duo take to the stage at Korova, an uber-trendy underground Clockwork Orange themed venue, the Droogs in the basement go ultraviolent for their synthcore sound. Alice Glass, an iconic frontwoman evolved from the boys-wanna-fuck-her-girlswanna-be-her gene pool, shrieks and yelps in perfect disharmony with the pixelated dystopic noises of her musical partner in crime Ethan Fawn. As 'Air War' wreaks shock and awe dancefloor destruction, the

Canadians' performance comes to a chaotic close and peace reigns again in this old town.

Benjamin Thomas

Make Model / Malcolm Middleton Academy 3 10/12/07

Debuting tracks from their recently released opening statement 'Five Roses', the quintet's slow-burning pop swept in shoe-gaze atmospherics (as you'd imagine Belle and Sebastian would sound if Kevin Shields was calling the shots) kept to tempo by two percussionists' frantic rhythmic

interplay draws quite a few impressed murmurs in the crowd. Whilst it's certainly not the most startlingly original racket to be exported from Canada recently, chief songwriter Graham Van Pelt is one to keep an ear open for. Like gate crashing an eastern European party, A Hawk And A Hacksaw's exotic back catalogue plays best when soundtracking a wine and port fuelled shuffle on a dancefloor, punctuated by drunken roaring and raucous laughter rather than as a spectacle to take in.

Mike Caulfield

Whilst the musicianship on offer is dazzling as times, with wild flurries of notes crammed into exotic timesignatures evoking a wide scope of

Rocketed from Dry Bar to Manchester Central this evening, Paul Ryder's latest venture sees him surprisingly comfortable as a frontman. Big Arm admittedly have a handful of songs _ 'Sunrays' being one _ that have enough lilted bagginess to be halfcatchy. If this was what the Mondays had made their comeback with this year, then it might have even been listenable. Does the lesser-known of the Ryders not have his right to a comeback? No. Happy Mondays have a legacy to explore, but Big Arm have been created afresh with not one trace of interest about them. If Madchester is the be all and end all of your tastes then Big Arm might be for you, but the sane will avoid.

If anybody cannot be accused of indulging in their glory days however, it is Ian Brown. Songs as early as 'My Star' and as recent as 'Keep What Ya Got' are heights in his career that are even capable of overshadowing quite banally replicated Roses covers. This sort of consistently challenging drive from Brown has meant that in the past, live shows have been thrilling from the quirky to the anthemic.

First up, Scot newbies Make Model confuse and delight in equal measure. The last vocalist to have baffled us with American accented vocals in place of Scottish was Idlewild's Roddy Woomble, and the transatlantic tones still make very little sense. The band relax soon enough though; 'Just Another Folk Song' is reminiscent of a poppier Biffy Clyro, whilst new single 'The Was' shows that major label backing isn't quashing their emerging originality.

full band arrive 'Blue Plastic Bags' is evidence that Middleton has a far more believable way with social commentary than those Arctic Monkeys ever will. Recent singles are pulled out early, including the surprisingly chirpy (and radio friendly) 'A Brighter Beat' and the sublime 'Fuck It, I Love You'.

A certain hush is required for Middleton's opening number with just the man himself and Jenny Reeve on violin. As the

cinematic moods and emotions via trumpet, violin and a cimbalom (yep that's right, a cimbalom!), the atmosphere unfortunately never approaches anything closely resembling a celebratory gathering this evening, despite the group's best efforts.

when his character gets the better of him (as it has done so much this year) that his objectionable side gets the better of the show. A shame.

Fran Donnelly

Tonight however, the preachy drabness of latest album 'The World Is Yours' kills any atmosphere that might have been. It's shocking how quickly you can find yourself turning on this homegrown hero, but even with brilliant moments like 'Dolphins Were Monkeys' finding him at his best, it's

sense of humour may not be to everyone's taste, but his droll, wry wit both conversationally and lyrically is positively fresh listening for jaded ears.

Hannah Bayfield

Elsewhere 'Burst Noel' provides solace for anyone who's ever spent the festive period alone, possibly depressing onlookers as Middleton taunts "You're awfully quiet, just cheer up a little!" before explaining to a heckler who's pointed out that he's not so chipper himself that "that's where the joke lies". His

twentyone


NEW NOISE Send your new band tips to stephen@highvoltage.org.uk to appear in the next New Noise round-up…

Say, Scientist by The Maple State out on 25th Feb. Featuring We Swear by the Light Life, Say, Scientist, Don't Take Holidays, Temperate Lives, Starts with Dean Moriarty, You and Me and an X-ray Machine Catch The Maple State on tour throughout February with Tellison and Furthest Drive Home. 18-Jan - MANCHESTER Academy 2 w/ Hundred Reasons 29-Jan - BRACKNELL, Cellar Bar 13-Feb - BRIGHTON Freebutt 14-Feb - EXETER The Cavern 15-Feb - NOTTINGHAM Rock City 16-Feb - NORTHAMPTON Soundhaus 17-Feb - LIVERPOOL Barfly 18-Feb - LEEDS The Cockpit 19-Feb - GLASGOW King Tuts 20-Feb - BIRMINGHAM Barfly 21-Feb - MANCHESTER Roadhouse 22-Feb - NORWICH Queen Charlotte 23-Feb - TUNBRIDGE WELLS The Forum 24-Feb - LONDON Dingwalls

twentytwo

Indica Ritual

Hijak Oscar

Quartershade

Vessels

Rachael Kichenside

From the mutant ambient Afrobeat of ‘Huddersclam’ to the frazzled, proto-metal rave of last year’s 7” ‘Trade Show’. From early songs like ‘Num Lock’s’ blip & crunch spazzcore to bastardised Hot Chip numbers such as ‘Top Forty’, Indica Ritual are music to scare people who want to live like they’re in ‘Skins’. Not to mention confusing and upstaging some of the hippest indiedance crossover bands in the world: Shy Child, Foals and Prinzhorn Dance School have all been left for dead.

In recent years, televised talent competitions have been responsible for some of the most embarrassing examples of lobotomy pop ever to have monopolised the near-redundant singles chart. Thankfully, Hijak Oscar made T4’s ‘Mobile Act Unsigned’ competition worth getting out of bed for in the months running up to Christmas, and are about to head out on the ‘Hellbound’ tour that should see their wild harmonica-led blues rock ’n’ roll feed hungry ears across the country.

Potentially the best thing to come from Loughborough since, erm, Lawrie

To be The Next Big Thing in post-rock you have to be pretty big. Which is what makes Vessels all the more intriguing, rather than building up with ambient mush for eight minutes before getting to good bit, the five-piece from Leeds ONLY do the good bits (tumbling piano riffs, haunting harmonies, meditative calm and magnificent cacophonies). They do everything that Explosions or Yndi Halda can do, but all within the confines of five minute pop songs, with words and beats and everything.

Have you ever known a secret so good that you’ve wanted to just shout it out loud from the rooftops? Rachael is that secret.

Their chaotic, multicoloured live show also means they’ve held their own against some the loudest bands on the road. Seriously, they need to be seen to be completely believed. It’s like an explosion in a WTF? factory. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they’re the house party band of your warped dreams. The one from ‘About A Boy’ and the one with the beanie won’t know what’s hit them.

Forming in York around the vocal duo of Tim Fox and Emma KeaveneyRoys, the cream of the local blues and acoustic scene from the city swiftly got on board, and in 2006 the band self-released a foot-stampingly great album that has sold hundreds without any label support. High Voltage reckons that will change pretty soon. Check out Hijak Oscar’s raucous party growls out the ‘Hellbound’ tour, and say you were there first.

Key track: ‘Trade Show’

Key track: ‘Bitter Carnival’

Web: www.myspace.com/indicaritual

Web: www.hijakoscar.co.uk

Words: Stephen Eddie

Words: Megan Vaughn

Sanchez, Quartershade are one of those indie bands that everyone uses the word 'epic' to describe. And they'd be right in all fairness, but not that "We're trying to sound like the Editors" kind of epic. Actually decent music epic. HV first witnessed them when they played a shit hole of a venue in Liverpool, bringing with them gear that was better then what the venue already had. They played a blinding set and we'd argue they are one of the top unsigned live acts on the current scene. Setting up their own label and self releasing a number of tracks over 2007, they will self confess that they didn't make as much noise as they would have hoped to. But with songs as good as theirs, it's only a matter of time. Oh, also they're also really tall. All of them. It's quite weird actually. Key track: ‘Hide And Seek’ Web: www.myspace.com/quartershade Words: Simon Pursehouse

Formed in 2005, they’ve put out two well received 7”s (some how not sold out) and a self-titled EP. Just try not to be mesmerised by the sonic highs of ‘Yuki’ or ‘Two Words & A Gesture’. They’re best song, however, is a B-side that can also be found hidden away on a Brew Records compilation. ‘Forever The Optimist’ is a moody Cure gone post-rock, and it’ll knock you out. Key track: ‘Forever The Optimist’ Web: www.vesselsband.com Words: Stephen Eddie

Fresh from touring last year with the magnificent Windmill, Rachael is now back in Manchester making her own beautifully constructed folk. Limited edition single ‘Long Time Later’ was like hidden treasure; showcasing a voice so warm, so delicate that it melted even my bitter heart. New EP ‘Like The Tides’ is a triumph (co-produced by the remarkable Stickboy) and I urge you to MySpace this girl quickly, if only to hear ‘Something to Say’; which I promise you will be playing over and over again. With her twinkling personality and heart rendering lyrics, Rachael Kichenside is an amazing new talent that deserves to be more than just another well kept secret…and I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops, even if I do look like a loon! Key track: ‘Something To Say’ Web: www.myspace.com/rkichen side Words: Phill Daker

www.highvoltage.org.uk www.myspace.com/highvoltageuk

twentythree


listings FebGIGLISTINGS February Fri 1st Meet Me In St Louis @ Night & Day Cafe Kerrang Tour 2008 (feat. Coheed & Cambria) @ Academy 1 Angus and Julie Stone @ The Ruby Lounge Annie Mac In Session @ The Club (aka Paradise Factory) Dewa @ The Roadhouse

Sat 2nd The Sleeves @ Night & Day Cafe NME Tour 2008 (feat. The Cribs) @ Academy 1 The Rocket Summer @ Academy 2 Amplifier @ Academy 3 Paul Potts @ The Bridgewater Hall

Sun 3rd Victorian Dad @ Night & Day Cafe Allerjen @ Satans Hollow Boy George @ The Lowry Spear Of Destiny @ Club Academy Nick Harper @ Academy 3

Mon 4th Laura Veirs @ Night & Day Cafe Blessed by a Broken Heart @ Music Box Bullet For My Valentine @ Academy 1 Joan Osborne @ Academy 3

Tues 5th David Bazan (Pedro The Lion) @ Night & Day Cafe Pete & The Pirates @ The Roadhouse

Wed 6th The Rifles @ Night & Day Cafe The Blackout @ Academy 2 American Music Club @ Academy 3 Black Acid @ Moho Live The Naughtys @ The Roadhouse

Thurs 7th Young & Lost Tour (feat. Noah & The Whale) @ Night & Day Cafe Justice @ Academy 2 Simian Mobile Disco @ Academy 3 Earth @ Zion Arts Centre Roni Size- Reprezent @ Club Academy The Deadstring Brothers @ The Ruby Lounge Prostitutes & Policemen Boy 8-Bit @ The Attic

Sat 9th

Tues 19th

Fri 29th

Tues 11th

Fri 28th

Spektrum @ Night & Day Cafe Basement Jaxx (DJ Set) @ The Club (aka Paradise Factory) Sons & Daughters @ Club Academy Dropkick Murphys @ Academy 1 Michael Schenker Group @ Academy 3 Dieter & The Gadabouts @ The Roadhouse

The Von Bondies @ Night & Day Cafe The Ghost Of a Thousand @ Music Box Dizzee Rascal @ Academy 1 The Satellite Towns @ The Roadhouse

This City @ The Roadhouse Koffin Kats @ Satans Hollow Uninformed @ Club Academy Autechre @ Music Box Siouxsie @ Academy 2 Hanoi Rocks @ Academy 3

The Vagabons @ Night & Day Cafe Neil Young @ The Apollo Ektomorf + Stuck Mojo @ Academy 3

Kris Kristofferson @ The Apollo Van Morrison @ The Bridgewater Hall The Sword @ Academy 3

Wed 12th

Sat 29th

Neil Young @ The Apollo Infadels @ The Roadhouse Richard Freeshman @ Academy 3

Scouting For Girls @ Academy 1 Hawkwind @ Academy 2 Dead Men Walking @ Academy 3

Thurs 13th

Sun 30th

The Mars Volta @ The Apollo The Feeling @ Academy 1 Asia @ Academy 2 Casiotone For The Painfully Alone @ Charlies

Gogol Bordello @ Academy 1 Medals @ The Lowry

Wed 20th Islands @ Night & Day Cafe Jimmy Eat World @ Academy 1 Belladonna @ The Roadhouse

Sun 10th Babyshambles NME Show @ The Apollo MXPX @ Academy 3 Gabrielle @ The Lowry Fuck Buttons @ The Phoenix

Mon 11th Palladium @ Night & Day Cafe Asobi Seksu @ Music Box Flamboyant Bella @ Academy 3

Tues 12th These New Puritans @ Night & Day Cafe Mirrorview @ Music Box Eamon Hamilton (Brakes) @ The Ruby Lounge Black Francis @ Academy 2 Polysics @ Star & Garter Cut The Blue Wire @ The Roadhouse

March

Thurs 21st

Sat 1st

Cherry Ghost @ Night & Day Cafe The Maple State @ The Roadhouse Bring On The Dancing Horses present Napolean IIIrd @ Cafe Saki Eternal Lord @ Music Box Gallows @ Academy 2

High Voltage presents MGMT @ Night & Day Cafe The Cult @ Academy 1 Tegan & Sara @ Academy 2 MistyÅfs Big Adventure @ Academy 3 Natasha Bedingfield @ The Apollo The Beat & Neville Staple @ Club Academy Metronomy @ The Roadhouse

Fri 22nd The Futureheads @ Night & Day Cafe The Metros @ The Roadhouse The Wombats @ Academy 1 Duffy @ The Ruby Lounge Amy MacDonald @ Academy 2 The Audition @ Academy 3 Air Cav (Single Launch Party) @ The Roadhouse

CLUBLISTINGS

Sun 2nd

Sat 15th

Anti-Flag @ Club Academy Newton Faukner @ The Apollo Bill WymanÅfs Rhythm Kings @ The Lowry The Grandmothers Of Invention @ Academy 3

Kelly Clarkson @ The Apollo 5th Annual St. PatrickÅfs Week Party @ Academy 1

Feb-Mar

Sun 16th Monsters Of Mosh feat. Breed 77 @ Jillys Rockworld

Mon 3rd Kid Harpoon & The Powers That Be @ The Roadhouse Mike Park @ Music Box Editors @ The Apollo Tina Disco @ Academy 3

Mon 17th

Tues 4th

Wed 19th

Sandi Thom @ Night & Day Cafe

Designer Magazine presents Sloganeer @ Night & Day Cafe Kate Nash @ The Apollo Clannad @ The Bridgewater Hall Jack Penate @ Academy 1 The Mexicolas @ The Roadhouse

Tues 26th

Wed 5th

Stephanie Dosen @ The Ruby Lounge Designer Magazine presents The Circus Electric @ Night & Day Cafe Alicia Keys @ The M.E.N Arena Sum 41 @ Academy 1 The Hold Steady @ Academy 2 The Bottomfeeders @ The Roadhouse

Dead Meadow @ Night & Day Cafe

Wed 27th

Fri 7th

Sun 24th

Royworld @ Night & Day Cafe A Killer Fear @ Club Academy Tonight Is Goodbye @ The Ruby Lounge Family & Friends Live! @ Mint Lounge I Was A Cub Scout @ The Roadhouse Smashing Pumpkins @ The M.E.N Arena Manchester Orchestra @ Academy 3 Ipso Facto @ Retro Bar

Band Of Horses @ Academy 3

Sat 16th High Voltage Presents Thieves Like Us (Kitsune) @ Night & Day Cafe Mark Ronson @ The Apollo Hot Chip @ Academy 1 Mentallica @ The Ruby Lounge The Manyanas @ Club Academy

Mon 25th

Mon 18th

Inego @ Night & Day Cafe Los Campesinos @ Club Academy

Thurs 6th Cazals @ Night & Day Cafe David Gray @ The Apollo One Night Only @ Academy 3 Conil @ The Roadhouse

The Levellers @ The Apollo Alec Empire @ Academy 3

Sat 8th Fink @ Night & Day Cafe Boyz II Men @ The Apollo Akala @ Club Academy Gary Numan @ Academy 1

Sun 9th Yeasayer @ Night & Day Cafe Guillemots @ The Ritz Hayseed Dixie @ Academy 2 Tom Baxter @ Academy 3

Next deadline is January 18th Compiled by Mike Caulfield

The Yashin @ Music Box

Fri 15th

Vast @ The Ruby Lounge

Please email your gig and club listings for February/March 08 to listings@highvoltage.org.uk

Fri 14th

Wed 13th

The Rascals @ Night & Day Cafe This Is Seb Clarke @ The Roadhouse Versus Cancer 2008 @ The M.E.N Arena Bright Kicks @ Club Academy Thurs 14th Johnny Bramwell’s Valentine Massacre @ Megadeth @ Academy 1 Joe Bonamassa @ Academy 2 Night & Day Cafe Juno Ashes @ Academy 3 Dillinger Escape Plan @ Academy 3 Ian Hunter @ The Lowry Sub Humans @ Star & Garter

Mon 31st

The Torrents @ Night & Day Cafe Kelly Clarkson @ The Apollo Inspiral Carpets @ Academy 1

Sat 23rd

Curious Generation presents Out From Animals @ Night & Day Cafe Sun 17th The Young Knives @ Academy 2 Vice Magazine Party @ Night & Day Cafe Dragons @ Academy 3 Genius: Arthur Lee & Love @ The Ruby Eels @ The Bridgewater Hall Fri 8th Lounge Bauer @ The Roadhouse Airship @ Night & Day Cafe Lightspeed Champion @ The Roadhouse Airbourne @ The Roadhouse Thurs 28th Chrome Hoof Vs Invest Vs Spandecks Vs Jaymay @ Matt & Phreds Late Of The Pier @ Club Academy Sarabeth Tucek @ Night & Day Cafe Lamb & Wolf @ Salford Islington Mill Dionne Warwick @ The Lowry Mayhem In Manchester @ Music Box Devon Sproule @ Club Academy Andy Parsons @ The Lowry Yeti @ Dry Bar Richard Hawley @ Academy 1 Reel Big Fish @ Academy 2 The Hoosiers @ Academy 1 The Other Smiths Vs Transmission @ The Nightjars @ The Roadhouse Academy 3

Velvet Revolver @ The Apollo

Tues 18th Sophie Ellis Bextor @ Academy 2

The Enemy @ The Apollo

Thurs 20th You Animals (Formerly Komakino) @ The Roadhouse

Fri 21st The Fall @ Salford Maxwell Hall

Sat 22nd Danse Macabre presents Las Pistolas @ Night & Day Caf_ 101%- Pantera @ Ruby Lounge

Sun 23rd Buck 65 @ The Roadhouse

Mon 24th The Twilight Sad @ Night & Day Cafe

Wed 26th Last Gang @ Night & Day Cafe The Duke Spirit @ Academy 3 Chris Rea @ The Apollo

Thurs 27th Young Heart Attack @ The Roadhouse The Grid @ Academy 3 Dodge @ Club Academy Van Der Graaf Generator @ RNCM Van Morrison @ The Bridgewater

Monday Revolver @ The Roadhouse 11pm- 2am Monday @ The Ritz 10pm- 2am Up The Racket @ Joshua Brooks 10pm2am

Tuesday

For all things Graphic www.soapforall.co.uk

Sex With Robots @ The Roadhouse 11pm- late Way Back When @ Po Na Na 9pm- 2am Click Click @ Font Bar 9pm- 1am The Alternative @ The Venue 11pm- late

Wednesday Retro @ 42nd Street 10pm- late Tramp @ Club North 10pm- 2am

Thursday From Manchester With Love @ 42nd Street 10pm- 2am Don’t Think Twice @ Font Bar 9pm- 1am Romp @ One Central Street @ 9.30pm3am In The City @ The Venue 11pm- late

Friday Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll @ The Roadhouse Friday Feeling @ 5th Avenue 10pm- 3am Keys, Money, Lipstick @ Star & Garter Glamorous Indie Rock n’ Roll @ 42nd Street Popscene @ The Brickhouse 10.30pm2.30am Relief @ Club Alter Ego 11pm- 4am Another Planet @ South 10pm- 3am Homoelectric @ Legends 10pm- 4am Twist and Shout @ The Venue 10pm3am Don’ft Miss This @ Retro Bar Guilty Pleasures @ One Central Street 10pm- 3am

HIGHVOLTAGE PRESS Specialising in music/band online PR and web promotion. National & regional PR services available

Mon 10th The Matches @ Academy 3 Eva @ The Roadhouse

twentyfour

Mar

alistair@highvoltage.org.uk for more information

twentyfive


Bella Union was created by Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie after their contract with 4AD came to an end in 1997. Since then, the label has supported close to fifty acts; often music that ordinarily would not be heard outside of local scenes and niche markets. A decade after its conception, HV spoke to co-founder Simon about just how far they have come. HV: Hello Simon. You originally conceived Bella Union as an outlet for your own music but then your band dissolved. Was there ever a moment where you shrugged your shoulders and thought ‘oh well, it was a nice idea while it lasted’? Simon: ‘Yes, absolutely. Since the beginning of Cocteau Twins the learning curve was a weird shape. Not steep, but a bit unusual. We made two cassettes, one after another, sent one to 4AD and one to John Peel. Then we got signed by 4AD and a week later did our first Peel session. So we had no idea that you don't always get what you want! Slowly, things started to go wrong and by the time we broke up after drug addictions, label fall outs, punchups, break-ups and kidnappings,

twentysix

we worked out that things don’t always quite work out. I figured for a few days that maybe this was one of those situations. But then we met Dirty Three, put out their album and never looked back.’ Early releases from Fran_oiz Breut, The Czars and Dirty Three were all pretty sad and moody. Were you ever worried that Bella Union would become known for releasing only melancholic material? ‘No! But I see what you're saying. I think I am drawn to that side of art in general. We did release some hip hop but I guess even they were fairly thoughtful, contemplative records.’ You pride yourselves in allowing your artists to develop at their own rate. Has this philosophy ever bitten you on the arse? ‘Haha! I guess you mean did any band take nineteen albums to get any good? Not really. I don't really just sit back and do nothing all the time you know!! Seriously, no one band or release is the same and I just take the attitude that trying to push a band into something doesn't always work. If they want guidance, they'll ask and I'll give it.’ Did you get to the bookies when Fionn Regan’s ‘The End Of History’ was nominated for the Mercury last year? ‘I put a grand on the Klaxons. I wish. Yes, I did put some money on Fionn but didn't get very good odds. He should have won. But then I should have been signed by Spurs when I was fifteen.Åh How has Regan’s success, as well as hefty sales of Midlake’s

output, affected the prospects of Bella Union’s smaller acts? Do you have more freedom to take chances now? ‘No. You cannot for a second think you have this game cracked because no one cares about your last release or how well it did, only your next one. You just need to be aware that you can't always have an artist at Midlake's level, and keep developing the new bands.’ You celebrated your tenth year in 2007, but with the future viability of record companies looking uncertain, how do you think Bella Union will change in the next ten years? ‘Unlike everyone else, I don't think we'll change the philosophy because truly that's why we do it. If we just signed things because we felt they'd do well, we'd ultimately fail because it couldn't sustain. While we don't sell the numbers of the bigger, funded labels, we can release music that wouldn't otherwise be heard.’

burgeoning scene in Cleethorpes and I will be astounded. That's the beauty of this business. One minute of the day you know one thing and then a minute later you hear a band, a song, and you're never the same again. Words: Megan Vaughan www.bellaunion.com The Best of Bella Union: Dirty Three - Ocean Songs Fran-oiz Breut - Une Saison Volee Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther Fionn Regan - The End Of History

Bella Union artists come from all over the world, making music in a huge range of genres. How do you find them, and what qualities do you look for in the music? ‘They just look me up in the Yellow Pages. We're there under Homes for Artists Who Want to Make A Difference’ In all seriousness, I guess we're looking for a band that doesn't sound like any other, that we all agree we want to push the boat out for... I don't really care where they come from, but maybe subconsciously there is something more romantic about signing a band from Texas than Cleethorpes. Perhaps there is a

twentyseven


ISSUE TWENTYSEVEN FEB//MAR

FREE

BABYSHAMBLES GLASVEGAS HOLY FUCK BRITISH SEA POWER YOUNG GALAXY METRONOMY BELLA UNION KARIMA FRANCIS

LOWLINE GOFASTER

DENIS JONES


ISSUE TWENTYSEVEN FEB/MAR

“Next issue of High Voltage is out 1st April Fool!”

features Introducing… Karima Francis & Lowline SIX Introducing… Gofaster & Denis Jones SEVEN Young Galaxy & Metronomy NINE British Sea Power TEN Holy Fuck TWELVE Glasvegas THIRTEEN Babyshambles FOURTEEN Bella Union label profile TWENTYSIX

Regulars

Cover up!

Manchester news FIVE Single reviews SIXTEEN Album reviews EIGHTEEN Live reviews TWENTY New Noise TWENTYTHREE Manchester Listings TWENTYFOUR

This issues cover is not only brought to you in amazing technicolor, but is by, none other than the mighty Chris Drury, Fingathing’s silent but no less conspicuous third fiddle. Chris has built up a fresh and distinctive visual profile for Fingathing that’s as unique as the music they produce. The Fingathing sound is Parker (turntablist supremo) and Sneak (Jazz double bassist). Between them they produce, arguably, the most original sound to come out of Manchester, a Jazz/Hip Hop combo that shakes the most solid of foundations. For more artwork, music, info and an opportunity to buy a limited edition A2 print by the cave troll himself, check www.fingathing.com

For more reviews, interviews, comment and info on all HighVoltage activities log on to highvoltage.org.uk See highvoltagesounds.co.uk for label info and new HighVoltage releases

Andy Cake

EDITOR - Richard Cheetham - rich@highvoltage.org.uk ASSISTANT EDITOR - Alistair Beech - alistair@highvoltage.org.uk FEATURES EDITOR - Adrian Barrowdale – adrian@highvoltage.org.uk REVIEWS EDITOR – Fran Donnelly – fran@highvoltage.org.uk NEW BAND EDITOR – Stephen Eddie – stephen@highvoltage.org.uk LISTINGS EDITOR – Mike Caulfield – listings@highvoltage.org.uk DESIGN - Andy Cake | Soap | www.soapforall.co.uk CONTRIBUTORS - Alex Barbanneau, Hannah Bayfield, Hannah Clark, Neil Condron, Richard Fox, Jade French, Kelvin Goodson, Chris Horner, James Morton, Sophie Parkes, Liam Pennington, Andrew Porter, Simon Pursehouse, Gareth Roberts, Alexia Rogers-Wright, Jamila Scott, Benjamin Thomas, Simon Smallbone, Jack Titley, Megan Vaughan, Will Wright

two

three


Feb/Mar _News... Welcome to the original renaissance city of

Event of the Month

Manchester – where everybody is going to want to be in 2008. The first to make the trip from London, gothic girlies Ipso Facto and smart artrockers XX Teens make Up The Racket's Retro Bar agenda over February. At Night & Day, it's worth keeping on eye out for the most fashionable of indie kids in These New Puritans (12/02) and Cazals (06/03), whilst the more subtle, alternative substance of the Twilight Sad calms things down on 24/03.

That's right. Now you've no excuse for being

met in Berlin, heading for France) represent

uncool on a Saturday night. Down at Night &

their trendsetting label on the 16th February.

Day over the next two months, High Voltage have a right couple of gems lined up for you. Expect both dates to boast up-and-coming surprises in support.

Meanwhile, exciting Brooklynites MGMT and their weird twist of indie magic are making waves, so it's a good job HV got 'em booked well in advance for the 1st March. Their aptly-

If you're missing The Warehouse Project then miss no more, for they've reopened the

First up, Thieves Like Us bring their shady

titled debut album 'Oracular Spectacular' is out

old Factory HQ for some great nights of

dance-pop. Describing themselves as "Half Daft

now, but you'll watch to catch them live so you

dancing. In particular, Australian electro-

Punk. Half Factory. All Kitsuné", the

can say you "was there" this time next year…

behemoths The Presets play 21/03 and it's

cosmopolitan trio (two Swedes, one American,

gonna be mental. If you prefer your electronics more "intelligent" however, then tech-veterans Autechre head for Music Box 29/02. For your ever mind-boggling indie/dance fusions, console-bothering Crystal Castles make a strobe-lit dash to Club Academy (13/02) whilst currently cresting the hype on all fronts, Foals play their first Manchester show of the year on the 11th March. Love odd-ball indie? check out Misty’s Big Adventure on the 1st March at Academy 3. In the record shop, keep an eye out for singles from the local likes of Lowline, The Rascals, Modernaire, The Ting Tings, whilst Orphan Boy's debut album 'Shop Local' isn't far away. Our very own The Maple State play the Roadhouse 21/02 in support of their sharp mini-album 'Say Scientist', released on HV Sounds in March. It'll keep you happy until The Whip's hotly anticipated debut album 'X Marks Destination' arrives at the end of the month.

Words: Fran Donnelly

four

five


introducing... Karima Francis

With the kind of traffic-stopping voice that has earned comparisons with Tracy Chapman, Karima Francis’s harrowing tales of romance and alcoholism make for haunting performances. Whilst Kitchenware Records understood her magic when they added her to their roster in mid-2007, just a few years ago Karima was drumming in a band. That was, until she sang Lenny Kravitz to her partner, booked a gig at The Thirsty Scholar, and everything changed. “I always had this craving. Whenever I was in bands I always used to direct anyway. I used to just hear all this melody. You know when you were a kid and everyone sings, and you want to but you’re so shy? It’s one of those things; it never crossed my mind that I would ever do it. At my first gig there was this Irish guy sat there, all dressed in black. He was like, ‘Woooah!!’ He said, ‘you know, you’re gonna go far, you’ve really touched me’. From that moment I just couldn’t stop doing it every night. I could say it’s therapeutic but it’s more like an adrenalin rush. My whole body works in a different way when I’m up there.” Having been busy recording her debut album with Ken Nelson (Gomez, Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy) in Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, there have been few opportunities for Karima to gig. A short support slot with Newton Faulkner won new fans around the country, but extensive touring is planned to coincide with the album’s

six

springtime release. It would be an understatement to say that Karima is excited. “Basically, I don’t care if it’s just to one person, or ten thousand people, I just want to be gigging every night now. I’m really excited to write my next finished song too. When I write that, I’ll relax, because I’ve cramped up. It’s been such a hard experience.” The energy expended at Parr Street has been worthwhile. Sneak previews currently available on Karima’s MySpace prove that she is fast becoming one of the UK’s foremost songwriting talents. “The first single is going to be The Author,” she says with a smile, “and the new version is amazing! There’s a little bit of Hammond in there and the main guitar line is backed by electric, but subtly, so it’s thicker, and then when it gets to the bridge it just rushes up your back and everything!” Words: Megan Vaughan www.myspace.com/karimafrancis

Lowline

"I don’t think there's been anything in the mainstream over the last five years that's turned us on musically," reckons Lowline drummer Sam. "I'm not interested in some sweaty 23year-old telling us what he’s done day to day."

"You get bands like The Courteeners sounding like The Libertines. There's no atmosphere. There's no denying there's talent about, it's just nobody's writing the tunes that we wanna listen to right now. So that's what we're doing."

Tired of mediocrity but driven with self-belief, Lowline are a band to be reckoned with. Having gigged and re-jigged for the past twelve months, these four lads are ready to cause a stir in 2008. Their powerful debut single 'Monitors' is released in March and characteristically taking no halfmeasures, the band simply went straight into the studio with legendary Oasis/Verve producer Owen Morris.

What Lowline are doing follows a very particular local lineage. Beginning when Howard Devoto started Magazine, their sound takes influence from the post-punk of The Chameleons and the lush sound of Doves. It's a wash of guitar forced through five effects pedals over Robbie's cry of euphoric resentment. Scummy social commentary it is not. "There's ambiguity there and that's important," Mike emphasises. "The world will get sick of lyrics like "I got the 192 / I went to the post office / I went to the Late Shop". No one's arsed. Music's about touching loads of people, not about buying a 40p pick ‘n’ mix."

"It's a bang on single but the tunes we're writing now are better really," claims bassist Mike. "Previously we've all been playing in other bands, and it's taken a long time to get us where we are, but we're getting there and we're the complete outfit now." And it's really starting to show. Recording the video for 'Monitors', the band played a guerrilla gig in Ancoats one Saturday afternoon – joined by one Nick McCabe on guitar. Alienated by the way their hometown seems headed, Lowline have taken things into their own hands. "Manchester just doesn’t have a sound going for it at the moment," says their bassist.

Words: Fran Donnelly www.myspace.com/thisislowline Lowline release their debut single ‘Monitors’ in March on 1-2-3-4! Records

Go Faster

This year is set to be a very big one for our Scouse neighbours. The next 12 months will see Liverpool wearing the crown of European Capital of Culture, awarded largely on the back of its musical heritage. However, as the celebrations kick off, goFASTER>> have headed out on the road with best mates Elle s'Apelle, leading a charge of new bands that together are saying more about the city in 2008 than a million botched Mathew Street festivals ever could. In new single 'Flammable Leisurewear', goFASTER>> have probably captured the carefree spirit of a rejuvenated Merseyside scene better than anyone to date. Singer Rich takes up the tale of how a sorry spell in Liverpudlian fashion history became a sugary chunk of sherbet punk. "I remember, as a child, watching Watchdog, and they were setting fire to shell suits, saying how dangerous they are," says the tousle-haired frontman as Chris (guitars and keyboards) continues. "The song's about wearing trackies; it's about growing up in Liverpool, with all your mates going on the sunbeds. But it's also about taking the piss out of ourselves - I mean, I had a skinhead until I was 17!" The band's satirical, selfdeprecating edge has attracted early comparisons with former tourmates The Wombats and Hot Club de Paris, while the bands' hometown gigs with the likes of 28

Costumes, My Amiga, The Delta Fiasco and Arms At Last have placed them at the heart of Liverpool's emerging DIY scene. Does the band foresee a return to form for the city this year? "Everything's pointing to it, but you don't like to count your chickens!" Rich cautiously smiles. "The thing is, we're not anything madly different from what's come before," argues Chris. "Liverpool's always been a pop city - and we are a pop band. We're just putting our own spin on things." In truth, goFASTER>>'s ethic is one that would win them friends in any city - unless that city is London and a certain jealous electro act is on the bill. "Their [band name removed for punchline-related reasons] dressing room was the size of a school hall - you could have a club night in there!" rues Chris. "We thought, it must be for all the bands, so we and the Neon Plastics went in and helped ourselves to some drinks. Next thing, their manager comes over, telling us to leave!'" Did goFASTER>> offend them? Yeah. Words: Neil Condron www.myspace.com/gofasterband goFASTER>>'s single 'Flammable Leisurewear' is out now on Alcopop!

The music of Denis Jones combines incredible technological wizardry with traditional singersongwriter sensibilities. Breaking such genre boundaries has attracted admirers across the world since the initial release of his debut album, Humdrum Virtue, and Denis has been compared to acts as diverse as CocoRosie and John Martyn. “I’m massively flattered,” he says. “Thinking of the time, a lot of folk music of that era was stagnating because it was looking too far back, but he (Martyn) was one of the few people who was looking forward and I think he was probably shunned, like Dylan was at the time, for not doing the traditional thing. It’s like, ‘come on guys, this is what’s happening in your generation.’ You either embrace it or ignore it.” When a fifteen year-old Denis played Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit’ at his school’s Christmas Variety Show, he took his first tentative steps towards the unparalleled live reputation that sees him flying to festivals in Lithuania, supporting bands like Efterklang and regularly playing up and down the country. As a live performer, the breadth of his experience means each gig is tailored to each audience, as Jones alternates between low-key strumming and rib-shaking loops. Things have come on since that inaugural school concert.

“I started doing gigs straight away, but I was doing covers and slowly writing my own songs. I don’t remember an exact point, but eventually there were more of my songs than there were covers, I guess when I was about seventeen or eighteen.” It was while he was living in London that Denis began to explore electronic music. He was lent a sampler by a friend, and began to expand his listening horizons with ambient elecronica. “There was an album I was listening to by Fennesz that summer – kind of an ambient crossover between electronica and acoustic music. I listened to it non-stop.” Denis’s distinctive sound soon emerged, and the recording of Humdrum Virtue followed. A breathtaking album of looped samples and lyrics about “Elvis Costello playing the cello”, enormous demand for the original handmade copies has led to a large-scale pressing and nationwide re-release this coming spring. Following that, a 12” is planned, but you’ll struggle to find it on Google, as Denis explains. “We’re going to go under the name Menace Drones for that!” Words: Megan Vaughan www.myspace.com/denisjones Denis Jones is on tour throughout February and March

seven


Young Galaxy “I’m just a big music fan” admits Stephen Ramsey, one half of Montreal duo Young Galaxy. A late developer in song-writing terms (picking up the guitar in his early twenties) Stephen says it took time for a musical career to become reality; “I always assumed I’d have a group of friends to write songs, a gang to form a band with. I had people that talked, but never went through with it.” A couple of years ago he become a touring guitarist for Canadian super group Stars. “Stars definitely opened the door for me. At first I felt a bit of an impostor, but it was a fast track to Young Galaxy.”

ADVERTISING

£50 per issue!!

Catherine’s rural, earthy beginnings in Vancouver and their present home, the city bustle of Montreal. With label bank balances at their most precarious, Arts & Crafts artistic model of development is applauded by their latest protégés. “They (Arts and Crafts) always encouraged us and never interfered with the record. They were hands off in a way. At the moment there’s a legitimate need for labels to manage and nurture their acts. Just being a label is hard to pull off now.”

Live, Young Galaxy seek a connection and directness with their audience, and despite picking up the shoe-gaze tag “aren’t the types to hide behind our sound, we want to create an experience”, says Stephen. “Our songs are born out of a love of music” he beams at the end of our transatlantic chat. Love music? Then you’ll love Young Galaxy. Words: Alistair Beech www.myspace.com/younggalaxy

Metronomy Metronomy, code name for electro pop creator Joseph Mount, is making a return to our ears this year with the release of a second album. “The album will be called ‘Nights Out’ and it's due out sometime in March. It's got more singing and is hopefully a bit more concise than the first album,” Mount reveals.

Have your say in these pages from

In between breaks on Stars tours, Stephen worked on songs with his other half (personally and musically) Catherine McCandless at Jace Lasek’s (Besnard Lakes) Montreal studio. Released through super-indie Arts and Crafts (home to Feist, The Dears, and set up by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew) Young Galaxy’s self-titled debut is a rich, heart-warming LP perfect for winter sulking. Debut single and album opener ‘Swing Your Heartache’ is a 4am Spiritualized come down, full of sparkling melodies, broody verses and an uplifting outro. The album is a collision of Stephen and

Taking great influence from “science fiction, Talking Heads, pictures of space, David Bowie and growing up in Devon”, Metronomy make music that “sounds like a garage band playing electro music”. Since first album, ‘Pip Paine (Pay Back The £5000 You Owe)’ was released in 2006 Metronomy has developed into

more of a band than a one man machine, enjoyed SXSW ’07 greatly and has been trying to avoid second album syndrome. Not only that, but Joe is a household name for his remixing abilities. He has put a hand to just about everyone from Architecture In Helsinki to Kate Nash with pretty remarkable results across the board. In a live setting Metronomy does not adhere to the expected route of ‘man on stage with laptop behaving in a completely uninspiring manner’. To compliment the funky, yet eccentric, electro style sounds of Metronomy the live line up (which consists of Joe, Oscar Cash and Gabriel

Stebbing) is usually accompanied by some form of dance routine and light show. Recent single ‘Radio Ladio’ has been getting a fair share of attention from the blogging community, yet Metronomy is not concerned about the possibility of getting swept away amid a flurry of bandwagon fans or sudden mass mainstream industry interest. “There's been plenty of time for us to be hyped, no one's taken the bait yet. I can't imagine it'll happen,” Mount explained as the idea of a sudden Metronomy boom was brushed under the carpet.

having impossible ambitions, Metronomy are looking forward to the opportunity to write with new people on material and also anticipate a whole host of headline shows over the next twelve months. Words: Jamila Scott www.myspace.com/metronomy Metronomy play The Roadhouse in Manchester on March 1st

Not phased by potential hype or

Email rich@highvoltage.org.uk for more info (design facility availaible) eight

nine


BRITISH_ SEA_ POWER _BRAVERY EXISTS

Admittedly, I'm not much of a morning person. Or at least, not until I've got a litre of coffee and hoops on toast down me. However, Rock waits for no man, and by the time I've brushed my teeth, British Sea Power have woken up in their Travelodge, watched Trisha Goddard and made their way down to Night & Day for High Voltage. When a band claims that only "one in ten" interviews they give is remotely enjoyable, HV wakes up today expecting a quiet brew. Instead we got a lesson in life and a comprehensive discussion on the merits of a Full English. "The major priority was not to do it in London again," Scott 'Yan' Wilkinson starts, "so we went to a water tower in Suffolk. It was a bit of an adventure. Playing guitar inside it was like standing on top of a mountain. We recorded some pigeons." British Sea Power have been off the radar. They've been over the Atlantic and across the Carpathians. Their 2003 debut The Decline Of… made them critically adored. Follow-up Open Season proved how melodic their pastoral rock template could be. Third album, Do You Like Rock Music?, began by attempting what seems like the impossible. "We felt we've never really captured the sound of us live," explains guitarist Martin Noble. "You can't do it really, but we had a go. The original plan was to record it all live and keep it basic, but that didn’t seem to have any magic. So we brought it back from Canada to work on…" "…and find the key place to put the pigeons in. Then we made some pigeon noises ourselves. Just a part of trying to get closer to nature really." Stripped of their foliage and animal motifs these days, it seems that BSP are getting closer to human nature than anything else on their latest long-player. Its arrival was announced with a single to begin your 2008 with in 'Waving Flags' – an epic-rock invite to global unity. "Ideally, people would stop moaning about eastern European immigrants and stop being nasty about the whole thing," Noble laments. "It's not deadly politically serious, but the repeated phrase is 'welcome in', and it applies to any sort of alien." An honourable sentiment from the most British band of these shores, but the Lake District via Brighton quartet have ventured abroad themselves. Pledging allegiance with the drink-friendly fans of Slavia Prague FC, a foreign affinity was inspired by the band's decamping to rural Czech countryside to mix the album last summer. The motive was simple according to Yan; "It was cheap and it's got smashing beer. We got told we could do two weeks in London or five weeks in the Czech Republic. Seemed pretty obvious really." "They'll have a few pints at

ten

We felt we've never really captured the sound of us live. You can't do it really, but we had a go. The original plan was to record it all live and keep it basic lunchtime," speaks Noble of the culture, "You'd see this guy off his head in the forest at one o'clock in the afternoon doing this," [makes agonised scream to the surprise of the quiet bar] "I suppose it's an Eastern thing. It's cold there." Not only that, but it's the world's largest consumer of beer per capita. And not ones to forget their hosts' hospitality, BSP recognised the influence last month when they launched Do You Like Rock Music? on Czech soil, at their London embassy. It followed a history of unorthodox gigs that most recently included shows on cliff tops, afloat the River Mersey, and at Britain's highest inn above sea level. "Of all the embassies we approached, they were the most up for it," recounts Yan. "Romania and Poland were having none of it, but then we asked the Czech one and they just wanted some tickets. They're the kind of guys who think if it sounds fun, let's go with it. I think that's what we identify with." Produced by Graham Sutton and Arcade Fire's Howard Bilerman, Do You Like Rock Music? is an enormous achievement in the literal sense. Guitars ring endlessly with water tower reverberation whilst Woody's drumming marches onward across borders. The twin voices of

Yan and brother Hamilton share the songs as usual, a lyrical collection encompassing celebrated polarities: cherry wood and Kevlar, kerosene and acetylene, beers light and dark. If this is Rock music, then just what is Rock? Yan: Rock is more than loud music with guitars. Animate and inanimate objects can be Rock. Noble: For example, how was your breakfast? Y: It was a bit meaty really. And it was about a fiver. Overpriced breakfasts not Rock. Although having a cooked breakfast is pretty Rock. HV: How about, say, Radio One? N: Not Rock. Apart from Steve Lamacq. HV: Fabio Capello? N: He's Rock. He doesn’t mess about. He doesn’t take any shit from anybody. HV: OK, well how about Sven Goran-Eriksson? N: Difficult one. I'd say not Rock cos he never questioned that corrupt Thai Prime-Minister. Mark Riley was contesting this….

myself. Avoiding routine." But every lifestyle has its routines, and even the singer admits that from time to time, being in a band has banalities that are somewhat like "going to the dentist". So can British Sea Power just carry on with the band circuit? Exploring new places and going to strange, exciting new lengths even ten years from now? "I think we can yeah," reckons Noble. "I already feel like an old rocker now who's been on tour forever. I'm Lethal Weapon not one, but three or four. By the seventh album we could all have long hair and beards and do an epic kraut rock album." There's a moment of revelation between the two bandmates. "That's actually a great idea. Nobody does stuff like that anymore," says Yan. "But as for this album and sound, I'm hoping people will find out more what we're about now." Words: Fran Donnelly www.britishseapower.co.uk ‘Do You Like Rock Music?’ and first single ‘Waving Flags’ are both out now on Rough Trade.

Y: He's a bit like Dracula, that Prime-Minister. Creepy. That's Rock. N: It's a tie. No pun intended. Famous football managers and hash browns apart, there's a lesson to be learned from all this. Where would you be without the music that inspires you everyday? Pay heed to British Sea Power's timeless philosophy; a space for heroics in the home, and where bravery still exists. As Noble states sagely, "Be as Rock as you can be. It's important to make sure you've lots of good things in your life, but it's difficult. There's a lot of Non-Rock in your face." "It's how you treat other people, what your values are, how often you take chances, have genuine excitement and do something you'll remember," adds Yan. "I'm up to the point where I'm doing more things that I want to do. It's a day to day thing. You've gotta build up your Rock batteries." Blood-rushing excitement and memories is all part of being in the fanatical following that pursue Yan, Hamilton, Woody and Noble to the far-reaches of the country. Continuing our lesson in Rock, we ask Yan to lead by example. "Sometimes it's good not to make your mind up," he begins, "but it's catch twenty-two cos then you've made your mind up not to make your mind up. It's like when I decided to go to the caff for a fried breakfast every morning. It was quite exciting to begin with but then I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to. So then I thought it'd be better to go for a walk by the sea, come home hungry, and cook the breakfast

eleven


Holy Fuck we were doing and try something different”. Different is an understatement. Unique and unprecedented are the most apt adjectives for this band. They exist in a state of splendid isolation, of suspended animation, immune to outside influence or cultural context. When asked to discuss their nationality, the response is ironic and alkaline: “If you look back through the subtext of just about any major historical event there is something to do with Canada or Canadians in there. If you dig deep enough you'll find that the First World War was pretty much provoked by Arcade Fire lyrics”.

Who the fuck are Holy Fuck? Don't worry if you can't answer that question. You're not alone. They are Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Mike Bigelow, Glenn Milchem, and Loel Campbell, a five piece band from Toronto, Canada and a band which made perhaps the most astounding avant garde album of 2007, their subtly untitled UK debut, 'LP'. Its moodswings veer in mere moments from the placid bliss of 'Lovely Allen' to the percussive aggression of 'Echo Sam' and the frenzied paranoia of 'Royal Gregory'. These sounds, constrained by the outer limits of our language, can only be described as electronic. Yet the simplicity of black words on white paper could never express the intricacy of this music. So, in search of a more relevant point of reference, let's play the word

twelve

association game: Electronica. Kraftwerk. Connotations of anonymous boffins in labcoats performing acoustic experiments in underground bunkers. Hold it right there. Holy Fuck are not the robots. Their music is faulty, it is imperfect. It is human after all. “I've been thinking a lot about the creative process, how to keep a bit of timeless charm to things”, surmises Borcherdt, spokesperson and chief Holy Fucker. “I'd rather make beats on shitty Casios than programme every little detail on a laptop. I like the shittiness of what we make. It's honest”. “We've played all kinds of different music outside of this band”, he says, a claim vindicated by his impassioned acoustic folk solo project, The Remains Of Brian Borcherdt. “But with Holy Fuck we just wanted to get away from what

Whilst 'LP' is Holy Fuck's first transatlantic transmission, they have previously released an EP and a full length album in their homeland, both eponymously titled releases on the band's own label, Dependant Records. “I started Dependant in my teens as a collective, promoting and helping a handful of bands from the east coast of Canada. It has been successful, although it becomes hard to maintain when everyone is busy”, explains Borchedt. As such, their music has been unleashed on the UK by Young Turks, the newborn offspring of XL Recordings. “I feel lucky to have gone from something very DIY to something that's starting from the ground up. We feel connected to the drive and spirit”. Unsurprisingly for a band who were selected as a highlight of last year's Glastonbury festival by the NME, their stronghold is not in the studio, but on stage. “We'd love to record every show we play. We want our records to be a mix of live stuff, either radio shows or live on stage or live in the studio. It's too fun playing together to just try to do

a conventional album with prewritten songs. We want to capture the energy of something spontaneous”. So, you're intrigued? And you want to hear Holy Fuck for yourself? Well don't stay tuned to your FM airwaves, because radio friendly unit shifting is most certainly not their style. “We value success, sure, and we welcome whatever we can get of it. But I don't think we ever expected it or wanted to be burdened with the pursuit of it”. Like notorious New Cross art rockers Selfish Cunt, their very name is sufficient to banish them from Chris Evans' BBC Radio 2 drivetime playlist. Yet they remain stubbornly unapologetic. “Why not name our band something like Holy Fuck? At least with a name like this we can stay focused and not worry about getting caught up in the mediocrity of daytime radio and mainstream mediums”. As for the topic of controversy and censorship in music, Holy Fuck are “not really interested.” “It's boring now. Save that one for 2 Live Crew, Tipper Gore, and bad Saturday Night Live skits from the nineties”.

GLASVEGAS _WE ARE ROCK Unsigned yet already playing to crowds of 2000+ (Ian Brown personally picked them to open his recent headline tour) Glasvegas have become one of the talked about new UK bands in 2008. If The Twang do docile lad-rock with a Brummie accent, then file Glasvegas under a shimmering Spector-meets-Mary Chain Wall of Sound. And then there’s singer James Allan’s stark Glaswegian vocal tone – you won’t hear a more accented singing voice this year. Glasvegas formed a couple of years ago, with James writing with cousin Rab (guitar), “totally learning from scratch”. “When I was younger I was never a massive record guy, I was more into football. The first album I really got into was Be Here Now, my sister would make tapes and when I heard ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ things clicked.” James says that his songs have to be “soulful – I have to be able to listen back and not be embarrassed” before being presented to the rest of the band (Paul Donoguhe – bass and Caroline McKay - drums make up the line-up). Influences have grown from Oasis, with James following his hero’s inspirations right back to the beginning – Elvis and Hank Williams provide just as much

Ian’s been really good to us. We got a demo to him and he asked us out on tour. He phoned up asking about our sound and how we record the songs

inspiration as Orange Juice and the Reid brothers. Lyrically, James goes over emotional ground, mainly concerning adolescence. “You tend to remember the daftest things from your youth – our songs aren’t meant to be social observations, they’re just what I think about and have experienced.” “I write about common stuff – its no big secret what I’m writing about” (the brutal ‘I’m Gonna Get Stabbed’ needs little explanation, while ‘Flowers and Football Tops’ details a mum’s despair after losing her son to a murder). “These things aren’t just about Glasgow, they happen everywhere” says James. The bands moniker might go on to provoke some cynicism, but James claims the name isn’t any big deal. “I like Glasvegas, it’s easy to say – simple as that.” Their songs have gone down well from Glasgow to Folkestone, says James. “The Ian Brown tour allowed us to play all over the UK to people we wouldn’t have been able to get to. His fans have been curious to check us out, they seem to get it.”

out on tour. He phoned up asking about our sound and how we record the songs. It’s the same with Andy Rourke (Brown’s touring bassist) – he couldn’t believe we’d recorded the songs in our living room.” Explaining the groups ‘Wall of Sound’, he drawls parallels with orchestral music and heavy metal. “To me Johnny Cash is heavy metal – we make heavy music. There’s a close connection between Spector and orchestral music, but it’s heavy as well. We’re somewhere between the two.” With second single ‘It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’ landing in February, James doesn’t see anything further than his next song or gig. “I don’t have an album on my mind just yet – we have enough songs but signing deals isn’t my job.” Words: Alistair Beech www.myspace.com/glasvegas

The quartet are whipping up curiosity with respected industry figures and senior musicians too. “Ian’s been really good to us. We got a demo to him and he asked us

Holy Fuck, quasi-nihilists, reject and reinvent each and every unwritten rule of songwriting, of technology, of the recording process and of the major label music industry. Like the psychedelic monochrome of a photographic negative, light and dark in harmony, they are strange and they are beautiful. And in 2008 they will rise to power with “Bionic powers. New outfits.” and “Cameo appearances on daytime soaps in foreign countries”. You heard it here first. Words: Benjamin Thomas www.myspace.com/holyfuck

thirteen


With the move to Parlophone for Shotter’s Nation, was there a shift in band mentality, moving away from your beginnings as a side project? Adam: We never considered ourselves a side project. It’s never been like that. It’s always been the same for us. Nothing’s really changed from our perspective. Mick: Pete only started doing Babyshambles because he had so made songs he wanted to release when he was with The Libs but

and he wouldn’t take any shit but he wasn’t in your face. Reading the reviews of Shotter’s Nation, the recurring opinion is that it’s more “polished” than Down In Albion. Do you think that’s a reflection on your own progression or of a major label budget? Drew: It’s a reflection on the studios that we recorded the album in. Adam: That’s Stephen Street. Drew: Yeah, we recorded the first

album on a hard disc. It wasn’t even Protools. It was rubbish studios. We wanted to go to a better studio but Rough Trade wouldn’t pay for it. So then, for this album, we went in with a brilliant engineer who knew where to place expensive, good mics and proper pre-amps and everything. We recorded in a big room where Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin had performed. What’s it like arriving for the first day of recording where such legends

have worked before you? Drew: It felt like home. Adam: I was in the toilet and I saw the ghost of Jimi Hendrix! (He puts on an American accent) Groovy pee, man… No, really! Mick: I felt kinda humbled in a way, cos it was really nice to have that kind of opportunity. In fact, the ceiling there was lowered or raised to alter the sound of the room. Adam: When you get in there, it

BABYSHAMBLES Rough Trade weren’t able to release the amount of songs that he wanted to as quickly. They wanted to do an album a year. He wanted to release songs constantly. Adam: We’re quite fluid really. We want to record something then get it out, the record companies squeeze the stuff as much as they can. They’re business people; that’s what they do. Try to get as much money, as much revenue from that single or whatever, and tour and tour... What was Stephen Street like to work with in the studio? Was he a disciplinarian? Drew: He was great. He knew what he wanted and he had confidence.

Life is full of surprises. Michael Jackson didn’t do

makes you almost… Well, you have to rise to the occasion.

it. Jordan and Peter are still together. Keith

Did it put pressure on?

Richards has just turned 64, and according to ‘statistics’, is healthier than your average ten year old. Similarly surprising, to those of you more interested in the tabloids than your record collections, is that there are four musicians in Babyshambles. Drew McConnell (bass), Adam Ficek (drums) and Mick Whitnall (guitar) have quietly toiled behind their charismatic band leader

Mick: He was an easy-going disciplinarian!

through two studio albums and more gigs than the

Adam: It was a good balance because he knew what he wanted

arrest warrants would have you believe.

Adam: The pressure was already on. We knew we had to do a good album cos people were starting to write us off. It has been said that one of the most exciting things about Shotter’s Nation is that it sounds like there is so much more still to come. Are plans already being made for album number three? Drew: Mick’s constantly writing songs. You can’t tell, but right now he’s thinking about chord progressions. Mick: There’s lots of songs ready, nearly a whole album’s worth. Is there going to be a quick turnaround for the next one then?

Mick: We’re hoping it’s going to be out this year at about the same time that Shotter’s Nation was. Adam: We hope so. That’d be good. One album a year is perfect for us. We get bored so it keeps us on our toes. We’re always most excited about songs that aren’t fully formed yet. We get to the end of a tour and we play by numbers. Sometimes it’s nice to have those songs that you can go to and work on for a change. Does it feel extra special getting good feedback when, as you said, critics had started to write you off? Mick: Well, reviewing music’s a difficult thing. You can talk about music, and listen to it, but you judge it for yourself. Like, with the NME; I’d buy it when I was fourteen but then I stopped buying it cos you know it’s someone else’s view. Everyone listens to different music. Who’s that journalist with the stupid hair? He was slagging us off, blah blah blah, really put it down, but the next week, in the same magazine, they were saying the album was brilliant! That guy can go and stick his head up his arse… Adam: It’s so subjective, isn’t it? I might play something and hate it, Drew might love it and Mick might think it’s great or it’s shit but it’s not fair. That the nature of it really, and it’s hard to do so you can’t blame them for doing it. It’s worse when it gets personal though. It doesn’t just say “I don’t like this but I can see the merits in this part and in that part” but

some of them inflict on people’s lives. Drew: Sometimes there’s a review, where you’ll read a whole page and they haven’t mentioned the music once. They haven’t mentioned the lyrics, they haven’t mentioned how the guitarist sounds, they haven’t mentioned the music! Mick: “Bunch of junkie bastards trying to create a new album even worse than their last measly effort!” It must be frustrating. Drew: I think you have your own personal belief about how good something is and you should keep steadfast to that because the bad reviews, you can’t take them seriously, but at the same time, you can’t let the good reviews mean any more. On ‘The Lost Art Of Murder’, Pete plays with Bert Jansch. Is there anyone that you would love to collaborate with in the future?

Adam: Ian Brown would be good. There was an idea to have him involved in ‘French Dog Blues’, cos some of those lyrics are accredited to him. We’re big fans of the Roses. Drew: Baby Cham, a Jamaican MC. It is at this point that Mick accompanies Drew in some dancehall singing, their accents moving somewhere between Bermondsey and Barbados. “Ay remember dose dayyyyyys…” It’s true that Babyshambles’ reggae influences can be clearly heard, and they’re openly dedicated to continuing the ska tradition. The next name mentioned warrants handclapping and hero-worship all round. Drew: Terry Hall (from The Specials) would be just brilliant. Mick: Yeah! Drew, how do you find the switch from Babyshambles to playing in Fionn Regan’s band?

One album a year is perfect for us. We get bored so it keeps us on our toes. We’re always most excited about songs that aren’t fully formed yet

Drew: Well, this is my band, Babyshambles, but I love Fionn’s music. He’s an amazing musician and I really enjoy playing nice melodies. He’s a great guy who writes some good songs, so when I’ve got some free time I’ll join him. Fionn calls Pete ‘Houdini’ and Mick ‘Top Gear’. Mick: It’s because of my nice clothes… Drew: It’s not just me that does other stuff though. Adam dee-jays and Mick… talks to himself. While they howl with laughter, it’s difficult to imagine how the Babyshambles dynamic is altered with Pete around. High Voltage is later informed that, had their frontman been present, the interview would have been terminated at the phrase “side project”, yet Adam, Mick and Drew joke around with one another like a band bonding over 2Tone classics in their parents’ garage. Priorities lie where they should, with health, happiness, and chord progressions. Words: Megan Vaughan www.babyshambles.net Babyshambles play Manchester Apollo on February 17th

High Voltage sat down with “the other three” to find out where their heads are at.

fourteen

fifteen


singles Single of the month Air Cav _ Alliance (Surbia) It's hard to be in Manchester and not notice the waves being made by Air Cav at the moment, and their debut release on fledgling Surbia Records is set to continue the industry "buzz". 'Alliance' has long been the band's signature tune, and this polished recording does it real justice. Beginning with urgent, dirty electric guitar, things develop the way intelligent rock music

Rachael Kichenside - Like The Tides EP The most important thing in a young songstress is not her songs per se but the potential she packs in her pipes. Rachael Kichenside doesnÅft so much "pack" her marvellous talent as she spins it like silk _ indelibly delicate but tangible enough to wrap yourself in for hours at a time. Over this EP, not every song stands

Kid Harpoon - The Second EP (XL) On one hand, this is a great EP, full of loping shanty choruses, quirky lyrics and vocals ranging from Syd Barrett's heightened Englishness to raw Captain Beefheart growls. On the other hand, it is forgettable radio-friendly boredom; its soul castrated by the influence of David Gray, Razorlight, Billy JoelÅc This is a genuine shame. When he

Cut Off Your Hands - Oh Girl (679) It takes a cynical soul not to award a song like 'Oh Girl' the full five flashes of High Voltage electricity. A chorus wrapped in treacly harmonies, tinkling music-box xylophones, guitars that could have been plucked from some 50s high school prom what's not to like?

sixteen

should; regularly twisting into something new and taking the listener on the kind of journey that would make lesser musicians travel-sick. With minimal vocals, the song is driven by 'Bittersweet Symphony' strings and unassailable, unforgiving percussion, along with beautifully dark post-rock guitar.

you off as a prisoner of rock'n'roll. Simply brilliant.

Megan Vaughan

shores, and are busy filling dancefloors with whistles, whoops and handclaps.

If ever there was a band to take us back to the heady days of 1986, when lipglossed ladies in towering shoulder pads threw balloons around on Top Of The Pops, Alphabeat are that band. Hailing from Denmark, where their debut album has already gone platinum, Alphabeat have now relocated to UK

'Fascination' is not groundbreaking, nor is it even modern, having the misfortune to sound like both Wham and Cyndi Lauper at the same time. What it does offer, however, is pure and undiluted Saturday night glee. With unashamed Europop roots, lyrics about "young dudes in high boots" match supercharged disco cheese that should

Pete And The Pirates Mr Understanding (Stolen)

Alliance will never be a song to chill out to, if only because it grabs your attention, flips you upside-down, and then carries

Ah, the magic ingredient that is The Chant. Few or no words are needed: just take that killer hook, add cheap off the back of a gold disc. It made The Fratellis a lot of money, and it may well do the same for our unlikely heroes Pete and the Pirates.

out. But that doesnÅft matter. Where 'Frailty' might

Karima Francis. She's a subtly different sweetness to Lucy & The

freeze you in your tracks, 'Measure Of Me' might pass you by. But for not one second during these four songs can you not tap into the spectral folk hush. 'Something To Say' resonates with this crystalline simplicity, chimes and all.

Caterpillar. Her songs' beauty is more understated than Liam Frost's. Never have we been short of songwriting quality round these parts, but I think Miss Kichenside is going to fit right in.

Kichenside certainly offers something different to the robust emotionality of

Fran Donnelly

shines, Kid Harpoon is a powerful lyricist, who can bring situations to life in one or two lines, and whose 'Suicide Grandad?' is a beautiful Pink Floyd oddity: "I won't count the days till I fall, piss my pants / I've got better things to do". Elsewhere, honky tonk piano brings 'Her Body Sways' to life, and the chorus of 'Fathers And Sons' is malt whisky in aural form.

shouldn't be an EP. Kid Harpoon can say everything he needs to say in three gorgeous songs, and there would be no great mourning party for the rest of the MOR nonsense. Moments like 'Suicide Grandad?' are in danger of getting lost amongst asinine Johnny Borrell "ooohs".

So why does it all sound so horribly weak-ass? The answer is that this

Megan Vaughan

Very little actually - New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands are guided effortlessly along by producer Bernard Butler, and all appears well in the land of lovely. The nagging doubt (that'll be the cynical soul) is that it's all just a bit too candyfloss for a band last seen here ripping it up with tour mates Foals.

monumental power pop of flipside 'Turn Cold' - a song that Idlewild may well have crafted if they knew how to dance. And therein lies the moral: if you can't melt a cynic's heart, punch him in the guts instead.

Indeed, those extra two bolts might have been all theirs if the track had not been so overshadowed by the

Alphabeat - Fascination (Charisma)

Neil Condron

'Mr Understanding', you see, is nigh-on indie perfection. The Reading five-piece have already been building a reputation among the purists for understated, chiming folk-pop, but with this latest release they've thrown their tattered hats into the ring with their cheekiest, most boisterous riff to date. And, of course, there's that chant.

sound like a rowdy mess, but thankfully doesn't. A brilliant slice of retro pop gubbins, you will love 'Fascination' for its sheer brainlessness. Grab your ra-ra skirt. Let's party.

Megan Vaughan

could be to Pete and the Pirates what '22 Grand Job' was to The Rakes. The difference being, of course, that you'll be hearing a lot about one of those bands in 2008.

Neil Condron

Bittersweet enough to charm the dreamers, rough enough to appeal to the terrace mobs, 'Mr Understanding'

MGMT are yet another tip for 2008, but they aren’t as easy to pigeon hole as the likes of Adele and Joe Lean, et al. Debut UK single ‘Time To Pretend’ (you’ve probably been charmed by it already through 6Music playlisting) sounds like The Flaming Lips scratching around in a basement studio with The Incredible String Band.

The duo (Brooklyn based Uni-pals Andrew and Ben) sing about ‘Heroin, the stars, and elegant cars’ on Time To Pretend, whilst demonizing the 9-5 office job. ‘Live fast and die young. We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun. Inspired by duos, MGMT’s sound has been hemmed together by Dave Fridmann’s (Flaming Lips) studio nous, while there’s a wide-eyed optimism about them that’s difficult not to be seduced by.

An intriguing first installment then, but whether these boys can carry their modern-hippy sermons through a full album remains to be seen.

Los Campesinos - Death To Los Campesinos! (Witchita)

xylophones to the saccharine girl/boy vocals, treading a fine line between life affirming pop for it’s own sake and nausea inducing tweeness.

discerning indie discos from now till summer.

‘Death to Los Campesinos!’ is the self referencing lead single from Cardiff sextet Los Campesinos! forthcoming Hold On Now Youngster LP. Forget the frankly deluded press release that proclaims this track ‘resolutely void of indie pop clich_s’, DTLC! ticks all the genres stylistic boxes from the

It’s a close thing but ultimately the song comes good through the sheer shambolic exuberance of its delivery. The exaggeratedly fey vocal affectations are undeniably irritating but the sugar rush melodies and sing along chorus are sufficiently catchy to ensure patronage by all the more

The Ting Tings - Great DJ (Columbia)

with huge tours and a debut album release planned.

fall back on an old song to announce their arrival on Columbia.

This re-recorded version of ÅeGreat DJÅf hasnÅft changed a great deal since its original b-side status, the sound is bigger and Åethe drumsÅf more prominent, but it still appears fresh and is worthy of the subsequent hype. With so much going on around them, The Ting Tings seem comfortable enough to

ItÅfll be interesting to hear what they have in their locker on the album, but we reckon they pretty much have 2008 sewn up already.

MGMT - Time To Pretend (Columbia)

We picked out Salford duo The Ting Tings as potential stars with last summerÅfs debut single ÅeThatÅfs Not My NameÅf and, several months on theyÅfve become ÅetheÅf band to name check among tastemakers. Now with major label backing, Jules and Katie are likely to enjoy a fruitful 2008,

Alistair Beech

Whether this sort of thing will be palatable over the length of an album remains to be seen, but for 2 minutes 45 seconds Death to Los Campesinos! offers a welcome injection of sunshine to these bleak winter days.

Billy Idle

Alistair Beech

seventeen


albums Clich_d business management guff has it that if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Consider Muscles' debut album to be a two-fingered salute (with accompanying raspberry) rebuke to such thinking. For, the young Aussie (aka DJ Flex) has created a dance LP that appeals to both electro smartypants and Ministry of Sound compilation buyers.

Album of the month Muscles - Guns, Babes, Lemonade (Modular) Hot Chip - Made In The Dark (EMI)

Made in the Dark is full of great songs, although perhaps only the first single, 'Ready For The Floor', will be sung badly by groups of shirtless men at three in the morning in the way that 'Over and Over' was. It too is an irresistible call to the dancefloor for those of us guilty of "carving up the wall". It sounds like about four different singles in one, each of them fighting for presidence. Yes, Kylie turned it down, but she chose a pallid Goldfrapp rip-off as her first single so what does she know? The album's title track and 'Whistle For Will' are both minimal, slow burning soul numbers that give Alexis Taylor's voice the space it deservers. They also show how far they

Dead Meadow Old Growth (Matador)

eighteen

The most un-DC band to have ever recorded in Fugazi's studio have moved. Upping sticks from their native Washington, Dead Meadow have relocated to California and recorded their fifth LP in the middle of nowhere in Indiana, places far more suited to their out there slacker retro. Sometimes it's like they can't be bothered to go all the way back to the 70s. They can be bothered with plenty of solos and pedals, though, as on 'Ain't Got Nothing' and 'Between Me and The Ground'. The psych is less psyched than on previous records (it's a lot more, erm, -adelic though). As a trio again, DM appear to have

have come as songwriters; from quirky joke tracks about Stevie Wonder to chord sequences that wouldn't be out of place on a Nick Cave or Rufus Wainwright song. 'Out at the Pictures' sounds like the manic opening number from a non existant musical, whereas 'Hold On' sounds like its deranged disco finale. 'Wrestlers' is the record Timbaland would make if he came from Putney. And was white. And never got laid. 'Shake A Fist' combines the unlikely love triangle of kraftwerk melodies, ravey synth stabs and dancehall rhythms. As the sample says, "you may be surprised".

solid groundwork of fantastic and accessible songwriting. Despite the huge range of music, it's still immediately recognisable as Hot Chip, and their best album yet. An instant classic.

mellowed out to brilliant effect. 'I'm Gone' is both angsty AND dreamy, and the best retro throwback since who knows when (Oasis, take notes). While 'Keep On Walking' and 'Either Way' are homely Americana numbers with hints of Jason Pierce at his most tender. Pick of the acoustic bunch though, is 'Down Here'. It'll make you comfortably numb, for sure. Not that the band which pretty much hold the copyright on 'beardy weirdy' have completely forgotten the art of rocking like Led Zeppelin's first coming: the garagey 'The Queen of All Returns' does a better job of it than the reformed Plant, Page

It was only so long before the people behind the excellent End Of The Road festival started putting out excellent records. They might only have two artists, Alaskan Port O'Brien and classically trained Bostonian ensemble The Young Republic, who are the more than accomplished authors of EOTR's first LP release.

Alex Barbanneau

The Young Republic 12 Tales From Winter City (End Of The Road)

Like the best of albums, Made in the Dark is ambitious, fresh and original, yet still built up from a

Granted the swelling rave synths and thumping drums with layered harmonised, shouty vocals that uniformly fill these eleven tracks will not change the world of electronic music, but it may well make it dance. Like the album's title,

and Jones. While 'The Great Deceiver' is a pub jam with soul and 'Seven Seers', with bassist Steve Kille taking up the sitar, is a hypnotic trance out. This is retro American style. Memory lane's never rocked so well.

Stephen Eddie

These New Puritans - Beat Pyramid (Angular)

With eight people who met at college and a menagerie of instruments (mandolin, viola, flute and, of course, an accordion), Arcade Fire and Montreal scene comparison are probably inevitable, but that would be to put TYR in a

Beat Pyramid is the debut LP of Dior Homme darlings and forerunners to the curiously London-centric 'Southend Scene' These New Puritans. Still only 19 years old TNP are a young band with big ideas, drawing inspiration from a gloriously pretentious gene pool where such disparate entities as Steve Reich, chain mail, Einsturzende Neubauten, syntax and the Wu Tang Clan are all reigned in beneath an archly fastened top collar button. Yet for all their aesthetic austerity Beat Pyramid is, as its name might suggest, a record steeped in that most primal of musical elements: rhythm. Album centrepiece 'En Papier' is grime bleached white, metallic 2 step

the lyrics are somewhat inane, ("Ice Cream is going to save the day, again") yet Muscles has cleverly injected an extra ingredient usually overlooked within this genre, emotion. On the face of it, these are throwaway electro party tracks but Muscles unrefined singing style and lyrics are so enthusiastic, honest, and above all endearing that the result is hard to resist: "I'm sweaty, but I still want to touch you if you'll let me".

between pop and dance music is a difficult area to navigate seriously, as fellow Modularites and Antipodeans, The Presets', pretentious debut album proved. We've little doubt he'll succeed but don't anticipate Kellogg's variety pack-like eclecticism; Muscles' one trick does begin to grate over forty minutes, but expect it to slow burn through 2008 regardless.

Simon Smallbone

The mantra-like repetition of "Peace, Love, Ecstasy, Unity, Respect" on 'Sweaty' illustrates Muscles' clear intention to make his music as accessible as possible. The space

pigeonhole they a repeatedly bust out of (although 'She Comes And Goes' is probably related to 'Wake Up' in some way or other). 'Excuses To See You', a noncheesy country ballad, is what they call Classic Song Writing, preceded by spiky Pixies surf vibes on 'Modern Plays' _ fitted with unexpected jazzy breakdowns. For the most part, though, things take on a folky alt. jangle, occasionally frequenting Beirut's Balkan territories ('Girl In A Tree'). And Julian Saporiti's voice is almost as idiosyncratic as Zac Condon's, but his songs are filled with even more romance.

rhythms pounding away like industrial machinery while TNP orator in-chief Jack Barnett fires cryptic missives of misheard conversation over the top. Forthcoming single 'Elvis' is a master class in instrumental minimalism, one chord bass and guitar riffs etch themselves onto your consciousness before the self restraint buckles to make way for a freeform noise freakout.

The knock-out 'She's Not Waiting Here This Time' and 'Everybody Looks Better In Black & White' are exactly how boys' songs about girls should be written. They're like audio versions of cool, low-budget American indie films. But it's 'Paper Ships' and 'When I See Your EyesĂ…c' that possess the most magnificent drama. End of the road? No chance. These are the only Republicans worth voting for in 2008.

Stephen Eddie

Regardless, Beat Pyramid is a record of striking coherence, subverting our expectations for a 'guitar' record and setting the bar high not only for the band themselves, but for every other release this year.

Billy Idle

This is indie by association only; on an album featuring a track which appears to be a field recording of a gentle breeze and two pieces which comprise of no more than two halves of the same sentence the only real oddity is 'MKK3' which sounds a little like The Rakes.

nineteen


gigs Just whom could promoters Pineapple Folk/Hey Manchester bring in to ease an audience into an evening of exotic Balkan folk, a large percentage of which may only be aware of them via Jeremy Barnes' previous drumming duties for mythic-alternative types Neutral Milk Hotel. With the exception of Beirut there are few options amongst the alternative crowd, making Montreal's Miracle Fortress as good a choice as any.

Gig of the month

The Chemical Brothers - Apollo 6/12/07

It should perhaps come as no surprise bearing in mind that they've been plying their trade for nigh-on 15 years, but it seems that even Ed and Tom aren't exempt from using The Big Book of DJ-ing's number one rule. When a series of power failures threatens to derail the evening's pounding vibe by plunging the Apollo into an uncomfortable quiet for 10 minutes, they mark the return of normal service with 1997's (yep, it's that old) Block Rockin' Beats _ when things go wrong, hit back hard. Tonight is one of the Brothers' more backward looking gigs of late, plundering 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl', 'Out of

Control' 'Music: Response' and more from Surrender, as well as guest appearances from 'Leave Home' 'It Doesn't Matter' and the aforementioned chart-topping big-beat behemoth. That said, they also find time to indulge in some of the more anonymous house tracks scattered across the last three albums, but mercifully prevent them from dragging in the way we've seen before.

electrical gremlins do appear to put the fun-fest in jeopardy, the crowd only remain silent so they can catch their breath for one last volley; a thrilling, apocalyptic finale.

Miracle Fortress / A Hawk And A Hacksaw - Music Box 6/12/07

Adrian Barrowdale

The hits are out in force, with 'Galvanise', 'Do It Again' 'Star Guitar' and 'Believe' each received with a barrage of whistles and cheers and there's very little left for anyone to complain about. In fact, when the

Big Arm / Ian Brown - Manchester Central 7/12/07

Holy Hail / Crystal Castles - Liverpool Korova

2/12/07

twenty

Openers The Ghost FrequencyĂ…fs intense electro punk intercourse is a hard act to follow, but New York new wavers Holy Hail rise to the challenge. Like the politicodisco of Le Tigre, their music has more grrrl power than a thousand Spice Girls reunion tours. 'Big Guns', 'Born Of A Star', and 'Cool Town Rock', their recent release on Adventures Close To Home, are highlights one and all. And by midnight, Liverpool has become the next town to capitulate to the Crystal Castles

worldwide invasion. As the Toronto duo take to the stage at Korova, an uber-trendy underground Clockwork Orange themed venue, the Droogs in the basement go ultraviolent for their synthcore sound. Alice Glass, an iconic frontwoman evolved from the boys-wanna-fuck-her-girlswanna-be-her gene pool, shrieks and yelps in perfect disharmony with the pixelated dystopic noises of her musical partner in crime Ethan Fawn. As 'Air War' wreaks shock and awe dancefloor destruction, the

Canadians' performance comes to a chaotic close and peace reigns again in this old town.

Benjamin Thomas

Make Model / Malcolm Middleton Academy 3 10/12/07

Debuting tracks from their recently released opening statement 'Five Roses', the quintet's slow-burning pop swept in shoe-gaze atmospherics (as you'd imagine Belle and Sebastian would sound if Kevin Shields was calling the shots) kept to tempo by two percussionists' frantic rhythmic

interplay draws quite a few impressed murmurs in the crowd. Whilst it's certainly not the most startlingly original racket to be exported from Canada recently, chief songwriter Graham Van Pelt is one to keep an ear open for. Like gate crashing an eastern European party, A Hawk And A Hacksaw's exotic back catalogue plays best when soundtracking a wine and port fuelled shuffle on a dancefloor, punctuated by drunken roaring and raucous laughter rather than as a spectacle to take in.

Mike Caulfield

Whilst the musicianship on offer is dazzling as times, with wild flurries of notes crammed into exotic timesignatures evoking a wide scope of

Rocketed from Dry Bar to Manchester Central this evening, Paul Ryder's latest venture sees him surprisingly comfortable as a frontman. Big Arm admittedly have a handful of songs _ 'Sunrays' being one _ that have enough lilted bagginess to be halfcatchy. If this was what the Mondays had made their comeback with this year, then it might have even been listenable. Does the lesser-known of the Ryders not have his right to a comeback? No. Happy Mondays have a legacy to explore, but Big Arm have been created afresh with not one trace of interest about them. If Madchester is the be all and end all of your tastes then Big Arm might be for you, but the sane will avoid.

If anybody cannot be accused of indulging in their glory days however, it is Ian Brown. Songs as early as 'My Star' and as recent as 'Keep What Ya Got' are heights in his career that are even capable of overshadowing quite banally replicated Roses covers. This sort of consistently challenging drive from Brown has meant that in the past, live shows have been thrilling from the quirky to the anthemic.

First up, Scot newbies Make Model confuse and delight in equal measure. The last vocalist to have baffled us with American accented vocals in place of Scottish was Idlewild's Roddy Woomble, and the transatlantic tones still make very little sense. The band relax soon enough though; 'Just Another Folk Song' is reminiscent of a poppier Biffy Clyro, whilst new single 'The Was' shows that major label backing isn't quashing their emerging originality.

full band arrive 'Blue Plastic Bags' is evidence that Middleton has a far more believable way with social commentary than those Arctic Monkeys ever will. Recent singles are pulled out early, including the surprisingly chirpy (and radio friendly) 'A Brighter Beat' and the sublime 'Fuck It, I Love You'.

A certain hush is required for Middleton's opening number with just the man himself and Jenny Reeve on violin. As the

cinematic moods and emotions via trumpet, violin and a cimbalom (yep that's right, a cimbalom!), the atmosphere unfortunately never approaches anything closely resembling a celebratory gathering this evening, despite the group's best efforts.

when his character gets the better of him (as it has done so much this year) that his objectionable side gets the better of the show. A shame.

Fran Donnelly

Tonight however, the preachy drabness of latest album 'The World Is Yours' kills any atmosphere that might have been. It's shocking how quickly you can find yourself turning on this homegrown hero, but even with brilliant moments like 'Dolphins Were Monkeys' finding him at his best, it's

sense of humour may not be to everyone's taste, but his droll, wry wit both conversationally and lyrically is positively fresh listening for jaded ears.

Hannah Bayfield

Elsewhere 'Burst Noel' provides solace for anyone who's ever spent the festive period alone, possibly depressing onlookers as Middleton taunts "You're awfully quiet, just cheer up a little!" before explaining to a heckler who's pointed out that he's not so chipper himself that "that's where the joke lies". His

twentyone


NEW NOISE Send your new band tips to stephen@highvoltage.org.uk to appear in the next New Noise round-up…

Say, Scientist by The Maple State out on 25th Feb. Featuring We Swear by the Light Life, Say, Scientist, Don't Take Holidays, Temperate Lives, Starts with Dean Moriarty, You and Me and an X-ray Machine Catch The Maple State on tour throughout February with Tellison and Furthest Drive Home. 18-Jan - MANCHESTER Academy 2 w/ Hundred Reasons 29-Jan - BRACKNELL, Cellar Bar 13-Feb - BRIGHTON Freebutt 14-Feb - EXETER The Cavern 15-Feb - NOTTINGHAM Rock City 16-Feb - NORTHAMPTON Soundhaus 17-Feb - LIVERPOOL Barfly 18-Feb - LEEDS The Cockpit 19-Feb - GLASGOW King Tuts 20-Feb - BIRMINGHAM Barfly 21-Feb - MANCHESTER Roadhouse 22-Feb - NORWICH Queen Charlotte 23-Feb - TUNBRIDGE WELLS The Forum 24-Feb - LONDON Dingwalls

twentytwo

Indica Ritual

Hijak Oscar

Quartershade

Vessels

Rachael Kichenside

From the mutant ambient Afrobeat of ‘Huddersclam’ to the frazzled, proto-metal rave of last year’s 7” ‘Trade Show’. From early songs like ‘Num Lock’s’ blip & crunch spazzcore to bastardised Hot Chip numbers such as ‘Top Forty’, Indica Ritual are music to scare people who want to live like they’re in ‘Skins’. Not to mention confusing and upstaging some of the hippest indiedance crossover bands in the world: Shy Child, Foals and Prinzhorn Dance School have all been left for dead.

In recent years, televised talent competitions have been responsible for some of the most embarrassing examples of lobotomy pop ever to have monopolised the near-redundant singles chart. Thankfully, Hijak Oscar made T4’s ‘Mobile Act Unsigned’ competition worth getting out of bed for in the months running up to Christmas, and are about to head out on the ‘Hellbound’ tour that should see their wild harmonica-led blues rock ’n’ roll feed hungry ears across the country.

Potentially the best thing to come from Loughborough since, erm, Lawrie

To be The Next Big Thing in post-rock you have to be pretty big. Which is what makes Vessels all the more intriguing, rather than building up with ambient mush for eight minutes before getting to good bit, the five-piece from Leeds ONLY do the good bits (tumbling piano riffs, haunting harmonies, meditative calm and magnificent cacophonies). They do everything that Explosions or Yndi Halda can do, but all within the confines of five minute pop songs, with words and beats and everything.

Have you ever known a secret so good that you’ve wanted to just shout it out loud from the rooftops? Rachael is that secret.

Their chaotic, multicoloured live show also means they’ve held their own against some the loudest bands on the road. Seriously, they need to be seen to be completely believed. It’s like an explosion in a WTF? factory. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they’re the house party band of your warped dreams. The one from ‘About A Boy’ and the one with the beanie won’t know what’s hit them.

Forming in York around the vocal duo of Tim Fox and Emma KeaveneyRoys, the cream of the local blues and acoustic scene from the city swiftly got on board, and in 2006 the band self-released a foot-stampingly great album that has sold hundreds without any label support. High Voltage reckons that will change pretty soon. Check out Hijak Oscar’s raucous party growls out the ‘Hellbound’ tour, and say you were there first.

Key track: ‘Trade Show’

Key track: ‘Bitter Carnival’

Web: www.myspace.com/indicaritual

Web: www.hijakoscar.co.uk

Words: Stephen Eddie

Words: Megan Vaughn

Sanchez, Quartershade are one of those indie bands that everyone uses the word 'epic' to describe. And they'd be right in all fairness, but not that "We're trying to sound like the Editors" kind of epic. Actually decent music epic. HV first witnessed them when they played a shit hole of a venue in Liverpool, bringing with them gear that was better then what the venue already had. They played a blinding set and we'd argue they are one of the top unsigned live acts on the current scene. Setting up their own label and self releasing a number of tracks over 2007, they will self confess that they didn't make as much noise as they would have hoped to. But with songs as good as theirs, it's only a matter of time. Oh, also they're also really tall. All of them. It's quite weird actually. Key track: ‘Hide And Seek’ Web: www.myspace.com/quartershade Words: Simon Pursehouse

Formed in 2005, they’ve put out two well received 7”s (some how not sold out) and a self-titled EP. Just try not to be mesmerised by the sonic highs of ‘Yuki’ or ‘Two Words & A Gesture’. They’re best song, however, is a B-side that can also be found hidden away on a Brew Records compilation. ‘Forever The Optimist’ is a moody Cure gone post-rock, and it’ll knock you out. Key track: ‘Forever The Optimist’ Web: www.vesselsband.com Words: Stephen Eddie

Fresh from touring last year with the magnificent Windmill, Rachael is now back in Manchester making her own beautifully constructed folk. Limited edition single ‘Long Time Later’ was like hidden treasure; showcasing a voice so warm, so delicate that it melted even my bitter heart. New EP ‘Like The Tides’ is a triumph (co-produced by the remarkable Stickboy) and I urge you to MySpace this girl quickly, if only to hear ‘Something to Say’; which I promise you will be playing over and over again. With her twinkling personality and heart rendering lyrics, Rachael Kichenside is an amazing new talent that deserves to be more than just another well kept secret…and I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops, even if I do look like a loon! Key track: ‘Something To Say’ Web: www.myspace.com/rkichen side Words: Phill Daker

www.highvoltage.org.uk www.myspace.com/highvoltageuk

twentythree


listings FebGIGLISTINGS February Fri 1st Meet Me In St Louis @ Night & Day Cafe Kerrang Tour 2008 (feat. Coheed & Cambria) @ Academy 1 Angus and Julie Stone @ The Ruby Lounge Annie Mac In Session @ The Club (aka Paradise Factory) Dewa @ The Roadhouse

Sat 2nd The Sleeves @ Night & Day Cafe NME Tour 2008 (feat. The Cribs) @ Academy 1 The Rocket Summer @ Academy 2 Amplifier @ Academy 3 Paul Potts @ The Bridgewater Hall

Sun 3rd Victorian Dad @ Night & Day Cafe Allerjen @ Satans Hollow Boy George @ The Lowry Spear Of Destiny @ Club Academy Nick Harper @ Academy 3

Mon 4th Laura Veirs @ Night & Day Cafe Blessed by a Broken Heart @ Music Box Bullet For My Valentine @ Academy 1 Joan Osborne @ Academy 3

Tues 5th David Bazan (Pedro The Lion) @ Night & Day Cafe Pete & The Pirates @ The Roadhouse

Wed 6th The Rifles @ Night & Day Cafe The Blackout @ Academy 2 American Music Club @ Academy 3 Black Acid @ Moho Live The Naughtys @ The Roadhouse

Thurs 7th Young & Lost Tour (feat. Noah & The Whale) @ Night & Day Cafe Justice @ Academy 2 Simian Mobile Disco @ Academy 3 Earth @ Zion Arts Centre Roni Size- Reprezent @ Club Academy The Deadstring Brothers @ The Ruby Lounge Prostitutes & Policemen Boy 8-Bit @ The Attic

Sat 9th

Tues 19th

Fri 29th

Tues 11th

Fri 28th

Spektrum @ Night & Day Cafe Basement Jaxx (DJ Set) @ The Club (aka Paradise Factory) Sons & Daughters @ Club Academy Dropkick Murphys @ Academy 1 Michael Schenker Group @ Academy 3 Dieter & The Gadabouts @ The Roadhouse

The Von Bondies @ Night & Day Cafe The Ghost Of a Thousand @ Music Box Dizzee Rascal @ Academy 1 The Satellite Towns @ The Roadhouse

This City @ The Roadhouse Koffin Kats @ Satans Hollow Uninformed @ Club Academy Autechre @ Music Box Siouxsie @ Academy 2 Hanoi Rocks @ Academy 3

The Vagabons @ Night & Day Cafe Neil Young @ The Apollo Ektomorf + Stuck Mojo @ Academy 3

Kris Kristofferson @ The Apollo Van Morrison @ The Bridgewater Hall The Sword @ Academy 3

Wed 12th

Sat 29th

Neil Young @ The Apollo Infadels @ The Roadhouse Richard Freeshman @ Academy 3

Scouting For Girls @ Academy 1 Hawkwind @ Academy 2 Dead Men Walking @ Academy 3

Thurs 13th

Sun 30th

The Mars Volta @ The Apollo The Feeling @ Academy 1 Asia @ Academy 2 Casiotone For The Painfully Alone @ Charlies

Gogol Bordello @ Academy 1 Medals @ The Lowry

Wed 20th Islands @ Night & Day Cafe Jimmy Eat World @ Academy 1 Belladonna @ The Roadhouse

Sun 10th Babyshambles NME Show @ The Apollo MXPX @ Academy 3 Gabrielle @ The Lowry Fuck Buttons @ The Phoenix

Mon 11th Palladium @ Night & Day Cafe Asobi Seksu @ Music Box Flamboyant Bella @ Academy 3

Tues 12th These New Puritans @ Night & Day Cafe Mirrorview @ Music Box Eamon Hamilton (Brakes) @ The Ruby Lounge Black Francis @ Academy 2 Polysics @ Star & Garter Cut The Blue Wire @ The Roadhouse

March

Thurs 21st

Sat 1st

Cherry Ghost @ Night & Day Cafe The Maple State @ The Roadhouse Bring On The Dancing Horses present Napolean IIIrd @ Cafe Saki Eternal Lord @ Music Box Gallows @ Academy 2

High Voltage presents MGMT @ Night & Day Cafe The Cult @ Academy 1 Tegan & Sara @ Academy 2 MistyÅfs Big Adventure @ Academy 3 Natasha Bedingfield @ The Apollo The Beat & Neville Staple @ Club Academy Metronomy @ The Roadhouse

Fri 22nd The Futureheads @ Night & Day Cafe The Metros @ The Roadhouse The Wombats @ Academy 1 Duffy @ The Ruby Lounge Amy MacDonald @ Academy 2 The Audition @ Academy 3 Air Cav (Single Launch Party) @ The Roadhouse

CLUBLISTINGS

Sun 2nd

Sat 15th

Anti-Flag @ Club Academy Newton Faukner @ The Apollo Bill WymanÅfs Rhythm Kings @ The Lowry The Grandmothers Of Invention @ Academy 3

Kelly Clarkson @ The Apollo 5th Annual St. PatrickÅfs Week Party @ Academy 1

Feb-Mar

Sun 16th Monsters Of Mosh feat. Breed 77 @ Jillys Rockworld

Mon 3rd Kid Harpoon & The Powers That Be @ The Roadhouse Mike Park @ Music Box Editors @ The Apollo Tina Disco @ Academy 3

Mon 17th

Tues 4th

Wed 19th

Sandi Thom @ Night & Day Cafe

Designer Magazine presents Sloganeer @ Night & Day Cafe Kate Nash @ The Apollo Clannad @ The Bridgewater Hall Jack Penate @ Academy 1 The Mexicolas @ The Roadhouse

Tues 26th

Wed 5th

Stephanie Dosen @ The Ruby Lounge Designer Magazine presents The Circus Electric @ Night & Day Cafe Alicia Keys @ The M.E.N Arena Sum 41 @ Academy 1 The Hold Steady @ Academy 2 The Bottomfeeders @ The Roadhouse

Dead Meadow @ Night & Day Cafe

Wed 27th

Fri 7th

Sun 24th

Royworld @ Night & Day Cafe A Killer Fear @ Club Academy Tonight Is Goodbye @ The Ruby Lounge Family & Friends Live! @ Mint Lounge I Was A Cub Scout @ The Roadhouse Smashing Pumpkins @ The M.E.N Arena Manchester Orchestra @ Academy 3 Ipso Facto @ Retro Bar

Band Of Horses @ Academy 3

Sat 16th High Voltage Presents Thieves Like Us (Kitsune) @ Night & Day Cafe Mark Ronson @ The Apollo Hot Chip @ Academy 1 Mentallica @ The Ruby Lounge The Manyanas @ Club Academy

Mon 25th

Mon 18th

Inego @ Night & Day Cafe Los Campesinos @ Club Academy

Thurs 6th Cazals @ Night & Day Cafe David Gray @ The Apollo One Night Only @ Academy 3 Conil @ The Roadhouse

The Levellers @ The Apollo Alec Empire @ Academy 3

Sat 8th Fink @ Night & Day Cafe Boyz II Men @ The Apollo Akala @ Club Academy Gary Numan @ Academy 1

Sun 9th Yeasayer @ Night & Day Cafe Guillemots @ The Ritz Hayseed Dixie @ Academy 2 Tom Baxter @ Academy 3

Next deadline is January 18th Compiled by Mike Caulfield

The Yashin @ Music Box

Fri 15th

Vast @ The Ruby Lounge

Please email your gig and club listings for February/March 08 to listings@highvoltage.org.uk

Fri 14th

Wed 13th

The Rascals @ Night & Day Cafe This Is Seb Clarke @ The Roadhouse Versus Cancer 2008 @ The M.E.N Arena Bright Kicks @ Club Academy Thurs 14th Johnny Bramwell’s Valentine Massacre @ Megadeth @ Academy 1 Joe Bonamassa @ Academy 2 Night & Day Cafe Juno Ashes @ Academy 3 Dillinger Escape Plan @ Academy 3 Ian Hunter @ The Lowry Sub Humans @ Star & Garter

Mon 31st

The Torrents @ Night & Day Cafe Kelly Clarkson @ The Apollo Inspiral Carpets @ Academy 1

Sat 23rd

Curious Generation presents Out From Animals @ Night & Day Cafe Sun 17th The Young Knives @ Academy 2 Vice Magazine Party @ Night & Day Cafe Dragons @ Academy 3 Genius: Arthur Lee & Love @ The Ruby Eels @ The Bridgewater Hall Fri 8th Lounge Bauer @ The Roadhouse Airship @ Night & Day Cafe Lightspeed Champion @ The Roadhouse Airbourne @ The Roadhouse Thurs 28th Chrome Hoof Vs Invest Vs Spandecks Vs Jaymay @ Matt & Phreds Late Of The Pier @ Club Academy Sarabeth Tucek @ Night & Day Cafe Lamb & Wolf @ Salford Islington Mill Dionne Warwick @ The Lowry Mayhem In Manchester @ Music Box Devon Sproule @ Club Academy Andy Parsons @ The Lowry Yeti @ Dry Bar Richard Hawley @ Academy 1 Reel Big Fish @ Academy 2 The Hoosiers @ Academy 1 The Other Smiths Vs Transmission @ The Nightjars @ The Roadhouse Academy 3

Velvet Revolver @ The Apollo

Tues 18th Sophie Ellis Bextor @ Academy 2

The Enemy @ The Apollo

Thurs 20th You Animals (Formerly Komakino) @ The Roadhouse

Fri 21st The Fall @ Salford Maxwell Hall

Sat 22nd Danse Macabre presents Las Pistolas @ Night & Day Caf_ 101%- Pantera @ Ruby Lounge

Sun 23rd Buck 65 @ The Roadhouse

Mon 24th The Twilight Sad @ Night & Day Cafe

Wed 26th Last Gang @ Night & Day Cafe The Duke Spirit @ Academy 3 Chris Rea @ The Apollo

Thurs 27th Young Heart Attack @ The Roadhouse The Grid @ Academy 3 Dodge @ Club Academy Van Der Graaf Generator @ RNCM Van Morrison @ The Bridgewater

Monday Revolver @ The Roadhouse 11pm- 2am Monday @ The Ritz 10pm- 2am Up The Racket @ Joshua Brooks 10pm2am

Tuesday

For all things Graphic www.soapforall.co.uk

Sex With Robots @ The Roadhouse 11pm- late Way Back When @ Po Na Na 9pm- 2am Click Click @ Font Bar 9pm- 1am The Alternative @ The Venue 11pm- late

Wednesday Retro @ 42nd Street 10pm- late Tramp @ Club North 10pm- 2am

Thursday From Manchester With Love @ 42nd Street 10pm- 2am Don’t Think Twice @ Font Bar 9pm- 1am Romp @ One Central Street @ 9.30pm3am In The City @ The Venue 11pm- late

Friday Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll @ The Roadhouse Friday Feeling @ 5th Avenue 10pm- 3am Keys, Money, Lipstick @ Star & Garter Glamorous Indie Rock n’ Roll @ 42nd Street Popscene @ The Brickhouse 10.30pm2.30am Relief @ Club Alter Ego 11pm- 4am Another Planet @ South 10pm- 3am Homoelectric @ Legends 10pm- 4am Twist and Shout @ The Venue 10pm3am Don’ft Miss This @ Retro Bar Guilty Pleasures @ One Central Street 10pm- 3am

HIGHVOLTAGE PRESS Specialising in music/band online PR and web promotion. National & regional PR services available

Mon 10th The Matches @ Academy 3 Eva @ The Roadhouse

twentyfour

Mar

alistair@highvoltage.org.uk for more information

twentyfive


Bella Union was created by Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie after their contract with 4AD came to an end in 1997. Since then, the label has supported close to fifty acts; often music that ordinarily would not be heard outside of local scenes and niche markets. A decade after its conception, HV spoke to co-founder Simon about just how far they have come. HV: Hello Simon. You originally conceived Bella Union as an outlet for your own music but then your band dissolved. Was there ever a moment where you shrugged your shoulders and thought ‘oh well, it was a nice idea while it lasted’? Simon: ‘Yes, absolutely. Since the beginning of Cocteau Twins the learning curve was a weird shape. Not steep, but a bit unusual. We made two cassettes, one after another, sent one to 4AD and one to John Peel. Then we got signed by 4AD and a week later did our first Peel session. So we had no idea that you don't always get what you want! Slowly, things started to go wrong and by the time we broke up after drug addictions, label fall outs, punchups, break-ups and kidnappings,

twentysix

we worked out that things don’t always quite work out. I figured for a few days that maybe this was one of those situations. But then we met Dirty Three, put out their album and never looked back.’ Early releases from Fran_oiz Breut, The Czars and Dirty Three were all pretty sad and moody. Were you ever worried that Bella Union would become known for releasing only melancholic material? ‘No! But I see what you're saying. I think I am drawn to that side of art in general. We did release some hip hop but I guess even they were fairly thoughtful, contemplative records.’ You pride yourselves in allowing your artists to develop at their own rate. Has this philosophy ever bitten you on the arse? ‘Haha! I guess you mean did any band take nineteen albums to get any good? Not really. I don't really just sit back and do nothing all the time you know!! Seriously, no one band or release is the same and I just take the attitude that trying to push a band into something doesn't always work. If they want guidance, they'll ask and I'll give it.’ Did you get to the bookies when Fionn Regan’s ‘The End Of History’ was nominated for the Mercury last year? ‘I put a grand on the Klaxons. I wish. Yes, I did put some money on Fionn but didn't get very good odds. He should have won. But then I should have been signed by Spurs when I was fifteen.Åh How has Regan’s success, as well as hefty sales of Midlake’s

output, affected the prospects of Bella Union’s smaller acts? Do you have more freedom to take chances now? ‘No. You cannot for a second think you have this game cracked because no one cares about your last release or how well it did, only your next one. You just need to be aware that you can't always have an artist at Midlake's level, and keep developing the new bands.’ You celebrated your tenth year in 2007, but with the future viability of record companies looking uncertain, how do you think Bella Union will change in the next ten years? ‘Unlike everyone else, I don't think we'll change the philosophy because truly that's why we do it. If we just signed things because we felt they'd do well, we'd ultimately fail because it couldn't sustain. While we don't sell the numbers of the bigger, funded labels, we can release music that wouldn't otherwise be heard.’

burgeoning scene in Cleethorpes and I will be astounded. That's the beauty of this business. One minute of the day you know one thing and then a minute later you hear a band, a song, and you're never the same again. Words: Megan Vaughan www.bellaunion.com The Best of Bella Union: Dirty Three - Ocean Songs Fran-oiz Breut - Une Saison Volee Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther Fionn Regan - The End Of History

Bella Union artists come from all over the world, making music in a huge range of genres. How do you find them, and what qualities do you look for in the music? ‘They just look me up in the Yellow Pages. We're there under Homes for Artists Who Want to Make A Difference’ In all seriousness, I guess we're looking for a band that doesn't sound like any other, that we all agree we want to push the boat out for... I don't really care where they come from, but maybe subconsciously there is something more romantic about signing a band from Texas than Cleethorpes. Perhaps there is a

twentyseven


HighVoltage 27  

Manchester's High Voltage magazine issue 27. Featuring... Glasvegas, Babyshambles, Holy Fuck, British Sea Power, Metronomy, Young Galaxy, Lo...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you