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ISSUE TWENTYNINE JUNE/JULY FREE

LOS CAMPESINOS LADYTRON BE YOUR OWN PET FLEET FOXES THE RASCALS

TOKYO POLICE CLUB CATS IN PARIS LAYMAR MAGIC ARM MOON WINDOW THE LIONHEART BROTHERS CREAMFIELDS


ISSUE TWENTYNINE JUNE/JULY features

Introducing… The Lionheart Brothers & Laymar SIX Introducing… Cats in Paris & Magic Arm Moon Window SEVEN The Rascals NINE Tokyo Police Club TEN Be_Your_Own_Pet ELEVEN Fleet Foxes TWELVE Los_Campesinos THIRTEEN Ladytron FOURTEEN Creamfields 10yrs TWENTYSIX

Regulars Manchester news FIVE Single reviews SIXTEEN Album reviews EIGHTEEN Futuresonic reviews TWENTY New Noise TWENTYTHREE Manchester Listings TWENTYFOUR For more reviews, interviews, comment and info on all HighVoltage activities log on to highvoltage.org.uk

This issue is dedicated to Alistair Beech who has stepped down from his position as assistant editor in order to build his career in music PR in London. We hope Ali will still contribute reviews, though everyone at HV would like to thank him for his hard work over the past 3 years.

See highvoltagesounds.co.uk for label info and new HighVoltage releases

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, Sarah Boardman, Hannah Clark, Neil Condron, Phil Daker, Richard Fox, Jade French, Lauren Holden, Chris Horner, Billy Idle, James Morton, Sophie Parkes, Liam Pennington, Andy Porter, Simon Pursehouse, Michael Roberts, Gareth Roberts, Alexia Rogers-Wright, Jamila Scott, Benjamin Thomas, Simon Smallbone, Jack Titley, Megan Vaughan

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June/July _News... As DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince remind us, summertime is a time to sit back and unwind. Unless you're in Manchester, in which case it's time for all-night BBQs, house parties and doing anything but sitting back.

appearance whilst equally rare right now,

won't miss The Maple State consolidating a great

The Longcut make their looong overdue return

first half of the year at Night n Day, 06/07, and

with old friends Akoustik Anarkhy, at new

just as unmissable is Twisted Wheel's Oldham

favourite The Deaf Institute on June 20th.

homecoming on July 26th.

Keith and former Snowfighters Delphic take over

So are you coming to Glasto? Be sure to check

The Aftershow on 27/06 and then there's that

out Manchester's (well, Concrete Recordings')

24hr Tony Wilson Experience at Cathedral

own Late N Live stage at some point, where

Gardens on June 21st, promising to be an

going into the night you can catch Orphan Boy,

explosion of general creativity as legends talk

Travelling Band, Keith and Rachael Kichenside.

Of course the gigs cut back for the next few

music.

It's just like a night in town, but with added

months as we lay waste to pastures greener over

If you're not festivalling just yet, then Radiohead

festival goodness.

festival season, but there's a treat or two back

have their own big day at Lancashire CC (29/06)

home. Modern dance icon Matthew Dear is

whilst The Music (and their great new album)

unbelievably coming to Night n Day on 13/06,

follow about ten sold out Manchester dates this

bringing his downbeat tech-pop for a rare

year at Academy 1 on July 1st. Naturally you

Event of the Month... Alright, so it's not til August, but with it now

With added camping over 22nd/23rd August

being a weekend affair it's a good time to get

there's twice the lineup of previous years; the

these things planned ahead. Loathe to slum it

obviously highlight being the Prophet of

with smelly moshers at Leeds this summer, HV

Longsight, Ian Brown sharing a stage with The

will itching for festival action and for its 10th

Whip. Kasabian have their only UK festival date

Anniversary, local megafestival Creamfields is

and Underworld are set for a stormer along with

our bet. It might be a Liverpool institution, but

scores of mint DJs. And then there's Soulwax,

it's actually like, less than half an hour on the

The Presets and Simian Mobile Disco. Head to

train to Warrington an then you're laughing all

the back page for boss-head James Barton's

the way to Daresbury, Cheshire.

reckonings‌

Words: Fran Donnelly

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INT R O DUC ING The Lionheart Brothers

THE Lionheart Brothers have just played their most bizarre gig yet. It's April 4 and Norway's finest exports are the latest act to join Lancaster Library's endless list of top acts to perform in the city. Watched by a crowd mostly made up of tweenagers, The Lionheart Brothers' show follows previous library sets by The Thrills, Adele, Bat for Lashes and The Long Blondes. Speaking to High Voltage backstage after the show, the five-piece are enjoying a rare rest. "The library show was great. It was different, you know" says guitarist and vocalist Marcus Forsgren. “We've never played in a library before, it was really cool. A lot of people showed up!" They had better get used to it. Over the last few months, the boys are gradually making a firm mark on the British scene, what with their album 'Dizzy Kiss' finally being released in the UK. So how've they gone down over here?

Influenced by Beach Boys and Miles Davis amongst others, theirs is a transcendental, dreamy mix of mystic pop rock. Despite success in their hometown, the band's biggest highlight to date has been breaking out of little ole Trondheim and playing to crowds in England and New York. “We're coming back to England this summer," continues Marcus, "We'll be doing loads of festivals, Summer Sundae and Great Escape. Oh and a Drowned in Sound tour." But they might not be spending too much time hanging out with English bands. "I think every English band sounds the same." says Marcus "There's nothing new happening.” But with that, he adds: "We're really looking forward to coming over. The people are nice and the fans are great." Words: Lauren Holden www.myspace.com/lionheartbrothers

'Dizzy Kiss' is out now on "British fans are very similar to ShellShock Norwegian fans actually," says Morten "No, maybe they're a bit more open. Norwegian crowds are quite sceptic, they analyse you a bit. "The British reaction has been great though, very positive." With Marcus Forsgren and Morten Oby on guitar and vocals, the band is comprised of Peter Rudolfsen on drums, Audun Storset on organ and Frantz Andreasson on bass.

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LAYMAR

“We take a lot of influence from Manchester as a city and believe it to be intrinsic to our sound, more so than a lot of the other bands that we know of who are based here.” So explain Manchester’s psychedelic post-rockers Laymar, on the eve of the release of their debut LP. The intense layers of noise created on In Strange Lines and Distances (check review towards the back of the ‘zine) belies their numbers, as Laymar are actually three gentlemen in their early twenties - David Paul (drums / programming), Ciaran Cullen (bass / synthesizer) and Colin Williams (guitar, piano / synthesizer. Putting the LP Together can’t have been an easy experience? “The LP is a mix of three people’s lives over the last eight years; an attempt at throwing their feeling and thoughts into their instruments, no matter how dark or euphoric, then creating pieces of music out of them. It should be listened to as a whole from beginning to end.” It was recorded in late 2007 with the help of Tom Knotts at Airtight Studios on an industrial estate in Chorlton, and Laymar seem to hold him in pretty high regard: “we now believe Tom Knotts to be a genius.” Clearly ‘Genius’ Knotts has captured something unique.

Not ones to standstill, Laymar recently retreated to Cornwall to work on LP number two. Ciaran explains that: “The new material, although still in its infancy, is more rhythmically orientated. Still vocal-less (apart from the odd sample), thought provoking and moving. “Writing new material in Cornwall allowed us access to a purer way of thinking and helped us to concentrate solely on our music, outside of the distractions of our lives. This was productive but on a permanent basis we thought it would alter our sound to a point of no longer being relevant to ourselves and our home.” Serious words indeed. Taking the time to regroup merely exasperates HVs feeling that Laymar are laying off right at the start of a wonderful musical quest, and we just hope they get around to filling our ears with aural delights for a long time to come. Words: Richard Cheetham www.myspace.com/laymarmusic In Strange Lines and Distances released on TV Records on 23rd June

Magic Arm Moon Window

It seems that 2008 is the year that eyes are turning back to Manchester, but the experience would be so much richer if those eyes peer towards Cats in Paris. There’s no chance of Mancswagger pigeonholing here; not only do they claim to have found their name in a dream (of a 30ft kitten wrapped around the Eiffel Tower like King Kong), but from a starting point of “awesome plinky plonky macrosongs with glockenspiels and toy drums”, they have ended up “a bit ‘I'm at the top of a mountain’ prog-epic”. Whatever that means, it sounds like nothing else right now.

despite the traditionally folk-based festival diversifying. “We've done a few folk nights before” they say, “where we're totally out of place. It's actually quite good being a sore thumb once in a while.”

A bit prog, a bit post-rock and a lot of fun, the band “purposefully try to keep people guessing”, and even suggest that a Venn diagram may be the best way to show the overlap in their varied tastes. Their live shows are mesmerising, wholly frenetic with numerous shifts in genre and have won them support slots with Islands and a triumphant Sounds from the Other City show where “the room was crammed full of people and sweat and good vibes. In fact it was the sweatiest we've ever been, officially” and they “had a serious dance off with the incredible band Gentle Friendly. We totally won.”

Words: Hannah Bayfield

Looking to the future they’re off to this summer’s Green Man Festival, a slot they landed through local label Akoustik Anarkhy, where they admit they may be out on a limb

And last, but hopefully not least, if Cats in Paris were actually cats, which part of Paris would they hang out in? After suggesting our own preference we get the response “If you're on the Montmartre steps, then we'll go there, and maybe we could go for a coffee, or a beer, maybe a show, and maybe, just maybe, back to yours?” Miaow.

www.myspace.com/catsinparis Foxes/Terrapins is out now on Akoustik Anarkhy

If to the undiscerning outsider the sight of another scruffy, backwardslooking Manchester troupe on the cover of music weeklies suggests the musical tide up here changes as often as the weather clears, they’d be wrong. One of many artists to break from swaggering traditions is Magic Arm (elsewhere known as Marc Rigelsford), whose upbeat electronica and off-kilter melodies adorning debut EP ‘Outdoor Games’ have been drawing giddy approval from fans and critics alikewith Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear going so far as to say “I dare you to tell me it sucks.” High Voltage caught up with Marc as he and co-producer Robin Housman (previously working with HV favourites The Answering Machine and Polytechnic) add the final few tweaks to his upcoming debut LP ‘Widths and Heights’. “It’s been about five months since we started, from the original demos. It’s a very meticulous process, cos I’d been working on some tracks for a year previously, I didn’t want to lose the feel on the drums, atmosphere and sounds. So whilst Robin might usually be working with thirty tracks on a band’s recording, with us it’s been with nearly a hundred. So it’s pretty painstaking; we’ve kinda been experiencing a bit of cabin fever…”

something sonically more technicolor, “I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop and pop-R&B production, people like Rihanna and Kanye West. That kind of overlyproduced, really good pop, and just pushing the electronic thing further too. ” Past live shows have been strictly solitary affairs, although this also looks to be changing for upcoming jaunts. “ I’m gonna be working with a band called My Side Of The Mountain; it’s gonna be great to actually play the songs as you first envisioned them rather than just sticking to loops – which I do enjoy – but I think for this record it’ll be more relevant, and more fun too.” The outcome is sure to be some of the most joyous and infectious sounds heard all summer. Words: Mike Caulfield www.myspace.com/magicarm Magic Arm play at The Night and Day Café on 11th June.

Whilst previously stripped down to essential loops and acoustic strumming, early indications point to

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The morning after The Whip's Manchester homecoming and HV is washing down AlkaSelzer with five spoons of instant coffee (with like, water obviously). It's barely dinnertime and it feels far too early to talk rock ‘n’ roll. The equally groggy Scouse croak down the phone agrees, and speaking only in lowest tones of voice we caught up with Greg Mighall of The Rascals - three top chaps from Hoylake on the Wirral. It's been a year since they formed and he's going to quietly tell us about the album they've got in the can. eight

"We did it in like four weeks," he hazily recalls, "so it was pretty quick to record. It's literally the first batch of songs we did together and was all done as live takes. Everyone sounds the same these days but the way we've done it, you've got to play it right and it's more honest I think. Some people use Pro Tools an’ it works, but for us we don't need it really." Nevertheless the drummer's surprisingly coy about how well he thinks the album will be received. With songs like the kooky, effectsstuttering 'Freakbeat Phantom' he could be pretty confident, but instead he just wants to get these songs out on the road with their biggest tour yet, starting this Friday. "That's what it's all about for me. We love it on tour. What's not to like? Playing your songs to different people in a different place every night, know what I mean?" And when Greg's on tour, is it a perennial hangover or a chance to soak up some culture? "Oh yeah, I'm there taking pictures of cathedrals an’ that." Well, Greg will have plenty of time to take in Manchester's sights next week when they get down to Club Academy. Following their sold out appearance at Night & Day last November, it should be a cracker. Live, The Rascals are psychedelic and boisterous, brought to life by Miles' distinctive drawl. Together they're a tight unit that batters out fraught rock before spinning off in a wash of guitars and effects. "Every gig we give a hundred percent,"

says their drummer. "It's never like we can't be arsed. We make sure there's like a dynamic in the set with ups and downs to keep people interested. Every night, even if we are nursing hangovers." When past tours have involved onstage japes with mates Arctic Monkeys, there'll no doubt some giggles and mischief? "Well we know each other better than anyone else," Greg agrees. "There's never any tension or any of that, we just have a laugh." "I knew Miles when I was seven but then didn’t see him for awhile. We'd all go to the same gigs – me an Joe used would go to see The Libertines or The Cooper Temple Clause and Joe would be like, "there's that lad again". It turned out to be Miles who I'd known years ago." Now 21, the three mates play Glastonbury's Thursday, on a Liverpool Leftfield stage that puts them alongside other Merseysiders like Elle S'Appelle and The Seal Cub Clubbing Club. What does Greg make of the activity round their way over the last year? "There's loads of good stuff coming out at the moment. It's not even necessarily stuff that we're into but you can appreciate that it's a good thing. We're not really part of any scene – there're four or five bands that are sort of linked, but we've always done our own thing."

heroes The Little Flames. Despite some success, the boys felt they had to leave and take a chance. "We joined The Little Flames but it was always like, ‘one day we'll do something’. Even before then we were gonna get a band together but it never happened. It's been a big circle to get where we are but it's been better that why cos we know what we're doing now." Backed by their experiences, the trio were quickly resigned by Deltasonic, a label synonymous with top music in Liverpool. But being a band who dabble with a 60s style and a cheeky lads lack of pretension, are they worried about being written off as just another Coral? "I don't think we are like other Deltasonic bands that much really, but you're always gonna get people making the comparisons. It's not a concern though; we're not worried about it." Fair enough mate. Either way, HV won't be missing The Rascals psyche-rock explosion next week. Provided we've recovered by then. Words: Fran Donnelly The Rascals play Club Academy on June 3rd. Album Rascalize is out June 23rd on Deltasonic. www.myspace.com/rascalmusic

The decision to do their own is what brings them to us today after amicably moving on from cult

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be your _own pet

TOKYO_ POLICE_ CLUB

friends watching and have a great time. The US is huge so it takes a long time to tour and spread our music, but there are definitely certain parts of America that show us a great time every time we're there." It’s two years since Tokyo Police Club’s mini album, A Lesson In Crime, was released in North America and gradually slipped into the British Isles' consciousness. Showcasing a heady mix of postpunk, indiepop and emo, the Canadian teens' EPs and last summer's single, 'Your English Is Good', trimmed alternative rock's indulgent flab, delivering brief and catchy songs tailor-made for the live arena. The pressures of extensive touring and no little procrastination over how their first proper album should sound delayed the release of their début album, Elephant Shell, until last month. Ahead of their UK tour in June, we spoke with lead singer and bassist, Dave Monks, the day after their biggest headlining show to date, the Metro in Chicago. HV: How was last night? DM: “There was a bit of nervousness going into the show, which can be a good thing, but it was amazing!” You seem to have quite a punishing schedule at the moment with not too many days off – how do you stay sane on tour? “I don't know that we do, but we manage. We've all known each other for so long that getting along comes naturally and we all have some sense of giving each other space because otherwise touring is like a month of non-stop socialising

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which is strange. Boredom and short attention spans are generally our main foibles. It’s imperative that we keep ourselves excited by what we're doing, and we'll do whatever is necessary to achieve that.” Do you feel that the wait for your proper full-length début LP has been beneficial?

“I feel that throughout touring the EP, we were building a solid fan base from our live shows. Not on publicity or anything. And those are the kind of fans that will stick by you even if it takes a long time to make your next record. And we didn't want to let people down with a rushed effort. And now that it's out, the response has been great and we're continuing to play shows that we're really proud of.”

What ideas did you have for the album prior to recording, and were these fully realised? “Because we were touring so much, we didn't really have time to stop and really think about our record before we first started recording. We spent a few weeks in the studio during September 2007 of last year and came out with a record that wasn't going where we wanted it to.” How did you progress from there? “The day after we came out of the studio we played two big shows with Bloc Party. And I think it occurred to us right there and then that we wanted to make a record that represented us as an energetic live band. We wanted to make a record without a filler-track and where every song could potentially be someone's favourite Tokyo Police Club song. So after we spent October 2007 touring, we halted the gears and went into a rehearsal space in Toronto and all of sudden had a burst of creativity and wrote eight songs in two weeks. And then in December last year we recorded it in Toronto. And we couldn't be happier with our record.”

And finally Graham, [keyboardist] I hear you're reviewing the bathrooms you frequent during the tour via a blog, what do you consider the essentials to an enjoyable bathroom visit?

How have the new tracks translated into the live set?

Tokyo Police Club tour the UK now.

“The songs from this record seem to fit in really well with the old songs we have. When we were writing the new stuff we were aware of our live strengths and I think it

It seems American heritage remains at the dark heart of Be Your Own PET. Despite the album's pulsating anger and disgust for some aspects of American life, underground US cinema has proved a major influence on the band. Russ Meyer flicks, the classic zombie films of George A. Romero, and even the techno-epic Robocop were raided for musical inspiration says Nathan Vasquez.

comes across. Plus we have lights now! We've been considering covering 'First We Take Manhattan' by Leonard Cohen. Because he is great, Canadian, and I would get to say, "first we take Manhattan" and then Graham would play that epic string thing and then maybe we'd all shout, "then we take Berlin!". But we then we realised how long that song is and how weird the arrangements are and we're thinking we might try something else first…”

“I'm not picky about bathrooms, I'm really not. All I ask for is a moderately clean room where the pipes are attached and the door closes most of the way. This is surprisingly hard to find in America, but perhaps I can make a difference in my own small way. You might say that I'm a real life hero.” Words: Simon Smallbone www.tokyopoliceclub.com

As if they weren’t busy enough offending everyone in sight with their current band, the three male members have two side projects between them; Turbo Fruits who are working on the follow up to their debut, due out early next year once BYOP have completed their extensive and not doubt destructive world tour, while Nathan’s Deluxin project sells “a ridiculous amount of records on the BYOP tour”. So does Jemina have any plans for a ‘side project’ of her own?

So much good stuff, but you get these rooms full of suits and...I don’t “To shove know. It’s aawad of fireworks up their ass and light them on fire!” bit sad what they don’t get to hear

"I love films, and I like to take my favourite movies and relate lines or scenes from them to things that have happened in my life". Having listened to the second Be Your Own PET album, the following feelings may occur: your ears will hurt, like someone has tried to ram a telescope through one to see out the other side, and failed. Second, pure aggression will course through your nervous system, willing you to act upon it and cause serious damage to anything and anyone within reach. Finally, it will be infinitely clear that the band in question have absolutely no intention of following the unwritten musical rule of 'moving on'. Equally irreverent, equally loud, and equally as brilliant as their debut, the band appear set on distilling punk rock back to its base, and in doing so, ruffling industry feathers along the way.

killing, and being pretty damn amused by the whole thing. What does front-woman Jemina Pearl make of that?

Thankfully, XL are without said poles, meaning we get the complete uncut version. Get Awkward-gate has not dampened the band's patriotic spirit however.

This is evident in the band’s recent dalliance with homemade cinema. Three video blogs featuring the band before, during and after a show at a roller-derby in a variety of spoof comi-violent sketches can be seen on their Myspace, with drummer John in a star turn as a lovelorn teen in episode two. While getting beaten by roller-derby girls and getting high on “’shrooms“, it’s clear these four punk kids are, in their own words, “chombo-ing as hard as (they) can”. This is perhaps why the cover art for ‘Get Awkward’ features the four band members clutching items from their childhood; a personal touch from a band doing things on their own terms.

For the US release of 'Get Awkward' three tracks were censored by Universal, including the outstanding 'Becky' and 'Black Hole', which contain tongue-incheek lyrics about violence and

"America! Fuck yeah! America is home, and as you all know, home is always better and more comfortable. We play house parties and small venues all the time back home in Nashville, mostly with our

“Yeah, they’re things we’ve had for a long time. The telephone was the phone I had as a kid that my parents almost threw away. I had to save it from the trash! I wanted to make the album look like some of

"IT FUCKING BLOWS!" she says. "I've no idea why it's all happened either ‘cos I'm not an old rich white dude with a huge pole up his ass."

my favourite punk album covers. Real set-up shots like ‘The Incredible Shrinking Dickies’ and XRay Spex’s ‘Germ Free Adolescents’.” says Jemina.

“I had a band with my ex-boyfriend, but I quit when we broke up. It was called Cheap Time and we had one 7 inch together. I would love to have an all girl band one day, but it’s hard to find a girl drummer.” So there you go. The advert’s there; any female or perhaps particularly effeminate male drummers interested in lie-ins, late nights and making outstanding DIY punk records while sharing a tour bus with Jemina, email your details and we’ll pass them on. The mission statement?

Words: Andy Porter

www.beyourownpet.net

‘Get Awkward’ is out now on XL. Be Your Own PET play Reading and Leeds festivals in August.

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LOS _CAMPESINOS

fleet foxes Seattle, WA, a boom-and-bust city built on lumber and ship building and technology companies. It’s the birth place of Jimi Hendrix. In World War II it was a key port of departure for troops heading to the Pacific and in the 1990s became the coffee capital of the world. Come 1991, Seattle was rock Valhalla, apparently something to do with the success of Sub Pop and a certain scruffy three-piece called Nirvana. Kurt and Co. shared a roster with Earth, Mudhoney and Screaming Tress and in 2008, Sub Pop’s line-up is arguably even stronger than it was in its heyday. Just look at this list: No Age, Pissed Jeans, Foals, The Go! Team, The Shins and the absolute stars of this year’s SXSW, Fleet Foxes. Signed in the US to their hometown’s most famous label, and part of the exquisite Bella Union in Europe, they fit in perfectly alongside the likes of Stephanie Dosen, Midlake and The Kissaway Trail. Why the history lesson? Well, because Fleet Foxes are timeless. The only thing that could stop them from existing at any point in Seattle’s history is the electricity needed for their recording equipment, mics and some of their guitars. So universal is their sound that it seems like it’s destiny, coincidence or some other force placing them at the forefront of the city’s current renaissance alongside the Tillman brothers, Zach and J, Tiny Vipers and The Cave Singers. Seattle has mellowed since the plaid clad chaos of the grunge explosion. Less mud, more honey.

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It’s unsurprising really, when you take a look at the five-piece’s influences, says singer Robin Pecknold.

“We grew up listening to the music of our parents,” Robin notes. “The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, The Zombies, Joni Mitchell, Fairport Convention, Love, Marvin Gaye, Crosby Stills & Nash, Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, and every other perennial ‘60s band you’d expect to find in the record collections of baby boomers. One of us is named after a Steely Dan record, for Christ’s sake.” We’ll leave it for you to spot which one of Nicholas Peterson, Skyler Skjelset, Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott it is.

The sun-kissed Californian pop touches and the nods to Dylan and ‘60s folk music stand out, but then there’s also the undeniable influence of gospel and hymns (‘White Winter Hymnal’), the blues of the 1930s (‘Sun It Rises’, ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’) and the type of gorgeous harmonies last heard on Yeasayer’s ‘All Hour Cymbals’. Their music even feels like it comes from before the Renaissance on some songs, such as ‘Meadowlarks’ and ‘English House’ or ‘Mykonos’ on their ‘Sun Giant’ EP. The art work of ‘Fleet Foxes’ –depicting a chaotic European village in the 1500s with its monks, manure and madmen – is hardly Daft Punk either.

It’s a record that appeals to the simplest emotions but is in fact a very complex composition, with a small orchestra’s worth of instruments on each song. “We’ve succeeded for ourselves if we’ve made a song where every instrument is doing something interesting and melodic”, says Pecknold. “We try to draw from the traditions of folk music, pop, baroque psychedelic, sacred harp singing, West Coast music, traditional music from Ireland to Japan, and are inspired by the music of our friends and contemporaries in the Seattle music family.” When all of Fleet Foxes sing together it’s even more staggering than Pecknold on his own.

“We aim to be adventurous and true to ourselves and to enjoy our time together. The music we make is a reflection of our instincts. To me, the most enjoyable thing in the world is to sing harmony with people, so we do that a bunch” , he says.

Los Campesinos got together at Cardiff University, bonding over alternative nightlife and obscure rock’n’roll. Within months of forming, they were supporting Broken Social Scene and were the subject of a webfuelled bidding war. Intent on finishing their degrees before succumbing to rock excess, the Los Campesinos locomotive is now gathering speed across America. HV spoke to frontman Gareth to find out if plans for a theme park have been drawn up yet. HV: Have things slowed down since the release of ‘Hold On Now, Youngster’? GC: “Well, the tour schedule that we’ve got lined up at the moment is going to be hard. The album only just came out in America so we’ve

got a month-long tour all over the United States and Canada and All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. If anything, I think things are going better in North America than they are here. The bands that we draw influence from and get compared to are generally American, and we’ve already played sold out New York shows so things are very exciting.” There’s a song on the album about being a punter at ATP. Does life imitate art or is it the other way round? “It’s probably life imitating art imitating life. We’ve been to the All Tomorrows Parties festivals for a couple of years and that song is a 65% true story about when we went for the first time, so it’s really surreal to be playing there. When we formed the band we got carried away with ourselves, and said that one day we’d get to play... “ It used to be the case that Top Of The Pops or Glastonbury were the signs of true success. “Yeah, but ATP has that exciting element to it in that they don’t just get the same bands that are playing everywhere. Across the summer there’ll be a festival every weekend and they all have a similar line-up.” If you were curating, who would you have on the bill? “Personally, I’d have…(pauses) See, I’m pretending I have to think about it but it’s pretty much the only

thing I do think about. Xiu Xiu would be up there, and lots of Riot Grrrl things. I wish I’d been around and been old enough to appreciate the Riot Grrrl movement as it happened. I’d also like to get bands to reform. We’d go for a Life Without Buildings reformation, a Prolapse reformation… We’d submit huge long lists to ATP and they’d just tell us “no way”.” Why Riot Grrrl? “It was a really positive, exciting movement which sought to take away from the whole 1993 grunge scene where bands like Nirvana and Alice In Chains made boring, dreary, male music. Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear and bands of that ilk proved that women were just as capable of making music and that didn’t sit very comfortably with a lot of people. There’s a compilation called ‘Singles’ from Bikini Kill which is pretty accessible. It’s more polished, and was produced by the guy who mixed our album, John Goodmanson.” Los Campesinos is Spanish for “the peasants”. Are you a politicallymotivated band? “We want to be more than just a band that records music; we want to interact with fans, letting them know what we like and doing covers of things that we hope will inspire our fans to seek out music that they may not normally get to hear.”

Tell me about the covers on ‘My Year In Lists’. “The new single is one minute and forty nine seconds long, and the three B-sides add up to one minute, forty nine seconds; a Bikini Kill song, a Casiotone song and a Deerhoof song. It’s really self indulgent, covering songs that we love by bands that we love, but a lot of people who like our band have found us through the NME or something, so hopefully it’s exciting for them if they haven’t heard Bikini Kill before. We’ve covered Pavement and we’ve covered Heavenly and if people hear our versions and like them, hopefully they’ll listen to those bands and realise how much better they are!” So, if I wasn’t listening to ‘My Year In Lists’, what would be the second best thing to do with one minute and forty nine seconds? “Brush you teeth. Oral hygiene is a must, and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable if you’ve freshened up. In fact, why not brush your teeth while you listen to ‘My Year In Lists’? It’s a motivational teethcleaning soundtrack.” Words: Megan Vaughan www.loscampesinos.com Los Campesinos play Glastonbury, T in the Park, Oxegen and at Manchester’s ‘A Day at the Races’ this summer.

The first five songs on their wonderful self-titled debut, as well as those on the ‘Sun Giant’ EP, are the sort of songs you can live in for weeks. There are so many subtleties; arrangements that you don’t pick up first time, melodies and harmonies that slip past undetected until you become used to its dream like state. Pecknold hears something else in it too: “This record is like our first steps and, like any newborn, we made mistakes and discoveries and in the process better found out who we are. That is what the record represents to me when I hear it now – the process we went through to find ourselves the first time.” Any time, any place; Fleet Foxes are bliss. Words: Stephen Eddie www.myspace.com/fleetfoxes The album ‘Fleet Foxes’ is out now on Bella Union.

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LADYTRON_ SPEEDING_ UP "We still feel like we're a new band…looking back and listening to our first records, it takes a while to realise that it's been eight years since we did that. It feels like we've been around a lot less than we have been." As though in a waking dream where Larry T is influential and Freezepop are credible, Reuben Wu is getting all nostalgic on us. This time next year he and his bandmates Danny Hunt, Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo will have been testing the dynamic of electronic pop for a decade. Ladytron were there at the start of the 00s fascination with the synthetic style, and they're here now having endured its highs and lows. By the time you're reading this they'll be half way through a thirty date trek across

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America on an international tour that won't stop until October. Could they have imagined this back in 1999? "No, we never had any expectations at all," Reuben admits. "I'm happy with where we are though; we get to play all these amazing places that other bands don’t like China, Columbia and Brazil. And yet we've retained quite an underground following." Strangely enough it's true and no more so than here in the UK. Every visit from Ladytron to Manchester is a sold out but modestly-sized date – a fact emphasising our enthusiasm for their cold New Wave but also underlying the scale of their success; "It's only in the UK that we're playing small venues; everywhere else we're in three thousand capacity arenas.

We're much bigger outside of the UK, especially in the States where people really have a connection with us. It's a great place to play gigs, being so big that people will travel for days to get to venues. We sold out this huge place in Mexico City and we don't even have any kind of distribution there whatsoever." Exactly what Mexicans identify with in Ladytron is unclear, but they've always been right up our street with the industrialised, brutal confidence of their records, streamlined by their twin ice maiden frontline. In the beginning they shaped the minimal electropop sound of 2000 before recently moving to veteran Canadian imprint Nettwerk, home to such electronic innovators like Skinny Puppy and BT. Given their transatlantic base, the move made sense marked by best-yet third album, Witching Hour. "It was a bit of a milestone record for us," says Reuben, "like a converging point between our touring career and our studio career. Now we've used that as a bit of a foundation, like a springboard for the new album and I think there's a considerable improvement in its production." So much is the change that you'd hardly recognise them from their pre-2003 carnation, and not only in sound. Since their early days as

robotic-mannequins on the forefront of electroclash fashion (albeit indirectly), the look of Ladytron has significantly darkened. The music has followed suit, songs moving from the subject of playgirls and blue jeans to ghosts and nervous tension. "As people we've always been into dark music," explains Wu. "There's a lot more soul in sad songs than happy songs. This album is definitely more aggressive and that’s part of us pushing the sound, wanting it to be punchier and more immediate than the last one." The result is a proactive, hyperstylised shadiness cooler than The Matrix Trilogy. But steady development has been the course of things, something owing to an insatiable drive for this "more" of everything that Reuben constantly goes on about; "We realised that we've starting seeing and hearing our music in a different way, thinking about it in terms of how it will be played live, so we started writing music in that dimension. Witching Hour was a lot more powerful, richer and more wide-ranging in sounds and we've only made it stronger for Velocifero." Velocifero is the title of Ladytron's fourth long-player, definable as 'the bringer of speed'. "Literally," Reuben interrupts, "although it's nothing to do

with drugs. I'm not a Speed kind of guy. It's just a nice word – it's also the name of an Italian scooter and a really primitive version of the bicycle." Life in this globetrotting group must be turbulent to say the least. Last year, for instance, was mostly spent touring Europe with the aforementioned Nine Inch Nails, before having a single day off and jetting out to Paris to start on the new LP. Why the hip-capital of crossover dance? To rendezvous with one of the Ed Banger label's best; "We met Vicarious Bliss after he submitted remixes of our stuff which we were really into, so we went to work with him in Paris whilst Alessandro Cortini was working on stuff we sent to him in LA. This is actually the first album we've produced ourselves though. Instead of working with a producer, we've asked for musicians to come up with pieces to add to the tracks. We're very hands on and we've been more the architect of our own album really." Big and boastful in its militaristic sound, you're never quite sure whether what they've made is a rock album or an electronic one. Either way the pull of a robust song beneath it has only got stronger, and as impressive as the volume of 'I'm Not Scared' or the boldness of 'Predict The Day' is, there's no

undermining of substance. "It fits together more as an album," agrees Reuben. "The writing for this record was quite straightforward this time around. We'd write apart in our spare time and when it came to production we'd work on each other's tracks. I mean, we've always liked albums in the truest sense, but here each track has its own identity and there's no repetition in attitude. There're no missing pieces and not too many." Out this month, the time has come to take the Velocifero to the world. Starting in the town where it all began, Reuben's been making the most of home's comforts; "I've been at home all the time lately," he laughs, "sat on the sofa for days on end, watching The Hits TV and relaxing." The break is a welldeserved but rare one. When not touring or writing with the band, Reuben and Danny are nurturing their local scene, having co-founded essential clubnight Evol in 2003. The amount that Ladytron have done for their music community is not to be understated. "At the time there was definitely a hole which needed filling in Liverpool," recounts Wu. "There were clubs and bars playing indie music, but it was just Stone Roses, Chemical Brothers, typical stuff. We wanted a particular type of band – more new wave, gothier, grittier

stuff that people might not expect in a club. We got in some great DJs who hadn’t played Liverpool before, and obviously we put on Arctic Monkeys before they were big." Not before High Voltage booked them we might note, but nevertheless Evol has become one of the finest new music institutions in the UK, and is pretty much synonymous with a good night out in Liverpool at Korova, the bar part-owned by the Ladytron men. Reuben might not have much to do with business when on the road with the band, but what he helped start now brings the most exciting indie/electro to a home for the city's most discerning drinkers. Having hosted giants like Vitalic and CSS in the last year, what's been the key to a successful clubnight? "It really is down to a good combination of good programming, good music when you're DJing and how cool the venue is. If one of those factors is missing then you don’t get the chemistry happening." The Toxteth lad remains Liverpoolbased, but nine years ago when the Glaswegian Helen and Sofian Mira joined the local boys, they were hardly a Liverpudlian band in the most common sense. Did the four feel up against to begin with? "Not really, no," shrugs the synths-man. "When we started there was no real

scene for our kind of music, but over the years it grew to be more acceptable. Using keyboards and electronic music in bands just became more and more common. Now it's just another part of any indie band. People don’t see you playing a synthesiser and assume you like Kraftwerk or The Human League." Given the saturation of bands taking in these influences, is that necessarily a good thing? "Yeah definitely, because when we started off people were obsessing about the instruments we were using and compared us to bands that really didn’t have much of an affiliation with us. We might like Kraftwerk and The Human League, but we weren't a tribute band." He laughs, "I think we've passed that stage now." Yeah, just a bit. But even if in another ten years time the four are still playing Academy 3, you can bet their tenth album will still be pushing limits. And who knows? Maybe the rest of the country will have caught on by then. Words: Fran Donnelly www.ladytron.co.uk Album Velocifero is out June 2nd on Nettwerk

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singles Mirror Mirror – Wolfgang Bang (Holy Roar)

Single of the month Hercules & Love Affair – You Belong (DFA) Queer New York hipsters Hercules & Love Affair soup-up their disco with an almost bynumbers homage to Inner City's era-defining party house anthems. The band's Nomi takes on main vocal duties for this one with a warm, laidback and soulful performance backed by Antony Hegarty's warble, sounding bizarrely appropriate in this upbeat guise. The overall effect of 'You Belong' is that of the slice of

The Starfighter Pilot – Kingdom Hearts EP (14 Sandwiches) Full of the kind of Casio-driven, electro-pop shuffles and subversive word play that has drawn plenty of Beck-of-the-north comparisons, 'Kingdom Hearts' following last year's 'Alkaline Maisonette' (earning the full five HV marks) contains more of the same sounds that have made Martin

Bryant, The Star Fighter Pilot, a regular face on Manchester stages. Opening with the vaguely sinister sounding 'My Little Test Case', its ringtone production, whined dark verses and twisted melody will find a place in the hearts of some, elsewhere the comparatively lighter in mood - though no-less lyrically jaded with its "I don't want to write a song about love 'cause I'm sure it's all been done before" - recalls the deft touch of

now. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Brightlights.

Grimsby. Not a place that immediately strikes you as a hotbed of musical talent. Or a hotbed of anything recently. Legend claims that Grimsby was founded by a Danish fisherman called 'Grim'. Bernie Taupin thought enough of the town to write a song about it for Elton John's 1974 album 'Caribou'. And that was pretty much it for Grimsby. Until

The Brightlights are produced by Steve Power, once of Robbie Williams fame, and have supported The Hoosiers, but try not to hold any of that too tightly against them. Pounding drums and trad-indie riffs are offset by the compelling voice of frontman Leon Blanchard who growls like an unholy union between Caleb Followhill, Kelly Jones and Rod Stewart.

This enchantingly vaudevillian Alphabeat-esque pop track is magnificently oddball, not really making much sense but lighting a hook that fascinates in the same way

eagerly anticipated eight-piece live show is going to be some party.

Young Knives do, though solitarily more leftfield. It's reminiscent of a madcap stage version of a Tom and Jerry cartoon, brilliantly slumping around a basic and catchy verse that wafts apart before a considerable choral elation. It's a dizzying song that in the best of ways doesn't really fit into archetypal song

There are short-lived moments of hygienic experimentation, but it's all been done before, and better, leaving this a senseless song that looks at others for inspiration without actually

committing to a sound of its own. Banging guitars aside, there's so little to get your teeth into on this you'll really not want to give it more than one spin out of pure, morbid, curiosity

Alex Lee Thomson

Fran Donnelly

Liam Finn – Second Chance (Transgressive)

For me the best thing to come from DFA's latest discerning acquisition reaches old skool perfection, but I know there are enough favourites on the album to cause disagreement. Either way, Hercules & Love Affair's

The Brightlights - 3 (Distiller)

Barringtone – Snake In The Grass (This Is Music)

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diva relief between every three acid jacks at a Chicago gay club in 1987. Not a pastiche but a lovely, slick mix of cowbells and 909 claps in the tradition of Todd Terry, Crystal Waters and Joe Smooth's 'Promised Land'. I've a mind to go and buy a flat in The Hacienda just so this gets its rightful play within its walls.

Slightly nauseating and absent of any imagination, this pastiche of Hadouken, Foals and everybody else with a synthesiser has tried to show some maturity, though lacking any kind of

melody they have only given us grounds to hate the 80s revival.

When you hear the words scruffylooking, bearded New Zealander what immediately springs to mind? That's right, it's that overbearing, unhealthily hyperactive tool from Radio 1. Thankfully he hasn't released another record. Though with any luck he'll be dedicating some hardcore airplay to Liam Finn.

80s synth-pop producers. Though blessed with the cut-andpaste home studio skills to make any of his peers envious, Bryant's retreading of the same cynical lyrical couplets soon becomes a little monotonous.

Mike Caulfield

The Kills – The Last Days of Magic (Domino) It's getting harder and harder to buy into the on-stage tempestuous sexual tension painted by Jamie Hince and cohort Alison Mosshart with each passing redtop column inch connecting the leather-clad six-stringed frontman with Britain's premier pouter. And yet despite the duo's scuzzy lo-fi

In a world where Liam Fray is lauded as some sort of musical visionary, The Brightlights have a bright future indeed. They are all the things the Courteeners should be; charming, blessed with a tune and just rough enough around the edges for a little credibility as well.

Jaymay - Ill Willed Person (Blue Note) This new Jaymay single draws another shufti at our stunning poet's house of brightness, and though this isn't her most arresting melody it's nevertheless a brilliant service to nostalgia and grassroots Americana

Like the Zipper, Finn has been resident in London town for many years stealthily gaining a reputation on the capital's circuit. He swears by his DIY ethic, overseeing everything from writing to publicity photos and seems determined to be anything but 'another guy with a guitar'.

urgent record that creeps up on you before clattering into the kind of killer chorus that the summer yearns for. On this evidence Liam Finn won't be needing a second chance (groan).

Chris Horner

And the hard work has certainly paid off. His debut single falls somewhere nicely between label-mates Iron and Wine and The Shins. It's a gentle yet

Royal Trux affected noise evolving very little since their debut EP 'Black Rooster' some six years ago, the pair's dark chemistry and unparalleled (though aging fast) cool still keep them interesting as recent album 'Midnight Boom' proved. But 'Last Days of Magic' in all fairness could have been derived from any of one their three long players, Hince's measured staccato sparks and blues-

folk, perverse with a willowy anger. Fractionally Regina Spektor, partly a Soko salute to Joan Biaz, Jaymay's wit in lyric and simplicity in instrumentation makes this a song which feels sincerely timeless and rewarding. It's always an ordeal not to fall in love with her voice and that's never as true an

fuzz riffs when coupled with Alison's snarled vocals are still the soundtrack to the decadent party you'd never be invited too. Though as with any good OTT party, you'll struggle to remember it not long after it's ended.

Mike Caulfield

avowal as on this remarkable rocket of a single which justly lives up to her character.

Alex Lee Thomson

Chris Horner

formulae, instead being an eccentric salute to the none-song, the antichorus and the fantastic; done with awesome talent.

Alex Lee Thomson

Pin Me Down – Cryptic (Kitsuné) Pin Me Down is the dancy venture that is that Bloc Party pansy Russell Lissack teamed up with the stunning Milena Mepris. Never mind that though, cos there's no ignoring the fact that 'Cryptic' is just a top, turbulent pop song with the ultra slick production of a 1995-1998 chart obscurity being performed on TOTP.

This is the sound of the oomphplodding, guitar winding style of Lissack's other band being spruced up to become the indie-schmindie, Kitsuné-fied Girls Aloud. It's as unoriginal and fucking brilliant as that sounds too, like coming across 'She's Hearing Voices' or 'Biology' for the first time. It's also ace by virtue that it's not Kele Okereke marding it up.

A typically massive remix from Phones ups the indie-disco cred whilst it's an enduring credit to the original that you can sit through five versions of it and still be bobbing around to its irresistibility. "A little bit… cryyyyptic…"

Fran Donnelly

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albums Album of the month The Presets – Apocalypso (Modular) Spiritualized – Songs In A&E (Universal / Spaceman)

Hot Club De Paris – Live At Deadlake (Moshi Moshi)

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A musical enigma, Spiritualized's Jason Pierce crafted the majority of Songs in A&E before suffering double pneumonia and lying unconscious in hospital for two weeks, at one point weighing just six stone. It's a touching, outstanding record, detailing Pierce's fragile state before and after his illness, with remarkable results. Songs in A&E is the best Spiritualized record for a decade.

respiratory unit, and the lyrics "I'll take every way out I can find" reference not only himself but the loss of close friend Richie Lee from Californian droners Acetone in 2001. 'Soul on Fire' is an instant, classic Spiritualized single; its majestic strings and delicate acoustic strums brimming with melody and sunshine.

The gorgeous 'Sweet Talk' opens with Spiritualized mainstays; delicate brass, gospel vocals, cute bass and piano. Pierce's vocals are typically doe-eyed and frail, but it's a soaring opening. The ominously titled 'Death Take Your Fiddle' features breathing samples from Pierce's hospital

'Sitting On Fire' is perhaps A&E's masterpiece, Pierce's voice weary and childlike. When he sings "I can't even hold what I own" it's impossible not to be moved by such stark fragility. Elsewhere, Pierce's love of the Velvets is revisited with the jangly 'Baby I'm Just A Fool' and the recurring 'Harmony' pieces

Irrepressible and yet often overlooked, Hot Club De Paris spend the first half of their second record sounding as though the trio are hard-wired into one another's instinct for skinny, rhythmic romping as they move across songs seamlessly.

ever, 'Boy Awaits Return Of The Runaway Girl' has a maturer restraint. Similarly, 'The Anchor's pummelling crescendos present something new entirely, whilst album backender 'This Thing Is Forever' is a simple sure-fire live anthem.

Their original punk-pop cluster bomb hasn't changed so much as it has scattered, the band swaying from track-to-track with games of tension and elastic potential. It's all kept in line by utmost simplicity – there's nothing more than three lads in a room here working out ditties with tight precision, but where single 'Hey Housebrick!' sounds breezier and more youthful than

At the time of 2006 debut Drop It Til It Pops, Hot Club De Paris were the stripped down and altogether more fun equivalent of Larrikin Love, Mystery Jets or even Los Campesinos!. Now alongside fledgling Liverpool acts like goFASTER>>, they're the old heads of a new and upbeat angular sound in the city. They're really finding themselves here, and with The Futureheads

show a band just as in tune with Brian Eno as they are The Stooges. Musically, there's much to admire. The jazz/garage fusions of previous album Amazing Grace are much more fully formed here and like Pierce's current body state, a lot stronger. There's also a liveliness and directness present, where previous records were prone to drift and over stretch themselves. Great to have you back, Spiritualized.

Alistair Beech

Black Devil Disco Club – Eight Oh Eight (Lo)

making a comeback, this should be a summer of experimental, back-to-basics pop. Hot Club are still their contagious selves though and they've still got a penchant for long winded titles for devastatingly snappy songs. But instead of an inhibited backward step, Live At Deadlake is a confident consolidation that loses none of the boys' cheeky charm.

Fran Donnelly

Laymar – In Strange Lines And Distances (TV)

While the cream of Australia's current crop of electro pop acts seem to be condensing the country's sunshine onto vinyl, The Presets are alchemists of a darker sound. Not for them the big summertime choruses of Cut Copy, or the exuberant funk of Bumblebeez and Midnight Juggernauts. While their countrymen (and women) have been bringing the party from down under to the rest of the world, Julian Hamilton and K.I.M. have been locked away in their lair creating Apocalypso, melding the dark pop of Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and Joy Division with the sort of drums and 303 bass lines that make

your teeth rattle. At 4 in the morning. In Berlin.

By day, Bernard Fevre and Jacky Giordano are average jobbers, making music for production libraries. Who'd suspect the duo are secretly a mystical, cosmic disco force?

The brevity of Eight Oh Eight however also means that it doesn’t have much room to manoeuvre in and despite the range of sounds in BDDC's vintage synth collection, there's not a lot to engage you after three or four tracks of it. You suspect parts of these collages have been reverberating around their heads for the past three decades, and this is the overdue discharge of an impulse still spinning around a forgotten leftfield club.

At only six tracks and just over half an hour, there are some busy busy sounds making this every bit the intergalactic journey it should be. From 'With Honey Cream's hysterical, wibble-wobble italo assault, it's a claustrophobic but never particularly foreboding sound at a quick pace. 'Free For The Girls' and 'Never No Dollars' are the genuinely 80s highlights, touching Moroder, Art Of Noise and Arthur Baker.

A band truly tied-up in their own symbiotic music, Manchester noise architects Laymar have all the consistency of quicksand. One night they'll triumph with careful vacillation of post-rock majesty whilst on others they'll self-combust in ten minutes, instruments laid to waste. This live volatility need not apply here however because given the chance to craft a whole document of flux, the trio take to the task impressively. There's no need to be afraid, but don't get too comfortable now. Seamlessly drifting from the lonely piano of 'Rec #4' into the meandering restlessness of 'Circles And Squares', 'In Straight Lines…' begins with the disturbed tenacity of Animal Collective

The album's first single 'My People' sets the precedent for the whole album; drums like bullets, industrial chainsaw synths and anthemic, nagging choruses. 'This Boy's In Love' is another early highlight, with its falsetto vocals and gentle piano melody a welcome respite from all the relentless macho beats. Ok, the beats still pump away underneath it all, but at least they loosened up for a minute or two.

more like Calvin Harris than quite a lot of Calvin Harris songs do. Then it's straight back to the omnipotent kick drum. A sprawling, multi-genre epic this isn't, but if it's heavy, dark techno-pop you're after, then prepare to have this album on repeat all summer.

Alex Barbanneau

'Yippiyo-Ay' also veers away from the dark pounding template into a strutting electro funk jam, managing to sound

was more clairvoyant in its electronic anticipation and with the 00s resurgence in disco fascination the timing seems perfect. But like 2006's comeback 28 After, this is a consummate retrospection that just doesn’t have much pull. With DFA, Prins Thomas and Italians Do It Better around today, this can't compare to contemporary innovators.

Fran Donnelly

The quirk of a band that releases this, its third album in thirty years doesn’t really need to be stated. Too obscure in 1978 to count as influential, their debut Disco Club album

and gets reduced to the industrial bits and pieces of early Cabaret Voltaire. 'Nu1's ringing over its motorik beat provides a shot of the band at their most Dionysian, passive-aggressively immediate. Using samples, layering and colossal guitars, it's like merging shades of iLiKETRAiNS with some imaginary remix album from the other side of Radiohead's Amnesiac. It's a monochrome psychedelia that identifies as much with Battleship Potemkin or Heart Of Darkness as it does with Throbbing Gristle.

is a vastly impressive effort. Why preapocalyptic? Because listening to Laymar feels as though the worst is still to happen yet and in the meantime you're teetering on the brink of uncertainty. Wisely they don't outstay their welcome, and a powerful alt.rock album that's only forty-five minutes is one reluctant to indulge. Mesmerising.

Fran Donnelly

Veering from the beautiful intensity of 'Juvenile Whole Life' to the preapocalyptic brooding of 'Swords', this

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2008 Legendary post-punk innovators Wire are an excellent choice as one of the headliners of Futuresonic. Few bands have such a strong claim on having significantly influenced the path of popular music in this country over the three decades.

Wire - Academy 2

It's difficult to imagine how the band will sound now, over thirty years since their seminal Pink Flag LP. When the band takes to the stage frontman Colin Newman looks a tad embarrassed, smartly decked out in a suit, expensive looking spectacles and holding the now ubiquitous gleaming white Macbook.

aware of the lacklustre sound. Things pick up as the tempo gradually increases through the set and at times their incessant groove builds into a thrilling cascade of white sound that fills the room, but it's hard to escape the feeling afterwards that the bleak, atmospheric intensity they pioneered doesn't ring true coming from a middle-aged man with a laptop.

The gig-going life of the person who saw this show passed away the moment HEALTH kicked into their thrilling drone-rock set. In fact it was enough to erase all my misgivings about Futuresonic Festival were it not that we actually had promoters, Hey, Manchester!, to thank for the capitals on show tonight and festival wristband-holders had to pay for entry into Chinatown's kitsch-est karaoke bar.

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HEALTH + Yacht Academy 2

The first songs start off slowly; nihilistic dirges that seem to have lost their intensity. Newman doesn't even seem to want to face the crowd, seemingly

The term living legend is often (mis)used with reckless abandon, but when it comes to the founding father of New York rap legends the Wu Tang Clan, it's justified. RZA, aka Bobby Digital, is regarded as one of the all time great producers, and rightly so.

The RZA as Bobby Digita Academy 2

He waltzes onstage traditionally late clutching a bottle of fine red wine, a sight not usually associated with Hip Hop gigs. After some initial technical difficulties, during which the reputation of the soundman's mother is called into question by The RZA, he causes the room to explode by ripping into to some of the Wu's anthems.

Despite some stellar headliners, Futuresonic Festival in its thirteenth year struggled from a lack of cohesion and most disappointingly, anything Mancunian. Audience numbers for Thursday night's gig at the new Trof were paltry; the lack of interest was symptomatic of the festival's failure to catch the imagination of Manchester and I was left with the feeling that this was the festival which celebrated itself.

Felix Kubin + Zombie Zombie The Deaf Institute

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"Do you like nightclubbing? Do you like Iggy Pop? This is a cover of Iggy Pop's 'Nightclubbing'". This unforgettably bad intro to Zombie Zombie's final track tonight is about as exciting as it gets. The duo's krautrock sounded rather like Dan Deacon's

He may not be the strongest MC in the world, but his beats speak for themselves. As the opening synth wail of '4th Chamber' blares out across the Academy, hundreds of hands raise the Wu sign into the air. Tributes are paid to deceased legend Ol' Dirty Bastard and unintelligible Shaolin slang is distributed, lots of wine is consumed, and then all too quickly it's over, The RZA and crew disappearing in a haze of weed smoke.

Though ushered into the public's heart just as all things acoustic - preferably attached to some excessive facial hair - were being tarred with the freak/nu/whatever folk tag, Sam Beam's slowly expanding collective Iron & Wine's delicate picking and softy softy approach has always had more in common with the denim-clad 70s California crowd.

Iron & Wine The Ritz

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superb 'Crystal Cat', but with all the fun and invention sucked out of it. Thank god for Hamburg's electronic muse Felix Kubin, who, flitting excitably between keyboard and sequencer, introduces some muchneeded energy, melodies and good humour. As he ripped into a song about eliminating Donald Duck from one of his dreams with a backdrop of loopy electronica, you wonder what the stone-faced skinhead bouncer at the side of the bar made of this fantastic Kraftwerk-like buffoonery.

(SS)

Jona Bechtolt project, YACHT serve up some electronic-pop fun and revel in less than subtly taking the piss out of the nerdy and less co-ordinated elements of the crowd and generally deliver good value. But the night belonged to HEALTH's melancholic noise rock. Set to a backdrop of

Just as the classic singer/songwriter vanguard were more than happy to stretch much loved songs out to tedious levels of inspired jamming sometimes of the 'cosmic' variety - it would seem Beam's also arrived at this point in his career too, though luckily it's his mastery of the lost art of subtlety that keeps boredom from setting in.

Having earlier celebrated the release of album number three This Is Not The World with a riotous HMV performance, any signs of fatigue from the Sunderland four-piece would be hard to detect from the way they strike into songs old and new.

The Futureheads Academy 2

Opening with the familiar rush of 'Decent Days and Nights', the quartet's frantic bursts of chords and barbershop vocal harmonies - though copied many times over by groups with half their skill - are still as intoxicating as you first remember them to be. Fears that they may have peaked too soon are happily dismissed as runs of 'Skip To The End',

incessant and rare drumming skills, HEALTH's other members, sparking off one another's energy; chaotically and brilliantly flail around the stage between drum pad, guitar pedal and sequencer. Thanks to No Age's well-received new album and HEALTH's stunning liveshows, the 'Smell' scene, wafting out of LA, is finally beginning to get the plaudits it deserves. See this band post-haste.

(SS) Alex Barbanneau & Simon Smallbone

First appearing with the stripped down, aching epic 'The Trapeze Swinger' accompanied by sister Sarah, the quiet command and reverence held by the Ritz audience is spoilt only by the buzz of an overworked extractor fan. Soon accompanied by his sprawling band, they quickly set upon reimagining the tracks from his back catalogue, 'Boy With a Coin', 'Peace Beneath The City', 'Wolves (Song of the Shepard's Dog)' and 'Our Endless Numbered Days' all given the laidback Cali-sound make over, as accents are shifted (beats that is), drenched in reverb, and stretched almost beyond recognition.

'Meantime', 'Carnival Kids', and 'Area', as well as newer material 'Radio Heart', 'The Beginning Of The End', and 'Broke Up The Time' confidently proves. But it's the group's down-toearth, good humoured charms and distinctive shared harmonies that place them beyond all late-coming copyists, as witnessing a full room oh oh oh-ing along instinctively to each song shows. Though despite the many jewels in their post-punk crown, it's still the festival 4am drunken chanting of Kate Bush's 'Hounds Of Love' that gets the loudest reception tonight (as it likely will for the rest of the band's career),

Whilst some attendees' attention spans soon give up and slip off to the bar, the wilfully indulgent Crazy Horseesque guitar passage and heartstring tugging stacked vocal harmonies clearly suit Beam's sepia-tinted view.

Mike Caulfield

played with an urgency and dynamism that suggests even they are yet to tire of it. With a tight Bank Holiday curfew to adhere to their barely past the hour-mark set finishes a little prematurely for some, though any group would struggle to keep at such pace for much longer.

Mike Caulfield

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Say, Scientist by The Maple State OUT NOW "faultless" - NME "energetic, refreshing" 8/10 -

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

Drowned in Sound

“Album of the week” - 9/10 Manchestermusic.co.uk

'For The Temperate Lives' released on 28th April via digital download 'Say Scientist' mini-LP out now from all good record stores.

Cheap Hotel

Rochelle

Tubelord

Beat The Radar

This Is MyLawnmower

Few bands would dare tread the tightrope of pretentiousness that comes with naming the likes of German Expressionist flick The Cabinet of Dr. Calligari and transsexual rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch as influences, but London-based trio Cheap Hotel are not like other bands.

Although this new electronic assembly are darker than the star gazing indie poppers, it’s by being less in the shade than heavier bands such as FlyKKiller that permit them to render themselves so fluidly onto mainstream dancefloors.

Last summer, Kingston trio Tubelord sounded like The Blood Brothers fighting angry bees in a small tin can. Which was obviously brilliant for a time, but Foalsgone-emo of ‘Propeller’ and ‘ArmsWatchesFingers’ (three choruses in search of a verse) where noting compared to what was to come on March’s debut seven inch, ‘Feed Me A Box Of Words’ (Big Scary Monsters). With Meet Me In St. Louis dearly departed and the aforementioned Foals needling their way into the mainstream (a good thing), it’s fallen upon Tubelord to keep the home fires of underground, fiddly whatwas-that-core burning. But if ‘Feed Me…’ is anything to go by, they shouldn’t be staying there for too long either. The tight, crashing beats and scrappy yelps soon give way to something a lot, lot bigger. Over the last year they’ve gotten the hang of writing the kind of brilliant choruses that allow Biffy Clyro to play main stages.

This Lancastrian trio are still looking for a drummer and yet they've already played this year's Hide & Seek festival as well as student romp Pangaea. They're starting up on the rounds with intent and if they can deliver on their melodic promise then we've something interesting here.

When I first heard This Is My Lawnmower’s demo last year I made a cheap jibe about how their name was rubbish. But also, that bands with silly names (Arctic Monkeys, Jimmy Eat World, QOTSA) tend to make good records; their priorities are obviously in the right place: on the tunes not the name, the hair and being gobby about bands that sound exactly the same as you.

myspace.com/themaplestate

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

Like a more severe, though wonderfully gallant, Forming in 2005 after New Young Pony Club sticksman Gregg Braden, they have approachability once described as playing in melody that confronts a like “a manic octopus on wall of judicious beats with speed”, answered an advert tenderness in vocal that in the back of the ‘NME’ bounds it slightly into the placed by fretless bassist Ulli territory of a remoulded Mattsson and singer and Madonna. It’s no wonder guitar virtuoso Anna Calvi. this band have been roped in to front a remix of a They have spent the last year gigging with the likes of Britney Spears track as Pigeon Detectives, Acoustic their record-jabbing dissolve of dance and Ladyland and Mr Hudson & The Library, culminating with fusing melancholy beats is as joyously teasing as it is two sold-out support shows at Hammersmith Apollo with charmingly ominous, and almost punk by ethos. 30 Seconds to Mars. During this time they refined Though occasionally lunging into the tawdry, the raw beauty of a sound maybe even cliché, it’s that they describe as `classical early ‘80s, circa ‘Holiday’ punk’ and released a very gleam that allows them to limited edition debut single push hard against being at the beginning of March modular without it popping. the thumping, Zeppelinsized, riff-raging ‘New York’. Key track: ‘Fer de Lance’ Key track: ‘New York’ Web: www.cheaphotelmusic.com

Web: www.myspace.com/rochell ebanduk

Words: Kelvin Goodson

Words: Alex Thomson Photo: Stewart Ruffles

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Tubelord’s tour reaches Manchester in August. Key track: ‘Feed Me A Box Of Words’ Web: www.myspace.com/tubelord Words: Stephen Eddie Photo: Stacey Hatfield

Beat The Radar's two track demo was recorded at the local favourite Blueprint Studios and it's a tidy introduction to their yearning rush of guitars. 'Misunderstood What You Said' rings like Interpol back when they were good but despite all their earnest chasing, Beat The Radar don't aspire to gloom-rock's gravity, instead adopting a humdrum melancholy in their blustery anthems. 'By The Sea' is the pretty culmination of this escalating power-sound, taking in Idlewild and Bloc Party's brittle but defiant emotiveness. We've been missing something like this – desolate yet hopeful New Wave with an immense grasp on stadium rock dynamics – and this is what we want. Key track: ‘By The Sea’ Web: www.myspace.com/beatthe radar Words: Fran Donnelly

The good news is that TIML make even better songs now than they did last May. Back then the songs (such as ‘Imagine How She Felt’) were synth heavy and riding the electro-rock wave being surfed by Enter Shikari. Now their use of electronics is more subtle, such as on ¡Forward, Russia!-esque ‘Quagmire’ or ‘No Consequence’s’ pop-rock brilliance. Just don’t confuse them with the handy online lawnmower guide of a similar name. This Is My Lawnmower play the Dry Bar on June 7th. Key track: ‘Quagmire’Web: www.thisismylawnmower .com Words: Stephen Eddie


listings JuneGIGLISTINGS June Sunday 1st Tokyo Police Club @ Night & Day Café Vampire Weekend @ Academy 2 Kinky Friedman @ Academy 3 Tapes n Tapes @ Club Academy Blind Atlas @ The Attic Carjack Mallone @ The Ruby Lounge Glad Eyes @ Tiger Lounge Liam 1987 @ The Bay Horse Physic Psurgeons @ Moho Live The Drake Equation @ Jabez Clegg The Spires @ One Central Street

Monday 2nd Lykke Li @ Night & Day Café Foo Fighters @ City Of Manchester Stadium Army Of Freshmen @ Music Box

Tuesday 3rd Metronomy @ Night & Day Café The Maybes @ The Roadhouse Flogging Molly @ Academy 2 The Weakerthans @ Academy 3 The Rascals @ Club Academy

Wednesday 4th Eaton + Signals @ Night & Day Café Ladyhawke @ The Roadhouse Your Demise + Azriel @ Music Box Palace Fires @ Ruby Lounge Vetiver @ Dulcimer

Tuesday 10th

Thursday 19th

Heads We Dance + Modernaire @ Night & Day Café Die! Die! Die! @ The Roadhouse Robyn @ Academy 2 The Road To Download @ Academy 3 Alphabeat @ Club Academy Laura Marling @ St Phillips Church Ali Campbell @ The Apollo

The Genes + Open Origin @ Night & Day Funeral For a Friend @ Academy 3 Café Cut Copy @ Night & Day Café The Naughtys @ Academy 3 Liars + Deerhunter @ Club Academy Journey @ The Apollo

Wednesday 11th The Dodos + Magic Arm @ Night & Day Café Cage The Elephant @ The Roadhouse Cat Power @ Academy 1 Darren Hayman & Jack Hayter Play Hefner Songs @ Ruby Lounge

The Sugars @ Night & Day Café Glasvegas @ Ruby Lounge Those Dancing Days @ Night & Day Café The Automatic @ Academy 2 Mary J Blige @ M.E.N Arena Karma @ Academy 3 The Beep Seals (Album Launch) @ Deaf The Phonophobics @ Club Academy Institute Boyzone @ M.E.N Arena

Thursday 5th

Friday 6th Pete and The Pirates @ Night & Day Café Why? @ The Roadhouse Black Kids @ Academy 3 Whiskycays @ The Ritz Boys Noize @ The Club Solas @ Waterside Arts Centre

Saturday 7th Divided Attention + The Brightsparks @ Night & Day Café Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks @ Academy 2 Say Anything @ Academy 3 Thea Gilmore @ Club Academy Neil Diamond @ M.E.N Arena Yazoo @ The Apollo

Sunday 8th The Night Marchers @ Night & Day Café Natty @ The Roadhouse I Was a Cub Scout @ Academy 3 Morcheeba @ Club Academy Estelle @ The Ritz Cara Dillon @ The Lowry Neil Diamond @ M.E.N Arena

Monday 9th Ox. Eagle. Lion. Man @ Night & Day Café None The Less @ Music Box Cartel @ Club Academy

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July

Friday 20th

Sunday 15th Joseph Arthur @ Night & Day Café Blue Oyster Cult @ Academy 2

Monday 16th The Twilight Sad @ Night & Day Café Sergeant @ The Roadhouse Craig David @ The Lowry Rival Schools @ Academy 3 Paulasville @ Zion Arts Centre

Tuesday 17th Red Vinyl Fur (Single launch party) @ Night & Day Café Fleet Foxes & Beach House @ The Roadhouse Queensryche @ Academy 1 Toots & The Maytals @ Academy 2 The Aliens @ Academy 3

Wednesday 18th Bashphelt @ Night & Day Café Innocent Gun @ Jilly’s Rockworld The Police @ M.E.N Arena Paulasville @ Zion Arts Centre

Tuesday 1st

The Cave Singers @ Night & Day Café The Reign + The Reveres @ Night & Day The Whigs @ The Roadhouse Café The Music @ Academy 1 The Tides & Juno Ashes @ Academy 3 Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Academy 2 Def Leppard + Whitesnake @ M.E.N Jason Mraz @ The Ritz Arena

Saturday 21st

The Last Loft + Vinyl Youth @ Night & Day Café Uniformed @ Academy 3 Thursday 12th Elivation @ Club Academy The Ambush + Little Fields @ Night & Day Broken Records @ Ruby Lounge Café Santana @ M.E.N Arena Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan @ Mark Morriss @ Dry Bar Academy 2 Michael McDonald @ The Apollo Diane Cluck + Emmy The Great @ Deaf Institute Sunday 22nd John Fogerty @ The Apollo Friday 13th Bon Jovi @ City Of Manchester Stadium Matthew Dear @ Night & Day Café Saving Aimee @ Jabez Clegg Jay Scott Project @ The Roadhouse The Nouvelles @ Academy 3 Monday 23rd The Lancashire Hotpots @ Club Academy LAB Records Tour @ Music Box Britain’s Got Talent @ The Apollo Boyzone @ M.E.N Arena Tuesday 24th Out From Animals @ Dry Bar Rolo Tomassi @ The Roadhouse White Williams @ Ruby Lounge Dave Arcari @ Ruby Lounge

Saturday 14th

Monday 30th

Wednesday 25th Fake Kings @ Night & Day Café Infadels @ The Roadhouse John Mayer @ Academy 1 Kathleen Edwards @ Academy 3 Buddy Guy @ Bridgewater Hall Sole & Skyrider @ Music Box

Thursday 26th Dying Fetus @ Music Box Negative Appoach @ Star & Garter

Friday 27th Hayley Faye + All The Kings Men @ Night & Day Café My Morning Jacket @ Academy 2 Stone Gods @ Academy 3 Matt Schofield @ Club Academy Acousticfest- Alternative Glastonbury Weekend @ M19 Bar George Benson @ M.E.N Arena Kunt & The Gang @ Dry Bar The Aftershow @ Moho Live

Saturday 28th The Romes + Up To The Rafters @ Night & Day Café My Bloody Valentine @ The Apollo Guns 2 Roses @ Ruby Lounge The Fall @ Academy 2 Richard Fleeshman @ Club Academy Shels + Latitudes @ Music Box

Sunday 29th My Bloody Valentine @ The Apollo Radiohead @ L.C.C.C MC4 Life @ Contact Theatre

July Saturday 12th Yngwie Malmsteen @ Academy 2 Summer In The Park @ Platt Fields Park Giselle @ The Lowry Parts and Labor @ Salford Islington Mill

Monday 14th

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

Murder By Death @ Night & Day Café Oxbow + Harvey Milk @ Ruby Lounge

Tuesday

Summer In The Park @ Platt Fields Park

Tuesday 15th

The Galvatrons @ The Roadhouse Beck @ The Apollo The Rotted (aka Gorerotted) @ Music Box

Kylie @ M.E.N Arena

Wednesday 16th

Manifesto + Grand Architects @ Night & Day Café Mick Hucknall- Tribute To Bobby @ The Apollo

Curious Generation presents…TBC @ Night & Day Café Watermelon Slim @ Academy 3 Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip @ Club Academy Death Cab For Cutie @ The Apollo Smudge @ Music Box

Friday 4th

Thursday 17th

Mutineers + Charlie & The Ghosts @ Night & Day Café Spocks Beard @ Academy 3 You Me At Six @ Club Academy Carjack Mallone @ The Ritz

Kylie @ M.E.N Arena

Saturday 5th White Light Parade + The Jannocks @ Night & Day Café Tift Merritt @ Academy 3 Arnocorps @ Satans Hollow

Friday 18th Heathseeds + Would Be Emperors @ Night & Day Café An Evening With The Punch Brothers @ Academy 2 Kylie @ M.E.N Arena

Saturday 19th

The Maple State @ Night & Day Café Scottfest @ Satans Hollow

Monday 7th

Tuesday 22nd

Jack Johnson @ M.E.N Arena Consort With Romeo + WeHaveAGetway @ Music Box

Designer Magazine present…TBC @ Night & Day Café The B52’S @ Academy 1 Bane @ Music Box

Tuesday 8th Interpol @ The Apollo Hayseed Dixie @ Waterside Arts Centre Profane @ The Roadhouse

Wednesday 23rd Chaka Khan @ The Bridgewater Hall

Thursday 24th Wednesday 9th The School + Amida @ Night & Day Café Eddy Grant @ Academy 2 Comeback Kid @ Academy 3 Alicia Keys @ M.E.N Arena An Evening With Pentangle @ Palace Theatre

Thursday 10th Transgressive Hot Summer Tour feat. Jeremy Warmsley @ Night & Day Café Jaguar Love @ The Roadhouse Furthest Drive Home @ Music Box

Friday 11th The Merge + Ashanay @ Night & Day Café The Rocket Summer @ Academy 2 Reemer @ Academy 3 The Rocket Summer @ Club Academy Kylie @ M.E.N Arena

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 Klub Knowhere (3rd p/m) @ Joshua Brooks 10pm-2.30am Tramp @ Club North 10pm- 2am

Thursday

The Firebrand + The Chartists @ Night & Day Café Jay-Z @ M.E.N Arena Butthole Surfers @ Academy 2 Mike Borgia @ Dry Bar

Sunday 6th

June-July Monday

Sunday 13th

Wednesday 2nd

Thursday 3rd

CLUBLISTINGS

An Evening With Daniel Johnston & Friends @ New Century Hall

Friday 25th

From Manchester With Love @ 42nd Street 10pm- 2am Don’t Think Twice… @ Font Bar 9pm1am Romp @ One Central Street @ 9.30pm3am In The City @ The Venue 11pm- late Risky Business @ Joshua Brooks

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’t Miss This @ Retro Bar Guilty Pleasures @ One Central Street 10pm- 3am Club Clique @ Mint Lounge Dirty Tourism presents Bigger Than Jesus (last Fri p/m) @ Joshua Brooks Locked (2nd fri p/m) @ Joshua Brooks Audio Salad (3rd fri p/m) @ Joshua Brooks

The Aftershow @ Moho Live

Saturday 26th The Orchids + My Captive Audience @ Night & Day Café

Monday 28th Johnny Truant @ Music Box

Please email your gig and club listings for June/July 08 to listings@highvoltage.org.uk Next deadline is May 16th Compiled by Mike Caulfield

Tuesday 29th The Acacia Strain @ Music Box KD Lang @ Bridgewater Hall

Wednesday 30th Billy Idol @ The Apollo Mirrorview @ Jilly’s Rockworld

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Creamfields - 10 years and counting This August, Creamfields returns for what will be a landmark tenth time in the UK. Boasting one of its strongest ever DJ line-ups - as well as live acts such as Kasabian, Ian Brown and Pendulum - the party has switched to a two-day format and looks posed to be one of the few genuinely fresh weekenders in a year of festival overkill. HV caught up with organiser James Barton to look back at a decade in which Creamfields became a worldwide phenomenon and to see what the future holds for dance music's premier summer shindig. HV: Firstly James, congratulations on reaching ten years with Creamfields. As you prepare for this summer's event, what has changed since the first?

James: “It doesn't feel like ten years at all, especially when you compare it to running Cream which did feel like ten years! The first one took place in Winchester, but other than that the format hasn't really changed. We've added the second day and a few bands who wouldn't ordinarily be associated with Creamfields, but we never felt we had to be dramatically different. “With this being the tenth anniversary, it might have been tempting to pat ourselves on the back and take a trip down memory lane. But we wanted to reposition it for the next ten years - it's still got places to go.” HV: Would you say that it is no longer the case that you are competing with other dance festivals such as Global Gathering and Gatecrasher's Summer Soundsystem - you are now looking to take on the more traditional events like Reading etc? “No, those guys are still our competitors - the heartbeat of Creamfields is and always will be dance music. I get pissed off when dance music is dismissed as irrelevant, when it is still the most exciting form of music around today. You can see the influence it has had on pop and rock, and you can see the influence of Creamfields on other festivals. Why should Reading and Leeds be the first port of call for 16 to 17-year-olds? And if those festivals can put on people like The Chemical Brothers, why shouldn't we take their headliners too?”

HV: Creamfields is now in Halton, having been in Speke and Winchester. Will the festival be staying there permanently?

and get absolutely pissed!”

“We really hope so. We were forced to move from Speke because of redevelopment, but it was a good time to move as it allowed us to change the format. Plus I thought the festival deserved a better site - a lot of events were taking place in beautiful places, so why couldn't we have that for Creamfields?”

“Bringing it back to Liverpool, Creamfield's spiritual home. We had a falling out with our partners in Winchester and lost the site. We found ourselves organising a festival in Liverpool for 30,000+ people, and we had no idea of how it'd go. But when we got the gates open, we knew we'd done it. The tiredness and the occasion got to me and I did find the tears rolling down the cheeks!”

HV: Is there anything on this year's line-up that you're especially excited about?

“I'm curious to see how Kasabian will work, as this is my fourth attempt at booking them! If we can get 30,00035,000 people in front of that stage, they will blow the roof off.” HV: With all the work that goes into making Creamfields a success, how much are you able to enjoy the festival? “I'll get to see as many of the bands and DJs as possible, but I'll always be on tenterhooks! I don't get drunk, it's too important that I can't switch off. My buzz comes from seeing others having a good time, from bands and DJs telling me that they loved their gig. Once it's all out of the way, me and all the team will go out

HV: Looking back over the ten years, what has been your proudest achievement for Creamfields?

HV: As the party enters its second decade, what do you think it can still achieve? “I want us to be a festival that people want to play - modern, groundbreaking and different. The place where people play just before they become huge, which is when I think they're at their most exciting. We're about youth, noise and hedonism. Justice, New Young Pony Club and Ladytron are all acts still on their way up - and they've all played at Creamfields. That's exactly what I want us to be about - modern, exciting music.” Words: Neil Condron www.creamfields.com Creamfields, 23rd – 24th August, Daresbury, Cheshire

www.creamfields.com Creamfields, 23rd – 24th August, Daresbury, Cheshire twentysix

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HighVoltage 29