ISSUE THIRTYSEVEN | NOV/DEC | FREE
DEER HOOF LES SAVY FAV MILK MAID FUJIYA & MIYAGI
HEALTH DUTCH UNCLES BEST COAST YAN TIERSEN TEAM GHOST PICTURE BOOK JAMES BLAKE TWIN SHADOW WARPAINT & OTHER REVIEWS
HIGHVOLTAGE | ISSUE THIRTYSEVEN | NOV
14 LES SAVY FAV
12 DEER HOOF 11 MILK MAID 10 HEALTH
9 YANN TIERSEN 8 FUJIYA & MIYAGI 7 DUTCH UNCLES 6 BEST COAST 4 INTRODUCING ~ TEAM GHOST // PICTURE BOOK 15 SINGLE REVIEWS
16 ALBUM REVIEWS 18 GIG REVIEWS
22 NEW NOISE
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INT RO DUC ING TEAM GHOST After the success of the first two M83 albums, M83 and Red Cities, Dead Cities, Lost Ghosts, Nicolas Fromageau surprised fans and critics alike by upping and leaving. Years later, he re-emerged as Team Ghost, and, as anyone present for their In The City slot can tell you, he's lost none of his magic. What are the band up to now? Can we expect an LP anytime soon?
much easier for a French band to live in Paris. Oh, and I love this city, but I'm not sure our music would be different if I lived in another place. I'd like to move to London someday but, fuck, I need to get rich!" What are your main influences, musical or otherwise?
"Sonic Youth, Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, Spacemen 3, Stereolab, "We're already working on the Dario Argento, Superpitcher, John album! It's a bit too early to say Carpenter, Slowdive, Dire Straits, when we'll release it... but next year The Cure, Joy Division, Section 25, for sure!" Lucio Fulci and so many more!" How would you describe the new EP?
Do you have any heroes?
"Ian Curtis, Zinedine Zidane, GG "I think that it’s more shoegazey Allin, Bill Murray, my label than the one before. We wanted to manager, Nick Drake, Manuel release something before the Gottsching, Glenn Branca, Brian album, so we decided to record few Eno, Richard James, Charlie Brown, good songs we had. It's quite my dad, Daniel Bravo, the Toxic dreamy..." Avenger, Rael, Thurston Moore, Timothy Leary, Rat Scabies, Satan, What is the writing process like for Robert Smith… " TG compared to M83? There's a lot of talk about guitar "I write most of the songs, then music being dead or dying; do you Chris and Jean-Philippe help me think there's any truth to this? finish them. Their advice is so precious to me, and I think it really “No, not at all. You just have to see works this way. Chris does great Liars or Health on stage, those are songs too, I'm sure we'll release my favourite bands these days!” some very soon!" What do you love about music? Do you prefer music live, or on the “Easy: music equals freedom!” record? Why? Team Ghost's new EP, Celebrate "Well, it's hard to say. Maybe my favourite moment is when I work on What You Can't See, is out now on new demos, alone at night, drinking Sonic Cathedral Records. wine and smoking pot. It's a really personal moment, I love it. I also love to play live, but it's much different. I like the energy you can feel on stage." How important is Paris to your music? "Not so much musically, but it's
Words by Alex Lynham
PICTURE BOOK The term ‘festival band’ is becoming a bit of a cliché but, having witnessed Picture Book perform at this year’s In The City, it seems impossible to imagine next summer without them. Having lived, between them, in Liverpool, New York, Manchester, the Faroe Islands and Singapore, the trio (yes, that is a lot of places for just three people), brothers Dario and Lorne and vocalist Greta are sure to find a new home soon: on a big stage in front of thousands. “On stage, we are so happy to be able to share what we have created with our audience,” says Lorne. “We want you to dance. We want you to know how lucky we believe we all are to be alive. Let’s celebrate that at every opportunity!” Dario agrees: “We’ve been to a million and one gigs where every band member has looked like they want to be tucked up in bed with their mum reading them a bedtime story. Even professional bands – and we're fed up with it.” For proof, check out the growing catalogue of live clips that are making it on to YouTube: a whirlwind of big-room house stabs and live instrumentation, their singular vision of modern pop is eased home by Greta’s earthy, folky tones. Of course, it helps that, musically, they put everything in the right place. While they recorded their forthcoming EP – their first for Seymour Stein’s Blue Horizon label – with Dan Grech, Picture Book’s fingerprints are definitely on the dials. “To have a vision and to keep control of that sound, so people can relate to you personally, on a sonic level, is essential,” insists
Dario. “The ‘sound’ of a band is all that is left these days. Computers control everything we hear, and any band can sound like any band, whether it’s a punk band from the 60s or a futuristic alien band from 2145.” Away from Picture Book, Dario is one of half of the remix team The Neon Lights and Greta provided vocals for Deadmau5’s track ‘Raise Your Weapon’. Lorne admits that they want to become “the greatest band in the universe”, but they’re under no illusions about the work required. “On our first meeting with our label, they said to us that this was no guarantee to becoming ‘famous’. No one will ever see our gingerbread house if we don't put the pebbles down to lead them there,” explains a humble Greta. And there might be more in the food analogy than first meets the eye. “We're working on songs in pill form,” Lorne says. “You eat our song and hear it from the inside. Yummy.” Festival food just got a whole lot better. The Chapter 1 EP is out in February on Blue Horizon. http://www.picturebookmusic. com/ http://www.myspace.com/ picturebookofficial
Words by Neil Condron
Weds 17th Nov Academy 3
Fri 19th Nov Deaf Institute
with special guests BUCK 65 Doors 7.30pm, tickets £11 adv
with special guests VEGANS and POGO DJS Doors 7.30pm, tickets £5 adv
Fri 10th Dec Night & Day
with special guests Doors 8pm, tickets £6 adv
Tues 23rd Nov Deaf Institute
with special guests THE AGITATOR and POCKETKNIFE Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7 adv
Weds 15th Dec Sacred Trinity Church, Salford
THE HEARTBREAKS with special guests Doors 8pm, tickets £6 adv
t’s been a breakthrough year for Best Coast (Cosentino, multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno and ex-Vivian Girls drummer Ali Koehler), from West Coast almost-unknowns to top spot in NME’s Best New Band rundown and a much blogged-about debut album which is among the best of the year. Indeed, the band have the feel of a totally Twentieth Century act despite the retroslacker sound, living and dying by the internet. “I grew up with the internet” agrees Bethany, “I’ve been social networking since I was a kid. I think if your fans can relate to you on a more personal level and feel like you’re just an average girl they feel they have something in common. I don’t hide behind a serious band persona online – I use mine for funny antics as well as selfpromotion. I’m silly and goofy. Just like in real life”. Recently the internet has done more for Best Coast than just provide an outlet for quirkiness; it’s directly led to an astonishing collaboration with indie royalty Rivers Cuomo. Bethany still sounds blown away by the whole scenario. “It was so exciting for me to work with someone like Rivers, as I’ve listened to Weezer for most of my young adult life. It was through
I suppose I should have expected that a girl obsessed with cats and medicinal weed might struggle with Greenwich Mean Time from a distance of four thousand miles away. “You’re early” blusters Bethany Cosentino, noisily throwing her possessions into a bag in a hotel in Austin, Texas, “I gotta check out”. All is forgiven half an hour later, possibly due to a recollection of timezones, and the in-between time has made the world of difference to Bethany’s disposition: “Sorry about that. What do you want to talk about?” she asks brightly. Phew, I think. Words by Harry Garne Twitter that we corresponded for the first time: he said he was a fan of the band and after that we’d just write to each other randomly. On our last tour our manager called me and said ‘Rivers wants you to come in and co-write a Weezer song with him’ and I was like, ‘OK, that’s insane, but yeah of course I’ll do it!’”. I can hear her beaming down the phone. “He’s a really, really nice guy and he
gave me a lot of good advice about playing music – it was really good to work with him. It was a bit of a dream come true”. Considering some quarters have dismissed the band for being too ‘Hollywood’, the fangirl enthusiasm and pride that she lets slip is both disarming and a relief.
The success of the straight-rocking collection of stoner anthems that is Crazy For You has led to some pretty non-stop touring, keeping Bethany away from her beloved California, her Wavves-frontman boyfriend Nathan Williams, and her even more beloved cat. She speaks breezily of a computer “jam-packed with TV shows” for the road and a battle “not to go on the internet too much”, but insists the band do have a wild side: “We’re not a huge party band which makes me feel old sometimes” she says, “but I make up for it – when I party I party extra hard”. The European tour is what they’re really looking forward to, “particularly as we have a record out this time around” although not necessarily the climate. My chilly forecast is met with a barely-stifled yelp of “Oh my God!”, but it certainly seems that Best Coast will be met with a warm reception at a sold out Ruby Lounge at the end of the month, even if it’s cold outside. This is a band who enthral with a sunny mix of lovelorn lyrics and tuneful simplicity – just what is required in a city readying itself for the onslaught of the dark and drizzle of another long winter. Best Coast play a sold out show at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester on Monday 29th November.
DUTCH UNCLES S
o now the NME is saying what we already knew; Manchester is the most exciting city on the planet for new music. When you cut though the buzz however, there's only really one true contender for the title besides your Delphic and your Everything Everything: Dutch Uncles.
Famous already in these parts for their math-meets-indie guitars, and front man Duncan Wallis’ interesting dance moves, Dutch Uncles have just signed to Memphis Industries, recorded an album and their days as a carefully-kept secret of the city are about to end. High Voltage caught up with Duncan before they left for tour with Tokyo Police Club over a cup of tea. So Duncan, what stage are you at with the album? Recording, mixing? “We spent the summer doing it in Salford University. It was good to get down and it got us a label. We were just doing it to get tracks down, and then found ourselves with a little sampler, and then label interest...” ‘The Ink’ is different, compared to say 'Face In' or 'Steady Cam', the
songs you hear fans calling out for at shows. That was quite a bold choice for a single. “It was the only song we had at the time we were choosing. We wrote this album very fast. We spent about nine months writing six songs, and then spent two months getting another five.” Was that a result of practicing more, once you knew an album was in the works? “Well we saw a vision for the album, and as soon as you've got certain degrees, and knew what was missing, your writing becomes a lot more structured rather than 'make a single, make a single, make a single.” In the wake of Everything Everything and Delphic breaking though, and the recent NME article, do you feel a bit weird about the exposure you're getting at the moment, or do you think it's come at a good time and you're ready for it? “It feels great. If we were feeling cocky about it, we could say that we've been waiting for this for a long time. We’ve been playing in bands for six years, but I've now got a small collection of NMEs for my mum with me in them. Because it's been six years, and we've seen what's happened to Delphic and Everything Everything, we're very mature about it. We aren't like 'this is happening, it's going down'. We're realistic, we don't want to get too excited until we get recognised in the street.” You've already put out an album, yet major publications call you a ‘young band’, how do you feel about that? “Well, that's often our doing. Our first album we looked at as a very professional demo that we did at the beginning of being Dutch
Uncles, our first ten songs. We thought we'd go over, get big on the continent before jumping back over and going 'AHA!' but it didn't work out like that. We never thought it was over, but we had to say 'right, let's forget that happened, but let's keep the songs that we and the fans like'. It was never released properly in the UK, in our eyes anyway - it was in HMV in the Imports section and our 'Face In' video didn’t’ get any video play. We only started getting radio play after we joined Love and Disaster and Memphis. It felt like starting again.” So you had to draw a line under that?
Finally, what's the best and worst part of being in a band? “The best part is if you can be successful. There's nothing better than calling it your job, than being able to treat your friends, or get gifts around Christmas. If the band can pay for you to be a social, giving person. The worst part is the rest... [laughs] seriously, though the worst part is becoming your own harshest critic; there's a lot of negative thinking.” Dutch Uncles' new single ‘Fragrant’ is out now with the album out soon on Memphis Industries. They are playing a one-off special show on Monday the 29th of November at St. Phillips in Salford where Duncan assures me, “We're gonna play pretty much the whole album, plus some old ones... I get to play a xylophone solo.” Now how could you possibly miss that?
“This next album has been treated very much like a first album. We're trying to write as many singles as possible, catch as many people as we can. When it comes to the next Words by Harry Garne album, we'll be a bit more reserved and go, 'let's do two really good songs, and then try and weird people out as much as possible'. We've written in 4/4 as Words by Alex Lynham much as we can.”
Words by Andy Best
FUJIYA & MIYAGI
egardless of age, style or race, there is always one common denominator that’s shared by all musicians the world over, that of influence. Whether obvious such as the Beatles to Oasis, or less clear such as the mechanical sounds that were beginning to inhabit Kraftwerk’s postmodern world. In the case of Brighton’s Fujiya & Miyagi the influences appear obvious. There’s is a sound heavily indebted to the post punk, kraut rock sound of bands like Neu and Tangerine Dream. With 4th album Ventriloquizzing ready for launch in January their deadpan lead vocalist David Best is more than happy to reflect on the lesser obvious influences and the journey so far. “In terms of my lyrical influences I was quite obsessed with Captain Beefheart as a teenager. Themselves and The Fall’s kind of style influenced me lyrically and how I put a song together. But once you have been doing it for a while you kind of find your own feet really.” These bands pale into insignificance when pressed for his main influence in music though. “Serge Gainsbourg is probably my all time favourite musician, he is a big hero of mine, and I am pretty obsessed. I thought the recent film about his life was excellent, even for someone so anal about his life like me. Unfortunately its hard to sound as good as him when you are speaking in English, it doesn’t quite lend itself as good to the music as French, and sounds nowhere near as cool”. Born and bred in the south coast seaside haven of Brighton, little is known about the city in terms of its musical thumbprint on the UK music scene. With the only discernable musical export of
recent years being Fatboy Slim (and the Levellers) David is quick to address this “I never thought Brighton really influenced our music, but it is extremely laid back and relaxed, which comes out in a lot of our sound, so we soon realised that our laidback approach came from our coastal upbringing. Maybe we should all move somewhere a bit nastier to get an angrier sound. Some built up industrial estate would be fine” With previous song titles as ‘Photocopier’, ‘Cassettesingle’ and ‘Dishwasher’, you may be correct in thinking that F&M are not particularly deep in their song writing to date, “yeah we do use quite a few references to mundane household appliances, maybe not as coolly done as Kraftwerk did it” quips David, “But it’s what seems to fit with the songs mechanical feel. It’s more about writing about everyday kind of things. Kraftwerk are an obviously example, but the Kink’s wrote like that as well”.
Since the bands inception ten years ago, it seems strange that few bands are championing the distinctive merits of the kraut rock movement, with exception of LCD Soundsystem of the current crop. “I think it’s really one of those things that comes in and out of fashion” notes David thoughtfully, “hhWhen we started up there were groups like Stereolab who had that Neu element to them but not much since. I think those kind of German bands never really go
out of fashion, they are just in the distance, then every generation bands can grab things from their style if they want to. On our new album though, we have tried to do our own thing, and branch out from the previous albums feel that may have been indebted to influences”. The much anticipated new album Ventriloquizzing, is released in the New Year, with first material ‘Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue’ offering the opinion that this album will be a much darker sounding affair than previous “Yeah the theme is meant to be darker, after the last few records being quite similar we wanted to make something more musical, more layered. As soon as you start layering music up, it adds depth. It’s not as poppy as a result. The album title comes from when we came to the end of the last album, and I was playing about with some words, and came up with that, its got the extra Z just to make it sound snappier. Then we came up with making Ventriloquist dummies of ourselves so we wouldn’t have to be in photos, as we hate having our photo taken”. As David reflects, I can’t help thinking that this all sounds a bit familiar though. “Ha, yeah I suppose it does have that Kraftwerk element to it as well, I’m not sure that was a conscious decision though, it’s more about the song, and how it’s often a false front and an act being in a band” The bands new album Ventriloquizzing’ is released on the 17th January, with a free download ‘Sixteen Shades Of Black & Blue’ already on the bands website to whet your appetite until then.
Life After Amélie
ann Tiersen is the only man with the ability to make me bawl my eyes out. His emotive, almost haunting music has me reaching for the Kleenex every time. I’m ashamed to admit that my first introduction to his music came via the now iconic French film, Amélie, for which he wrote the infamous and much adored soundtrack. Tiersen, an ever elusive figure with a delightfully endearing smokers cough, is currently rehearsing for his UK tour at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios, and seems genuinely thrilled to be in sunny old Blighty. “Recording in studios and touring is two different things but the two are important. In the studio I like to be on my own and work alone and explore so many ways within one song. Live it is completely different, we play as a band and everyone has their own place. It’s about energy. It’s quite exciting to start the UK tour with the album. We already did a UK tour a year ago. The audience was quite enthusiastic so it was really great. I can’t wait to start.” He disappeared off the radar after his last non-soundtrack album, Les Retrouvailles in 2005, but now he’s back with his
2 years in the making, 6th studio album Dust Lane. It’s a beautifully composed 8 track wonder that is “inescapably, an album preoccupied with mortality.” Tiersen hlost both his mother and a close friend whilst writing the album, which is undoubtedly why this theme is so prominent. However, he refuses to accept that death is anything less than a natural ending to something ‘joyful’. “The main idea behind the album is to enjoy life because it leads to an end, which is good.” The albums initial concept was derived from the eye-opening experience of his Gaza tour. “I ended my last tour doing solo gigs in Gaza and I was really shocked to be in front of this reality, different to the images on television and what you read in the press. I had this strong image in my mind because when you go past the checkpoint to reach Gaza City you have a long dirt road, it was an abstract image that stuck in my mind. I think it’s a metaphor of life, a dirt road.” It’s a popular misconception that Tiersen’s music is related to an idealistic, romanticised view of France‘s capital. “I think Paris is one of the worst European cities,” he says, instantly quashing my visions of cafés,
espresso’s and Gauloises cigarettes. “Nothing happens in Paris. I don’t like this fairytale Paris because it’s completely wrong. The only good thing is there’s a lot of ethnic and social mixes. There are a lot of people from a lot of countries which is good. The rest is really stressful and it’s kind of ugly, apart from the beautiful touristic sites.” Remarkably, the music used in Amélie was taken from Tiersen’s first two albums. “It was great to reach success with old stuff but at the same time it was strange because really I had done nothing for the movie. It was the opportunity for some people to open the door and listen to my music.” Dust Lane shuns the expected Parisian-esque accordion for a harsher, more guitar based sound. Renowned for his use of unconventional instruments (bizarrely the toy piano and typewriter have featured in his work) he admits it’s impossible to favour a particular one. “I’m really in love with sound. I can use an instrument or other things, for instance I used some chairs and a door to make a rhythm, for me it’s like an instrument, if you pay attention to sounds in your life there are so many different things. I’m more focused on sound than
Words by Clémence Flamée
particular instruments.” As a multi- instrumentalist, Tiersen’s varied musical heritage is evident throughout his work. After training classically, he discovered Joy Division and his destiny as a quirky, innovative composer was determined. “Joy Division were one of the bands I was listening to like so many kids. I grew up in Rennes and there is a really good festival happens there every year with a lot of new bands. So, during all the 80’s when I was a teenager those bands gave me the energy to do my own music.” He’s the most exciting thing to emerge from France since the croissant and he’s not planning on budging from the media glare anytime soon. “For me a lot of doors are open now and I feel really free to go into the studio again and explore new ways and new sounds” With his gig at Manchester Cathedral passing recently, his prominence as one of the most talented instrumentalists in the business is at it’s peak. And, if your box of tissues are still intact after a listen to Dust Lane, book a doctors appointment. You‘re probably lacking a vital organ. Dust Lane is available now via Mute.
After playing one of the must-see shows at this year’s revitalised In The City festival, HEALTH can finally see the finish line after a gruelling year of touring. With promotion duties for second LP Get Color coming to an end, one of the hardest-working bands on the circuit are readying themselves for some much-deserved time off, but tonight they are back in town playing with old friends Crystal Castles with a queue stretching way, way down Oxford Road. Jake Duzsic peers out of the Union window at the waiting crowd: “we always knew Crystal Castles were going to kill it” he says, genuinely pleased by the success of his friends. High Voltage steal a few minutes post-soundcheck to talk Pay-To-Play and the global HEALTH brand.
uring the daytime sessions at In The City, Pay-To-Play was one of the most hotly-debated topics - the practice of charging a band up front for the privilege to play a gig at a certain venue. HEALTH regularly played for free in the early days back in the US so I ask Jake his take on the subject. "In a big city like Los Angeles there are thousands of bands, so everyone has to play for nothing to start with – you’re just lucky to get a show. In LA you definitely have that pay to play thing, where you have to whore out your friends and get them to buy a $12 ticket to go to your show, and you have to buy those tickets in advance". I'm surprised
Words by Harry Garne 10
that he's not sticking up for the musicians, as he goes on to say, "It’s hard for a promoter to take on all the responsibility. For us the shows we were playing weren’t really about making money. If you’re starting a band to make money then you’d better be making fucking pop music, because the odds of you making money out of a band are very slim”. A fair point, but perhaps a lot easier to make from the point of view of an internationally-touring act than a struggling band being screwed over. We move on to discussing the next step for the band now that their diary is starting to empty. "It’s hard to get a lot of creative stuff done
when you’re on tour" he says, "it's pretty stressful, with not a lot of down-time". 'Creative stuff' doesn't really cover the extent of HEALTH''s extra-curricular activities; the band have quietly amassed a fashion wing stocked with custom-made shirts and tote bags, a pair of remix albums featuring reworkings by some of the hippest bands of the moment and there's even talk of HEALTH TV. It's one of the finest examples of recession-proofing that you're likely to see. Jake has a more Apprentice-style view: “it’s important for us to have a unified aesthetic with the things we’re doing” he offers, as if this is something all bands learn in business 101, “we have a brand,
not in a corporate way, but artistically. You don’t have to figure out our artwork or anything like that, as it’s consistent with what you’ve seen before”. It seems that for a band who have constructed the panic-inducing ‘We Are Water’ and razor-blade-in-the-ice-cream ‘Die Slow’ there is a lot more organisational coherence going on in the background than you might think. Ten minutes later the band take to the stage and deliver yet another triumphant set to an openmouthed room of converts. As the strobe lights flash and feedback squeals the talk of unified aesthetics seems a world away.
MILK MAID H
“I guess we're (Nine Black Alps) on a hiatus. No fallings out or anything like that just all getting on with different bits.” This hiatus became the catalyst for Milk Maid and Martin’s first foray into song writing. “We did the last Alps tour about a year ago and after that I didn't really know what was going to happen with that band, but I still wanted to play music so I needed some songs. I basically wanted something I could do by myself, where I didn't have to rely on mass organisation to have a band practise. Just something easy and fun.” Having recorded in his Manchester flat, the lo-fi cap is one that fits sonically; with the distorted guitars and the inaudible vocals, but he has a clear vision for how he sees it. “I bought a cassette 8 track years ago that never got used but for some reason I hadn't sold it. Everything’s recorded on that. I love how limited I am when I use it. I can only put down what I really needed. I think I've fallen into the lo-fi category but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that, I want to make something that sounds like if Blood Money by Tom Waits had been recorded on an 8 track. Big, bold sounds but a fuzzy distorted covering.”
The independent release fits the single perfectly with the 'easy and fun' approach a welcome contrast to Cohen's experience in process of writing, recording and releasing
e may best be known for his frenetic bass playing and [occasional] drumming in Nine Black Alps, but Martin Cohen now 26, has done and seen a lot. More pertinently he's just recently recorded and released his debut solo single, the double A Side - 'Such Fun/Can't You See' under the guise Milk Maid, out now via Manchester indie label Suffering Jukebox. We met up with him to find out more... Words by Mo Naeem process: “Unless a band is making loads of money and calling the shots they're talked down to by the label, bullied into producers, videos, clothes, everything the label thinks
they can change to homogenise the band and make them more appealing to the high street. Doing this single with Suffering Jukebox couldn't have been easier. I recorded it at home, did the art myself and sent it over to the label.” It's a succinct summary of an old debate on how he feels the process should be and how the posturing between band and label only dilutes and distracts from the music. Aside from the music Cohen's other creative outlet is his photography. “I was doing a night course is darkroom techniques just as we we're getting signed, the band was starting to become full time so I stopped going. I still took pictures during the next couple of years but it was only during recording the second album that I got back into it, started looking into different films and methods of developing and when I got back after recording I set my own darkroom up. Not as fancy as it sounds, it's just in my hallway and bathroom... I've ruined my bath with chemicals.“ As he goes on to explain, this love of photography led to a crossing of paths with Steve Gullick, who made a name for himself in the 1990's as a photographer for the NME and Melody Maker.
“During recording I'd emailed Steve to ask him what kind of film he uses and he sent me a reply pretty much straight away. I kept pestering him for the next few days and he said
that to get the kinda shots I was after I'd need to start printing them myself. After that he did the promo shots for the second Nine Black Alps album and we've keep in touch. He's in an ace band called The Tenebrous Liar and I've gone to see them a bunch of times. They had a new album coming out and wanted to do a tour and asked me if I knew anywhere good in Manchester to play, Kraak gallery was still doing live music then so I suggested there and since it was a gallery too that we put some of his shots up. Anyway... the council got involved and they deemed the gallery unsuitable for live events so we move the gig somewhere else but turned the side-line of the exhibition into the main event. It got a bit out of hand but I'm really proud of it.” And what does the future hold for Milk Maid... “All I can think about right now is writing more songs and finding the time to do so. Fitting it around work and practise and gigs and sleep is proving tricky.” If this first release of fuzzy, warm 60's slacker pop is anything to go by then let's hope he does indeed find the time. His transition to songwriter has been a subconscious one according to himself but it's something he's embracing... and so are we. There’s more info about the single release on www.myspace.com/ milkmaidmilkmaid
Bands. Frequently comprised of tepid telecaster wielding foppish types. Their songs are listless and predictable. They brood over bored audiences with mock sentiment, occasionally flicking well-groomed fringes from their faces. At their gigs you sit through one after another formulaically dreary dirge, while some feckless dolt dry-humps you while verbalising his enjoyment like a hillbilly in Deliverance. You watch the minutes slowly tick towards the 11 oâ€™clock curfew and think, please finish now, Iâ€™m bored and I want to go home. Worse still, listening to their albums provokes similar sensations. Words by Jonathan Hopkins
hen there’s Deerhoof. In case you don’t know, Deerhoof aren’t a band of human beings, but rather a small group of robot/ alien mutants from the far reaches of time and space. Disguised as humans who, upon passing Earth, thought they’d stop by for a jam. Thank Xenu for Deerhoof.
When music becomes an impossible drag, Deerhoof are a welcome break that make you realise why it can be exciting and engaging and fun. Not just great music, but a cathartic and compelling experience throughout. They’re a perfect remedy for the characterless fog that bands often produce. Deerhoof combine stark and abrasive compositions with delightfully beguiling and childlike vocals. Drummer and original member Greg Saunier is a veritable and spasmodic powerhouse. He doesn’t necessarily play, but seizures with unhinged perfection. He’s more Animal than Keith Moon, slowly working his way through a stack of drumsticks strewn across the floor. His wife Satomi Matsuzaki is like an ideal, yet slightly odd gym teacher, whistle blowing, shorts and miniature shoes, an incredibly adept musician. Relieved of her bass duties she’s often found bobbing around on stage snipping mimed scissors through the air and mimicking glasses and panda ears. Long time guitarists John Dieterich gurns, a plectrum pursed between his lips throughout the a show, bending double and awkwardly ambling around like a lost dinosaur trapped inside a tight fitting body suit. For their last two albums, Deerhoof have been joined by Ed Rodriguez, formerly of Colossamite, the Flying Luttenbachers, XBXRX, Sicbay, Iceburn, and currently a member of Gorge Trio along with Dieterich. He slots in perfectly with their unassuming, slightly geeky San Francisco hipster aesthetic. Early incarnations of Deerhoof began in 1994. Saunier’s previous band Nitre Pit had disbanded, and with dates yet to play he and bassist Rob Fisk decided to continue as a duo. It was at the 95 Yo Yo A Go Go Festival in Olympia that Nitre Pit were spotted by Slim Moon, founder of Kill Rock Stars,
who signed them for a 7” release under the name Deerhoof.
Recordings were made on a four track, and were characteristically histrionic and freeform. Fisk and Saunier realised they needed a singer to offset their chaotic live performances. Through a friend they met with Satomi Matsuzaki, who’d arrived in San Francisco from her native Tokyo to study film. Fisk and Saunier were taken with Satomi’s innocent, humourous tones, and within one week of her joining, Deerhoof went on their first tour as a trio. Live performance was frenzied, and found members switching instruments, reworking songs to such an extent that audience members were confused as to what they were seeing. Nevertheless, work started on their first album, The Man, The King, The Girl. However, before the album was anywhere near finished, Fisk quit the band. With half an album, Saunier and Matsuzaki continued to finish the recording. Upon completion, they played it to Fisk who rejoined for their live shows. It was while studying for a music masters that Saunier met the guitarist who would form the trio at the core of Deerhoof, John Dieterich. Chris Cohen joined the band for a duration of three years from Reveille, up until Offend Maggie, their tenth release. The collaboration found the band at their most prolific, with Apple O', Milk Man, Green Cosmos, and The Runners Four coming out in quick succession, and building a strong global fan base for the band. January sees the release of their 11th album, Deerhoof Vs Evil. According to the band, their latest is, “The musical equivalent of hormones raging out of control, it explodes out of the speakers with its gawky triumph and inflamed sentimentality. These are songs that practically demand that you dance and sing along (however elastic the rhythms, or abrupt the melodies).” Up until now, Deerhoof have been fairly prolific with releasing material, with a new album coming out nearly every year. Guitarist John
Dieterich explains why it’s taken longer for Deerhoof Vs Evil? “We're just trying to give you, the listener, a break from all of our obnoxious noise.” Their latest is easily a more mature sound from the band. Listening over previous recordings, you’re reminded of their awkward but brilliant early material, gradually leading toward a more coherent standard. Deerhoof have evolved while still retaining the elements that characterise their sound. “I know the album is different but, as usual, it's not like there's some clear linear progression. For us it's just a matter of making something that feels honest to us where we are in our lives and connects with people, and hopefully we've done that.” Deerhoof Vs Evil also finds the band on a different label, in a different city. Dieterich explains: “We have absolutely no ill feelings whatsoever towards KRS. We just decided that we wanted to try something different. To be honest, we've done that (i.e. released albums on labels other than KRS) several times in the past, but it was before anybody noticed.” Regarding the move from their native San Francisco, “We all just had various personal reasons for moving on. It's ridiculous living in different cities, though.” Never one to rest on their laurels, Deerhoof makes use of the abundance of time between gigs by recording and producing on the road. For their new album, Dieterich explains that not so much recording was done in this way. “Individually we all work on music while we're on the road (or not), but for this album we weren't actually recording things together while we were travelling. We did do some mixing in the car, though. Greg had my computer, and he plugged it into the minivan stereo while we were driving from town to town. It was really useful to hear what things worked in that environment and what didn't.” The members of Deerhoof are also involved with other bands. Since before joining Deerhoof, Dieterich and Rodriguez have played in their instrumental group, Gorge Trio and released several albums. In 2008
Matsuzaki formed OneOne, a collaboration with Saya, singer and songwriter with the Japanese band Tenniscoats. This group often includes Saunier and Takashi Ueno. We asked John if there are songs that are written for a side-project and then kept back for Deerhoof. “Sure. And vice versa. There are things that someone will bring into Deerhoof and, for whatever reason, it won't quite work, and sometimes that material will get elaborated on in another context or else just scrapped.” Live reworking of songs may also be a thing of the past. Live renditions of recordings were often a wholly different interpretation of how they sound on record. We asked John if this factored when recording the new album. “Well, actually we all made an effort to come up with arrangements for the songs that would be playable. The reality of the situation, of course, is that we have a lot of work to do before we'll be able to play most of the album. No matter how hard we try, we always end up making albums that are too difficult for us to play!” The recording, mixing and mastering for Vs Evil was done in practice spaces without engineers or outside input, and it shows. There’s characteristicly Deerhoofesque experimentation. “T - I - M E. That's the upside. The downside is we drive each other crazy, and we have no perspective on what we're doing.” If you’re not familiar with Deerhoof, you should be. They’re the kind of band that don’t take themselves too seriously. Which is perfect in a climate of staid solemnity. That’s not to say that they compromise on making superb music. Their albums progress while retaining the stock elements whicj make them appealing. Each piece is a highly contrasting mix. Brash and light. Planned chaos. Lo-fi, DIY and technically masterful. The sound is all at once enchanting, abrasive and raucous, with spasmodic drums thrown in to shake things up. If you ever get the chance to see them, do. They’re not ones to play only new material. Rarely standing still, and always delighting fans with classics.
“I need to plant my bulbs before it gets too cold. This time next year I’m going to be up to my neck in crocuses”. Whatever preconceptions you may have about Tim Harrington, impossibly hairy frontman of New York’s favourite no-wave punks Les Savy Fav, friendly botanist is probably not high on the list. Well, botanist might be stretching it a little; he describes having had a gardening phase and reels off a few of his success stories, a pastime forcibly curtailed by the arrival of his two sons. But don’t worry, green fingers haven’t sent him soft: “I water my boys regularly, I prune them, and if they get scale insects I scrape ‘em off. And I have them sleep in this big tank of horse poo, and pour blood meal all over the 18 month-old, like you do for roses. His hair is lovely”.
igh Voltage caught up with Tim to find out a little more about pruning, talkboxes, and his band’s cracking new album Root For Ruin. It feels like an age since the release of LSF’s breakthrough record Let’s Stay Friends – three years to be precise – but for a band who have been around for fifteen years it’s presumably just a drop in the time ocean. So how did they approach Root For Ruin now that they’ve hit the almost-big time? “We put it together in bits and bobbles, and went with gut-feeling” says Tim, proudly, “the whole thing is super enthusiastic, the thing which most attracted us to punk music in the first place”. It becomes a recurring theme in the conversation, that this was a step
underline the difference between live and studio? “It’s funny actually, as some people complained about the live recording, saying I sound out of breath. It illustrates to me why we don’t try to make our studio albums sound like live albums. I’m like ‘I was out of breath during that song because I was upside down, forty stories high!’ We use the studio for what it is – to put things together like a collage”. Even if (and it’s a big if) Root To Ruin loses energy through recorded cohesion, it’s still the party record Tim professes it to be. Following logically on from Let’s Stay Friends but with an injection of adrenaline, it features more of the raw power of Slugs In The Shrubs than the jangle of Patty Lee
LES SAVY FAV back to the way they used to do it on the early records, “operating like a band with no fans”, which allowed the space to choose the best songs rather than the songs that fit together – ironically, the opposite process to the one used on its predecessor. “Let’s Stay Friends was written to be an album: the songs lead to each other, and we knew the name and tracklisting five days into the recording. Root For Ruin is more immature as we’re in our snooty phase – the goal was to please ourselves”.
Words by Harry Garne
In recent years Les Savy Fav have earned a reputation for being one of the most explosive live acts on the planet, with nudity, cross-dressing and excursions through the auditorium whipping crowds into frenzy across the globe. But for some, the success of LSF live and on-form renders the recorded output secondbest, a watered down version of the biblical events happening each night on tour. Just how do the band separate the two? “It’s hard, as I want us to be undocumentable live. We’ve shot videos which kind of gets it, but my role in the band is to be all around you, everywhere at once, which is impossible to document properly”. Was the release of the live album (2008’s After The Balls Drop) a way to
and barely pauses for breath. For someone so seemingly unhinged on stage, Tim is remarkably aware of what keeps his band ticking over. “Our release schedule is random and our touring schedule is random. We have the energy of the brand new rather than the energy of what you’ve seen and what you know – that’s why the record is so...lusty. It’s a hungry horny record”. He is also constantly on the lookout for new approaches to writing, even if it only serves to confuse his colleagues. “I’m obsessed with novel sounds so I wanted to do everything on the talkbox, like on Neil Young’s Trans record. I thought ‘what if the whole album was talkbox!’ Everyone else in the band is a little more musical: they were like, dude...”. I can hear Tim beaming down the phone, a grown-up toddler with a new toy he’ll love for a week before moving on to something else. It’s this mishmash of invention and mischief which continues to make Les Savy Fav so successful, so charming, and so enticing a nut to crack. Root to Ruin is out now on Wichita Recordings.
single reviews SINGLE OF THE MONTH
James Blake - Limit To Your Love Hemlock
A beautiful and haunting sound from James Blake as his voice pulsates slowly throughout ‘Limit To Your Love’ and adds a depth and quality to a song that is stripped back to its bare bones. Devoid of the temptation many electronic artists feel to suffocate a track with too much digital manipulation, here Blake has taken the completely opposite route and is standing by his own merits with a composition where silence is as integral to the track as his own voice. In the absence of full backing instruments and synthesizers, Blake just lets his
voice do the talking with a carefully chosen arrangement of bass and piano to punctuate his voice or deliberate over a lyric. This provides a subtle framework to what is already a delicately balanced, minimal reworking of the Feist original.
The horse has bolted. Rock is back.
great, in that end of the '80s don't-give-a-fuck punky noise rock art wank crap label-hyphennonsense kind of way. At the end of the day, you know what this sounds like: lo-fi and pissed off.
Personally, this revelation came at about the same time as one of the guitarists from Pulled Apart By Horses landed on my head at a gig, but for those caught napping, Holy State may well be the ones to deliver the final wake up call. Holy State - Medicine Hat Dance to the Radio
Field Music – Measure Memphis Industries
Grinderman - Worm Tamer Mute Records
Dirty Projectors - As I Went Out One Morning Domino Records
This, their second release on Dance to the Radio, is if anything even better than their first. It's
‘Limit To Your Love’ begins like an allusion to an Antony and the Johnsons track: piano strong, vocals soft yet powerful. But it’s the silent dipping interludes with a moment’s pause that introduces rhythm and injects a little pace and texture before swinging back
into a slow tempo and almost silent chorus. This is clearly a man unafraid of his own talent and someone who can go it alone and yet ‘Limit To Your Love’ lingers in one’s memory because of its simplicity. The less is more approach certainly works on this track and it would seem the sky is the limit for Blake’s aptitude for creating cinematic flair within a spine-tingling, delicate sound. Deirdra-Eden Keane
allowed to listen to them anymore. Pity. Alex Lynham
Any description beyond that almost doesn't do it justice. It's awesome, and it deserves your attention. They are going to be on tour with Biffy soon, so before long they are going to be cool; so cool in fact, that I won't even be
‘Measure’ is a stunning composition from Field Music, a band that has erred into the pipe and slippers of music genres progressive rock - on more than one occasion. But while this track has roots in the 1970’s it has taken a respectful detour via Abbey Road, rather than hanging around waiting for Wings to form; which cannot be said for much of the eponymous LP.
The self-titled track is nothing if not a nod to some of rock’s most formidable ancestry; while ‘Measure’ is rich in cello and string percussion it has a much greater affinity with The Beatles than contemporaries such as Arcade Fire. The Brewis Brothers’ vocal arrangements also place an authentic Field Music stamp on the record. A command of each note and innate sense of pace culminate to create a slow
burning but exciting record.
This is probably one for people who already love Nick Cave, and will love anything he does, because he's Nick Cave. Whatever he's calling himself and/or his band these days.
ever liked 'Nature Boy'. Horses for courses, as they say.
what it’s all about. Now don’t I feel silly.
However, the Unkle remix, ‘Hyper Tamer’ (included as a B-side), is quite something. By simple virtue of emphasising what turns out to be the fantastically dirty bass line, it breathes life into the whole song. It really made me sit up and take notice, to the point where I actually paid attention to the lyrics and the penny dropped as to
So I was quite pleasantly surprised when I played the single and it wasn’t “edgy” at all, but a decent cover of Bob Dylan’s classic. Frontman Dave Longstreth has a rich lead vocal, and is ably backed by female singers who create harmonies which remind one of Dylan’s trademark
harmonica. This coupled with a sharp drum beat makes the track their own.
It has lots of widdly-woo distortion, a grungey tune, and Mr. Cave's usual dulcet tones. Personally I found my mind drifting elsewhere halfway through, but then again I only Thus far I have avoided trendy Brooklyn band, Dirty Projectors, for the sole reason that their name annoys me. You know the kind of person who describes themselves as "crazy"? Likewise it screams, "Look at me - I'm edgy and alternative", with the end result that you instinctively know they are nothing of the sort.
The name of the LP itself evokes memories of Peter Gabriel’s postGenesis succession of self-titled albums, suggesting that this duo are back from a three year hiatus and very confident with what they have brought back with them. Deirdra-Eden Keane
albums Twin Shadow – Forget 4AD 4|5 5|5
For the age old question regarding the point in replicating the sounds of the 80’s in modern day music, Twin Shadow has offered a resounding and well balanced answer through his debut album Forget. Through his guise, George Lewis Jr runs a oneman crusade that dips its toe in the new wave and romantic scenes in equal measure. It’s regularly blessed in euphoric and melancholy notes in all the right places as the multi talented composer layers a sense of nostalgia and warmth throughout. ‘When We’re Dancing’ encompasses many aspects of 80’s production, and has a strongly aged feel through the hazy glaze of production. As comfortable changes vocals as he
is styles, The Smiths influence is clear to hear on ‘I Can’t Wait’ due largely to Lewis’s Morrissey like crooning. It doesn’t stop here, as the song transcends to a dark brooding piece, which akin to the rest of the album is expertly produced to compliment the catchy pop sound. With a constantly changing sound we are then led through the soulful disco of ‘Shooting Hole’s. Its procession of beats and Lewis’s now more soulful vocals is instantly infectious. Which then makes way for ‘Tether Beat’ where the artist keeps one foot in Kate Bush weirdness, and another exploring a more modern experimental sound, not too dissimilar to Fever Ray. The crowning glory, if such an accolade can be bestowed on an
album of such quality is ‘Castles In The Snow’. A masterpiece in post rock through atmospheric guitars and electronics, and exactly the kind of song that made everyone sit up and take note of Tv On The Radio in the first place The lasting impression is also Twin Shadows main appeal and the reason why Forget is up there as an album of the year. It is the artist’s ability to turn his hand to different styles on the album, whilst keeping the natural flow. There is zero filler, and for an album heavily influenced from the past, proves to be one of the most innovative listens all year. In one word, breathtaking! Harry Garne
Sophie’s Pigeons – Names and Pictures
David E. Sugar Memory Store
Red Deer Club
Looking at the band name, album sleeve, and perusing the press pack, I was very prejudiced against what this record was going to sound like- “happy clappy pop rhythms” on a rainy (blue) Monday? Surely not!
Sugar forces the pace right from the kick-off with the sideways synth sidegrinder 'Chelsea Girls'. Powerful and compulsive to the core, this is downright downbeat disco electronica at its most infectious.
I'm won over quickly though; granted, I don't think this is going to knock Synchronicity off my most-played-album-at-the-moment spot, but I also don't just want to get this record review done so I can throw the CD across the room (as has happened many a time in the past). I'm not really sure how “happy clappy” this is anyway; I've not heard any claps noticeable enough to comment upon, though I will concede that it's pretty upbeat stuff, all intertwined accordion (or clarinet), piano and shuffle drums, overlaid with well-executed female vocals.
Done with such finesse and feeling, the flashing dance-floor ethic is a welcome and recurring force throughout this undoubtedly fine longplayer, but this apart, the record still showcases a diverse array of talents.
In any case, there's undeniably something very arresting about the vocal yelps and drone wind instruments in 'Only Us', and this is the simply the tip of the iceberg as rather good songs on the album go. If I had to go out on a limb, I'd probably say that ‘Boys and Girls’ is probably the best cut on there, and even sounds a little like The Hold Steady to me (and it's not just because of the possible addition of '...in America', I assure you). It's not ever particularly easy going, but that's hardly the point; it's interesting enough that it actually manages to wear the 'oddball pop' tag without just becoming daft, or worse, boring. That's something that should be celebrated. Alex Lynham
ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Pipe organ/Farfisa sounds are underscored with insistent yet understated breaks, leaving Sugar's voice out on a limb during 'Did You Ever Have A Good Idea' with only a dollop of sarcastic outrage and a delicate thread of guitar for company. Elsewhere, lyrical dexterity and song-writing skills combine to smooth out the valium bobsleigh skank of 'Not Revolution's wisely dialectical hook line. Furthermore, the increasing presence of electric guitar allows tracks like the brilliant 'Cambridge Sums' and the wonderfully ramshackle lo-fi 'Flea Market' to offer a true glimpse of garage rock beauty. Add to all of this a revelationary stream-of-consciousness lyrical approach and, of course, the memorable bass lines that Sugar is renowned for, and we're left with a finished article that's dazzling and definitive. Memory Store is a truly excellent record, one that simply demands to be heard. Mike Roberts
Various Artists - The
Fireworks Issue Kitsune Maison
Stereolab - Not Music Drag City
Kitsune's new compilation album is definitely something to be marvelled at. The Fireworks Issue, the tenth in the series, gives us 25 awe-inspiring examples of electro-pop nonsense and danceable rock. These dazzling tracks, from hot new talent and familiar favourites, sit side by side in harmony because they're all fresh, attention grabbing and brilliant. Gems from the likes of May68, Digitalism and The Heartbreaks have all been selected for the album, along with more underground offerings from Jolie Cherie, Wild At Heart and Waylayers. Know the songs or Back in 2007, Stereolab began their continuing state of hiatus with a mammoth recording session which spawned the 2008 Chemical Chords and now this, the twelfth of their career and worthy of being considered one of their best. A happy attitude, bordering on the flippant, shimmers across every track in distinct and determined touches, from jazz grooves in ‘Everybody’s Weird Except Me’ and ‘Equivalences’ to the sixties trip-out ‘Delugeoisie’. As ever, there is no “as ever”, because despite recognisable traits
Errors - Celebrity Come Down With Me Rock Action
Dreamend - So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite Memphis Industries
not though, it isn't hard to find something within this mishmash of talent to enjoy. There are less effective moments, but when the songs are good, they are absolutely bang on. The Mustang DJs throw a particular favourite of mine into the mix with their version of Two Door Cinema Club's 'What You Know'. Also well worth a mention is Flight Facilities' 'Crave You', a song that has unsurprisingly become a classic, possibly because it sounds like dreamy perfection. 'Manners' by Swedish Icona Pop is a wonderfully edgy but poppy dance track while Housse De Racket's 'Chateau' is an of subtle electronica and frothy vocals the songs sidestep and subvert every expectation. Somewhat bizarrely, the biggest highlight is the Emperor Machine mix of ‘Silver Sands’, ten minutes of beautiful madness starting off at Neu! and ending at how Squarepusher would have treated the BBC News countdown sequence. There are moments where the approach becomes less charming and more scattergun – this is by no means flawless however tempting it is to forgive occasional drifts in
With an album title that must exist somewhere within an email inside the offices of Channel 5 headed “Potential new shows for ’11?” Glasgow’s Errors have in Celebrity Come Down With Me a splendid companion to last year’s much applauded second full album. Emphasising the sharper electronica of the original, much in the same way as balsamic vinegar does for the Sunday morning bacon sarnie (personal preference, maybe), this release complements its forebear faultlessly.
All your leftfield favourites are here, Dam Mantle turning “Sorry About The Mess” into Commodore Morse Code, the never less than brilliant Gold Panda whisking and twisting the intensity throughout “A Rumour In Africa”, with Mogwai and The Field bringing out the chills.
Ryan Graveface, his very name promising Dickensian imagery, has in So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite an album worthy of dimly-lit foggy London streets and cobweb-covered factories. His album, the solo release away from electronic band Black Moth Super Rainbow, is nightmare folk, post-rock sensibilities suddenly enveloping every sparkling melody and pleasant vocal with dense shadows. This is not necessarily negative criticism, where it’s done well the results stick in the mind like a successful twist in a novel.
A narrative structure holds up this album, one of an otherwise grounded man who commits murder with the lyrical assuredness of both Cohen and Cave. Indeed if Murder Ballads gave the impression of a concept in need of better execution (pun not intended) So I Ate Myself... offers a genuinely unsettling alternative.
Errors continue to not put a foot wrong, maybe “Strictly Come Dancing” will be next.... Liam Pennington
understated and innocent indie song. The sheer diversity to behold while listening to this double album makes it for me. From Coldplay-esque 'Once And For All' from Clock Opera with its trembly vocals to crazily upbeat and fun Strange Talk's 'Climbing Walls', there's something for everyone here. The Fireworks Issue serves as a great addition to the Kitsune Maison collection and a showcase of the worldwide array of talent this record label has to offer. Hayley Pearce
pace and focus. The closing tracks leading up to the (very good) Atlas Sound remix of ‘Neon Beanbag’ are confused compromises of styles which demand the most concentration for little satisfaction. Never knowingly understood – they would pack up for good if they were – Stereolab’s timecapsule album pays dividends. They’re right with the title – rendered ‘Snotm Olabc’ by the artwork incidentally – this is not so much music as... Stereolab. Liam Pennington
Photo ~ Sam Ellis
gig reviews Warpaint - Deaf Institute, Manchester
It’s hard to believe the wallpapered top room of the Deaf Institute has ever been busier. With bodies pressing on all sides and snaking out of the door, tonight has become what is known in the industry as a ‘hot ticket’, the night when the newest super-hyped band from across the water get a chance to prove they’re worth the column inches. With understated beauty and confidence to burn, and on the eve of the release of debut album The Fool, Warpaint bear out the plaudits with consummate ease. Entering stage left to a roofraising din, the girls of Warpaint stride to their instruments like they were expecting them to be further away, ready for stadiums before cracking the smaller spaces. Launching straight into Band on the Wall seems a far too unremarkable setting for Chrome Hoof. Not to badmouth the venue, but the band are an act that would only look at home on set of Flash Gordon, or posing ostentatiously in front of an epic Martian mountain, part of some lurid fantasy art poster from science fiction movies of the 70s.
Chrome Hoof - Band on the Wall, Manchester
This evening there’s no warm-up, no low starting point. There’s not even a dramatic dry ice entrance from a camp spacecraft to ramp up their introduction. In fact, Chrome Hoof have all been spotted smoking fags at the front of the venue in pedestrian attire. Ziggy Stardust never broke the fourth wall. Tonight, Academy 2 is barely a third full, and prior to the emergence of a band who sold out the Ritz some three years ago, The Hundred In The Hands go about their business undeterred, whose strippeddown No Wave angularisms have a tinge of cold synths to add to the cool of their minimal boy/girl dynamic.
!!! w/ Hundred in the Hands - Academy 2, Manchester 18
Nevertheless, the subdued atmosphere is disconcerting for the headliners, who have built their reputation off the back of a wild live show. Cue Nic Offer. From the off, the gurning, hipswinging, crotch-chopping frontman makes full use of the extra floor space to descend into
the shimmering ‘Warpaint’, the expectation from the crowd immediately melts into relief that they haven’t backed the wrong horse, before turning into a sort of mellow trance fuelled by flickers of guitar and sultry basslines. Frontwoman/guitarist Emily Kokal provides the glue which holds together the pack (if I can mix metaphors), both note-perfect and orchestrating with her eyebrows, and extra props for managing to ignore one of those nightmarish superfans sitting on the stage (“We love you! Play ‘Billie Holliday!” [sings first few lines, loudly and out of tune]). Impressive stuff. Through the folds of proggy, shoe-gazey waves, two tracks shine brightest: ‘Composure’ is as poised and lakeside-serene as the Tracks veer from the atmospheric beginnings of ‘Crystalline’ to the pulsating disco heavy funk of ‘Moss Covered Oblisk’, the finale of which finds the audience moving to what was an array of formally uncertain time signatures. Vocalist Lola Olafisoye is a mix of Grace Jones cum Tim Curry. She forms a large part of the raison d'être of Chrome Hoof’s live performance. Scary and ominous vocal style, yet only slightly confrontational. Her flamboyant, sexually charged act perfectly contrasts the band playing it cool. They’re masterful musicians, rocking gently and subtle like cloaked elders of glam-rock. The Smee brother tag team of drums the crowd and get nose-to-nose with the crowd, who suddenly transform into deranged, hormone-driven, sweat-soaked partiers. And this party has tunes to boot. Latest album, ‘Strange Weather, Isn’t It?’ gets the airing it deserves, with groovy strutter ‘Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass’ and ‘The Hammer’s acid-pulse showing just how well the new sound of !!! has gone down with the fans. Despite this, it’s the 2003 behemoth, ‘Me and Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard’, that makes full use of the band’s infectious grip on the crowd, and the vitriol-fuelled punk-funk soundtrack to 00s New York has
GIG OF THE MONTH
name suggests with some breathtaking harmonies, and recent single ‘Undertow’ couldn’t be more steamy and sultry if everyone in the crowd decided to shed their clothes on the spot (although sultry isn’t perhaps the word for that. Unexpected, perhaps). Photographers with long lenses climb over each other to capture a band in the ascendency, a paparazzi assault which will only get worse. Warpaint combine heartbreak and yearning with just the right amount of airborne catchiness, combined with the same chemistry set as The xx but by the cool girls in the year above who smoke and shoplift; on this form those end-of-year lists should be sewn up. Harry Garne and bass form a backbone that’s completely irresistible for the doom-laden disco of ‘Toynte’. Occasionally a bassoon appears from nowhere, or a scream is sent forth from the diminutive figure of synth/trumpet player, Emma Sullivan. However, shrouded, the band very rarely steal your gaze from Olafisoye. ‘Circus 9000’ for the encore is perfect. It’s as if the freakier space traveling carnival folk have highjacked the ride, and it’s fucking scary and you’re hanging on and you’re not sure when it’s gonna end but you love it. Jonathan Hopkins
the revellers up on stage to join the transatlantic shake-down. By the time ‘Intensify’ brings the roof down, HV had lost control of all superlatives and motor functions, except that of dancing. Undoubtedly, amid all the pretenders of crossover music from the past decade, !!! have the most visceral, most bizarrely underrated, live-dance experience out there. In Manchester, they made a poorlysold show into gig of the year. Simply exhilarating. Fran Donelly
As I sit in Kro opposite the Academies nursing a couple of pre-game pints, a Tweet comes through: "dillingerescpln - Very excited for Manchester tonight. I want everyone to leave this show so exhausted that they look like a fucking monster for Halloween." Well, they would at least get their wish from this attendee, who is rather conspicuously sat in the pub in full zombie regalia.
Dillinger Escape Plan w/ Rolo Tomassi - Club Academy, Manchester
I am, however, in situ by the time the main support, Rolo Tomassi, take to the stage. These guys have been on a seemingly nonstop tour this year in support of their well-received sophomore effort, 'Cosmology' (this must be their fifth or even sixth show in Manc of 2010). It's not without reason that Rolo Tomassi have been compared to Dillinger Escape Plan in the past (by me, at least), When this reunion was announced, via the groups’ official Myspace page under the banner “Swans is not dead”, frontman and head Swan, Michael Gira, was quick to put distance between himself and the cash-grabbing retirement-top-up bands trotting out the hits again stressing that it was a re-activation.
Swans - Academy 2, Manchester
And on the basis of their recently released first album in 14 years, ‘My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky’, his years focused more on the melodic with his Angels Of Light project or his own acoustic material hasn’t diminished his ability to unnerve with sheer volume and intensity.
Maybe its the weather, or because its a Monday night, but the crowd that slowly shuffles forward as the Parisian duo take to the modest stage are somewhat lacking in numbers. There are simply some gigs that require your attendance, and with this being one of only two UK shows, of a set solely comprising of the bands reworking of John Carpenter’s Film Scores, there is an air of a ‘one off performance’ about proceedings.
Zombie Zombie Plays John Carpenter - Islington Mill, Salford
We are warmed up with south Manchester’s finest Plank! Having graced In The City last month, they have a relaxed aura about them, and a collection of songs that can easy fill a support slot. As multi talented David Rowe switches from Guitar and keyboard, there is
and they serve as a truly fitting support for the main event. In keeping with today's festivities, Dillinger bound on stage in full Halloween get up, including frontman Greg and guitarist Ben, who appear to be rocking the head-to-toe-in-boot-polish-withstocking-on-head look. Once in position, they fly into their set (both figuratively and literally) with all of the destructive enthusiasm that they've become known for, by opening up with a live-wire performance of 'Farewell, Mona Lisa', which includes members of the band flinging themselves into the crowd (and at HV photographer Gemma), jumping off the speaker stacks and/or swinging from the light fittings.
But the best way to feel the devastation is first hand of course, as a few hundred Mancunians can now testify. Opening in as dramatic a sense as we’ve come to expect, sometimeShearwater/ Devendra Banhart/ Bill Callahan percussionist (and awesomely monikered) Thor Harris playing an extended Vibes movement that soon ushers in ‘No Words/ No Thoughts’ as the rest of the six-piece come crashing in behind. Gira has the presence of an evangelical preacher possessed by the holy-spirit as he commands from the front, bashing out chords and starring into the middledistance. a somewhat blasé approach to their performance, almost like a band who know their boundaries, and what they bring to the table and feel no need to extend from this for your affection. What we get from Zombie Zombie is an interpretation of their five song EP, with each track exceeding 10 minutes in length they prove to be an excellently executed tribute to someone who is clearly a massive influence on their sound. With the traditional set up of Cosmic Neman on live drums, and Etienne Jaumet surrounded by various anologue synths and wires they breathe new life into these easily recognisable film scores, with a large dose of their own
As you would expect, a good portion of the set focuses on material from the band's latest album, Option Paralysis. In some cases, such a heavy presence of newer stuff can turn audiences off in their droves, but when you're new album is as good as Option Paralysis, then why wouldn't you want to show it off? As the music stops and the lights go up, the looks on most people's exhausted, battered and bruised faces suggest that the band have got their way: regardless of whether or not they came in costume, most people did indeed leave the place looking as though they were bound for a Halloween party, or equally as likely, A&E… Mike Perry
As obstinate as his reputation, on stage talk flits from unrepeatable smutty talk involving Margaret Thatcher and a sex toy and sarcastically asking “is this the city where they made all that gay rock music in the 80’s?...”- Gira it seems has no intention of mellowing with age. Following an abrupt ending those left standing are clearly in a darker mindset than two hours previously, but if you were to ask I’m sure they wouldn’t want it any other way. Mike Caulfield
unique spooky techno. ‘The Thing’, a cult classic film with a soundtrack to match is dusted off and fed through the many analogue devices at Jaumet’s disposal. It’s slow somewhat Motorik beat hazes along; as the sound of two Frenchmen playing a very German sound originally from an American composer fills the room. The unforgettably eerie piano on ‘halloween’ that leads into a throbbing techno interlude before returning to theme, is the highlight of the set with Neman’s high octane aggressive drumming leaving him a sweaty mess by the end. Andy Best
listings Nov Nov
Sum 41 @ Academy 1 Foxy Shazam @ Night & Day Cafe Zombie Zombie @ Islington Mill The Doobie Brothers @ The Apollo Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express @ Band On The Wall
Broken Records @ Deaf Institute Nouvelle Vague @ Academy 2 There For Tomorrow + Deaf Havana @ Club Academy Big Boi @ The Ritz Moshi Moshi Tourw/ James Yuill and Silver Columns @ The Ruby Lounge Kirsty McGee @ Band On The Wall
The Grande Mothers Re-Invented @ Deaf Institute Ellie Goulding @ Academy 1 Michelle Shocked @ Academy 3 Love Amongst @ Club Academy The Ska Trek Tour @ Night & Day Cafe
Da Staat @ Deaf Institute Avenged Sevenfold + Stone Sour @ Academy 1 Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings @ The Ritz Tokyo Police Club @ The Ruby Lounge Them:Youth @ Night & Day Cafe Grouper + Rafeal Anton Irisarri @ Islington Mill Linkin Park @ M.E.N Arena Little Fish @ Roadhouse Young Brass Band @ Band On The Wall
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone @ Deaf Institute Never Say Die! Club Tour @ Academy 1 The Walkmen @ St Phillips Church Mary J Blige @ M.E.N Arena Hafdis Huid @ Band On The Wall
Job For a Cowboy @ Academy 2 Ian McNabb @ Academy 3 Chicane @ Club Academy Tellison, Big Deal @ Night & Day Cafe
Willard Grant Conspiracy @ Deaf Institute Alexisonfire @ Academy 2 Phillip Sayce @ Academy 3 Dieter Moebius (Cluster) @ Islington Mill Lee Ritenour @ Band On The Wall
Wild Nothing @ Deaf Institute Diana Vickers @ Academy 2 God Is An Astronaut @ The Ruby Lounge
Veronica Falls @ Deaf Institute Divine Comedy @ Academy 2 3 Daft Monkeys @ Academy 3 Winds Of Plague @ Club Academy Kid Adrift @ Night & Day Cafe Wavves @ Islington Mill Brian Kennedy @ Band On The Wall
Edwyn Collins @ Deaf Institute Kids In Glass Houses @ Academy 1 Amorphis @ Academy 3 Stornoway @ Club Academy The Naked & Famous @ The Ruby Lounge Peacocks @ Star & Garter
Esben and The Witch @ Deaf Institute Klaxons @ Academy 1 Cheap Trick @ Academy 2 Annihilator @ Club Academy Diamond Rings @ The Ruby Lounge British India and The Sectual Objects @ Night & Day Cafe Kathryn Ticknell @ Band On The Wall
Goo Goo Dolls @ Academy 1 Drive By Trucks @ Academy 2 Ezio @ Academy 3 Local Natives @ Club Academy Miles Kane @ The Ruby Lounge Spokes- Single Launch @ Night & Day Cafe Abe Vigoda @ Islington Mill Gorillaz @ M.E.N Arena Soundtrack To Your Life @ Roadhouse
Skunk Anansie @ Academy 1 Chromeo @ Academy 2 The Fillers @ Academy 3 The Words @ Club Academy
Vessels @ Deaf Institute Devil Driver @ Academy 1 Seth Lakeman @ Academy 2 Melissa Aur Der Maur @ The Ruby Lounge Prima Donna @ Star & Garter Deftones @ The Apollo Steve Harley @ Sound Control
Oceansize @ Academy 2 Chilly Gonzales: Solo Piano Talk @ St Phillips Church Gold Panda @ The Ruby Lounge LCD Soundsystem + Hot Chip @ The Apollo Dungen @ Roadhouse
Less Than Jale @ Academy 1 Akala @ Academy 3 Motorhead @ The Apollo The Blood Arm @ The Factory
The Acorn @ Deaf Institute Jimmy Eat World @ Academy 1 Black Breath @ Star & Garter Mike Fantastic @ Roadhouse
Marnie Stern @ Deaf Institute Arch Enemy @ Academy 1 Blitzen Trapper @ The Ruby Lounge Good Shoes @ The Factory
Dylan Le Blanc @ Deaf Institute W.A.S.P @ Academy 2 The Parlotones @ Academy 3 The Greenhornes @ The Ruby Lounge Patrick Monahan @ Night & Day Cafe Matt Berry @ Sound Control
Wednesday 17th The Phanton Band @ Deaf Institute Goldfrapp @ Academy 1 Anberlin @ Academy 2 Holy Fuck! @ Academy 3 Unbunny @ Night & Day Cafe
We Have Band @ Deaf Institute Underworld @ Academy 1 65 Days Of Static @ Academy 2 Nick Kelly @ Academy 3 Spear Of Destiny @ Club Academy Heaven 17 presents Penthouse & Pavements @ The Ritz To The Bone @ The Ruby Lounge Ringo Deathstarr @ Night & Day Cafe
Thursday 18th John & Jehn @ Deaf Institute Boyce Avenue @ Academy 3 Kele @ The Ritz Jim Noir @ The Ruby Lounge Ruarri Joseph @ Night & Day Cafe Rick Ross @ The Apollo Del The Funky Homosapien (Hieroglyphics/Gorillaz) @ Roadhouse
Friday 26th Cast @ Academy 1 Kranius @ Club Academy The Tallest Man On Earth @ St Phillips Church Dogs @ Night & Day Cafe Salem @ Islington Mill The Bluetones @ The Factory Andrea Bocelli @ M.E.N Arena
Steve Hackett @ Academy 3 Mary Gauthier @ Club Academy Leftfield @ The Apollo Paramore @ M.E.N Arena Tek-One (Live) @ Roadhouse
We Are Scientist @ Academy 2 Whole Lotta led @ Academy 3 Elliot Minor @ Nexus Art Cafe Born Ruffians @ The Ruby Lounge The Gaslight Anthem @ The Apollo A-Ha @ M.E.N Arena
Sarah Blasko @ Deaf Institute Frightened Rabbits @ Academy 2 Lost Boy! (Jim Kerr) @ Academy 3 The Mummers @ The Ruby Lounge Zun Zun Egui, Sun Araw + Gnod @ Islington Mill NERVANA @ Sound Control
Ratatat @ Deaf Institute The National @ Academy 1 Adam Lambert @ Academy 2 James Lees’ Barcley James Harvest @ Academy 3 Shrinebuilder @ Club Academy Hype Williams @ Islington Mill Squeeze @ The Apollo James Taylor Quartet @ The Factory 12 Dirty Bullets @ Sound Control Aiden @ Roadhouse
The Engineers @ Deaf Institute As I Lay Dying @ Academy 2 Joe Brooks @ Roadhouse
Joseph Arthur @ Deaf Institute All That Remains @ Academy 2 Villagers @ Academy 3 Best Coast @ The Ruby Lounge Blitz Kids @ Sound Control
Gold Teeth @ Deaf Institute Madness @ The Apollo
Menomena @ Deaf Institute Steve Forbert @ Academy 3 Jenny & Johnny @ The Ruby Lounge The Thing @ Islington Mill
Matthew Dear @ Deaf Institute The Drums @ Academy 1 Janelle Monae @ Academy 2 Tim Hecker @ Islington Mill Status Quo @ The Apollo Here Come The Girls @ M.E.N Arena Sonic Boom Six @ Sound Control
Idlewild @ Academy 3 You Me At Six @ The Apollo Everything Everything @ RNCM Kings Of Leon @ M.E.N Arena
Paul Smith @ Deaf Institute Gary Numan @ Academy 1 Young Gun @ Academy 2 The Young Gods @ Academy 3 Barry and Stuart @ Night & Day Cafe 80’s Rewind- The Christmas Tour @ M.E.N Arena
The Concretes @ Deaf Institute “Weird Al” Yankovic @ Academy 1 Athlete @ Academy 2 Chantel McGregor Band @ Academy 3 Campaigne For Musical Destruction Tour 2010 @ Club Academy Boy & Bear @ Night & Day Cafe Interpol @ The Apollo Paul Weller @ M.E.N Arena You Say Party! @ Sound Control Sonic Syndicate @ Roadhouse
The Complete Stone Roses @ Academy 1 Volbeat @ Academy 2 Frost* @ Academy 3 The Lancashire Hotpots @ Club Academy Faithless @ M.E.N Arena Jessie Malin @ Sound Control
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ Academy 1 Municipal Waste @ Academy 3 Johhy Flynn @ Club Academy Michael Bolton @ The Apollo
Nina Nastasia @ Deaf Institute Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Academy 1 Echo & The Bunnymen @ The Ritz Delorean @ The Ruby Lounge Belle & Sebstian @ The Apollo The Sunshine Underground @ Sound Control
Roky Erickson @ Academy 2 Emarosa @ Club Academy Bullet For My Valentine @ M.E.N Arena
Ty Segall @ Deaf Institute Airbourne @ Academy 1 The Bees @ Academy 3 Electric Six @ Club Academy The Boy Least Likely To @ The Ruby Lounge Josie Long @ Night & Day Cafe Rangda + Howlin Rain @ Islington Mill Meat Loaf @ M.E.N Arena
The Wedding Present @ Academy 2 Skin @ Academy 3 Wooden Shjips @ St Phillips Church Moulettes @ The Ruby Lounge MONA @ Night & Day Cafe The Courteeners @ M.E.N Arena Dresden- Album Launch @ Roadhouse
Hawkwind @ Academy 2 TWE1V3 @ Academy 3 The Virgin Marys @ Club Academy Orphan Boy @ Night & Day Cafe Saw Doctors @ The Apollo Scissor Sisters @ M.E.N Arena
The Orb @ Club Academy You Me At Six @ The Apollo Simply Red @ M.E.N Arena
The Pretty Reckless @ Academy 2 Hatebreed @ Club Academy Simon Munnery & Lewis Costello @ The Ruby Lounge The Jolly Boys @ Night & Day Cafe Shakira @ M.E.N Arena Rumer @ Band On The Wall
Delta Spirit @ Deaf Institute The Human League @ Academy 1 Pnau @ The Ruby Lounge Orange Goblin @ Sound Control
Fine Young Firecrackers @ Academy 3 Helmet @ Club Academy JLS @ M.E.N Arena
To post your event in the HighVoltage listings email your event details to Mike Caulfield... firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Elis Bextor @ Academy 2 Karnivool @ Academy 3 Titors Insignia @ Club Academy Saint Etienne @ The Ritz The Pogues @ The Apollo Acoustic Ladyland @ Band On The Wall
Fear Factory @ Academy 2 The Glitter Band & Captain Sensible @ Academy 3 From The Jam @ Club Academy Pixie Lott @ The Apollo James @ M.E.N Arena Fugative @ Roadhouse
The Burns Unit @ Club Academy Jon Windle (Litle Man Tate) @ The Ruby Lounge
Jools Holland @ The Apollo
The Smiths Indeed @ The Apollo
Sonic Youth @ Academy 1
NEW NOISE HOT FOR 2011 SPECIAL
JAMES BLAKE LIFE IN FILM
If you ever wondered what the bastard son of Mexican guitar virtuosos Rodrigo Y Gabriela might sound like I urge you to alert your ears to the sound of Chorlton based singer songwriter James Kelly.
Armed with only a bandcamp page and an immaculate indie-pop nugget in ‘Go Outside’ Cults sent shockwaves across blogs the world over upon the tracks’ release back in March. Thanks in part to it coming out on uber-blog Gorilla Vs Bear’s affiliated label, Forest Family.
Oxford 5 piece Fixers were one of the success stories from In The City. Playing to a packed out Noho, a heady mix of the cities indie elite and some senior industry dudes, they rocked it.
Blake’s debut EP ‘Air & Lack Thereof’ may have landed back in November 2009, but with the recent release of ‘Limit To Your Love’ 2011 will see Blake rise substantially.
The head of a high-end fashion label Burberry probably aren’t who you’d look to for tip-offs on new bands but, in this case, Christopher Bailey might be right on the money.
There’s just two songs on their Myspace. ‘Iron Deer Dream’ starts off like the best Animal Collective song they never wrote, and some how manages to combine harmonies that the Beach Boys would be proud off, alongside a soaring mix of guitars and electronica.
Sure the likes of Mount Kimbie, SBTRKT and even The XX have all helped warm people’s musical palate with a serving of minimal beats, but Blake’s vocal heavy new single makes him a cross over contender.
‘Burberry Acoustic’ session track, Alleyway, starts off with a xylophone and a tambourine, making for a lovely, if initially unoriginal sound. But half way through the band break into gospellike harmonies, a strong feature of their music.
The strength of his live show is up for debate, as a trip to Leeds’ Nation of Shopkeepers on 3rd December is tempting. But on record Blake excels with an uncompromising production style that allows his music space to unveil a richness of subtle experimentation.
Instantly they bring an upbeat warmth to this song about a break-up. Carla has a gentler feel. This one has managed to grasp that Mumford and Sons knack for making soothing, romantic pop songs with strong melodies.
James breathes new life into the singer songwriter genre combining an urgent vocal delivery with a bass drum pedal and guitar (with case as extra instrument) to create more of metal sound than a pop one. His talent is such that he manages to effortlessly combine flamenco, metal and folk into one mind blowing concoction of sound. James has toured around various Manchester venues and his EP Lost is out now.
The backing and influence of the site, which normally block ones ears before they are opened were duly forgiven. ‘Go Outside’ is the kind of tune that would make both Phil Spector and Joe Meek weak at the knees, such is Cults’ ability to craft 60s styled doowop with a totally contemporary feel.
Vibes from this years CMJ fest suggest that Cults can also cut it live. There’s also Key track: ‘No More tour plans for the UK in Swimming Pools’ February. So this could be Web - http://www.myspace. one internet sensation that will keep growing… com/jameskellyacoustic
Web - http://cults. bandcamp.com Key Track – ‘Go Outside’
The other ‘Amsterdam’ makes use of ethereal drum patterns between synth and guitar lines, in a more psychedelic Friendly Fires kinda way. But it’s the harmonies and reverby vocals which keep you hooked. These guys could well be knockouts with an exciting brand of modern indieelectronica. Web: www.myspace.com/ fixerstheband Key Track - ‘Amsterdam’
Web: www.myspace.com/ jamesblakeproduction Key Track - ‘Limit To Your love’
SEND YOUR NEW BAND TIPS TO RICHARD@HIGHVOLTAGE.ORG.UK TO APPEAR IN THE NEXT NEW NOISE ROUND-UP…
Like an elegant mash-up of 2010’s favourite guitar bands, Life in Film have turned out to be surprisingly original. Web - http://www.myspace. com/alifeinfilm Recommended track: ‘Alleyway’
Les Savy Fav, Deerhoof, Best Coast, Health, Yann Tiersen, Fuijya and Miyagi, Team Ghost, Picture Book, Dutch Uncles and Milk Maid
Published on Nov 26, 2010
Les Savy Fav, Deerhoof, Best Coast, Health, Yann Tiersen, Fuijya and Miyagi, Team Ghost, Picture Book, Dutch Uncles and Milk Maid