Tunes THE HISTORY OF APPLE PIE A$AP ROCKY WIDOWSPEAK LORD HURON PURE LOVE ONWARD CHARIOTS PEACE and many more...
KIRAN LEONARD forget Jake Bugg, forget Tom Odell Kiran Leonard is the solo artist of the future
THE END OF HMV | INTRODUCING... THE AWAY DAYS & PAWS| FESTIVAL UPDATES
IN THIS ISSUE OF T
Tunes 4 6 8 14 17 18 19
GOODBYE, HMV HIP HOP IN 2013 KIRAN LEONARD FESTIVAL UPDATES GREATEST GIGS MUSICAL LEGENDS INTRODUCING... THE AWAY DAYS AND PAWS 21 REVIEWS Contributors
Words from the editor Kiran Leonard. An absolute class act. Listen to his stuff, you will be very impressed. Aside from the main story, we're always giving you up-to-date, detailed festival news and this issue will not let you down. Oh, and how could I forget all the reviews? Enjoy. Sam Davies
Luke Lambourne James Rebello Sam Fleming Oliver Berisford Cory Devine Elizabeth Coop Ellie Kinney Cameron Brown Dan Weller Mark Wynne Jake Cordiner Tom Mooney Yasmyn Charles Robert Jones Darcy Jimenez Tamsin Johnson (cover photo)
1921 The Gramophone Company opened the first dedicated HMV shop in Oxford Street
1931 The Gramophone Company merged with Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI)
Goodbye, David Guetta fans all over the UK were distraught to hear that HMV, Britain's biggest music & DVD retail chain, is going into administration. The decision, revealed on 14th January, was made after the retailer was refused a ÂŁ300 million loan to keep it from sinking. HMV's impending doom is an undeniable shame, it being for many the only shop worth stepping into on the high street. But what about the ridiculous prices that HMV were selling goods at? ÂŁ12 for a newly released album which you can find elsewhere for much cheaper. You could say that they've only got themselves to blame. Pesky illegal downloaders are without a doubt amongst those to blame too, as well as the fact that it's simply easier to buy an album from the comfort of your own home rather than venture into town to purchase it. Half the magic of owning music is the ability to hold it in your hands, and this novelty is stripped away by the convenient and much lazier option of clicking a button. It's not all bad, though. The end of HMV could also see the extinction of mass-produced pop shite and never-ending 'Now That's What I Call Music...' compilation CDs. Vinyl buyers are a dying breed and the possible music-shaped
1990s HMV expanded into Japan and the USA (1990), Hong Kong (1994), and Singapore (1997)
1996 Thorn and EMI demerged and HMV remained part of EMI
1999 HMV Media launched an e-commerce site
hole in the high street could pave the way for independent record stores, thus leading to the return of vinyl and CD purchases. You know, the independent stores where the people selling you the records have a genuine love for music? That's what it is all about. Digital music has been the bully in the playground for far too long now, and by continuing to purchase albums online we're only egging it on. It's time to dust off the vinyl and help them up again. So, by sacrificing a major music retailer, are we saving music itself? Without a doubt. HMV will be sorely missed but fear not, it's far from the end of the world. The amount of people overreacting has been absolutely ridiculous. Many claiming that it's “the end of music” and there are “no other places to get music”. Bullshit. I can assure you, dear reader, that pretty much every album worth owning can be found in a record shop somewhere or other. All we do now is wait for the Rihanna fans to die off and the world of music will be a better place.
HMV suspended its shares and revealed it is set to go into administration
May 2012 Chief executive Fox predicted HMV will return to profit in 2012/2013
By Darcy Jimenez
2008 Rival Zavvi collapsed into administration
2002 HMV Media went public on London Stock Exchange and changed name to HMV Group
2006 Simon Fox joined as chief executive
H I P
What can we expect in 2013? 2012 bought with it a wealth of varied releases to the hip-hop scene. We had the explosion of Frank Ocean and his breathtaking ‘Channel Orange’ early on, whilst late comer ‘good kid m.A.A.d city’ from Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar simply blew everything before it out of the water. But what has 2013 got to offer us? Is anyone waiting in the woodwork ready to eclipse the likes of Lamar or Ocean?
A$AP ROCKY To begin, we need to look no further than under our very noses with Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky and his debut album ‘Long.Live.A$AP’. This time last year, the majority of people hadn’t heard of A$AP Rocky. However a year is a long time in music, and with his album going No.1 in the US, and No.7 in the UK, A$AP Rocky is most definitely now the name on everybody’s lips. For a full review of Long.Live.A$AP head to the review section of the magazine. Top Tune: The new single Wild For The Night ft. Skrillex.
Joey Bada$$ Next up, and a rapper who features on A$AP’s album, is Joey Bada$$. Another rapper with currency in his name, yes, but don’t be fooled by this ever growing cliché, as this is a rapper far from ordinary. Much like A$AP and his A$AP mob, Joey has his own collective in the form of Pro Era. They recently released mixtape ‘The Aprocolypse’, and whilst it has some very good moments, it’s fair to say it hasn’t set the world on fire. His style is a curious one, and it might be hard to put a finger on why so many people are touting him as hip-hop’s next biggest thing, however one attribute that shines out is, quite primarily, the ease in which his voice entices you, leaving you hanging onto every word. Top Tune: Survival Tactics
H O P
In a year in which saw Azealia Banks explode with ‘212’ and her ‘1991’ EP, it seems 2013 has finally sized her up against an opponent who can more than hold her own. New York rapper Angel Haze, who found herself nominated in the BBC Sound of 2013 poll, is bound to draw comparisons to the abhorrent Nicki Minaj not only in terms of sound, but also in flow. And these comparisons wouldn’t be unfair because hiphop hasn’t really had the strongest pool of female artists in recent years. But if you scratch below the surface you’ll see that Angel haze has much more to offer, not only in sheer emotion (look no further than her Eminem remix of ‘Cleaning Out My Closet’). ‘New York’ is an upbeat, arrogant cry to anyone that thinks they’re on her level. Top Tune: Werkin Girls
Kid Cudi Kid Cudi came to the forefront of the music scene back in 2008 with the ‘Day N Nite’ (Crookers Remix), but since then has emerged year after year as an artist with such creativity. ‘Creeper’s which featured on Kanye West’s ‘Cruel Summer’ displayed just how addictive Kid Cudi’s songwriting can be, with the dark recesses of his mind evidently proving a key factor in the songwriting. The album 'Indicud' will be released in early 2013, and this will most definitely be one to watch. Top Tune: Creepers
Astro Last but not least, Astro. Although we often view The X Factor as detrimental to the music scene here in the UK, it could be that the US will be indebted to it, as it’s provided the platform for 16 year old New York rapper Astro. Whilst an artist is young it can often be hard to gauge just how talented they may be, and how they may develop in terms of style, but one listen to his upcoming release ‘He Fell Off’ will underline just how excellent and natural his flow as a rapper is, as well as his ability to pick up on somewhat profound matters, as he questions the nature of fame and its impact upon people. Top Tune: He Fell Off By Luke Lambourne
THE GR UPCOMIn ART
EATEST G SOLO IST
Bowler Hat Soup artwork
Le on ard
KIRAN LEONARD It’s not often you come across an independent musician with as much instrumental and artistic talent as Kiran Leonard. On the surface he’s perhaps easy to overlook: a 17 year-old that started out producing “cheap Radiohead knock-offs” who spends evenings in the back of Cuban police van (as you do). However even upon first listening of this astonishing multiinstrumentalist it’s hard not to be impressed, even if it’s only by his undeniably excellent instrumental abilities. Leonard entered into the alternative music scene three years ago with ‘Moth Enters the Bright Lights’. Just short of brilliant, ‘Moth Enters the Bright Lights’ was a “darkish electronic” record with clear underground artist influences. In July 2011 Leonard released its follow-up, ‘The Big Fish’. Fundamentally different to its predecessor, ‘The Big Fish’ took Leonard’s music in a new direction Although the record did feel a little bloated at times and had a sharp clash of genres, you couldn’t help but see the potential in Leonard’s work. Last October Leonard finally graced us with ‘Bowler Hat Soup'. The record is dazzling in every sense of the word, an intelligent album which shows just how well Leonard has mastered the genre. ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ is a collection of shorter songs, ditching the overambitious guitar solos and 25 minute prog tracks for fresh and bright sounding piano based tunes and a wider use of Leonard’s vocal talents. In producing ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ Leonard has gone to great lengths to showcase his endless instrumental capabilities which sees him record the parts for drums, guitar, mandolin, cittern, ukulele, reed organ and pretty much everything else you hear on this densely packed record. ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ kicks off in dramatic fashion with ‘Dear Lincoln’; a powerful opener driven by upbeat, in-your-face piano and the best of Leonard’s drumming talents, as heard on ‘The Big Fish’. It’s hard to believe it was written when Leonard was just 14 on a broken piano in his front room, it’s rather extraordinary really.
minute song onto his website entitled ‘The End Times’. ‘The End Time’ is less of a supplement to ‘Bowler Hat Soup’, more of a showcase of his best work to date and what he stands for as a musician. The song tells the story of a nihilistic teenager living in rural America whose uncle comes upon a spacecraft prophesising unknown horrors concerning the apocalypse as it is in the mind of Kiran Leonard: “a synchronised outer space attack and plethora of natural disasters”. ‘The End Times’ is an excellent composition with a darker, more visceral quality to it than anything Leonard has by embracing jazz and prog influences. Whilst being full of outlandish and excellent guitar solos, and interesting drum arrangements it is probably best to remember it for Leonard’s captivating use of vocals that were nowhere to be found on ‘Moth Enters the Bright Lights’. In sharp contrast follows the slow burning and beautiful ‘Brunswick Street’, a song that clearly means a lot to Leonard. “[Brunswick Street] is about the street in Melbourne. I visited it when I was 10. It was full of old record shops & second-hand clothes.” Leonard explains. The lyrics share Leonard’s experience with us in stunningly poetic fashion, painting an excellent picture of a bustling and active shopping street. This makes the song the perfect soundtrack for walking about town to. ‘Brunswick Street’ is quite possibly the best track on the entire album, a song that, while being thoughtful and having superb attention to detail still manages to make for enjoyable, easy listening. The album continues to intrigue and indulge with bold and dramatic songs which without fail reveal sparks of sheer brilliance from Leonard in amongst all the chaos of sharp contrasting song moods, thick textures and occasionally violent track transitions. There’s also a clear experimentation with influences, which is most obvious in ‘There’s No Future in Us’ and ‘The Battle of Hoopla Bay’ with outstanding guitar arrangements, heavier, more aggressive drums and an apparent lack of cheerful upbeat rhythms like those which precede them. Many of ‘Bowler Hat Soup’s’ best moments
However aren’t as obvious as this: the female vocalist’s performance on ‘Hoopla Reprise’ is breath-taking, but profoundly understated. She is simply referred to as “my friend Harriet” by Leonard. It is important to note though that there are certain aspects of this record that won’t be to everybody’s tastes. For example, the album’s content is lot more intellectual and thoughtful than your typical every man generic singer-songwriter’s. Don’t expect big, catchy choruses and songs about love or depression; Leonard far surpasses those typical singersongwriter conventions. The album ends on an emotional note with ‘A Purpose’; consisting almost entirely of delicate and moving reed organ chords, it’s reminiscent of Radiohead’s ‘Motion Picture Soundtrack’, which is very high praise indeed. The lyrical content is eerily beautiful, there’s talk of “a lost generation” of youths to which Leonard questions “how will they atone for the bodies they left alone?” This damning reflection on today’s youth brings ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ to a timely and satisfying close. In the month following the release of ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ Leonard made a return to prog in a move that would surely please fans of his earlier works when he posted a 24 minute song onto his website entitled ‘The End Times’. ‘The End Time’ is less of a supplement to ‘Bowler Hat Soup’, more of a showcase of his best work to date and what he stands for as a musician. The song tells the story of a nihilistic teenager living in rural America whose uncle comes upon a spacecraft prophesising unknown horrors concerning the apocalypse as it is in the mind of Kiran Leonard: “a synchronised outer space attack and plethora of natural disasters”. ‘The End
Times’ is an excellent composition with a darker, more visceral quality to it than anything Leonard has produced before. In plain English, it’s well worth a listen. At the end of January, fans were treated to a surprise EP release from Leonard, which he posted on his website with an option of downloading it for the more than reasonable price of £1 and zero pennies. It kicks off in typical Kiran Leonard fashion; big and bold, with the EP’s title track ‘Oakland Highball’. Taken from ‘Bowler Hat Soup’, ‘Oakland Highball’ is a fantastic tune that, unfortunately, just failed to stand out on the album what with its ‘Dear Lincoln’ reprise half way through. There is no such problem here, when listened to along with the B-sides included on the EP it sounds fresh, individual and majorly impressive.
The End Times artwork
In terms of B-sides this EP has two great offerings, ‘Hecataeus’ and ‘Inside’. ‘Inside’ is a quiet and modest track, consisting of not much more than eerie echoing vocals and a steady acoustic guitar rhythm over schizophrenic electronic buzzing. ‘Hecataeus’ is a more relaxed and upbeat piece, with two clear sections. The first section comprises of twitchy drumming and melodic rhythms that you can’t help but hum along to. The second makes use of some twisted guitar tampering and vocals reminiscent of those of Aha Shake Heartbreak-era Caleb Followill’s (of Kings Of Leon) in parts, giving is a really interesting feel. Overall ‘Oakland Highball EP’ does exactly what is expected of a good EP. It makes for decent listening without overshadowing any, more significant, album work, and for
just £1, how can you say no? Listening to this brilliantly talented young artist does leave you feeling a little unaccomplished yourself, be warned. However that rarely matters when you’re immersed in listening to his stunning contributions to the independent music industry. It’s plain to see that the talents of Kiran Leonard know no bounds, and while his music isn’t without the occasional flaw it clearly sets the bar for other upcoming independent artists at an extremely high level. It will undoubtedly not be the last we hear of Kiran Leonard what with an upcoming new mix and vinyl release of ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ and a promised 4th LP called ‘GRAPEFRUIT’, but until then there is plentiful works of sheer brilliance from Leonard to keep you occupied.
Oakland Highball EP artwork
INTERVIEW with KIRAN LEONARD
DO YOU THINK being as young as 17 HINDERS YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING NOTICED IN THE PUBLIC EYE?
was listening mostly to American songwriters like Sufjan Stevens + Van Dyke Parks. I also listen(ed) to lots of the Mothers of Invention, Deerhoof, Yo La Tengo, Sun Ra, Stars of the Lid, Godspeed You! Black Emperor + the Beach Boys. At the moment I really like Harry Pussy, Death Grips, Masonna, American Football and DJ Screw.
No, not at all. I think if I was maybe a little bit more egocentric and got more of a kick out of pushing my music to people my age would work to my advantage, but that's not really the person I am. Music is something that people know I do but I don't talk about it or promote it at college. I don't write to blogs much and there aren't very many photographs of me on the internet. That isn't an attempt at fake mystique or something; I'm just not into photography and none of my friends are. The opportunityor the inspiration rarely arises to take a photo of myself. I think if you're willing to become this character of sorts, and be fully immersed in social media advertising, make the provocative Twitter page and the Form spring for your fans and all this, being young can boost your fanbase immensely; look at OFWGKTA, Pro Era, maybe even XXYYXX to an extent. â€œLook, this guy's my age and he's on Jimmy Fallon! He's 16 and he made it onto the front page of Pitchfork Media!â€? I don't think it's selling out or something shallow like that, but I think that people like your Tyler, the Creators or Joey Bada$$es are dynamic and confident in a way I'm not. I'm just not comfortable with trying to be a social media kingpin. I use Facebook for updates and that's all. So, no, in summary, I think youth is a great advantage if used in a certain way.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE IN 5 YEARS TIME?
WHO ARE INFLUENCES?
Because I wrote and recorded Bowler Hat Soup over a year ago now (I originally put it out in January 2012, but since then it's been re-mixed and re-mastered for a label-backed release) my influences now are completely different to what they were in 2011. When I was writing Bowler Hat Soup, I
I'm not sure. I was thinking about this today; whether music is a sustainable way to survive or if I will eventually have to go and get a different job via university or what have you. I'll always be doing this, though, in whatever shape or form. Canada.
HOW MANY ALBUMS HAVE YOU WRITTEN IN YOUR SHORT LIFETIME? I started out making CD-R's to give to my friends (or nobody at all), mostly electronic music but also acoustic guitar improvisations + songs that mostly sounded like cheap Radiohead knock-offs or something. I made about 7 or 8 of those before I moved onto releasing music on the internet. I made about 10 records of pretty much exclusively electronic music, released on netlabels I founded and quickly folded, and also probably a score of other releases I contributed in small parts to, or released under different pseudonyms or what have you. Last year I put out 8 releases, including albums, live recordings, EPs, a cassette + a mash-up album. In short, I've lost count. I would place a rough estimate at around 40 albums that exist, which I have contributed to in some shape or form musically. By Robert Jones
The line up for California’s annual Coachella Music & Arts festival has been announced, and it is quite spectacular. Friday night will see joint headline sets by Blur and The Stone Roses, who are also joined on the bill by the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lou Reed, Modest Mouse, Beach House, Metric, Jamie xx, alt-J, Johnny Marr, TNGHT, Jake Bugg and *deep intake of breath* Japandroids. Saturday night sees Phoenix headlining alongside the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Knife Party, Two Door Cinema Club, Trash Talk, Zane Lowe, Moby, Descendants, Foals, Biffy Clyro, The xx, Sigur Ros and New Order. The Saturday night will also see the return of The Postal Service, which has excited the vast majority of the musical world. Red Hot Chili Peppers headline Sunday night, with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, the Wu-Tang Clan (massive), Vampire Weekend, Tame Impala, La Roux, James Blake, Excision, Dinosaur Jr and Grimes joining them. The announcement that seems to have caused the most controversy amongst Coachella-goers this year is that of The Stone Roses, with many bemused revellers tweeting about the fact that they had no earthly idea just who the hell The Stone Roses were. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire festival however, is the comeback of The Postal Service. The
two piece (comprising of Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab For Cutie fame) and producer Jimmy Tamborello) haven’t released anything since 2005. They’ll for sure be a major draw for Coachella. The absence of The Rolling Stones from the bill has also been the cause of a fair share of anger throughout the internet. The rumours of a Stones headline set spawned when Coachella released a cryptic photo of what seemed like a stone rolling down a hill. They have since then made clear that the photo actually depicted a polo ball on a polo pitch. Mick Jagger then further rubbished any whispers of The Rolling Stones playing Coachella by saying “We’re not gonna do Coachella, ‘cause it’s too early.” And so, that was that. By the looks of this year’s line-up, Coachella 2013 is going to be nothing short of stellar. The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will take place on the 12th to the 14th of April, and then pick up again the following week between the 19th and 21st. By Jake Cordiner
There is nothing more exciting that festival season and it is currently that time of year when the speculation and rumours get their opportunity to be proven right or wrong. But it isn’t about the mammoth festivals as the atmosphere is just as exciting at your smaller, and even local, festivals. This week Loch Ness’ very own RockNess has announced its first acts and there are some exciting names on the bill. The most exciting of the bunch has to be Bombay Bicycle Club. Although there is no formal new material, you can expect one or two fresh songs. But this the Bombay; they’ve got a brilliant back catalogue across 3 albums and when they go into favourites such as ‘Always Like This’ and ‘Dust On The Ground’, expect an exhilarating time. Moreover, The Maccabees will be sure to entertain following the release of their third slightly disappointing record, 'Given to the Wild'. However, fan favourites 'Latchmere' and 'Wall of Arms' will definitely get the crowd's pulses racing. The festival has made an obvious effort to appeal to all, including a handful of dance acts in their booking. Example will be making an appearance fresh on the backlash of his fourth studio album, ‘The Evolution Of Man’, released back in 2012. He is one of those artists who has a lot of shit tracks. There are stronger dance acts that could contribute to a more fulfilled weekend. But it definitely could be worse; they could have opted to book numerous acts heralding the
‘dubstep’ moniker. But for every turd, there is a sheet of toilet roll. So let’s be thankful Basement Jaxx made it onto the bill. Although they aren’t the most popular dance act around today, over the years they have had some great songs that really do supply a decent attitude for those who enjoy a straight up rave. It’s been 8 years since ‘Oh My Gosh’ was released. 8 years. But we know it’s going to sound better than ever. Then, there is always one; the one that has unbelievable potential to blow everyone away. RockNess has booked Madness. The ska favourites can be seen as has-beens, but that is not true. They played the festival circuit last year and played some fantastic performances. It’s feel good music and, even if you aren’t entirely satisfied by their announcement, wait until you arrive. It’s a while off the intended June date for RockNess, but it’s always excitement when acts are announced. The billing order has yet to be published, but expect to see the likes of Madness near the top. There are many more acts to be announced so this could be your potential summer destination at a reasonable £139 price for the weekend. By Sam Fleming
Bestival is known for being the end to the summer festival season, with it taking place in early September with an eclectic blend of artists. At the most recent Bestivals we’ve seen The Cure, Pendulum, Björk in 2011 and last year we saw Florence + The Machine, New Order and that marvellous man, Stevie Wonder. So what could follow such brilliant line ups, well as it happens, Elton John. Now I understand that Elton is not everybody’s cup of tea, and the people at Bestival obviously feel the same way too, because guess who’s headlining also... Yep, to headline Bestival 2013, as of 30th January, it’s that famous 1-2, Elton John, and Snoop Dogg. It is true that Bestival appeals to people of all different tastes, so it is a good thing that the organisers have got headliners as diverse as Snoop Dogg and Elton. But it just seems odd when you say it out loud. But it’s not just about these two names, though they are massive to have on board, as the people at Bestival have managed to get some other rather large names on board. Former headliners, The Flaming
Lips will return to the festival in 2013, also Johnny Marr and Wu-Tang Clan on the bill will be sure to bring great things. Another name sure to be mentioned and not to be missed, is that of Tom Odell, who is set to have the biggest year of his career so far. Peace and Bastille will be promised great crowds wherever they go, with these two up and comers playing the festival as well. One band that is sure to bring a good following are Scottish indie outfit Belle & Sebastian, who sure know how to brighten a room, or even a sky, and another band that can do the same is Bombay Bicycle Club, who are also at the festival. One band sure to be overlooked by the masses are French electro swing group, Caravan Palace, who would be worth seeing. So, Bestival 2013 then. It looks set to bring in a whole variety of people, and though that’s sometimes a bad thing, this festival, this year, looks as though it’s going to be a really quite interesting end to the summer. By James Rebello
Greatest Gigs WHEN? 4Th June 1976
Scientists have pinned the creation of the universe down to one chaotic, spectacular and quite literally explosive moment. On a slightly smaller scale, Sex Pistols played Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976, in a small upstairs room; the moment in which punk happened in a supernova of chaotic feedback, scruffy Mancunians watching some scruffy Londoners and a plethora of ripped up bondage clothing. Surely that’s far too great a comparison? Why was such a tiny event so important? While the event itself was a mess of poor organisation and terrible equipment, it was the wave of events that followed that leads us to the significance of this tiny gig. There’s hazy detail of how many people attended, from 50 to 150, but, drawn in by some magnificent God of music, or the thought of a 60p night out, that night brought out some people who would go on to change music for years to come. Who knows what crossed their minds; “I want to be these guys!” or perhaps even “My God, even I could sound better than this”, but either way, we should be ever-grateful for Sex Pistols’ influence upon them. On 16th June, a letter was sent into NME by one “Steven Morrisey” (nice spelling, NME), lover of glam punk band New York Dolls and future front man of indie legends the Smiths, who was in the crowd that sacred night. “I’d love to see the Pistols make it. Maybe then they will be able to afford some clothes which don’t look as though they’ve been slept in” he wrote, after describing how “it’s nice to see that the British have produced a band capable of producing atmosphere
WHERE? Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall
created by the N.Y. Dolls and their many imitators.” But Morrissey was not the only future famous face lurking about at Lesser Hall, for this was the night that Ian Curtis met Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook, who were looking to form a band, and proposed his lyrical and vocal skills. These men, with the addition of drummer Stephen Morris, then went on to form the band known first of all as Warsaw and then of course as Joy Division, and made an unforgettable impact on the face of independent music, before Curtis’ tragic suicide in 1980. Another band still enriching Manchester’s musical history is the Fall. Frontman Mark E Smith claims he would have been destined for a career down the docks had it not been for this Sex Pistols gig, working with the aspiration that “whatever I did would have to be better than most of the so-called punk shite I was hearing at the time”. These are merely a handful of examples of the impact on the independent music scene following this immense moment of breakthrough. Who knows what bleak music we could have been stuck with without this explosive young band of green hair and safety pins, breaking moulds set by the British music industry and influencing bands everywhere to this very day? Could an event like this ever happen again? Just looking at the UK Top 40 makes you beg the question: is it long over-due? By Ellie Kinney
Musical Legends ERIC CLAPTON
Eric Clapton, otherwise known as ‘God’, was born on the 30th March 1945. Before his astronomical rise to the musical icon that he is today, there was a young boy from Surrey receiving an acoustic guitar on his thirteenth birthday. Like many other legendary musicians, he taught himself to play, getting to know the fret board well, devoting his time to finding the hidden chords and the sweet, hard-hitting notes. By sixteen he was already a phenomenal player and began busking on the streets and around the pub circuits of West London. This would be the start to a legendary musical career. Being heavily influenced by the blues as a teenager, it was only natural that he would join a blues/rock ’n’ roll band; The Yardbirds. This was in 1963, a time when The Beatles were filling concert halls and The Rolling Stones were wet ink on the inner pages of the New Musical Express. With the Yardbirds he appeared on hits such as ‘For Your Love’ and ‘Got To Hurry’, the former being a hugely popular single. The group’s willingness to continue producing pop songs after their success prompted Clapton, a Blues purist, to leave the band in search of his passions.
After a short stint with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, where he earned nickname ‘Slowhand’, Clapton joined the group Cream, following an invitation from Ginger Baker to join himself and Jack Bruce. Clapton matured as a singer and honed his guitar skills into the distinct 'woman tone' that still exists to this day. The Cream era saw a great many timeless songs created, with Clapton contributing some of the greatest riffs of all time, only challenged with the arrival of Jimi Hendrix in the late sixties. One only has to play ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ and ‘Tales Of Brave Ulysses’ to be entirely consumed with his immense skill-especially with the
iconic 1964 Gibson SG, painted entirely in psychedelic colours, a heads up to the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. Like so many other musicians, Clapton fell hard down the alley of drugs and alcohol towards the end of the sixties and through the seventies; initially a way to cope with the barrage of notoriety he faced daily. He faced a particularly hard addiction to heroin, spending as much as £8k a week on the painfully seductive drug. Eventually he kicked his habit, but the heavy drinking remained. This affected his performances, often missing gigs or passing out, and even playing an entire gig whilst lying down. Despite the abuse his body was facing, he still managed to play some of the most amazing songs ever. His cover of ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ effectively brought reggae over to England, and his cover of ‘Cocaine’ (clearly making the song his own) is perhaps his most recognisable piece of musicianship. The birth of 'Blackie' can be attributed to this era; a Fender Stratocaster constructed using the best parts of three separate guitars. Eventually he kicked his habits, but his troubles were far from over. After losing his son in the most tragic of circumstances, Clapton wrote the emotional song ‘Tears In Heaven’ as a final goodbye to his boy. Clapton has since been inducted into the ‘Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame’ three separate times; with The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist. He will be celebrating his 50th anniversary as a professional musician in 2013 with a tour and an album which is due on the 12th March. Without his devotion to music the industry would have been totally different, as his work has influenced many generations of musicians. Clapton truly is a musical deity. By Tom Mooney
The away days
Stereotypically, Turkey is known for exporting clothes, textiles, fruit and vegetables. However, its latest export is of a musical variety, and even then we are not dealing with a traditional Turkish band - The Away Days are different. Judging by the band’s influences (a list ranging from Bombay Bicycle Club to Foals and The Maccabees to The XX), you’d be forgiven for thinking The Away Days were just another British indie band, but when the music kicks in, the listener is hit by something very different, and not just because they are not British. A very upbeat yet simultaneously relaxed sound is brought to you by Oguzcan Ozen, Sezer Koc, Berk Tekelioglu and Burak Se rter. Sharing a bond only guitarists can explain, Ozen and Koc started the band in an almost clichéd fashion: meeting in college, sharing similar ambitions and deciding to start a band. The rapport between Ozen and Kec is evident, with leads and rhythm complementing each other smoothly. The Away Days released their first three-track EP in September 2012 and have consequently impressed fans and critics alike. Starting out on the underground indie scene in Istanbul, the band managed to be named as a ‘promising band’ at the Newcomers Festival. From then, a change of scene ensued. The lads began to get noticed and started playing more of Istanbul and capital city Ankara’s bigger music venues.
Recent success for the band include appearing at the same festivals as Pulp, Kaiser Chiefs, Mark Ronson and Sam Sparro and have culminated in an impressive live appearance on Turkey’s premier late-night TV show ‘Disco Krali’. Ozen, Koc, Tekelioglu and Serter claim to perform exorcisms as their pre-gig ritual. A pretty weird pregig ritual by normal standards but it, erm, works... So what does 2013 have in store for The Away Days? Well, the selfproclaimed pioneers of Turkish indie rock will certainly be looking to build on the successes of 2012 with more live shows, a breakthrough into Europe and America. The Away Days’ American invasion might just be imminent. Although full details are yet to be released by the band, they have confirmed they will be playing the prestigious American arts festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in March 2013, sharing the same spotlight as Alt-J, Jake Bugg, Peace and even 2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle, with the music part of the festival being kicked off with a keynote speech from the mighty Mr Dave Grohl. Just two weeks into 2013 and it already looks to be a big year for The Away Days. With a sound that manages to fit into what is popular (indie-wise of course) and stay fresh at the same time, surely a full-length record is on the cards. Don’t be surprised if you see or hear about these four Turkish lads in the UK in the near future. The Away Days might just get to play away for once. By Mark Wynne
Paws may have existed for what’s coming up to be four years now, but they’ve yet to break through as a household name. 2013 could be the year that they accomplish this. With a fantastic debut album coming out in October of last year, the only way is up for these lo-fi making punk-loving Scotsmen. Paws were formed out of the band A Copenhagen Hope when a member, Nick, left to pursue other projects. But it started much before then, at Phillip and Joshua’s high school, when the two of them were brought together by punk music. Nick had wanted to start a band with the two of them and introduced them to current member, Matt. And thus brilliance was born. As I have mentioned this band love punk with one of their favourite albums being Minor Threat’s eponymous. And it’s fairly easy to see it in their music, with them coming somewhere between FIDLAR, Best Coast and Wavves in terms of sound. 'Sore Tummy', their latest release, sounds like Best Coast with less feedback thanks to the vocals of Alice Costelloe, but it sounds original, it sounds as if you should be somewhere, probably California, just kicking back
and smoking something that is probably not legal. For a band from not-so-sunny Glasgow to manage this is really quite terrific. You could listen to their album all day if you really wanted it’s sudden changes from noise pop sadness into twisted punk screams from a messed up soul makes it fantastic. This Scottish trio of Phillip, Josh and Matt could, dare I say it, of course I can, be likened to a modern Nirvana: especially when you listen to the tracks off their album 'Bloodline' and 'Winners Don’t Bleed'. It’s a very good album from a very good band. When you listen to this band’s music you think, “fuck man, I want to be on a beach”. This is proper punk music, and it makes you think you can do whatever the hell you want. Paws are a band that makes you feel invigorated and rebellious. When they start their UK tour this month you can expect a hell of a show, the punk influences will make sure of that. 2013 will be the year that Paws get big. By James Rebello
honest, entertaining and lively
REVIEWS ALT-J LIVE
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A$AP ROCKY SAN CISCO
Also... The Remedy | Dutch Uncles | Everything Everything | Kill Moon | Onward Chariots | Slaves | Teleman | Wolf Alice | Widowspeak | The History of Apple Pie | Pure Love | Flamingods
Hip hop is on the rise A$AP Rocky LONG.LIVE.A$AP
After making waves in 2011 with his mixtape 'LiveLoveA$AP', Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky’s highly anticipated debut album is finally with us after it dropped on the 15th January, with it bringing one pervasive question; is the hype warranted? When the track listing was announced, eyebrows were raised. For not only was it quite a lengthy album when taking into account the deluxe tracks (16 tracks long), but a few surprise collaborations cropped up out of nowhere, most notably in the form of electronic artist Skrillex and Florence Welch (minus The Machine). This created a real sense of excitement, with critics and fans alike postulating that this could be, next to Kendrick Lamar’s 'good kid, m.A.A.d city', one of the most important hip-hop records of today. Easing you into the album with a harmonic backdrop throughout, the eponymous track ‘Long.Live.A$AP’ strikes you as an immediate difference from previous work; with the change of pace and harmonic, choir like backing vocals helping to create a real sense of intrigue from the off. In terms of rapping style, it could be compared to the track ‘Demons’ from the mixtape, but there’s so much more to this album opener than the rapping, as A$AP himself is seemingly singing, a drastic change of pace. We’re then bundled straight into ‘Goldie’, the single we were gifted with almost an eternity ago (last May), with the up tempo beat, as well as the distinctive whistling providing the perfect canvas for A$AP to lay down his colourful lyrics, however painfully cliché they seem to be. As the album moves into 'PMW' (known as Pussy, Money, Weed when it leaked in 2012), it’s easy to find yourself wondering whether or not A$AP Rocky has any real substance to him as a rapper, or whether he is just a walking cliché entirely focused on these three things. The Schoolboy Q collaboration is definitely a welcomed one and with a nod to his previous collaboration between the two, ‘Hands On The Wheel’, although not exactly subtle, is one that might have you smiling. Having said that, his verse can’t save the song from what it is, a generic ‘weed’ song with little or no creativity, something that may please some, but frustrate others, those perhaps wishing more for the originality shown in mixtape tracks such as ‘Palace’ or even ‘Peso’. If there’s anyone that A$AP Rocky is slightly indebted to in the music business, it’s producer Clams Casino. The distinctive samples and production injected from Mr Casino no doubt helped make A$AP’s mixtape what it was, and, from the very first second of ‘LVL’, you can feel his presence once more. Unfortunately, ‘LVL’ is another song from A$AP in which he tries to tell you just how much of a crazy street motherfucker he is (whether he is or not is a debate for another day…), wasting no time in declaring himself “Lord
Flacko”, before a valiant roar of “I behead people” is sent out to anyone who may try to take his throne. At the other side of the spectrum, one of the most forgettable tracks on the album, 'Pain', coincides with one the most forgettable collaborations, in 'Overdoz'. It’s not necessarily a bad song, it just feels that a few problems create a larger one; most notably the song’s failure to hit the high (if you’ll pardon the use of vocabulary) it could so easily have achieved. Then, at long last, something special finally ignites the stick of dynamite that’s been perched precariously next to that barrel of petrol that’s been waiting to explode, preventing the album into sliding into the pool of mediocrity it may well have been destined for. Firstly, ‘Fuckin Problems’, the single released in conjunction with the album, is welcomed like an old friend. Verses from Drake and Kendrick Lamar couldn’t be more at home on top of the Aaliyah sample, with Kendrick’s confidence oozing out of each syllable, and rightly so, for it’s by far the songs best verse. Even the abominable 2 Chainz couldn’t ruin this song. Then comes the most contentious track of the album, as A$AP goes hard with his, and I quote “nigga Skrillex”. First and foremost, this song shouldn’t work. Dubstep production and Harlem’s A$AP Rocky? No chance. But my God, somehow, they pull it off. Skrillex’s unmistakable style of production elicits the high tempo, and this seemingly urges our young Rocky into a full on attack, like his boxing coach in the corner of the ring, laying the foundation for the fight, A$AP Micky if you will (reference to the film Rocky was inevitable, sorry). It’s exuberant, it’s infectious, and ‘Wild For The Night’ can get you feeling as the title suggests. Then as the thrilling conclusion to our spectacular trio of songs, ‘1 Train’. Fresh from his bout with Skrillex, A$AP Rocky stands with a readied army of Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, Yelawolf, Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T and the ever exciting Joey Bada$$, urging them to send their rivals to a “cemetery with obituaries”. The song feels dark and it blends an intrepid mix of aggression and despair, arrogance yet weakness, and most definitely success but failure. At over six minutes long it may seem a little over the top first couple of listens, but when it finally clicks, six minutes will not seem long enough. At the other side of all this, we’re greeted with ‘Fashion Killa’, and after the three back to back tracks of such explosion and sincerity from the artists involved, it sort of feels like you’ve woken up somewhere unfamiliar the day after a night out, with a banging headache. Again, it’s not that ‘Fashion Killa’ is a bad song by any means, for the synth hook is excellent, it’s just that we’ve finally scratched below the surface with ‘1 Train’ and then we’re straight back to square one unfortunately. The end to the twelve track album is a slightly calmer one then may have been anticipated, with ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Suddenly’ seemingly blurring into one. Admittedly a less than thrilling conclusion. The four deluxe tracks however offer a mixed bag, and in ‘I Come Apart’ featuring Florence Welch, a much more euphoric end to the album is offered, with Florence perfectly complementing not only A$AP’s vocals, but also the production of the single itself. 'Long.Live.A$AP' is a great debut album from an artist who has got a long future ahead of him in music, yet I can’t help but feel that, as ever with A$AP Rocky, there’s always so much more to come and that if he could move away from his seemingly inane and often clichéd lyrics and produce an album of real emotional consequence (just like his good friend Kendrick Lamar has done) then we can finally look at an artist who might just have it all. By Luke Lambourne
Top Tune: 1 Train
Brooklyn based and western-tinged indie sweethearts Widowspeak first graced our eardrums in 2011 with their self-titled debut album. Now they’re back with 'Almanac', which is best described as vocalist Molly Hamilton put it; “a rock band’s take on movie soundtracks and country cowboy choirs.” Lead guitarist Robert Earl Thomas pinned his influences down to ‘over produced 70s rock music’, particularly T Rex, and whilst 'Almanac' does have the hippy vibes of early T Rex, its simplistic melancholy paired with Hamilton’s beautifully mellow vocal tone sets it aside completely. In a recent interview, Hamilton has admitted her fears of singing in front of people, and how she could ‘actually be moved to tears’ through her fears. Perhaps this is what gives her voice the innocent, soft tones that fit so perfectly with Widowspeak’s melancholic tales. Named after a guidebook to nature’s weather, tidal patterns and astronomical phenomena, and apparently recorded in a hundred year old barn in the Hudson River Valley of New York during the movement from summer to autumn, the natural aspects of this album are an obvious theme both musically and lyrically. The pitter-patter of raindrops and chimes begins with 'Perennials' before a crescendo of melancholic energy- should such contradictive energy exist... The guitarist describes it as “based on the life, death and renewal of plants as a metaphor for everything else in life.” It’s a pretty deep metaphor. So while you ponder life’s complexities, Widowspeak’s mystical music will transport you to another world entirely. 'Dyed in the Wool' combines a striking guitar riff with melodic vocals to produce this hazy, soulful track, perhaps one of the key songs from 'Almanac', before 'The Dark Age' contrasts with a heavier indie rock piece. After being sculpted and adapted for almost two years by Widowspeak, the results are far from the over worked mix up that could have been- The Dark Age is as fresh and pure as anything on this album, and fits in whilst still holding its own as a heavier and darker insight into the band. Thick as Thieves is exactly what it says on the tin- thick with layers of organ, harmonium, autoharp and, believe it or not, pigeons. What more can I say? Words aren’t necessary, proves the next track 'Almanac', originally intended as the intro for 'Ballad of the Golden Hour', an instrumental that still manages to portray the earnest soul of melancholy flowing throughout this album, even in 45 seconds. Personally, I think this instrumental stands better alone than it ever could have starting off 'Ballad of the Golden Hour', a story crafted from nostalgic lyrics of the ever-dreaded passing of time, ending on the eerily thoughtprovoking line “it’s all slowing down”.
The next track, 'Devil Knows', contrasts cleverly to 'Ballad of the Golden Hour' with an upbeat, playful feel on the equally dissimilar subject of living in the moment that surely we can all relate to; ‘”his song is about doing things you know you shouldn't, but being resigned to it.” The following song, 'Sore Eyes', is an almost 5 minute long apocalyptic tale of… optimism? Interesting concept. Cleverly nicknamed ‘Camel’ by the band for its plodding beat, linking to the spaciousness of a deserted place, their western influences are particularly noticeable in this one, and fit in comfortably. The plodding beat is soon awaked by 'Locusts', a plague commonly linked with the apocalypse, starting with a simple but upbeat rhythm, moved by the repeating bass line which pairs surprisingly well with Hamilton’s loose
vocal melodies. 'Minnewaska' portrays Molly Hamilton’s innocently pure voice beautifully in this “sing-along country song, with a cowboy-choir feel” which transports you to a campfire scene along with an acoustic guitar, nature’s sounds with a rippling lake in the background. Serene. And that’s all very well and good until you realize that what you’re listening to is, yet again, a tale of the end of the world. Ah well, it’s peaceful, somehow. Moving on to 'Spirit is Willing', stemming from the idiom “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”, uses simple, light melodies and bouncy guitar to question far deeper meaning. The record ends with the eerily beautiful 'Storm King', summing up the general melancholic yet soulful vibes throughout this album.
effective, while managing to bring the album and its stories to life in the heavier character of songs. By Ellie Kinney
Top Tune: The Dark Age
Despite the somewhat eerily dire, grim but though provoking lyrics, this album remains beautiful in its simplistic tone when photo by Samantha Marble
World beaters The History of Apple Pie Out of View
For the last few months, London based band The History of Apple Pie have been slaving away creating a ‘fuzz pop’ record that emanates the feel of their influences Radiohead, Blur and Sonic Youth. And I am delighted to say that they’ve managed that incredibly well on their debut album 'Out Of View' which is released on the 28th of January. So, to start the album off we have 'Tug', a track that combines heavy shoegaze style guitars with ghostly vocals. “Pulsating shoegaze goodness” is all I have written for this track in my notes, and that’s probably because that’s exactly what it is. 'Tug' is a free flowing example of how music can be mind-blowing. The song makes you want to sway about and hug someone; it’s a brilliant piece of work. Track number 2 is 'See You'. This song is something every good album should have, it’s contagious and hypnotic with its distinct “oh oh oh's” and “ah ah ah’s” and these all lead up into a chorus that is sheer indie bliss. But however good these choruses are, they are nothing in comparison with the outro. The wailing guitars show their Sonic Youth influence, and to recreate that same sound is fantastic. After 'See You' we have 'Mallory', and upon first listening all you can think is “wow”. It’s a superb bit of work that makes the previous two tracks pale into insignificance. The riff in this is majestic, and that’s why this is my favourite track on the album. 'The Warrior' is the next song on the album, and the opening does make it sound ‘Primary Colours’ Horrors. But this is unsurprising given that the album was in fact engineered by Horrors guitarist Josh Hayward, and he has left his mark on a lot of these tracks. The song starts off with its vocals sounding a tad odd, but as the song goes on Stephanie Min’s voice gets stronger and stronger, until the break which consists of some electronic drum pattern or other and then…. BAM, you’re hit by a fantastic bit of guitar with just the right amount of phaser (a lot). This ending is simply marvellous. Halfway through the album, and I’ve not been bored once, we then get 'Glitch'. And this track is all about the guitar. The way it drops in and out seamlessly is fantastic, and so kudos to the rhythm department of Kelly Owens and James Thomas for keeping the energy of the piece going without the guitar. Then we have the chorus, where the guitar comes back in. And my goodness, it’s fantastic. Contrasting with 'Glitch' is the next track, 'You’re So Cool'. Released as their debut single last year, it’s already got a bit of history. But here, following on from 'Glitch', it does sound a bit lethargic to start with. At 1 minute and 22 seconds it does sort itself out though, with a mighty fine guitar riff that combats the cutesy nature of the rest of the song.
Track 7 is 'I Want More', and one thing’s for sure; you will want some more after you’ve heard this one. Opening up with a fuzz sound, you know everything’s going to be alright and indeed everything is more than just alright: this is a song that makes you think, to paraphrase The Cure, all you want is summer. This is a song that makes you want a cider. This is a song that is so god damn gorgeous, that I can’t bloody well wait for festival season.
Now, next up we have 'Do It Wrong', one of their critically acclaimed singles. And with the lyric “don’t be shy”, you can see that they certainly aren’t, with sounds drawn from, yet again, The Horrors and Sonic Youth. I’m running out of three syllable adjectives to describe these tracks, but it is a very good song. Like on so many other songs on the album, the guitar is incredibly important, but on this one, it’s almost as if the guitar is being used as a second vocalist. It’s rather excellent (don’t think I’ve used that one yet).
Oh no, we appear to be nearing the end of the album, the penultimate track is called 'Long Way To Go', and though it’s no 'Mallory' it’s still a quality song. This song, again, is for the summer, and it’s for driving. Specifically, it’s for driving through some forgotten countryside on a hazy kind of day. For sure, about 2 minutes in the riff is similar to that one utilised in 'You’re So Cool', but it worked well on that so why not here?
Ah, finally, the end. 'Before You Reach The End' is incredibly good. At the start of the track we are treated to a Radiohead-esque orchestration of sound. But then, this Radiohead vibe goes away and photo byseems Samantha Marble is replaced by what to be the estranged lovechild of My Bloody Valentine and Yuck. A strange thought perhaps, but one that works rather well. Joshua Hayward played on this track and it’s clear to see; it’s an incredibly experimental mix, but it still turns out to be their standard fuzz-pop-guitar-noise-shoegaze ensemble. So, The History of Apple Pie’s long awaited debut album: a unique but brilliant blend of Radiohead, Sonic Youth, The Horrors and Yuck. Put simply, I adore this album, and indeed this band. The History of Apple Pie have the capacity to be world beaters, and I’m sure they will be. 2013 is going to be big for them, and I’m sure they’ll come out of it stronger than ever. One more thing, I’ve just remembered another three syllable adjective. And this album is indeed wonderful. By James Rebello
Top Tune: Mallory
Unwind and lose yourself
Lonesome Dreams Lord Huron lead by the charismatic Ben Schneider are back and have recently released their first fulllength album, 'Lonesome Dreams' to the world. Their mix of folk and indie has led to widespread critical acclaim in the U.S, even making their televised debut recently on the Late Show with Jay Leno. So this has led us to ask whether the band really do live up to the hype around this album. The album opens with 'Ends of The Earth', simple guitars and a chorus of soothing “oooohs” give way to Schneider’s raw, yet gentle voice before leading us into a slightly grander chorus which brings with it guitars tinged with distortion, creating a blissful antithesis between the tranquil verses and slightly built up choruses. The underlying influences of folk can be heard throughout the track through the twangs of guitars and banjos recurring consistently within the track, combined with the slide guitars introduced in the outro of the song we could even get a feel for a country, western sound. This then leads into the standout track of the album 'Time to Run', bursting full of energy this slice of folk-pop instantly has us tapping our toes to the beat. With such a feel good melody to it expect this track to be a major hit come summer at festivals across the states, and hopefully in this country too! The simplistic break in the middle of the song creates a mystique, it’s as if we know it’s about to give way to a massive chorus of sorts. The occasional echo-y guitars are slightly reminiscent of WU LYF too, however this grandeur chorus fails to arrive as the song simply reverts back full circle, yet with such a feel-good track bringing with it summer vibes it’s hard to really fault the track at all. Following on from this we have the title track of the album, bringing with it a slightly more layered, built up sound, contrary to the previous two tracks. Again the clean yet reverb tinged guitars almost float over the subtle drum patterns whilst Schneider’s voice leads the song with a gentle sound. Despite being a more electronic song, in terms of instruments used, the band doesn’t lose any of their folk, acoustic charm. 'Lonesome Dream' is simplistic in its approach with short, snappy verses and choruses, yet the album and a band as a whole already seems set for big things despite only being three tracks into their debut album. 'Ghost on The Shore' is a truly beautiful track. The harmonica and lonesome guitar go hand in hand to start the song off and the further introduction of the rest of the band, guitar, bass and drums adds to the depth of this breath-taking song. The mimicry of the waves
creates an incredibly serene atmosphere to the song and allows for the listener to lose themselves in their imaginations and daydreams. After this we are introduced to 'She Lit a Fire', which follows the suit of this album in being introduced with the single acoustic guitar, before of course taking a faster beat with the introduction of a bass guitar and drum beat. The feelings of joy and excitement floods back on this track, as if someone did in fact light a fire within us. To say this album is being released in January it has such a warm, summery feel to it, enough to make any of us feel warm inside whilst listening to it, I certainly hope these guys will be doing the festival rounds this year. They will easily be on my summer soundtrack with all these blissful songs, they’ve struck a winning formula on this album, it’s sheer brilliance. After this we have 'The Man Who Lives Forever', which creates yet more summer vibes with the mix of samba, Caribbean rhythm and Schneider’s melodic vocals. At one point he says, “why can’t the story go on forever?” The same could be said for this album, it’s that good that it’s almost as if we don’t want it to end. Again the sound of the track has differed slightly, it isn’t so much a folk track but more of an infusion of different sounds, quite hard to pin down to one particular genre but whatever it turns out to be the track is another solid one on what is turning out to be a flawless album. The album closes on the aptly named 'Lullaby', which as the name is a gentle and soft closer. Schneider’s vocals drifting in and out subtly whilst the guitars don’t twang and jangle like they previously did, they float over the acoustic backing track. The slower feel to the song allows for perfect reflection on what is a perfect album too, to say it’s only eight tracks a lot of work has been put into them and as a result the band have created a magical album here. It makes a great change from the tedious, generic “folk” created by the likes of Mumford and Sons. So if you’re looking for something to unwind and lose yourself in, Lord Huron’s 'Lonesome Dreams' is definitely for you. By Oliver Berisford
Top Tune: I Will Be Back One Day
Unwind and lose yourself
Pure Love Anthems
You have no idea how much joy it gave me to type the title. As a Gallows fan, and indeed a Frank Carter fan, it’s been quite a while waiting to see what the next big step for Frank’s new band would turn out like. And it gives me even more joy to say that this big step, an album titled ‘Anthems’, is magnificent. To start the album off we have the track ‘She’, and she is a beauty. A delicate guitar part manages to sound gutsy with just the right amount of distortion, and Mr Carter’s vocals do not disappoint, sounding emotional and rich as you’d expect from a vocalist who gives every performance his all. However, this doesn’t sound like the same man who was in hardcore punk band Gallows not two years ago, and Frank’s reasoning comes clear on second track, and Pure Love’s debut single ‘Bury My Bones’. Released as a free single in April last year, the track starts off with the line “I’m so sick of singing about hate, it’s never gonna make a change”, in reference to his Gallows days, but we see with this song that Frank, and Pure Love’s, music isn’t going to be ‘soft’ necessarily, no, it is in fact the opposite; with hard hitting power chords, a bass part to steal your heart and the drums making sure you’re pumped up, it’s a winning combination. Following on from ‘Bury My Bones’, we have a fantastically riff-y track ‘The Hits’, which is promising right from the first quaver. The regimented guitar part gets your head nodding, and then once the chorus comes in you’re thrown right into one that is sure to be brilliant live. If you’ve already seen Pure Love live, then you’ll know the next track, ‘Anthem’, in fact you’ll more than likely recognise all the tracks on the album, but ‘Anthem’ is clearly recognisable. The distinct verses of “down, down, down, we go-ooo” will be something to remember, as will Frank’s voice getting more and more husky throughout, and with a piano being utilised on this track it is reminiscent of a proper rock piece- and that is not a bad thing. Track 5 on ‘Anthems’ is ‘Beach Of Diamonds’, the band’s 4th single, and it definitely sounds like a big one
for live performances. Mr Carter is in fantastic voice on this track, and the way he is backed up by the very much ‘treble’ based guitar is also fantastic. And then you get to the chorus. It’s a definite for singing along, with its “Dive in, dive in, come on, dive in/sometimes you’ve got to throw caution to the wind” getting you hooked at first listening. It’s simply a really good track. ‘Handsome Devils’ Club’ comes next, and we get a bit of cheek from Frank, with his provocative lyrics like “Give me a good girl/down on her knees”, this is bounced off a wall of guitars that will make you want to dance about a bit; all in all it’s a good combination.
Track 7 is ‘Heavy Kind Of Chain’ and with its arpeggiated guitars and emotional vocals, followed by a string section that could get even the most hardcore of Gallows’ fans swaying (possibly- don’t try it) it is a beautiful track. ‘Burning Love’ is a bluesy track, that doesn’t sound bluesy thanks to the distortion of the guitar. But again, it is an emotional track, with its chorus of “Don’t you look at me with those eyes/you be the petrol and I’ll be the fire”, and with a brilliant middle eight, we are reminded of just how powerful Frank Carter’s voice is. ‘Scared To Death’ is a track that I think is reminiscent of Foo Fighters in terms of guitars, and the ‘alive’ feeling created with the jumpy verses; it’s no bad thing. You might feel a bit bored towards the 2 minute mark though, but that’s fine because following on from this track is Pure Love’s 3rd single ‘Riot Song’. ‘Riot Song’ is one that does seem jubilant with the guitar almost trumpeting at the start of the track and the track only gets better. Frank again shows off his vocal capabilities, and with a chance to show your own off with a section of “wo-oh-oah”-ing, this song is as good a reason as any to see Pure Love live. Finally, we get the track ‘March of the Pilgrims’, which, again, sounds jubilant, it could be used in any celebratory montage in any film. It’s a top quality song, and what it does that is so important to end an album, is that it brings the album home. So, what Pure Love have done with their album ‘Anthems’, is create an album of rock anthems. Not one song seems to be filler here, in fact it seems as though the album is actually just a collection of singles, or even a greatest hits; it’s remarkable. But, to truly get the feel for this band, you must go and see them live. I’ve seen them twice already, and they do not disappoint. A truly fantastic band. By James Rebello
Photo: James Archibald
Top Tune: Beach of Diamonds
A shimmering synth arpeggio
This Is My Confession Onward Chariots (great name) are an indie-pop four piece hailing from New York City, who have just released their debut album, entitled 'This Is My Confession'. The album starts off with the double header 'Opening/This Is My Confession 1'. A shimmering, synth arpeggio is the first thing we hear, alongside some heavy heavy reverb, until the tune fully kicks off with a robotic guitar riff and some killer drums. One thing that’s immediately evident when listening to Onward Chariots is that they seem to be big fans of jazz, this is shown unashamedly in the song 'Sisters & Brothers'. A subdued vocal by frontman Ben Morss, which is expertly backed up with a delicate flourish of percussion. After a continuation of 'This Is My Confession 1' (titled, *gasp*, 'This Is My Confession 2') we get 'Forever Never Ends'. Morrs sounds great, and the instrumentation makes the tune sound like an offcut from the Jungle Book soundtrack (no matter how negative this sounds, it’s not a bad thing.) After that, we get 'You Don’t Have To Be Unhappy', one of the album’s highlights. It’s a song custom made to be listened to in the summer. It seems as if the band had saved most of their experimentation for the last quarter of the album, well, that’s if 'Get Me Out Of This Party' is anything to go by. It’s a tongue-in-cheek attack at modern pop music and clubbing in the 21st century, with the lyric “we’re turning into the people we used to ignore” perfectly summing up the band’s feelings about modern clubbers: a bit wanky. 'Stay' is the album’s ballad, and it’s strangely beautiful. Delicate piano throughout the verses before a pounding drum comes in during the choruses. It’s very understated, with some excellent lyrics, in which Morss begs a lover he’s clearly been jilted by to stay. Excellent stuff. The final track on the album titled only 'Confession 3' is a bit of a guitar freak-out. It’s just a 2 minute long jam, filled with drum fills, solos, some random piano popping in and out and a hell of a lot of fuzz. It’s great, and an apt way to end the album. All in all, This Is My Confession is a gem of an album. It wears its influences on its sleeve, but it never seems as if it’s trying to copy anyone else. A stellar effort from the NYC 4 piece. By Jake Cordiner
Top Tune: Get Me Out of This Party
Having released album Sun on the 21st of January this year, Flamingods have given people reassurance in not having to look forward to a year of mediocre mundane music. When describing this record the word ‘tribal’ tends to come to mind in the ruckus of noise that is Flamingods. With the energy of a Brazilian street carnival; primal, pounding drumming, expressive whoops and off beat clashing cymbals, the band capture a tropical flurry of percussion and primitive chant. Not only is the record upbeat it is still equally as atmospheric, and not only does it take aboard the simplistic qualities of ancestral tribal sounds it is still equally as complex. LP 'Sun' is a merge of world music condensed into a highly intricate and interesting smorgasbord of sound. Western influence is shown subtly in the midst of the album, unlike many records which tend to distinctly merge instead. For some, Flamingods may be far out of their comfort zone but to not become completely absorbed into the record would be incredibly difficult to do due to its psychedelic hypnotic qualities. Exhibiting a mostly tropical influence, Flamingods go as far as also incorporating the delicacy of Japanese folk music which surprisingly compliments the tribal primal sound described earlier. You can hear this in track 'Kinich Aham'. Track 'Quesso' also takes on world folk in a style almost reminiscent of Latin music. People may on first glance mistake Sun to be a somewhat pretentious “ethnic pop” record but in reality, what the Flamingods have created is intelligent, well-crafted music that does not stick to any boundaries of genre, or in fact location. By Yasmyn Charles
Top Tune: Sun
The dreaded second album
Everything Everything Arc
The difficult second album - a phrase despised by the entirety of the music industry. With a Mercury Prize nomination and the success of their 2010 album 'Man Alive' firmly behind them, Manchester four-piece Everything Everything return with 'Arc', but will it live up to its long awaited hype or fall into the infamous second album trap? The album uses the two pre-released tracks 'Cough Cough' and 'Kemosabe' in the first ten minutes of the tracklisting and it's not surprising. These gems seem to be the only two with the true, driving energy of 'Man Alive' properly harnessed and almost need to be at the beginning to stop the listener from biting their hands off with boredom. 'Man Alive' presented us with the electricity of faster, funky tracks such as 'Qwerty Finger' and 'Photoshop Handsome' but also the less often slower charms of 'Tin (The Manhole)' and 'NASA Is On Your Side'; what 'Arc' seems to do is switch the ratio and instead supply us with far too many unenergetic, dragging tracks. Although still retaining their distinctive math rock influenced beats and riffs along with the distinctive sound of Jonathan's lead vocals in co-operation with the equally distinctive group harmonies defined in 'Man Alive', the quartet delve deeper into the risky business of synthesis and also employ orchestral sections in 'Choice Mountain' - which only seems to enhance the fact that they're taking a more laid-back attempt at there style. Although lacking in the rapid hyperactivity of 'Man Alive's' biggest tracks, the songs are in no way half-hearted. Their passion for their unique songwriting still remains, and most of the tracks are still well constructed. The band also stayed with their debut producer, David Kosten, when recording at Angelic Studios and RAK, and so the album is still well produced to their unique style. Everything Everything start a sold out tour from 6th February in Portsmouth and finish in their hometown, Manchester's Academy 2 on 22nd February. Arc brings a whole new side to Everything Everything, like a new band who although being completely the same are also completely different. Whether or not this direction was a good choice only time will tell. By Dan Weller
Top Tune: Kemosabe
Foxygen We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
FoxygenÂ is an indie rock duo consisting of friends Sam France and Jonathan Rado, formed in California in 2005. After being discovered by music producer Richard Swift, they released their first album 'Take The Kids Off Broadway' in July 2012, and have returned with their second, 'We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic'. The album title is a ridiculous mouthful, but you wouldn't expect any less from a band renowned for their kooky experimentalism and
general oddity. The opening track, 'In The Darkness' is brilliantly strange and disorientating, and sounds as if it's taken straight from the 'Rocky Horror Picture Showsoundtrack'. There are hints of The Kinks' sublime weirdness, only with added glamour. 'No Destruction' is a prime example of the band drawing inspiration from 60s rock bands. Vocalist Sam France sounds wonderfully Marc Bolan-esque and despite telling a tale of lost love, the song sounds anything but bitter - "you politely say I miss you but we know you don’t mean that anymore" a forlorn France croons.
love, before breaking into a glorious “believe in yourself” chorus. At around 2.30 minutes the track veers off down a funky instrumental road and the wild journey ends with a good old sing-along. Every track sounds like Ray Davies on psychedelics and the album is a feast of quirkiness and creativity. What's more impressive is that fact that it took only two chefs to make something so delicious to the ears.
Layers of piano, narcotic drums and France's wails combine to form 'On Blue Mountain'. The chorus is reminiscent of Elvis Presley's By Darcy Jimenez 'Suspicious Minds' only bluesier, and replacing a gospel choir withchild-like backing vocals. It's beautifully hazy yet still raw and Top Tune: charged with energy. 'Shuggie', the first single from the album, oozes with jazz. France sings of rhinoceros-shaped earrings and unrequited
Death by Groove
Out of Touch in the Wild
Belfast’s new indie band The Remedy released this toetapper early January for free download, so I propose this: forget your ‘get fit’, ‘lose weight’ or otherwise not-going-tohappen new year’s resolution, drop them all and follow this band. I can guarantee you it’ll be far cheaper than a Weight Watchers membership and a hell of a lot more enjoyable. 'Death by Groove' may not be polished and pristine, but it shows real potential in this unique band.
5 years into their career, Dutch Uncles have caused little stir in the music industry, and for good reason. The band debuted in 2009 with their self-titled album 'Dutch Uncles' before signing to Memphis Records to begin work on the follow-up album 'Cadenza' in 2011, which was released to averagely positive reviews. Their latest release, 'Out Of Touch In The Wild', out 14th January, should see the band building on the critical success of its predecessor, but instead leaves you feeling as though your mind has been significantly numbed.
The opening track 'Two Left Feet' sends us swinging into this debut EP with a jazzy bass line and impeccably smooth lead guitar, before the vocals kick in. The Remedy say their influences stem from a mix of indie, funk, ska and jazz; an unusual concoction resulting in a unique and interesting sound. Next up is 'Crown Jewels', with a slower build up and more indie vibes than the jazziness of 'Two Left Feet'. The chorus lets this song down due to its simplicity, both musically and lyrically, in comparison to the verses. On a whole, this track doesn’t seem to have much to it, which is disappointing considering the potential unleashed in 'Two Left Feet'. However, it still maintains the toe-tapping beat that becomes expected and anticipated with this band. They pull it back however, with 'Addiction Takes Hold' in a similar indie funk/jazz style to the opening track, showing us again what The Remedy are capable of. The mellow instrumental middle section adds an unusual and quirky twist to this song, yet jumps back to the faster pace before you get too comfortable, with a sudden transition. This however is not a complaint, as it’s the jumps and changes that surprise us constantly with additions to keep us quite literally on our feet. The funky bass returns in 'Monkey With A Gun', with compelling energy and a catchy melody, this is another track you’ll be humming for the next few days. The Remedy have pulled the funky middle section card a few times on this EP, but surely this track wins of them all. The simplicity of the chords, drum beat and bass line begs anticipation for what is to come; the melodic guitar followed by a complimenting instrumental solo before yet again jumping to an energetic chorus. A live acoustic finishes this EP beautifully, revealing The Remedy in their raw state through another catchy yet simplistic, short and sweet tune. 'Get Out' will be recorded at a later date, which after listening to this EP, will be highly anticipated. No matter what your style, The Remedy are worth a listen to. Their skilful unique blend of genres paired with distinct vocals and tonnes of energy expose their real potential to be a great upcoming band in the near future. By Ellie Kinney
'Out of Touch In The Wild' is almost a chore to listen to from the very beginning. The opening track, 'Pondage', effectively acts as a metaphor for the consistent drivel which is to follow. It's a fairly nondescript, depthless song that does little to endear even the most patient music fan. Bassist Robin Richards seems to be the only thing holding the following track, 'Bellio', together. It's an all-too familiar upbeat indie pop track that does little to inspire any emotional response with its characterless lyrics and overenthusiastic synthy keyboards. The singles, 'Flexxin' and 'Fester', two songs which should stand out on the album as being the defining tracks, simply fail to come across as impressive or remotely different to anything we've seen before from the likes of similarly poor bands of this genre such as Two Door Cinema Club. Lyrically the album is dead, with lead songwriter Duncan Wallis' lyrics being inherently dull and uninspiring. Wallis appears to have the lyrical capabilities of a half-wit who struggles to express the supposed underlying themes of addiction and friendship throughout the album. Thus the album ends as it started and as it was all the way through: utterly abysmal. The final tracks 'Nomento' and 'Brio' fail to break from the drab and generic indie pop which precedes them, not that anyone would be mindless enough to listen to the album to the very end anyway. There's nothing of any real interest at all on 'Out Of Touch In The Wild', and certainly no respite from the sheer bombardment of unintelligent music on this album, it is little more than a consolidation of indie pop stereotypes. Wallis recently stated that, “it’s still an album to be listened to with pop ears, and not to be considered as an overblown progmath-rock-bloody-time-signature ideology.”, which seems to be the perfect summation of the record, effectively admitting that it is conceptually drab and far from ambitious. By Robert Jones
Top Tune: N/A
In the past few years many musicians have moved away from the clichéd indie sound and setup of distorted guitars, simple drum beats and chatty vocals in order to experiment with the way in which indie is perceived. This has led to many bands either failing miserably or spreading their music on a much wider scale. Perhaps the best example of this transformation is Arctic Monkeys’ 2009 album ‘Humbug.’ This record suddenly changed the image of the group from four cheeky chappies to 4 vintage rock 'n’ rollers. The sound of bands such as Art Brut and The Rakes became too recognisable and a surge of new psychedelic like groups have appeared on the alternative music scene in recent years. Wolf Alice are a prime example of this new indie sound.
After a dazzling EP in late 2012 San Cisco are back and ready to explode once again on to the UK music scene. The band’s debut EP ‘Beach’ was generally well received by the British media, receiving airtime on Radio 1 and XFM to name a few. It was a freakishly catchy and addictive EP and now the four piece are raring to get more material to the UK. San Cisco are preparing to release the single ‘Wild Things’ on February 18th 2013. Reflecting an obvious eagerness the band keep impressing and the tune by no means disappoints.
London based Wolf Alice unleashed the single ‘Fluffy’ to the music world on 11th February 2013. The band bring a fresh approach to this sort of ‘stoner rock’. With the siren like guitar welcoming us in this song will appeal to many cannabis users around the UK. The vocals hit the psychedelic marker perfectly with a sense of calmness throughout the verses before being greeted with a thickly textured, loud chorus. This song is full of effects, on the voice, guitars and the general sound which all contribute to the ‘different’ or ‘unique’ sound of the track. The building up of sound the verse leading to the chorus, for me, adds a greatly needed sense of suspense and is reminiscent of waiting for the beat to kick when listening to dance music. The song toys with the emotions throughout, leading us from one extreme to another in a matter of seconds. With a duration of 2:57 the song is perfect in achieving its desired goals. It is unclear and would be slightly silly to judge the trio at this moment in time, because of the lack of heard material but if they continue to produce solid, emotive and to some extent ‘drug conjuring’ sounds like this one I place my faith within the band to become somewhat successful. By Cory Devine
Reflecting a more refined angle to the group, ‘Wild Things’ explores many new heights of which San Cisco have yet to touch. The track is more creatively engineered in comparison to past works such as ‘Golden Revolver’. What can only be described as a wonderfully crafted pop song, ‘Wild Things’ melodies, perfectly thought time signatures and bittersweet lyrics all come together to create a masterful record. Again utilising the dual vocals of Jordi and Scarlett the band have found the perfect balance to produce great music. Sharing microphone time, Jordi on the verse and Scarlett on chorus, the track is sculptured ever so softly. Scarlett’s voice has the power to enthuse which is vital for any catchy chorus, backed up with Jordi’s casually impressive voice the two have mastered the trade. The chorus reads “You try and stay awake for when the wild things play”, delivered to a tee from Scarlett’s biting voice these lyrics bury themselves into the mind. Also the song chucks in a whistling section, which you subconsciously whistle along to when familiarised with the single. With a touch of Vampire Weekend flair and Foster the People cheekiness this song is a feather in San Cisco’s cap. The accompanying music video was banned in their native home of Australia for the portrayal of a witch hunt. Overall San Cisco have represented themselves as a perfect band to gain much coverage, through their solid ‘Beach’ EP and now this controversial, sincere and deep single ‘Wild Things’. By Cory Devine
From the second it starts, 'Nervous Energy' does a lot to prove its title is both right and wrong at the same time. The latest single from garage punk duo Slaves brings an immense amount of energy to the fore, but it definitely does not seem nervous.
The initial muted guitar strums and thuggish “ugh” set the tone for what is to come - punk rock at its stripped down, yet impressive core. The sounds from Laurie Vincent’s guitar work very well Isaac Holman’s drumming and it all works with the shouty and at times
aggressive vocals to provide a familiarsounding punk track. When it comes to the breakdown, right after you hear “This is nervous energy”, it would be incredibly difficult for anybody listening to this song, or witnessing it live, to refrain from some sort of head nodding, foot tapping or even mosh pit shoving. While it is a short track, it certainly makes up for it in explosiveness. By Mark Wynne
The up and coming London trio, known as Teleman unveiled their debut single ‘Cristina’ to the world on 14th January 2013. This song, being the debut single, will be pivotal for the route in which the group will take. A debut single, for any band, is a major stepping stone towards music fame and can either be the beginning or end of their life span.
Ethereal coolness, undiluted reverb and effortless vocals is what we’ve come to expect from the latest batch of noise pop bands that seem destined to dominate 2013 and the latest single ‘Shine’ from up-and-coming band Kill Moon thoroughly lives up to those expectations.
‘Cristina’ can only bring good things to the future of the trio. With soft lyrics and a catchy beat, you could describe it as The Strokes and Kraftwerk mating. I first listened to this song the day after its release and it was stuck on replay throughout my mind as I lay in bed that night. Biting lyrics and slow melodies contribute to the simplicity of the track whilst at the same time adding to the soul of the music. The song opens with a heavy electronic blur before greeting you with the soft textured melody and words. If New Order and Joy Division had been the same band, this is the sound that would have been produced. A plucky guitar section, simple beats and chord progressions all work wonderfully within this record. This song, even though it can stir many feelings, probably won’t feature on my Spotify playlist after doing this review but I can only find positives with this track and I believe that it will be the beginning of a flourishing life for Teleman, rather than an abrupt ending which we see with many new bands. The song gives off a strong sense of emotion, which will appeal to many music lovers across the UK. The track itself was produced by legendary Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and is available on either 7 inch vinyl or digital download. By Cory Devine
Forming in Brighton after discovering their mutual love for dirty guitars, big drums and Nirvana’s seminal ‘Nevermind’, Kill Moon have rose from the ashes of their previous guise ‘Whats Your Vice?’ with a fresh impetus and change of direction and now look well on the road to big things this year, following their recent support slot with BBC Sound Of The Future winners, Haim. ‘Shine’ creeps up on you with a Johnny Marr-esque guitar jangle and lead singer Izzy Phillips melodic wail before hitting you with the sucker punch of crashing drums and an explosive riff that really drags you into the song by the scruff of the neck. Izzy drops into a psychedelic drawl that oozes confidence and really embraces the Joan Jett vibe, before the guitars kick off again towering into psych-oblivion and taking Izzy’s vocals with them; soaring through a bloody catchy chorus. Izzy Phillips really does seem to be the star of the ensemble, marrying the ingredients of the riff-laden synth and off-beat rhythm together with excellent vocals and a controlled aggression not dissimilar from the Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan. ‘Shine’ is a track that will make people stand up and take note of the potential of Kill Moon, a real diamond in the rough with just the right amount of perfect imperfections. By Cameron Brown
What a better way to start the year than for our favourites, Peace, to bring out a single? Obviously I am sure that the majority of you have heard the single that is 'Wraith'. If you don't like it, you clearly have some grave mental illness. The distorted sound, the flirty guitar riff, Harry's seducing vocals and a caressing bass line combines into a masterpiece. Is it their best yet? That is too hard to say. However, what you can say, is that if Peace keep going in this direction, without doubt, they are going to be huge. So, it was time to see what else the 'B-town' kids were producing with their b-side 'Scumbag'. Don't get me wrong, it's not awful, but it's hardly on a par with the genius of 'Wraith'. The lyrics “I am so good for...” get
repeated far too much but all is saved as the tinny strumming of an acoustic guitar leads into a fiery ending, which you can always expect from Peace. Take the ending to 'Bloodshake' for example, it guarantees one hell of a mosh pit. If your birthday is on March 25th the attention will unfortunately not be on you as the Birmingham boys' debut album is released on that date. It is going to be one of the greatest days of the year, it is going to top Christmas, for sure. By Sam Davies
ALT-J LIVE Where? Shepherd's Bush Empire When? January 18th
On January 18th, fans braved the snow to queue outside Shepherd's Bush Empire, where Alt-J would play their first gig of 2013. The two support acts, Nightworks and Clean Bandit, satisfied the crowd but neither band received quite the response that Alt-J did when they took to the stage. It was clear that most, if not all, of the crowd knew the band's debut album 'An Awesome Wave' by heart, with each song being met by a rupture of cheers whilst the band had only strummed the opening chords. After the suitable 'Intro', comes a performance of 'Tessellate' so slick and sultry it could charm the knickers off your nan. Frontman Joe Newman's vocals pour over the crowd like honey and it's as if he's singing to you and you only. Every track on the setlist is devoured by the crowd, who sing along heartily and sway as if in a trance - 'Matilda' sounds like a karaoke night, only so much more beautiful. 'Breezeblocks' is one of the night's many highlights, it being
arguably their most popular single. It's a heartbreakingly wonderful song and is made even more so by the rawness of Newman's vocals and the plethora of lights and suspended, glowing bulbs that illuminated the stage. The band also performed a surprising cover of Kylie Minogue's 'Slow', slowed down and made undeniably cool. Alt-J seem to have the ability to transform absolutely anything into perfection. Quite fittingly, the band end the night with the two closing tracks on their album - the beautifully fragile 'Handmade' and bhangra-spangled 'Taro'. They seem genuinely humbled by the applause and screams of adoration that they so deserve. It really was a magnificent show and one that I'm sure will be remembered by all for quite some time. And the way things are looking for Alt-J, it's unlikely we'll see them in such a small venue for much longer. By Darcy Jimenez
Photo: Darcy Jimenez