frightened rabbit // diana vickers // kate nash
taylor hawkins and the coattail riders // sandi thom dan le sac vs scroobius pip // scouting for girls
Also : CD REVIEWS // GIG REVIEWS // Movies // TV // competitions
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Welcome to another edition of the Banter Festival time is fast approaching and our lives are being taken over by the purchasing of tents, hunting out our wellies and constantly checking the weather for Balado, Inverness and other great music festival locations. However before all that we have managed to pull together another great edition of The Banter Magazine as well as prepare for Volunteers Week 2010 this coming June. Volunteersâ€™ Week is an annual event which celebrates the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK. The Week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to get involved too. As a not for profit publication written entirely by young volunteers we hope you check out all the different ways in which you can make a difference in you community or through projects like The Banter Magazine. Remember this magazine is all about you and we are always looking from more contributions from volunteers who may be interested in getting involved. If you think you would like to get involved with the magazine or have any feedback about it or have any suggestions of what you would like to see in future editions then drop us an e-mail at email@example.com
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Issue 2 2010 ● www.thebanter.co.uk
6 INTERVIEW - Diana Vickers
We talk to the X Factor contestant whose “LIttle Voice” recently got to number 1 in the UK charts
8 Aussie Rules
Tht The Banter checks out some of the hottest artists from Down Under
15 CD Reviews We take a look at the best recent releases in the music world
26 Interview - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip
Handsome front men, social awareness and beards with Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip
32 Interview - Lissie
An interview with the voice that everyone is talking about.
37 Gig Reviews
A round up of some the hottest gigs in Glasgow over the last few months.
42 Interview - Frightened Rabbit
Chris Hay talks to Grant from Scottish band Frighetened Rabbit.
A loo A look at the upcoming movies to hit your screens over the upcoming weeks.
Maxwell Lynas grades Matt Smith the new face of hit TV series Doctor Who
54 Theatre Your chance to win tickets to The National Theatre of Scotlands latest stage show Beautiful Burnout
t The Gossip Girl Effect - We look at the latest . trends inspired by the hit US show.
Love music festivals? Interested in Volunteering? Oxfam gives you the opportunity to do both this summer
37 THE BANTER |
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Diana vickers interview by sean david // photography by daren borzynski
been a while since Diana Vickers was on the small screen as a contestant on the X-Factor, with unique performances making her the bookmakers’ favourite and often polarizing viewers. Since her appearances on the X-Factor in 2008 however, she’s gained the attention and praise of theatre goers in the starring role of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice on the West End stage. Some people, on the other hand, still recognize the 18 year old now but can’t quite remember how. “You get asked questions like “Do I know you from work?”, she laughed. “Either from X-Factor or Little Voice, I’ll still get recognised. It’s strange, as it’s been a while but people still remember and sometimes can’t remember where from.” While many hopefuls from the reality competition have a brief opportunity in the limelight following the show, it is only now that Diana enters the chart battles. Possibly, bound for success similar to that she has earned in theatre having won the award for London Newcomer of the Year at the Theatregoer’s Choice Awards. On the offer to star in the show, extended by its own creator Jim Cartwright, Diana said: “I was taken aback by it, and was thinking about the album but eventually I knew it was something I couldn’t turn down.” “The West End was something I wanted to do eventually anyway, and there was no rush for the album” added Diana, from Accrington, Lancashire. Cartwright told The London Paper last year that as soon as Vickers read for the part, “it was magic”. She took a break from working on her album to begin performing as Little Voice in October last year. Quickly becoming a star on the British equivalent of Broadway was unexpected, but gave Diana an opportunity to experience another facet of the entertainment world quite different to being on screen. “Theatre was intense, singing on stage every day. I preferred the theatre and getting to play a character that I got to know very well and loved playing it every night. The audiences were great and supportive. TV was great, being live every week too.” Working on the album, Diana collaborated with Guy Sigsworth, who has previously produced tracks by Madonna, Britney and the Sugababes. In addition to the experience from Sigsworth – also one half of Frou Frou with Imogen Heap – the album features contributions from diverse young talent such as Lightspeed Champion, and Ellie Goulding. She said: “it was so good. I have so many great memories, it was a privilege to work with them, lots of fun. Guy helped me a lot. And when working with Lightspeed Champion, it was really nice to have a different approach, the stuff sounds different to the rest on there. Ellie was great, she just won at the Brit Awards too.” “My own influences are Cyndi Lauper, Kings of Leon, Queen and Judy Garland but obviously the album sounds nothing like them. I’m a fan of Frou Frou’s sound though, and I think that comes through” Diana added. As already noted, a fair length of time has passed since her shock elimination on live television. Others eliminated have come and gone, dropped by Simon Cowell such as Steve Brookstein, Same Difference and Leon Jackson. Eschewing the Cowell conveyor belt, the record has not been rushed. Discussing her new album, Diana described what to expect. “I would describe the songs to people as fun and original. There’s a lot of variety on there and with it being in my own words, there’s a lot of meaning. Some tracks on there that are really upbeat and you can let off steam to.” Just prior to speaking with The Banter, Diana had held auditions for the new band that will accompany her on tour. “We’ve found everybody, it’s a great set of guys who are lovely and I can’t wait to rehearse with them for the tour” she said. Diana has completed her first UK tour but is on the road yet again with Scottish fans able to see her live at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on May 20 (08444 999 990 and www.gigsinscotland.com) as well as at this years T in the Park. Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree is available now. THE BANTER |
kate chambers takes a look at some of the australian artists to look out for this summer
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lisa mitchell >
www.lisamitchell music.com British born Lisa Mitchell left our shores with her family aged three, making Australia her home for the next sixteen years. In that time, Lisa was introduced to the works of “the best man in the world” Bob Dylan, learned to play guitar, came sixth in television sensation “Australian Idol” and wrote her debut album “Wonder”. Not bad for a 19-year-old but Lisa Mitchell is not your average teen. It is clear that this Aussie pop sensation is on her way to becoming a worldwide star. Her glorious debut album is a big, folksy breath of fresh air in a music scene that is currently cluttered with bland female singers who seen more interested in their skimpy outfits than their musical output. Lisa Mitchell is different. On songs like “Coin Laundry” and “Oh!Hark!”, her voice is a fusion of the delicate tones of Laura Marling and the edgy sounds of Regina Spektor, topped with a sprinkling of smart, witty lyrics. Despite having started her career on a reality show, Lisa Mitchell is far from manufactured pop. This young musician has worked to create a powerful sound that sets her apart from others and will no doubt guarantee her success.
louise anne geddes
< the temper trap www.myspace.com/thetempertrap
There is no doubt that “Sweet Disposition”, the first single from Melbourne based band The Temper Trap, was the sound of summer 2009. It was that song that everyone loved but didn’t know the name of. It seemed to be playing everywhere. On the radio, in adverts, on T.V. shows, in films, everywhere! Now, no-one can forget this band. With such a memorable single, The Temper Trap looked set to make a mark on a busy British indie scene and their debut album “Conditions” did not disappoint. The combination of lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s rich falsetto tones and ever-pounding drums was a refreshing joy, suggesting that this band have lots more to offer. The band are currently touring the UK, showcasing the hit song that we all love and a whole lot more too.
www.kylie.com Kylie Minogue returns this summer with her 11th studio album “Aphrodite”: a suitable title for the goddess of pop. This new musical offering is set to cause a stir with Calvin Harris and Stuart Price (Thin White Duke) just two of a host of famous names who have collaborated with Kylie to produce this dance floor friendly record. Her new single “All The Lovers”, tipped to be a scorching summer anthem, will be available from June 28 and Kylie herself seems excited to see how it is received. She says, “The single was one of the last tracks to be written for the album. As I was recording it I knew that “All The Lovers” had to be the first single; it sums up the euphoria of the album perfectly. It gives me goose-bumps, so I’m really excited to hear what everyone thinks of it.” The album is set to be released on July 5 and fans will be hoping that all the songs on “Aphrodite” are as heavenly as the title.
www.myspace.com/siamusic This summer sees the return of Australian pop sensation Sia with her new album “We Are Born”. Sia herself describes this as “the album I’ve been wanting to make since Colour The Small One”, her debut album back in 2004, “But I wasn’t allowed”. Now, Sia is in control and her new sound seems more upbeat than her previous work, with ‘You’ve Changed’, ‘Bring Night’ and her next single ‘Clap Your Hands’ destined to fill dance floors around the world. Even with this change in direction, “I’m In Here” shows that this talented woman is still capable of writing a hauntingly beautiful ballad. Over the last few years, Sia’s popularity has steadily grown as more and more people are hypnotised by her quirky style. Such a distinct voice coupled with happy, toe-tapping pop beats is a delicious recipe for a good summer album and will make her one to watch out for this year. THE BANTER |
SOUNDTRACK interview by anna gault
or many bands the story often goes that they have been around and making albums for years but they are still almost unknown. This could be said for Minneapolis four-piece Motion City Soundtrack. The majority of members are now in their thirties but are still plugging away and making music. Lead singer Justin Pierre and guitarist Joshua Cain started the band 13 years ago and despite some line-up changes they are still going strong and have just released their fifth album. Instead of offering the traditional reasons of good music and strong wills, Pierre gives an alternative reason for the solidarity of Motion City Soundtrack, “I think it is Josh and I’s complete and total devotion to the hatred of one another” He is, of course, joking but a comment like this provides an insight into the real reason why this band has remained together, they don’t take things too seriously. “We don’t really know what else to do, not that we are even great at doing this [being musicians]”, Pierre elaborates. “But we enjoy doing this a lot more than we like to do anything else so that’s kind of why we started and why we continue.” Beginning in the late 90s, the band was born around the same time as the nu metal genre was coming to fruition with bands such as Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Papa Roach dominating the airwaves on both sides of 10 | THE BANTER
the Atlantic. It seemed that unless you had a DJ within your band there was no hope for the small alternative rock band. For Motion City Soundtrack however, humble beginnings have meant loyal fans and the freedom to develop as a band and mould their sound. And like many other American bands of the rock music persuasion Motion City Soundtrack were more readily embraced in Europe than they were in their home land. “It was really strange because when we first started playing shows we were way more popular in the UK than in the U.S.” says Pierre. “And we always made a joke of how that’s what happened with the Pixies so maybe we’ll be like the Pixies. Unfortunately we don’t write as good songs as the Pixies.” As with most bands Motion City Soundtrack have played many support slots for larger bands than themselves. While this can be slightly demoralising depending on how long a band is subjected to this until they get their own headlining tour, it gets their name out there. And like many other slightly under the radar bands a combination of these types of tours and their own smaller shows have led to a life mainly about touring and playing live. Pierre claims to have no real preference when it
Music comes to playing in the UK or in the States but when your world revolves around touring he admits there are some favourite stops. “I love playing in my home town [Minneapolis] but it kind of becomes like a dinner party where you’re running around making sure everyone is okay. But I also love playing Glasgow, in particular, because of the film theatre there. I got to see a Terry Gilliam film there that wasn’t even released in the U.S. and its like if I wasn’t in a band and wasn’t playing at the Garage, I never would have seen that movie.” So while touring has its down points there are certainly some perks to be enjoyed. Another one of those perks is meeting high profile bands who end up producing a few of your albums. Such is the case with Motion City Soundtrack who, after supporting Blink-182 on tour, were treated to bassist and singer Mark Hoppus producing their second album, Commit This to Memory and their most recent release, My Dinosaur Life. Pierre again offers an unorthodox response when asked how it felt to reunite with Hoppus after Commit This to Memory and subsequent tours. “It was like making out with an ex-girlfriend that you hadn’t seen in a long time but you still have feelings for,” he jokes but quickly switches to a more sincere answer. “I believe that Commit This to Memory was the first record that he ever produced and since then he has made a lot of records so he has changed a bit in his style. “He’s still amazing but I think the difference is that the first time he wanted to get everything right so he was really particular about timing and everything to be perfect. But in this one although my voice was fixed here and there, I think we left in a lot more of the nastiness than compared to our last record [Even if it Kills Me].” Despite having loyal fans for over a decade it can still be tricky for a band to change their music even slightly. There has to be enough of the old formula that captured fans initially but also something new to invigorate the sound and perhaps bring in new fans. An amendment to Motion City Soundtrack’s sound is inevitable in 13 years but does My Dinosaur Life have the components to satisfy everyone? “I don’t know!” Pierre laughs. “I feel like it rocks more like our earlier stuff but there are still some of the pop-ier elements from the last record. I think we just kind of mixed it up a little bit more.” My Dinosaur Life charted at number 15 on the Billboard rock chart recently so it appears that fans are more than satisfied. And with the release of a new album comes another tour and another chance to show off the energetic and frenzied stage presence they have become known for. Although on the wrong side of 30 and dogged by chronic back pain Pierre is determined to make their shows as lively as possible. “If you want a level of one to ten ‘rockitude’ I would say it’s been a level three for the past few years but I’m hoping that I can get that back up to a seven to ten.” Here’s hoping because with a back catalogue of fourth solid albums, countless tours behind them and their songs featuring in TV show, Gossip Girl, Motion City Soundtrack are rightly receiving recognition after 13 years making music. Yet Pierre explains the formula for recognition rather more simply: “It’s all about timing and hopefully a little bit of talent, either that or we have been fooling everybody.”
The Gaslight Anthem O2 Academy, Glasgow
Wed 23rd June
The Features King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Mon 28th June
Cypress Hill O2 Academy, Glasgow
Wed 16th June
Pink Hampden Park, Glasgow
Sat 26th June
Ellie Goulding O2 ABC, Glasgow
Mon 7th June
MGMT Barrowlands, Glasgow
The Strike Nineteens O2 ABC2, Glasgow
Sat 19th June
Taylor Hawkins Stereo, Glasgow
Wed 9th June THE BANTER | 11
GIRLS CANT CATCH interview by maxwell lynas
irls Can’t Catch might currently be the new girls on the block but not for much longer. Possessed with sweepingly soulful voices, between the three of them they’ve sung with gospel choirs, top R&B stars and in front of literally millions. The girls are currently recording their debut album, scheduled for release on 2 June 2010. Pixie Lott has written a song for their album titled “Happy Alone” and Shaznay Lewis has also written a song titled “Turn It Up” for their album, and this song looks set to be the girls’ third single. As well as Pixie Lott and the former All Saints member Shaznay Lewis, they are working with a stellar line of writers including Johnny Douglas. “We’ve got a pop sound but with a slightly darker edge,” says raven-haired Phoebe. “And we’re all so different,” adds a freshly-cropped Daizy. “Phoebe’s a bit of a rebel, Jess is a sweet girl with a real street style and I’m a bit of a vamp – in a nice way, of course!” INTERESTING FACT: The group’s name was originally offered to The Saturdays, who turned it down, as they wanted a name which didn’t contain the word “Girls”. The group’s first notable performance was as the opening act for Girls Aloud on their Out of Control Tour. Their Soft Cell inspired debut single, “Keep Your Head Up”, was released 2 August 2009 and entered the UK singles chart at 26. 12 | THE BANTER
They performed at the iTunes Festival, performing “Keep Your Head Up”, “Red” (a Daniel Merriweather cover) and their second single “Echo”. The girls have confirmed that they are set to release another two singles before the album including a “big ballad” followed by the album and tour. In November 2009 they were the opening act in the UK for the Jonas Brothers on European leg of their sold out world tour. In March 2010 the girls headlined National Student Pride in Brighton. The event was also attended by Ronan Keating. It has also been confirmed that Girls Can’t Catch and Mini Viva will take on the program, Ghost Hunting With... but the Banter isn’t here to hunting ghost, we are here to have a wee chat with the lovely girls about some of the charity work they have being done lately and what they’ve got planned in the future. The girls are currently on the Choices for Life 2010 tour along with a few other bands including Hip Parade. Choices for Life is a “fun and interactive programme designed to prepare pupils for secondary school and the choices and opportunities they may face. It provides information and guidance to help young people resist negative peer pressure, and illustrates the benefits of choosing a healthy lifestyle free from harmful substances, including tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs.“
gaga W Ten Choices for Life events will be held throughout May in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen. It was originally a local event hosted by Strathclyde Police but in 2005 became a national event, organised by the SCDEA. More than 250,000 primary seven pupils have now attended one of the Scottish Government-funded events. This March, the girls also busked in Covent Garden for the Marie Curie charity. Daizy said: “I think it’s an underrated charity that deserves all the exposure it can get – the money goes to the nurses who care for those who are in their last months or days of living. “It really does take a special kind of person to support and care for someone who is dying, so were honoured to be asked and very happy to help raise money and awareness of this cause.” Phoebe and Daizy, with Jess cheering them on alongside some of the girls’ fan, are also set to be involved with the Fostering Network’s 10k team when on Sunday 11 July they will join tens of thousands of runners and take to the streets of central London for the British 10k Run. Daizy said: “My Mum has been a foster carer for many years so this is a subject close to my heart. “I understand how challenging it can be to foster but I also know the rewards are great. “Every child deserves to be loved and cared for.”
hether you consider her to be the epitome of style, or a cheap gimmick there is no denying that Lady Gaga is a force to be reckoned with! Since the release of her debut single ‘Just Dance’ in 2009, Gaga’s face has been everywhere. Her rise to fame can only be described as meteoric and she has become something of a global phenomenon. ‘Just Dance’, ‘Poker Face’, ‘Bad Romance’ and ‘Telephone’ have all reached Number 1 world wide, and the music videos have generated just as much interest as the music! From appearing live on the X Factor to perform ‘Bad Romance’ in a giant bathtub to performing for the Queen at the Royal Variety Show to teaming up with Beyonce for the controversial video for ‘Telephone’, Gaga has certainly shown the world that she is far from your typical pop star! Definitely not for the faint of heart, Gaga (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) has attracted criticism for her depictions of sexuality, drug use and murder by poison in the video for ‘Telephone’ in which Beyonce is implied as her lesbian lover, and for product placement which is described as ‘excessive’. There is certainly never a dull moment for the current First Lady of music, whose creative team are referred to as the infamous ‘Haus of Gaga’ and are responsible for everything from stage sets to props and clothing lines. Never a week passes by without her gracing the fashion pages of gossip magazines for her ‘interesting’ style choices and trademark hair, and she has even attracted controversy about her gender, with magazines claiming she is a hermaphrodite. Love her or hate her, it is certain that Gaga has given the music industry a much needed injection of colour! Her UK tour totally sold out within hours, and her gigs have been described as ‘pure entertainment from start to finish’. Women love to hate her style and body confidence, and men find her both attractive and terrifying at the same time. So what is Gaga’s secret to her success? She appears to have that elusive ‘something’ that the rest of us can only envy, and even when she attracts criticism in magazines, people can’t help but admire her uniqueness. It definitely seems that despite her status as international superstar, style icon and topic of gossip, Gaga is still something of an enigma. So what’s next? Well, with rumours that she is to star in Quentin Tarantino’s next movie as an assassin, it is certain that Gaga will never get boring! And as to how she can top the video for maxwell lynas ‘Telephone’? Only time will tell! LOUISE ANNE GEDDES THE BANTER | 13
WE THE KINGS INTERVIEW BY MAXWELL LYNAS
onight, the Glasgow o2 Academy is sold out and the queue, which is filled with big hair and bright colours, is already snaking around the building and creeping ever closer to those dodgy flats that sit a bit behind the Academy and it is only 6pm, still a few hours before tonight’s headliners You Me At Six hit the stage but tonight the Banter isn’t here to see You Me At Six, tonight we are here to have a wee chat with support band We the Kings. The Banter had the chance to have a wee sit down and chat with Travis and Danny from the Florida band just an hour or two before the rocked the Academy. How has the UK crowds been treating We the Kings so far on this tour? “Amazing, this has been the best time we’ve had coming over here, this is our fourth time and it is easily the best time, as well as the funniest time we’ve had.” Later on in the night I get to witness how well the UK crowds have been treating We the Kings, as the band are met with screams, that I previously thought only dogs could have heard and every song they played was sang back to them. We the Kings are treated like a headline act by tonight’s crowd even though they are just the support band. So, how different is it between being the supporting act and the headline act? “Obviously as a support band, you’ve got a certain time to get by, so some of the fans can be bummed out that we didn’t get to play one of their favourite songs. “So we just try to do as many songs as we can and try and win over some fans, so when we come back everyone will come out and say hi.” The end of last year saw the release of Smile Kid, We the Kings’ second album but did the band suffer from the cliché “second 14 | THE BANTER
difficult album”? “Do you mean like a sophomore slump? I wasn’t nervous in the studio but that term was ringing in my head as it exists for a reason but we are really proud of the album and we’ve got a good response so far. “It was a little different because it wasn’t the label that was on us for a new record, our first record was still selling and selling. “We just had all this new material we want to get on a new record and get the new music out there. “We were ready for a new record and it wasn’t like “you have to get this record done” so it was much more relaxed.” Smile Kid was released to positive reviews and a good response from fans, so was the band happy with the reception the album received both here in the UK and back in the States? “Yea, our first record took a while to build a fan base and grow but this record has been like a rocket and just gone.” Danny pipes in saying he has noticed the response to the album in weird little ways such as seeing fans with Smile Kid tattoos and such. This summer, We the Kings are set to head out on the Warped Tour, the US travelling pop-punk circus, along with bands such as Alkaline Trio, Sum 41 and the UK’s own Enter Shikari, You Me at Six and Bring Me the Horizon, surely the band are looking forward to that? “Yea it is really exciting; they’ve actually announced us as one of the headline bands, which is just insane. “This is our third year of doing it and even before that, we’d go as kids it’s just a dream come true.” With the band out on the Warped Tour this summer, it might be a while before they hit the UK again but after the reaction they got tonight from a mental Glasgow crowd I am sure they’ll want to be back as soon as possible.
CD REVIEWS cypress hill Rise Up parlophone April 19th saw the release of Cypress Hill’s 8th studio album Rise Up, six years after their last release Till Death Do Us Part but has it been worth the six year wait? Rise Up had suffered several delays before its eventual release, the album was originally scheduled to be released in 2006 but then it was later postponed to March 23, 2010 (exactly six years since the release of their last album), then again to April 6. The album’s release date was finally set for April 19 here in the UK and April 20 across the pond. Cypress Hill have invited some friends to join them on Rise Up, which features contributions from Everlast, Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, System of A Down man Daron Malakian, Pitbull, Marc Anthony and Linkin Park man Mike Shinoda. Rise Up has no real weak songs but it’s in fact; the strongest tracks are those that boast guest spots. A prime example lies in the title track, featuring Tom Morello. B-Real comes across all Rage singer Zack De La Rocha like, while Sen Dog backs him up the lyrics “I go psycho, crazy Michael Myers / And set the stage on fire, go higher/ ‘Cause when our name’s on a flyer / There’s so much smoke it makes the whole city rise up.” With Morello’s unique guitar sound throughout the track you can tell it’s going to be a fan favourite. Other standout tracks are Pass the Dutch, Shut ‘em Down (which again features Tom Morello) and Armada Latina. Cypress Hill are a strange (but not in a bad way) act they toe the line between hip-hop and rock really well and have done for years and it always make listening to a Cypress Hill album a enjoyable experience. Maxwell lynas
white belt yellow tag Methods Distiller Methods is the debut long player from White Belt Yellow Tag, a band with decent pedigree behind it, though connections to the now defunct Yourcodenameis:Milo and The Cooper Temple Clause will probably surprise most upon listening. It’s not the progressive, experimental fare of the fore-mentioned acts but it does have something to offer in a different vein. The album starts strong with Remains and Your Not Invincible being good shouts for future singles; both have memorable sing-a-long moments, the latter coming with a bursting release of a chorus, and pop and indie sensibilities are present in healthy measures. This is a band that aims for catchy, emphatic choruses and does a pretty good job at achieving it. Singer Craig Pilbin has an uncanny vocal resemblance to Chris Martin, with his projections carrying the same kind of withdrawn emotion and honest quality. Lead off single Always and Echoes best displays this and is the standout track, with Pilbin’s voice shining strong when accompanied by soaring guitars that give the song life. This is a pretty consistent debut in both pace and quality throughout, though at times I was waiting for the next gear to kick in and take tracks like We All Have Sound and Tell Your Friends to the next level with a bit of fighting spirit. It is unlikely that fans of the former projects connected to WBYT will find what they are looking for with Methods, but followers of more mainstream acts such as Snow Patrol and Editors should enjoy this offering. chris hay
THE BANTER | 15
Music we the kings Smile Kids SC1 Smile Kid, the new album from WE the Kings, is a tricky customer. In many ways it is a very good album, but in many ways it is also a very irritating album. The main problem, is that the album is dominated with painfully similar pop punk riffs. At no point does the album break away from the formula, which it establishes within the first 30 seconds. However, from the outset, the album is chirpy, cheery and fun. The tunes may all be from the same basic songbook of Pop Punk, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The intention is to make an upbeat Pop Punk album, and they have hit the mark. Overall, in spite of a tone which becomes achingly familiar, the album is fast paced, fun, and enjoyable. Perfect for the summer but slightly out of place amidst a damp Scottish Springtime.
The futureheads The Chaos nul recordings The Futureheads self-titled debut album saw them burst onto the scene to mass acclaim, before a faltering second release, making their third effort crucial. Chaos is reminiscent of the jagged guitar led, frantic punk that made them so successful, but sits somewhere between the rookie and sophomore LP’s in standard. Title track Chaos lets you know you are listening to The Futureheads instantly, with pushy guitars putting pieces of a musical jigsaw together, and Barry Hyde spitting lyrics with a familiar urgency. On the first record there were obvious singles, and while tracks such as Stop The Noise and Sun Goes Down did stand out, there are not the big songs with mass appeal on this record. That said, Dart At The Map is now one of my favourite Futureheads tracks, with its relentless riffage and pounding beat showcasing the Sunderland band at their very best; it is sure to be a favourite with fans old and new, but I would not expect it to follow in the footsteps of Hounds Of Love into the top ten, simply as it is less mainstream. Second album, This Is Not The World, felt like it missed its intended target, butChaos comes across as a natural successor to their debut and finds a band far more settled in their direction. They have recaptured part of what brought them to the forefront initially, and this release should keep the fan base happy. chris hay
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scouting for girls Everybody Wants To Be On TV Epic Recently, the critics have been quite harsh on Ray Stride and Co. In spite of their incredibly successful debut album, which went double platinum, and their newest single cruising straight to the top of the charts, Scouting for Girls just can’t seem to get the aficionados on board. So, with their new album Everybody wants to be on TV can they overcome this? In all likelihood, this won’t appease the critics anymore than their first outing for the simple reason that it really is more of the same. Everybody wants to be on TV is a Pop album, not really that different from every other pop album in the charts, and for this reason, will probably be classed as generic, unchallenging, and lob various other criticisms upon the musical merit and style. I however, disagree with these criticisms. Yes, the album is very similar to their first; yes, every song does have quite a similar four beat rhythm that doesn’t really break any boundaries or try anything particularly special in terms of musicality. However, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. People couldn’t get enough of Scouting for Girls happy go lucky, every man style of Pop Rock and that is exactly what Everybody wants to be on TV delivers. Every tune on the album is catchy, upbeat, and almost a guaranteed toe tapper. Furthermore, and quite importantly in my opinion, the songs all sound slightly different from the one that came before. There is never any confusion over the ending of one song and the beginning of another: a problem, which in my opinion is frequently overlooked by many bands. Sure, no boundaries may have been broken, and it’s not going to go down as one of the all time greats, but it’s a damn catchy album, and at least they attempted a ballad. Albeit it required a bit of assistance from auto tune, but none the less, points for trying. Overall, it probably won’t appease any of the critics, but Everybody wants to be on TV will keep their fans clamouring for more and will in all likelihood be the soundtrack to the Summer of 2010 and will almost certainly be stuck in your head for a while.
glee cast Glee The Music: The Power of
Madonna Epic The global phenomenon that is Glee has once again returned to our TV screens and with it so has another CD. This mini album includes all the songs from the recent Madonna Glee special featuring Glee’s distinctive and unique take on such Madonna classics as “Like A Virgin”, “Express Yourself,” “Vogue,” “Like A Prayer” and more. It is done in usual Glee style so whilst a must for fans of the show it won’t be anything new for those who don’t like it. For those who are Gleeks however the performance of Sue Sylvester doing “Vogue” will be worth the price of the CD alone. A CD that will do well in a niche market but lets not kid ourselves its a very big niche and well serve its fans well.
kate nash My Best Friend Is You polydor My Best Friend Is You initially comes across as part Diana Ross, part Kathleen Hanna and absolutely nothing like the Kate Nash you used to know. On further listening, it’s still absolutely nothing like her debut but can be dissected into various different styles and is likely one of the most experimental releases of the year. Kicking off with a track called Paris, this is as close to the original sound you’ll get from her new effort. Lead single Do Wah Doo, and Kiss That Grrrl are influenced by the plethora of 1960s girl groups Nash had been listening to recently, particularly from the One Kiss Can Lead To Another compilation box set she heavily recommends. Not believing the Phil Spector sound should be entirely replicated, many tracks swing from the girl group style – courtesy of producer Bernard Butler - to become fairly random. Occasionally merging the Wall of Sound strings and the punk sound that can be heard when Kate’s with her side project The Receeders, results in something you would never have expected from the likes of Foundations back in 2007. There’s a lot of spoken word in some tracks such as Don’t You Want To Share The Guilt, I Just Love You More and Mansion Song; much of which is self-referential and comes across as a mix of poignant internal dialogue and short status updates. With that said, it comes in a delivery that should appeal to fans of Henry Rollins’ Liar, or Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies. Pickpocket is - for the first half - definately one for fans of Regina Spektor, or even Regina Spektor herself. But, as is the recurring pattern on this record, it quickly progresses into something different. Take Me To A Higher Plane stands out on the album for having a folk rock element to it that immediately disappears by the next track, I’ve Got A Secret, which is reminiscent of the shoegaze genre with the guitar distortion. The aforementioned Mansion Song follows, being fairly minimalist with little in the way of instruments for most part with the lyrics taking precedence.Ultimately, there’s something for everyone on My Best Friend Is You. By the end of its duration, you’ll either feel it’s slightly erratic or that Kate Nash has become a genre unto herself. One that by the end of the year might have changed the minds of many of her former detractors. sean david
Eli paperboy reed Come And Get It Capitol Music Between Amy Winehouse and Duffy, there’s a resurgence in 1960s music and a step back to Soul – and Boston’s Eli “Paperboy” Reed is the next in line to try for the soul crown. Come And Get It is Reed’s major label debut album with Capitol Records and harks back to yesteryear with its bluesy tone. “Name Calling” in particular is a treat musically from the singer/songwriter which clever phraseology; something which Reed places particular focus on throughout, “I try to write from phrases that I think people will respond to,” Reed explains. “Turns of phrase are very important to me”. Yet, something about Come And Get It feels like it’s been done before, and like a re-run of music bygone. Reed does mix the old school with R&B and is clear in his ideology around bringing his 60s and 70s inspirations into the music with him; he cites a time when he was first introduced to Ray Charles as being the moment soul music changed his life and this inspiration is clear throughout the album. As a newcomer on the scene, this album certainly puts Reed on the map as one to watch, and it’s clear that this soulful performers’ music will continue to evolve.
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Music sharleen spiteri The Movie Songbook enhanced I have to admit that I am really struggling to call this album anything else than disappointing. Something that could have been quite good has turned into something that sounds meaningless, uninspired and pedestrian bordering on elevator music. Nothing really holds this album together, unless the mere coincidence of picking random movie tunes is considered enough of course. In my opinion, Sharleen Spiteri completely fails to stamp something original onto any of the songs, and on the rare occasions she does, it fails. It all sounds like she is trying too hard to please everyone. “Between The Bars” is one of the few songs that actually works for me, it has a certain sincerity to it and doesn’t try too hard. How I wish her approach would have been similar with the rest of the material, but most of it just dives into the depths of insignificance: Alright in your local shopping mall, but if you want to listen to it at home, it doesn’t do more than being background music for housework chores. Maybe it will at least make you clean faster… petra raspel
Butterfly explosion Lost Trails Revive records Butterfly Explosion are set apart from many of their contemporaries by their tendency to push a song into overdrive and make the already amazing just stunning. A perfect example is Crash, which is one of my favourite tracks of the year. Its sheer jaw dropping presence and reach for understanding and hope pulls you in and out- building slowly and setting you up for the tidal wave of feeling that bursts through with its emphatic release of a close. Gazz sings something along the lines of “I don’t need to know now, I don’t need to know cause you’re never far, cause you’re never far” and it feels like he’s finally past what was holding him back and is ready to move on. It’s powerful and simply brilliant. Lost Trails took me down all the roads I wanted to travel, sometimes dark, but only to emphasise the light at the end of the tunnel. The guitar work is overwhelming and massive, filling the air and encapsulating the fragility of the vocals as it comes through in glorious waves. The start of the album was perhaps a bit one paced, but then appears a song like Carpark, which is surely destined for a movie soundtrack; it sounds like Mogwai and Massive Attack meeting up like old mates then kicking lumps out of each other when it bursts into life and highlights what is so good about this band. chris hay
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BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE Fever columbia There must be something in the water in Wales, as that little country just keeps producing band after band after band. Over the last few years or so Wales keeps popping out bands, like a mum seeking more benefits pops out babies, there has been Lostprophets, Funeral for a Friend, Feeder, Stereophonics, Duffy, Kids in Glass Houses, The Blackout, The Automatic, I could list like a 100 more but that would be me just blatantly boosting my word count. But wait... I have forgotten one, and that one band is the almighty Welsh metal gods Bullet for My Valentine and Bullet are back and this time those big arenas better watch out because Bullet are a force to be reckoned with. Bullet for My Valentine are back with their follow-up to Scream Aim Fire and this time Bullet for My Valentine have teamed up with producer Don Gilmore, best known for his work with Linkin Park and Good Charlotte, for this their third studio album. Well, Mr Gilmore and Bullet for My Valentine can stand up and take a bow because Fever is a blinder. Fever is packed with all the big choruses and catchy riffs that have been synonymous with Bullet for My Valentine since their inception. The band have toned down some of the trash stylings that were present on previous album Scream Aim Fire but that’s not to say they’ve tone it down any, Fever is still an aggressive and heavy album, a very aggressive and heavy album at that. Tracks such as ‘Your Betrayal’ and ‘The Last Fight’ demonstrate this aggression and heaviness but also highlight Bullet’s ear for a big meaty hook. Fever isn’t all head-banging and circle pits, both ‘A Place Where You Belong’ and ‘Bittersweet Memories’ will no doubt slow down the crowd enough for them to get their 21st century lighters out i.e. their mobile phones. With Fever Bullet for My Valentine are set to be catapulted into the arenas and stadiums of the rock world.
Music train Save Me, San Francisco columbia It’s been some time since we heard from Patrick Monahan, Jimmy Stafford and Scott Underwood; arguably they are most well-known for the twice Grammy winning track Drops of Jupiter. Yet, after a 3 year hiatus, their fifth studio album Save Me, San Fransisco is a strong return to the public eye. Monahan’s vocals, Stafford’s guitar and Underwood’s drums make for a tight trio musically, and this San Fransisco based band sit very comfortably in their genre of adult contemporary, easy-listening music. And the songs on their new offering are no different. The title track is bouncy and upbeat while “Marry Me” showcases not only Monahan’s exceptional voice but also the instrumental talent of the whole band. “Parachute”, while cheesy at times has a dazzling element to the musicality and it’s hard to remember that this is only a 3 piece group. Train also pay homage to “Drops of Jupiter” by including a live version on this album. With a tendency to sound like a meeker Feeder, lacking in the strong rock riffs and heavy vocals, it can be argues that this band could have moved into stronger and less ‘safe’ avenues – and arguably been just as successful. But when it comes to easy-listening, universally accepted radio-friendly tunes, they have certainly marked their place and live well within their comfort zone. It’s been a long 3 years, but their return has proved that it has been a break well spent. clare sinclair
three blind wolves Sound of the Storm nstinctive Racoon / Euponios UK For those of you that thought Ross Clark And The Scarves Go Missing had gone missing, do not threat as the uber talented Scottish writer and his band are back, now going under the guise of Three Blind Wolves. While the new moniker may suggest a lack of the visual sense, you would have to be deaf and dumb to not love this release. Sound Of The Storm may only be six tracks long, but the meld of country, folk and blues on display accomplishes more than most albums with double the tracks. It has standout moments in abundance, with sculpted and intelligent twists to compliment Clark’s distinctive projections of insightful lyrics. First track Hotel is a perfect introduction to the record, wonderfully crafted and clever as it meanders through alternating rhythms and melodies. I was already won over after one song, but the album boasts many gems, like Captain Of A Ship which slips between a stomping verse and soothing chorus, while displaying the versatility and ingenuity of this act. The highlight for me is Emily Rose which sounds like Ryan Adams at his very best and should be the song to bring this band to the masses; the chanted harmony at the end is wonderful in its delivery, and caps off a track with infectious appeal. I hope everyone opens their eyes to Three Blind Wolves as SOTS is a fantastic album, and proof that Scottish music is in an extremely healthy state. chris hay
diana vickers Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree RCA The issue with this album is not, as with most X-factor dropouts, “Can she sing?” because by now it is well documented that Diana Vickers is a singer. From her alarmingly versatile performances on the X-factor, to her award winning West end tour in Litlte Voice, Diana Vickers has always had but one problem: she has no middle ground. If you dislike her, you really dislike her…hate may be a more fitting word. But at the other end of the spectrum, many see her as sensational, so which end of the spectrum does this record fall? In all honesty, I think Diana has struck a good balance. The CD has a nice balance of Pop beats and Ballads, showing off a range that is frankly impressive for such a young singer on her first album. For a perfect example of this, the tracks Four Leaf Clover, Hit and My Hip show this off to its fullest extent. The only disappointment from the album is that in neither the ballads nor the more up tempo numbers are there any booming high notes, nothing that makes you duck for cover. All the songs are good, but nothing particularly mind blowing. Sadly, the main strength of the album, is also its biggest weakness. Diana Vickers, as I mentioned before, is a bit weird. The result of this is that she has a very individual voice, this is a style that led her to divide the nation on the X-factor and will likely divide her audience on this album. Overall, I think it’s a good album. Easy to listen to and on a personal point I think its refreshingly different from the majority of pop albums out at the moment. Worst case scenario, even to those who don’t like her album…at least she’s still pretty. simon cassidy
harrys gym Harrys Gym hype city With the spring evenings lengthening there’s undoubtedly a place for some suitably emotive music to while away the hours, and the long-awaited album from Norwegian Harrys Gym has that calm soft appeal perfect for the coming summer. Its’ dreamlike narrative throughout plays more like one long meandering track rather than a selection of individual songs, perhaps due to the purposeful lack of catchy hooks, focusing more on haunting vocals and rhythmic instrumentals. With such an ensemble album, it’s difficult to highlight any favourite tracks from the foursome consisting of Anne Lise Frøkedal on vocals/guitar, Erlend Ringseth on keyboard, Bjarne Stensli on drums and Ole Myrvold on bass. The shining light in this album is undoubtedly Frøkedal’s captivating voice, lilting through songs with a light electronica feel while the songs have a tendency to start in one direction and change style dramatically throughout. Eloquently described “like leaves on the ground, but rather snow in the air, swirling and massive, weightless and fragile” this is a beautifully bleak album which won’t have you rushing to your local gym, but is perfect for those quiet nights when only “soaring, dreamlike prog-pop” will do.
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taylor hawkins & the coattail riders Red Light Fever
katie melua The House dramatico Katie Melua’s fourth album ‘The House’ sees her walking on slightly more adventurous ground. This is probably vastly down to the fact that it is produced by William Orbit, who e.g. also produced Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ album: If you liked ‘Frozen’, you will probably also like Katie’s new single ‘The Flood’, which is without a doubt the strongest track of the album. Katie Melua’s voice is hauntingly beautiful as usual, but I am a bit on the fence as to whether the new path she is trying to walk entirely suits her. If it was just for the tracks on which she shows off her wonderful balladeering skills (e.g. ‘Red Balloons’ or title track ‘The House’), I would have said this is a truly exceptional album. Sadly, I find that the Electropop flavour of most of the uptempo numbers doesn’t really work for me, but for now, I will give the whole abum the benefit of the doubt: Kudos for leaving the path of the tried and tested. petra raspel seth lakeman Hearts and Minds emi music ‘Hearts & Minds’ is the 5th album to come from folk singer, songwriter and multiinstrumentalist Seth Lakeman. Due for release on June 14th, it sees Seth take his storytelling to a new level, tackling issues such as the financial crisis, greed of politicians and the banking system, as on the title track ‘Hearts and Minds’, to more personal issues and the struggles of the working man in ‘Hard Working Man’. Having come to wider public attention following Mercury nominated ‘Kitty Jay’ album in 2005, Seth has continued to bring folk music to a new, younger audience. ‘Hearts and Minds’ will go on to cement that, with tracks such as the warm & intimate ‘Tiny World’. For lovers of Seth’s work or fans of folk inspired artists, including the likes of ‘Laura Marling’ and ‘Mumford & Sons’, this album will make a wonderful foot-stomping addition to any collection. daren borzynki
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columbia Taylor Hawkins’ name is synonymous with the Foo Fighters and of course any music produced outside of that band will be compared to the Foo Fighters. And while Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Rider’s second album Red Light Fever does have some Foo Fighters flares (it would be strange if it did not) it remains its own album for the most part. Yet there are some instances of guest musicians influencing the sound of certain tracks. Lead in track Not Bad Luck has some Queen-esque falsetto backing vocals which may have something to do with Brian May and Roger Taylor’s involvement in the album. Way Down is a jaunty foot tapping rock song which highlights Hawkins accomplished vocals and fits in an enjoyable guitar solo to boot. The majority of tracks are reminiscent of other eras of rock music, in particular the 70s, but some delve slightly deeper than the frivolous glam rock glitter. Sunshine begins with a dark ominous bass line and is accompanied a meandering guitar riff which just seems to get going and then suddenly stops. This would not be a Taylor Hawkins project without some strong drums and James Gang exhibits Hawkins’ skills brilliantly. When paired with a solid but simple guitar sound Hawkins drums fill out and give character to what would be an otherwise unremarkable tune. Other slower tracks slot into place with the overall sound of the album with the vocals and guitar solos but the album’s fire is found in the faster paced songs. The initial draw of Red Light Fever is Hawkins’ name and the album lives up to it. It clearly shows that Hawkins’ has talent exceeding his proficient drum skills and that his band mates can match those skills. With most in the UK missing their first release, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders have created a second album that while not groundbreaking will certainly more than satisfy existing Hawkins fans and may grab them some new ones too.
tiesto Magikal Journey The Hits Collection 1998-2008 sony music Following on from his Top 20 October 09 album release ‘Kaleidoscope’, Dutch trance DJ – Producer Tiesto goes back into his archives to give us ‘Magikal Journey’, a selection of hits & favourites to form The Hits Collection 1998 – 2008. The collection consists of 28 tracks across 2 discs, of hits taken from his studio albums. The journey kicks off with instrumental track ‘Flight 643’, more hits quickly follow on. Tracks featuring vocals from Maxi Jazz on ‘Dance4Life’ & BT on ‘Love Comes Again’ & ‘Break My Fall’ only go to show what respect Tiesto has in the world of dance music. The second of the discs has a selection of 11 remixes, 9 of them being previously heard in their original format on Disc 1 - probably the only let down of this collection considering others that could have been part of it, e.g. ‘Sparkles’, but the let down is quickly resolved with a tremendous 2010 remix of ‘In The Dark’. Whether you have only recently been introduced to Tiesto or you are a long time fan - you will still love the ‘Magikal Journey’.
Sony bmg After much excitement at the prospect of hearing MGMT’s new album, I was a tad disappointed after listening to this psychedelic pop album. The band has taken a risk with the new album, abandoning the pop-rock sound that first spiralled them into success. ‘Congratulations’ doesn’t live up to expectations of ‘Oracular Spectacular,’ and this winding album feels incomplete, leaving you yearning for the dance-worthy likes of ‘Electric eel’. The melodies sound like funfair background music on the first play and its quirky and creative melodies begin to grate after a while, yet remain irritatingly catchy. Playful songs ‘Brian Eno’ and ‘I found a whistle’ are particularly fun and uplifting. ‘Flash Delirium’ is probably one of the best songs on the album, bound to be a future hit with MGMT fans. The band remains unique with this second debut and those who love a tinge of retro influence will cherish this within their IPods. For those only familiar with their chart songs ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Kids,’ this anti-commercial album may seem defiantly self-indulgent. Filled with weirdness, this album may be unique- but MGMT may find difficulty in drawing in the crowds this time around. As the cliché’ goes, you’ll either love it or hate it. lisa boyle
various Sex and the City 2: Orginal Soundtrack Cmg I may not be the target market for Sex and the City, much preferring Nike’s to Manolo’s, but when it comes to the movie releases my inner Barbie lets out a squeal. Yes that time again, with every movie now comes the obligatory movie soundtrack, at first I lacked interest but unlike most soundtracks this one appears to be a grower. As star studded as is to be expected , the album is just short of the mark with only a few standout tracks, not all of them standing out for the right reasons. Liza Minelli covering Beyonce’s anthem ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)’, is too much for me. Way too much for me. The roaring voices of Jennifer Hudson and Leona Lewis seem wasted on ‘Love is your Color’, which sounds almost like a Disney song. On the plus side though, the album is home to a few gems, Alicia Keys’ cover of ‘Rapture’ by Blondie, is the perfect opener to the album. As the tinkling keys of the famous theme tune intersplice with the song, I can already see Carrie skipping past New York buses. Dido’s track ‘Everything to Lose’ shows the potential for a comeback from the past superstar and Empire State of Mind Broken Down (Part 2) cements Alicia Keys as the songstress of NYC, with Ricki Lee standing her ground in the most upbeat track on the album ‘Can’t Touch It’, the album is definitely sure to cause a reaction. Overall the album delivers all that could be expected from a soundtrack, it may be very hit and miss but it certainly leaves me gagging to discover the film’s plot. A version of ‘I am woman’ sung by our favourite four (I am seeing an end of movie montage) the ‘Sex and the City Men’s choir” (mysterious indeed) and of course Liza (might create time for a loo break). The soundtrack assures me I’ll be in line on the 28th when the film is released, or is that just the Barbie inside again? lynsey cameron
sparrow and the workshop Crystals Fall distiller Glasgow based Sparrow and the Workshop’s debut album ‘Crystals Fall’ combines harmonious vocals, thunderous drums and passionate folk melodies for a unique album that will please folk-rock music lovers. Lead singer Jill O’sullivan’s stunning Joni-Mitchell -esque voice stops the band from sounding any part Glaswegian whatsoever, and opening song ‘Into the Wild’ makes this clear from the beginning. Previously compared to Florence and the Machine, this debut is sure to separate them from frivolous comparisons as their hearty lyrics regarding broken hearts, fear, the dark side and the devil cast aside the usual topics of norm. Containing songs from the bands previous two albums, this Americana-tinged debut feels familiar yet startingly modern. With a dash of retro, songs such as ‘Blame it on me’ and ‘A horses grin’ make this album supremely catchy and loveable for even the folk haters out there. The powerful album feels like it could be from another era, however it is difficult to pinpoint a specific one. Perhaps this could be the secret to the bands success. They seem to just have that indescribable ‘je ne sais quoi.’ lisa boyle FORTUNE Staring At The Ice Melt Distiller This album can only be described as severely funky and its hip, summery songs make you think of ankle-warmer clad roller bladers skating merrily at a roller disco. ‘Staring at the ice melt’ has a tinge of 80s influence and will be promising to dance lovers who enjoy a bit of cheesy synthesising. The track ‘Bully’ is completely fun and will have you bobbing your head along within the first few seconds. Ibiza party-goers will have this tune on replay for the rest of the summer and Calvin Harris lovers will swallow the album whole. The vocals in a few of the tracks can become irritating after a while, particularly in ‘At night.’ The song seems to slow compared to the rest of this upbeat album and seems undeserving of its place within it. Don’t dismiss this album as merely pop-disco, songs such as ‘Highway’ deliver some dark electro beats whilst ‘Celebrate’ is infused with jazz, punk and indie-electro all in one. This fresh and flamboyant album is filled with some disappointing tracks, however the best of them make listening worthwhile. lisa boyle
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Music jakob dylan Women & Country emi It has to be conceded that Jakob Dylan has had it harder than most when it comes to stepping out of the shadow of a famous parent - especially when so many singer songwriters give the nod to Bob as their inspiration and musical icon. Not only does he have the soothing, husky tones but he undeniably is Dylan junior in the looks department. But after 18 years building up his own reputation as the frontman of two time Grammy winning band ‘The Wallflowers’ and a debut solo offering in 2008, Jakob has certainly bared the comparison and scrutiny well. He’s taken his inherited talent and rolled with it, serving up a fine follow up of rock infused country folk with the poetic lyricism daddy would surely be proud of. IIt is this meeting of rock and roots music, Americana if a label is required, which takes him a step into his own, thankfully not to big a leap as the remnants of what he brought to the much loved Wallflowers hits remain audible. ‘Women + country’ instantly brings to mind the blending of genres so beautifully achieved when Led Zepplin’s Robert Plant joined forces with one of country’s leading ladies, Alison Krauss, for ‘Raising Sand’. However this aint no coincidence. What they have in common is the creative workings of 70s legend and experienced producer T Bone Burnett, who has had what would appear to be a strong influence on both. Not only did he leave his stamp, but many of the well known names who worked on Plant and Krauss’ have been recruited for this album, including the haunting vocals of alt-country singers Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. Opener ‘Nothing but the whole wide world’ was the starting block for the album. Written with Glen Campbell in mind and offered up to him, T Bone asked for ten more like it and voila - ‘Women + country’ came into being. The gentle presence of the pedal steel and the harmonies of Case and Hogan give the melancholic ‘Down on our own shield’ it’s lilting feel while the brass and stomping on ‘Lend a hand’ shows a bit of human grit on a album of tales of struggle. ‘Everybody’s hurting’ has the trademark JD melodies and stands out on the album. The words on ‘Yonder come the blues’ are true Dylan picture painting fashion while ‘Holly rollers for love’ is more of the country saloon tempo and ‘Truth for truth’ feels somewhat western. It doesn’t get much cheerier, despite the banjo strumming and rhythm of ‘They’ve trapped us boys’ and Hogan’s sweet high notes adding texture. Almost seems a shame this wasn’t a duet. ‘Smile when you call me that’ has all the sentiment of a hard up country love song. Final track ‘Standing eight count’ is more like something off the Wallflowers’ ‘Bringing down the horses’ and perhaps one of the stronger songs, finishing off with a brass backing and the electric strummings of Mr T Bone himself. An album of love, regret, loss and hardship it’s arguably JD at his best (although a deserving hats off to T Bone Burnett). He’s found his own shoes and wears them well. Father of four boys, it is yet to be seen whether one of Jakob’s offspring will be stepping out in a few years to make his way in the music world and claiming his right as heir to to the Dylan throne. amy macbeath
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LADY ANTEBELLUM Need You emi The US country sensations have finally hit our shores and whilst they may not be selling numbers like they are in the states (sales of current single and title track Need You Now rival Beyonce, Gaga and Black Eyed Peas in numbers of units sold) this trio are on the right path with their debut single in the UK slowly climbing rather then taking the downward spiral. The group’s trademarks dual male and female lead vocal arrangements, courtesy of Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott are fantastic throughout no more so than in the lead title track Need You Now. Whilst some on these shores may be claiming it to be nothing revolutionary for fans of country/contemporary music such as the Dixie Chicks and Carrie Underwood you will be sure to be a massive fan of Lady A, assuming of course you are not already. With CMA awards and other country nominations Lady A are no one hit wonder and may just bring out the country guilty pleasure in us all.
UK Drum & Bass artist Blame gets the opportunity to work with some of his heroes and the dance & urban elite on first artist album, Blame The Music. The Banter have 3 copies of the album to giveaway.������ For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: What is the Name of Blames new album? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Blame along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010.
INTERVIEW BY MAXWELL LYNAS
t is getting to that time of year again when camping stores are packed with people, who don’t know their pegs from their guy lines, Asda is queued out the door with people stocking up on things from sun tan lotion to crates of beer to waterproofs and it is definitely that time of year when you little whispers of “that” band reform to play a one-off show...yip its festival season. And this year has to be the biggest festival season yet with MASSIVE bands such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, U2, Stevie Wonder, Guns & Roses and the reforming Blink 182 and the Libertines all playing one of the UK’s many festivals. So here at The Banter we decided to catch up with Padge of festival veterans Bullet for My Valentine and talk a little about their upcoming festival appearance, where Bullet will closing the second stage on the Friday of this year’s Download festival. So, can we expect Bullet at any other UK festivals this year? “It’s just Download this year, we played Sonisphere last year and it was a very cool festival but Download gave us an offer and we hadn’t played there in a while but unfortunately this is going to be our only UK appearance till the end of the year but we are hoping it’s going to be one of our best shows to date, we are looking to put on a big production and just have a good time.” Festivals must provide bands with a great opportunity to grab some new fans, is that the focus of a festival appearance or do Bullet for My Valentine just go out and have some fun? “Both really, obviously you are there for all the fans but at any festival it is always good to go out there play a short set and have a good time drinking with the other bands and friends
and just having the festival experience in general. “We are really focused on the show, as obviously it is our first show in the UK for such a long time, so we really want to make the show special.” Bullet seem to get higher and higher up the bill each time at Download, this year the band are headlining the 2nd stage, has the band got aspirations to maybe headlining the festival one day? “I think it would be a dream for any band to headline Download, so hopefully we will eventually get there but the second stage is a great place to play and it will do for us just now as it’s great to even get on the second stage” When Bullet are tearing up the second stage, Rock Gods AC/DC will be teaching Download a thing or two about rocking over on the Main Stage, are the band apprehensive about going up against the mighty AC/DC? “We’ve been assured that we will finish before AC/DC start, so fortunately we hope to play a good show then go see AC/DC, so it should be a legendary night.” The Download festival will be one of the biggest nights of Bullet’s year but before that the band are set to release the third studio album The Fever at the end of April, so what are the bands expectations or hopes for the album? “We just want to take it up a gear, hopefully pick up where we left off and progress to bigger venues and just grow as a band in general.” After hearing The Fever in an exclusive sneak peek, I can certainly say Bullet for my Valentine are definitely going to progress to bigger venues and definitely better things. THE BANTER | 23
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er debut single reached number one after the gigs from her basement gained attention from Sony. Sandi Thom returns with a new album, but this time she’s her own
boss. Having been dropped by the major label, the singer best known for I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker founded her own record company and has made the most of her new found freedom. “It’s great to be your own boss. Everybody wants to be in that position. You have control, and more fun. I love every aspect” she said. “I’m able to pick the photos we use, choose my album cover, it’s such a great feeling. It’s much more rewarding when it comes together. I’m chomping at the bit to tell everybody about it, it’s so exciting to tell how this came about” added the singer. Of course, the loss of a major label’s support would give any artist a crisis of confidence and Sandi was no different. She said: “My confidence took a knock. When you get signed by a big label then that’s taken away from you, there is a little blip. I just went a bit off the beaten path. I’m so grateful for getting off a major label though.” She enthused: “Hindsight is a great thing. I’m so excited with what people think, it’s getting my confidence back. I get to play and sing with conviction which is important for me, I think fans can enjoy gigs more that way too.” The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts graduate reckons her new single This Ol’ World – released on April 18 – relates to her move into independent music. “It’s kind of about transitioning from one old world to a new one. It’s about being stuck in a rut, about uprooting yourself and taking a leap of faith. It’s a really poignant track on this album.” The album, titled Merchants and Thieves, is released in May. Of the title, Sandi said: “It’s a lyric by blues artist Chris Whitley, I think it’s a really good title but there’s no hidden meaning behind it.” Also featured on the single is Joe Bonamassa, currently one of the most popular guitarists and vocalists in the blues genre. Sandi explained the story of how the two came to tour together and appear on one another’s records. “It’s funny, we have the same booking agent, and I met him last March. We are fans of each other’s music, and he invited me to come along to a gig but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. But we met up, we made sure of it, and we got on well and became friends.” “Last summer, he did some European dates, but he had laryngitis. Still, people want to see him playing the guitar so I went and sang for him. It was great for me. I think a little bit of fate was involved in it all. Joe inspired me to be a better guitarist, in a very much male orientated world.” With influence from Bonamassa and her own new found freedom, Sandi’s style has undergone what one critic described as a “striking reinvention”, but the singer claims any change was natural. “It’s so complementary. It’s not something I thought about or preconceived, it’s just really happened as an organic process. I hate using the word organic, but it’s true. To other ears maybe it’s a departure but some things have still been carried over from the last album. It’s still the same band, same producer.
One of the worst things you can do is have the same kind of album I think. It’s on my own label though, and it’s liberating. I enjoy playing, I’m pleased with it.” “I think since album one, there’s always been blues. But now, there’s no point where I have to make a song ‘radio friendly’. They’re perhaps far more detectable now, it’s much more obvious where my influences lie.” After her car broke down on the way to her concert in Wales in 2005, Sandi came upon the idea of performing online and spent three weeks performing concerts in her basement for broadcast on the internet. It was this idea that led to her being discovered and signed before reaching the number one spot with I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker. “I had to find an opportunity to market myself with something quite revolutionary. I’m an artist who has respect for and understands the business side of things. I made an album and decided to give it my best shot. I had to find something really striking. I wanted the album on shelves, and it gained a lot of attention. It worked!” Returning to Scotland as part of her UK tour, Sandi performs in Glasgow, before returning to her native Aberdeenshire the following night. The Macduff native makes the most of the brief visits on tour to meet up with friends and family. “It’s a great opportunity to see all the cousins and aunts and uncles that you usually only see at Christmas.” I’m not just looking forward to Aberdeen, but Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s great to play in Scotland. You always get a really good, really responsive audience.” Merchants and Thieves is avaialble now. Scottish fans can see Sandi live at the Aberdeen AECC on Saturday 21st August.
WIn a singed Copy of Merchants and Thieves! To Celebrate the release of Sandi Thoms new album, Merchants and Thieves, The Banter has 5 signed copies of the CD to giveaway. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: In which Scottish town was Sandi Thom born? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Sandi Thom along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010.
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Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius pip Handsome front men, Social awareness and beards with dan le sac and scroobius pip interview by lynsey cameron
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t feels like the kitchen at a party, we are friends of friends, but the friend who connects us is yet to arrive, know the feeling? Strangely this is what interviewing Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip felt like. Crashed on sofas, with B Dolan (one of their support acts) a huge man behind a well-used black laptop, an almost unnoticeable figure sits in a classroomesque chair typing non stop, seemingly oblivious to the interview happening inches away. I feel simultaneously relaxed and undeniably awkward. They’ve had already had one interview after getting out of the van half an hour earlier but seemed unphazed. Happy to be in Glasgow, a city they know well, ‘almost like a going home break’. Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip are not the easiest to define and they seem to like it that way, with Dan’s first input to the input being ‘genre is a pain the arse’. Most famous for NME slating anthem Thou Shalt Always Kill, I ask them if they feel as if they are in its shadow, instead Dan describes it as their ‘gateway drug’ to debut album Angles with heavier tracks like Magicians’ Assistant, a chilling song about a girlfriend’s suicide being their heroin. The tour group are at a total ease, chilled out during the interview, and politely silent after their greeting nods. We get onto the topic of relationships and how the boys deal with this on tour, Dan makes a smug nod toward the girl on the laptop. She looks up for a second time, ‘Well that’s my girlfriend there so…’ I later see her at the merch desk while the boys play, there is no laptop in sight. Pip wishes he had thought of this first, ‘I’m having a bit of a dilemma at the moment, I’m on tour for my girlfriend’s Birthday so its either fly her out, or grovel for a few days once I get back.’ It is reassuring to see the real person behind the all-seeing voice of Scroobius Pip, David Meads, the man behind the moniker shines through. ‘Maybe we’ll be able to employ her by the world tour.’ Another break from the laptops, and we all smile, the awkwardness fades, our connecting friend has arrived in the form of laughter. Originally a spoken word artist, Scroobius Pip, named after the Edward Lear poem started working with Dan after working in the same HMV. A true duo, Dan is generally silent but every quip is worthwhile, Pip’s stutter is one of the most intriguing features of the interview, it is as if his brain is too fast for his mouth. Pip’s witticisms are key to their sound, tracks such as Get Better may sound nothing but preachy on the album, they take force live. A fact the boys are entirely aware of. Written on tour, new album Logic of Chance is not as immediately warm as Angles, something Pip attributes to the way it was written. ‘Its all bout how they are live and reaching their full potential live…if you’re listening on youtube or that, nuances are lost, key parts of bass or beats are lost on the radio.’ And though it may all sound like artist bullshit, it is impressively true live. Get Better which I shamelessly labelled preachy, becomes a summer anthem, sporting surely one of the best lyrics of 2010, with ‘I wanted to write a song that
would reach out and touch kids…but not in a daily mail way.’ Pip is an unstoppable performer on stage, literally spitting lyrics into the crowd and leaning into them with a forceful bravado, a major switch from the laidback character lounged on the sofa. PRs bundle flags into our hands on the way into the crowded venue, declaring ‘Pip is not a terrorist’, a nod to their tongue in cheek style. Dan opens the gig with a special introduction, which had previously mentioned to me with great enthusiasm, which he is proud to say will only be played in Glasgow. When he strolls onstage smiling broadly, the bagpipes blending with beats, I immediately cringe. My exact words earlier being, ‘as long as its not bloody bagpipes’ awkward indeed, I guess I was wrong. If it had been a kitchen party that would have been the point of ‘seeing what was happening in the living room’. The sweaty room matches the warmth of the crowd, and pip is playing them perfectly, with opening song Beat That My Heart Skipped, sporting excitable Glaswegians through the mic. When a cocky fan asks the boys for a beer, he is jestingly covered in Pip’s water, but this is Glasgow, and its not long before the boy soaks Pip in return. As the security scramble toward him, Pip shakes his head later thanking the boy during closing song Letter from God to Man. It’s the personality of Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip which makes them special, spoken word with industrial beats is hardly mainstream stuff, yet Letter From God to Man, was a Radio 1 favourite. Smart lyrics and basslines never get old. They are truly charming, each with their own amusing traits, Pip evens edits his swearing at one point, something it seems Dan would have no interest in. They are opinionated guys, but to use their own turn of phrase, ‘not in a daily mail way’, something which is evident in their lyrics. Though Pip is glad not everyone has the same socially aware style, explaining the reason for his often reflective speeches, he coyly says ‘all I do is talk so I want it to be interesting’, something Dan jumps on immediately, ‘All he bloody does is talk.’ They bicker like a clichéd married couple, Dan playing the disgruntled husband rolling a cigarette, while Pip muses over beautiful lead singers, and how they are used and abused. It becomes the party kitchen again, with Dan angrily declaring Biffy Clyro the new Biffy Clyro while we talk about genre. Pip attributes this entirely to fact that the band have realised how attractive their lead singer is, we see a glimpse of his soft metal youth when he compares this effect to Incubus, of whom he was a huge fan. The best they are hoping for is the ‘George Clooney effect’ of getting more attractive with age. They deem it unlikely and we instead drift onto the topic of beards, Dan rolls a cigarette and the interview comes to end, though the chat continues. I’m left wondering whether to stay or go re: the clash. This have left me with one idea only, Pip for Prime Minister. THE BANTER | 27
few years ago no one had even heard of Scouting for Girls but after their self-titled first album went to number one in 2008 it was hard to not hear Scouting for Girls everywhere you went. After forming in 2005 it took the three-piece a few years to get signed but their rise to fame has been meteoric since then. 2008 seemed to be their year with their music been used in a nationwide Next campaign and various performances at big festivals throughout that summer. Their success was such that it led to three BRIT award nominations but unfortunately no wins. Still, Scouting for Girls have achieved more than most bands in the first couple of years of their career. Yet in 2009 it seemed as though they all but disappeared however they were merely gearing up for another assault on the charts this year. After all this success it would be understandable to feel a significant amount of pressure to meet the same level with their next album. “There was no kind of pressure from our record label or our management,” reveals bassist Greg Churchouse. “The only kind of pressure that I think we felt was internally. We wanted to produce an album that was worthy of the amount of people who bought our first album. You don’t want to let the fans down by producing a second-rate rush album. ” That
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interview by anna gault
sophomore album is often a turning point for bands with number one debuts. It is the point at which they either fail and disappear into obscurity or they succeed and solidify their standing in the music industry. As The Banter goes to press it looks as though Scouting for Girls have gone for door number two as the first single from new album Everyone Wants to Be on TV has gone straight to number one. Yet as this interview was conducted before the fact, Churchouse was unsure of how their new album was going to be received at the time and admitted that they never realised how difficult it would be to make another successful album. “It was actually, I think, a little bit harder than we kind of all first envisioned. When we recorded the first album we literally had all the songs ready to go. We were in the studio for six weeks recording the first one but for the second album we spent the whole of 2009 crafting what we hope is a better album.” Hopefully this album will result in more nominations and possibly a few wins at next year’s BRIT awards. As they are one of very few music award ceremonies in Britain and probably the largest to be nominated is quite a big deal yet Churchouse describes it as a surreal experience: “It’s always really nice to be recognised for doing what you really love, you know album sales or
Interview just people chatting to you after gigs telling you they really enjoyed it. But being nominated for the BRITS was amazing although I think I drank a bit too much.” There seems to have been some kind of magic formula in Scouting for Girls’ music which enticed listeners and led to their album going platinum. However with a new album usually comes a new sound but is it wise to alter a sound that has worked unbelievably well? Although their songs are poppy and catchy, it is easy to fall into a repetitive trap but Churchouse feels that the band have worked hard to mix things up but maintain some of the old sound that has brought them so much success. “We really wanted to work on our song writing and our production, keep that classic SFG sound but sort of develop it,” he reveals. “When we came to write the second album we down and thought about what appeals about our band to a lot of people. And I think a lot of it is to do with how upbeat and positive we are as a band but also the songs that we write are quite accessible.” That accessible, happy-go-lucky sound has proven, once again, to please the masses as This Ain’t a Love Song gave the band their first number one but the rest of the album has still to prove itself. Touring is very important in this area as fans who enjoyed the previous album will come to hear those songs and be treated to new songs which may lead to an album purchase. For Scouting for Girls they began touring with new material in December and have been pleasantly surprised at the response from the crowds. “Those gigs were kind of like a fan club Christmas party to say thank you for all your wonderful support,” says Churchouse. “We went around before them handing out mince pies and chocolate coins and it was nice to go around chatting to people and everyone seemed excited about hearing new stuff.” The band are carrying on from those gigs with an April tour that will no doubt sell out and plan take things up another level and collaborate on stage with Matthew Simmons who Churchouse deems as “one of the best keyboard players in the country”. As his comments suggest, Churchouse and his band mates appear to have remained quite grounded despite their previous successes. Whether or not their most recent achievements go to their heads remains to be seen. However Churchouse certainly has his heart in the right place when it comes to making music. “It’s all about having longevity. It’s not just about the money, the girls and the fame. We just want to be around as long as we possibly can.” Well with a number one debut album and single under their belts Scouting for Girls are definitely going the right way about it. Scouting For Girls will be releasing their new single ‘Famous’ on 12th July and Scottish fans can see them live again this summer at T In The Park.
To Celebrate the release of Scouting For Girls new single ‘Famous’, The Banter have 5 copies of the album Everybody Wants To Be on TV to giveaway.��������������������������������������������������� For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: Which Number in the UK Charts did Scouting for Girls self titled album reach in January 2008? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Scouting For Girls along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010.
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eing a part of one of the biggest bands in the world has its perks and for Foo Fighters’ drummer, Taylor Hawkins one of those perks is the opportunity to branch out creatively with other bands. With Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders, Hawkins has found an in outlet in which he can be known for something other than being the drummer of the Foo Fighters. However by separating himself from the music machine that is the Foo Fighters, Hawkins may be taking a risk as an identity away from “Foo Fighters drummer” could be hard for fans to swallow. Since 2004 Hawkins has been playing the role of drummer and lead singer in what many deem as a side project. And indeed with Foo Fighters being such a massive band anything by comparison would inevitably be thought of as smaller. Yet Hawkins feels that is open to interpretation: “It depends on what ‘side project’ means to people. It’s just another band I’m in really. Just like I’m in the Foo Fighters, I’m also in this band. You could call the Foo Fighters a side project to this.” So it would seem that Hawkins merely 30 | THE BANTER
interview by anna gault wanted to make different music and the Foo Fighters were not enough to contain his creativity. As the Foo Fighters tour extensively after the release of an album, the focus is put on the live stage production and the opportunity to write and produce music is put on hold for the time being. For Hawkins this switch of focus and then the subsequent hiatus from Foo Fighters provides a chance to work with Chris Chaney (bass) and Gannin Arnold (guitar) in the Coattail Riders. “I’m a songwriter for better or for worse,” he says. “And at the end of the day the Foo Fighters are actually creative for about six months out of every three years or something and that’s not really enough. When you get on the road, it’s not necessarily a creative place; you get something else out of it, the immediacy of playing live. We are all pretty creative and so that’s why we all have these side projects; to fulfil all the other things that we need to fulfil.” On closer examination of the Foo Fighters discography the fact that Hawkins has had the time to form and produce two albums with another band is incomprehensible. Time
Interview management appears to be another talent Hawkins possesses yet he plays this down. “Well, as far as the Foo Fighters we haven’t really been that busy for the last year and a half,” he says. “We have been pretty off for a while. Dave [Grohl] has been busy for the last year and a half as everyone knows doing his band with Josh [Homme] and John Paul Jones. It just freed up the time.” As well as providing Hawkins with another artistic outlet, the Coattail Riders also enabled him to break away from the label of “Foo Fighters” drummer. While this is by no means a bad label to have it may be slightly suffocating for someone so creatively dynamic. With the Foo Fighters Hawkins is bound down to his drums with some vocal flourishes and ventures into writing but in the Coattail Riders he is very much at the forefront of singing, writing and of course drumming. “It’s [the Coattail Riders] just so different. It’s so night and day,” reveals Hawkins. “I mean in the Foo Fighters I’m the drummer and that’s really it. I sing a little bit of backups but really that’s my job. In this band I do a completely different thing. I’m the guy who writes the tunes and sings them.” Despite his understated description of his roles in both bands it is clear that Hawkins is a dedicated musician to find the time and the channels to make more music. Hawkins’ roles in each band are not the only difference between the two; their sounds are also rather removed from one another. In Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders second album and most recent release Red Light Fever, listeners are treated to guest spots from Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen. “Our last album was sort of black and white and this one is in colour,” says Hawkins. “The funny thing is that once you have someone like Brian May or Roger Taylor you kind of follow their lead. So not only did they have a big influence on the music because I grew up loving them but just once they made it to the record I just figured f*ck it they’re on it I can just keep going in that direction a little bit.” Regardless of his colossal fame it appears Hawkins still respects his elders when it comes to making music. All in all Hawkins takes a seemingly nonchalant approach to his side project. With such a huge commitment in the Foo Fighter’s with regards to promotion and marketing, he is happy to have a much simpler means of putting his music out there. “This [the Coattail Riders] is such a tiny, tiny version of everything that goes on with the Foo Fighters and that’s fine. At the end of the day me and guys in the Coattail Rider’s do this for the love of music. Nobody is making a million dollars in this band by a long shot.” With comments like that it is clear that Hawkins’ attitude is one of just being happy to make more music and any financial gains are just another perk. Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders will be playing live st Stereo on June 9th.
flow is a new way to discover and purchase music, with a major twist to it. Think a cross between iTunes and Twitter and you are somewhere close to this exciting new product. It’s completely free to use, and is now available to the general public, meaning you will not have to beg or borrow to get an invite as you do for many online music mechanizations. It works in the same way as any download service- you install the Mflow application which allows you to browse, search and purchase music- but users are able to get something back. You actually get 20% of any purchases made from your recommendations to spend on music. Basically, free music is on offer if you play your cards right. This is where the twitter comparisons come in; users are able to network and make friends with people of similar tastes, DJs, artists, labels and magazines. You are then able to recommend your favourite music to all your followers and receive tips in response, cutting out any annoying computer programmes that suggest Cliff Richards albums to you, and allowing you to have ownership of your communications. On receiving a recommendation you will be able to listen to full length previews, and with famous names such as NME and Clash magazines, Temper Trap and Zane Lowe already registered, you will be able to see what some of your favourite music minds are listening to and maybe even influence them. There are already 25,000 users, and plenty of scope to get rewards from your recommendations and turn them into music that you love. The makers have promised that plenty of new features are on the way, which will make the service easier and more fun to use, and it already is very simple and enjoyable to work. It is refreshing that there is no advertising on Mflow, and because of the recommendation system there are no editorial or record label pushes on products. The spam free part of the service is very appealing, and having ownership of any information streams is very forward thinking. The library is increasing continually, becoming more diverse to allow for all musical tastes, and the prices are comparable to any of the other major online music providers. If you fancy getting something back from the way you discover and purchase music, and the concept of incorporated social networking in a spam-free situation appeals, Mflow may be what you are looking for. chris hay
To celebrate the release of Marina and the Diamonds next single, ‘Oh No’ from the fantastic album “The Family Jewels” The Banter has 5 copies of the album to giveaway.������������������ For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q:In which town was Marina born? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Marina and the Diamonds along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010. You can see Marina live at the Glasgow Fruit Market on the 1st November and Edinburgh Picture House on the 2nd November. THE BANTER | 31
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Interview - Ritchie Marshall Photography - Daren Borzynski
Hailing from Illinois, 27-year-old country-folk-rock singer/ songwriter Lissie has built quite a following from her 2009 EP, ‘Why You Runnin’ produced by Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses. With a new band and the impending release of her debut album “Catching a Tiger”, produced by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon) due out this month Lissie has been giving UK fans a glimpse of why her album will be one of the soundtracks of the summer. We caught up with Lissie before her recent Glasgow appearance. For those of our readers who don’t know you can you introduce yourself. My name is Lissie, I grew up in Rock Island Illinois which is near Iowa on the Mississippi river in the States and have sang all my life. When I was 18 I left Illinois and I went to college for a few years and done semester school in Paris and then in 2004 moved to LA to pursue music. I started writing songs in High School when I was about 15 and taught myself guitar and have always sang from the heart and write songs about how I am feeling, its all very literal. I have always been pretty committed to doing it one way or another so in the last six years or so I have just been slowly building up to getting out to play for people and I have finally recorded an album but you know but I am just kinda a normal gal who likes to sing and yeah! Laughs How would you describe the sound of Lissie? I don’t know, that’s a hard question because I feel like my whole life I listened to so many kinds of music and my personality has a lot of kind of complexity to it. Sometimes I think its kind of folky, soulful and sweet but I also like to sort of rock sometimes so it can be at times more rock and at other times more folk. Some people even think a bit country but myself I don’t know, I just think its kind of heartfelt modern music that has a classic ness to it. Do your fear that some people will try to pigeonhole you in to one specific genre? Sometimes people think country because they have maybe only heard one song that my voice sounded country on but then if they hear another song it might sound completely different. To me it all sounds the same, because its me, but maybe different sides of my personality come out in different songs so yeah its not even being pigeonholed I just think that people like to know what to call something which is the normal human nature trait. Hopefully as I go along it will just be that I sound like Lissie and then they’ll hear another band and be like there’s Lissie music (laughs). It’s a big change from your younger years when you starred as Annie though? It is but it’s still sort of the same because Annie was such a defiant, hopeful character and I think in my life I have sort of
liked that mentality of being a bit feisty, brave and overcoming obstacles. You provided the vocals to the DJ Harry track “All My Life” that featured heavily on TV in programmes such as “The OC”, “Veronica Mars” and House” do you think this helped you early in your career? That was the first time I done a song and it was released. It started getting licensed and placed and I started to make some money off it, I think that was one of the things that made me go “oh you can make money from music” and this could be a job. Some people knew who I was but when you do a dance track and when you sing on other peoples records it doesn’t necessarily do as much to make people know who you are because even though some of it was my voice it was DJ Harry’s track. If they went to go and look for more stuff by Lissie there really wasn’t a lot of it at the time so yeah I think there probably are those people that do know me from that but I think its probably a small amount of people. That was the first in a line of successes that made me think this is something I could actually do for a job and not just a crazy pipedream. How did you come about to be signed by Sony BMG (UK)? Basically my manager is an English guy who grew up near London and he now lives in California and he has been managing me for some years now. He was like “Lets go to the UK, the music business in the States is totally screwed right now, lets go over there I know some people”. I went and played for two big guys at Sony and Columbia, which is a subsidiary of Sony, and they signed me. In the UK and Worldwide I am signed to Columbia, it was just his idea and it worked out real well. In the States its kind of confusing I am signed to an indie label that is based in Mississippi called Fat Possum and they have a cool roster of artists including a lot of old blues guys and stuff so its all over the place. You have been on the road supporting many great artists including Ray Lamontagne, Lenny Kravitz and Badly Drawn Boy, how’s that been? It’s been such a variety all the artists are different, I also went out with this hardcore band and I was like what are they going to think and they loved us somehow. I have gotten to open up for some cool artists for sure it’s been cool. What is your favourite memory from a gig? For me I don’t have a favourite one of my concerts. I think any concert where I don’t think about anything and I just get lost in the song and start and then the next thing I know I have been singing for an hour and I didn’t even know it, when I really go that place in my head its really connected then that for me is a great show. That doesn’t happen all the time unfortunately, with being so busy sometimes I get a little distracted but I can’t think of a favourite show A favourite show I have gone to when I was 16, I went and seen this band called Phish who are like a jam band. There THE BANTER | 33
were all these hippies and they were all dancing with spaghetti arms, a bunch of freaky people. I had never seen that in my life before really so when I want to that concert it totally changed my life. The crowd were so engaged with one another and everybody was really nice and it was so much fun and everybody was being themselves and not looking each other up and down. Everyone felt really comfortable being themselves, being cool to one another and working together to make the concert fun. I really like that it always stands out as a great musical experience for me and I think it kind of changed my life a little where I thought “I’m free to be me and you’re free to be you and lets all just get along.” The album “Catching a Tiger” is due out soon, what can you tell us about that? Its coming out June 21st, you can expect some of the songs from the EP are on it so you will recognise those and then some more songs with Bill Reynolds who done the EP. Then there’s another batch of songs that have a bit more of a commercial appeal but I still feel are pretty cool that I did with a guy called Jacquire King who did the Kings of Leon album so you know there’s a variety there, definitely a range of production. Some stuff is big, my voice (I think) and the sentiments hold it together. I think it’s good, I am proud of it, I am almost ready to make another (laughs) Where did the name for the album come from? It’s a lyric from one of my songs. In the song bully I sing “catching a tiger” in it. I like the idea of it, that it would be a hard thing to do as it wouldn’t be easy to catch a tiger so it can relate to so many different areas of a persons life trying to surmount the insurmountable. To accomplish something that 34 | THE BANTER
a lot of people would maybe say would be impossible. Its not even just that, it can mean a bunch of stuff it can really mean whatever you want it to mean and that’s what is great about these things. There has been a bit of hype gathering around you lately particularly following your SXSW appearances and of course with the likes of Perez Hilton tweeting about you. It was great I think it raised some peoples awareness about me and when Perez Hilton twittered about me and he did a little post about me on his website I think that helped a lot, and Courtney Love too. It is exciting and a lot of people ended up going and getting my EP after Perez went and wrote about me on a site so that all helps and its cool. I don’t go and read the comments because if I read something mean it hurts my feelings but the festival was really positive for us. We played 10 shows in 4 days and totally went for it, it was exhausting, but it totally paid off. There were so many reviews and good feedback so I think in the long run it will have proven to have made a difference, I felt I had a presence there. Your Cover of Lady Gagas “Bad Romance” has also helped raise your profile too with over a quarter of a million hits (at time of print over 330,000). Is that how many? You know more than me. I just sort of done it for fun but I guess when you think about it so many people google Lady Gaga everyday. I do like all kinds of music and it was fun to do a Metallica song and a Lady Gaga song. I’ve done a Bob Dylan song and I want to do a Steely Dan song . So you are based over here in the UK until around September, is that correct?
Interview We go back to California this week to shoot a music video and I will get to go home for one day, then we will come back over and then we are going to Germany, back to London and then we are going to start a big festival tour starting with Brighton’s The Great Escape. But we will be back up here in Scotland I think. Will you get to see your dog when home? I wont get to see my dog as my dog is in Illinois with my parents so when I get to California I will get to basically do my laundry and repack my suitcase but then we are going to Germany but between Germany and Great Escape I get to go back to Illinois in the middle of May but I will get to see my dog then. Does spending so much time over here mean it is hard to leave your dog back in the States. It used to be more hard than it is now, I have just had to learn to kind of not do that to myself because it is hard but my guitar player has a child and that’s even harder and my bass player is married so that’s like hard. It is hard but when you get so busy you just kind of turn in to a zombie and don’t think about anything other than you are doing. As a not for profit magazine we are always keen to hear about others work in the charity and voluntary sector. We seen you got involved with Heifer International, what can you tell us about that. Recently I was asked which charity I like and I like Heifer International, though I was totally caught off guard with that. One year for Christmas instead of us all buying each other crap I gave like a thousand dollars to the charity and they take a cow, 2 goats and some chickens and they give it to a family. They are then able to learn some skills for themselves and then they give the eggs and/or meat to their neighbours and so on. It was a system that had been shown to work and help communities that had been totally wiped out by poverty. I think the cool thing about Heifer is that its not a Charity that’s like here take some money and then someone can pat themselves on the back. People don’t necessarily like being helped but with Heifer you are helping someone learn a new skill that they can take pride in what they do and do their own thing instead of just being reliant on people. I think its cool when you can enable someone to develop some kind of skill so they don’t need to depend on anyone else so they can just depend on themselves, I like that idea because I think it actually makes a long term difference. Finally, can you tell us something we don’t know about you? One of the strange things about me is that I like to find things on the ground, I’m always picking things up that I find washers and other things everywhere. My pockets and bags are full of them and by the end of the day I have almost every size washer you could imagine and every colour. I have hundreds of them and also if I find old pennies, playing cards, feathers dice I keep them, I have a huge shelf full of crap I find on the ground and I’m superstitious about it. Lissies debut album “Catching a Tiger” is released 21st June on Columbia Records
COMPETITION WIn a tiesto magikal journey the hits collection 1998-2008 CD Tiësto – Magikal Journey – The Hits Collection 1998-2008 is set to be one of summer 2010’s biggest, if not the biggest, dance. To Celebrate the release of ‘Magikal Journey’ The Banter has 3 copies to giveaway. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: Which Nationality is DJ Tiesto? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Tiesto along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010.
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LAURA MARLING THE OLD FRUITMARKET, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
Laura Marling may only be 20 years old, but like other singers her age she isnt the kind to put on her make up, she admits to feeling uncomfortable talking to the crowd and as Glasgow found she doesnt like to, and didn’t, perform an encore. That said she gave some of those who we regularly see doing all of the above a complete masterclass in how to give a crowd what they want with an amazing, and flawless, performance. Guitar in hand, Laura did not let down both new and old fans alike with songs from both Alas I cannot Swim and latest album I Speak Because I Can. With flawless vocals she even whistled a fiddle solo, due to having no fiddle player, and performed an amazing version of Neil Young’s Needle And The Damage Done which had both younger fans and particularly the older fans wanting more. The Fruitmarket whose acoustics were great was in complete silence however when Laura perfomed Goodbye England (Covered in Snow) a song written about her dad taking her up a hill to gaze down upon her sleepy home town. After this performance Glasgow is countng the days for Lauras return as it cannot come soon enough. photography // daren borzynksi
THE TEMPER TRAP King Tuts, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
Having previously seen Australian band The Temper Trap on a smaller stage nine months ago, I was intrigued to see how far they had come in that time. This being their second headline tour of the UK, could they live up to my & the larger sell out crowd of Glasgow’s O2 Academy’s expectations? They certainly had a light show that could light up most stadiums, and as their silhouettes moved across the stage to begin with ‘Rest’, The Temper trap let us know they had a sound big enough to match. Just breaking the hour barrier, their set of tracks from their award winning album ‘Conditions’, including ‘Fader’, ‘Soldier On’ & the crowd pleaser ‘Sweet Disposition,’ had us cornered. To be honest, there wasn’t a bad/weak/poor song on the night as they were all sung superbly by lead singer Dougie Mandagi. During ‘Sweet Disposition’, there was a strange lighting effect that looked like a hoard of big midges were about to take over the stage, but later on they did admit to having a Scottish influence within their ranks, as road manager Campbell is a fellow Glaswegian! One of the highlights of the night was the 10 minute rendition of instrumental ‘Drum Song’, that was as visually stunning to watch as it was to listen to, leaving the applauding fans begging for more. With an encore of two songs to follow and finishdaren borzynski ing with ‘Science of Fear’, Dougie almost in amongst the crowd, The Temper Trap had us captured. THE BANTER | 37
Music YEAR LONG DISASTER/KARMA TO BURN Cathouse, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
GENERAL FIASCO King Tuts, Glasgow gig review
“King Tut’s could easily be mistaken for a party scene from Skins tonight as General Fiasco take to the stage in front of the 14+ crowd. There is a real raucous feel in the air as their first song ‘Dancing With Girls’ is accompanied by adolescent screams as the crowd surge to the front of the stage. This is definitely music for teens, with lyrics that only an angst fuelled adolescent could love, but they certainly do love this band and it’s easy to see why. If I was not well past it by being in my twenties I’d probably be lapping up everything on show as they write extremely catchy up tempo indie-pop, which is chart and radio friendly. General Fiasco leave behind other bands vying for album sales by pocket money with their energy and emphatic delivery which is on show throughout tonight. They could easily become the next Kooks, but a lot less soppy and with a lot more fire in their bellies. As ‘We Are The Foolish’ is fired out the crowd go nuts and sing back every word; the whole venue is bouncing and there are even some crowd surfers for a song that should appeal to all ages. This is followed by ‘Something, Sometime’ a fan favourite which continues the pace and fervor of both band and audience. Front-man Owen plays the part well, and will no doubt be adored by female fans across the country; he performed an acoustic piece solo for two girls ‘who bought t-shirts’, and later took a photo of the crowd, exclaiming the fans to be ‘lethal’. He seemed genuinely ecstatic that they had sold out Glasgow for the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last with their debut album ‘Buildings’ now available. The best response from the night is for ‘Rebel Gets By’, a song that has probably defined them up to this point, and is one of their best. They finish their set with teen anthem in the making and new single ‘Ever So Shy’ with includes lyrics of ‘let’s get wasted, it’s all we ever do’ that no doubt ring true to the youngsters. It will be interesting to see what the band develop into as they are very good at what they do and are clearly grabbing the attention of their demographic, but unfortunately most of it just is not for anyone over the age of twenty. chris hay
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The queue was tiny, I could hardly believe it! Ray Davies of The Kinks son was playing the Cathouse and with what looked like a pitiful crowd so far. I expected an older crowd and I wasn’t disappointed, it was a mix of older rockers and kids who had clearly been influenced by their music taste. After the doors opened a crowd slowly leaked in, most buying drinks at the bar and chatting. Although this was a relaxed atmosphere now I was anxious to see what it was going to be like once the bands came on. The first band seemed to think they needed no introduction as they stormed into their first song which was at an ear splitting level. A lull in the music has everyone fooled until the drums kick into life and nearly scare the life out of everyone in the joint. If this trio are looking for the shock factor they’ve got it. The first song finishes and there’s a small mumbled introduction then the band are back to their show. The problem I had with this band is that they can’t decide what they want to be. They’re a mix of heavy Metallica style beats and bass with a tiny hint of glam rock influence and modern hardcore but still I couldn’t pin a genre onto them, and not in a good “this band is so unique I can’t tie them down” sort of way. More in the sense that their music is all over the shop, I wonder what this band describe themselves as. I’m interested to know. They are all undeniably talented musicians but with no direction and I think until they find it they will remain a messy mix. Year Long Disaster are next up and this trio from Los Angeles were named as one of Rolling Stones bands to watch in 2008. After bassist Rich Mullins of Karma To Burn met Dave Davies in a grocery store in Hollywood in 2003 they struck up a friendship which in the next 7 months lead them through halfway houses and rehabilitation centres. In 2004 they went to the Scene bar in Glendale, California where they met the drummer for Hours And Minutes, Brad Hargreaves who was formerly in Third Eye Blind. At the time Third Eye Blind had been asked to play as The Kinks on the show American Dreams and after finding out that Dave Davies was the son of lead guitarist for The Kinks, Ray Davies, he started jamming with both Davies and Mullins forming Year Long Disaster. They soon started gigging locally in Los Angeles and recorded an EP and began touring nationwide, growing in popularity and in 2007 they finally got signed and joined Volcom Records. Since then they have released their self titled album in 2007 and most recently they have completed their second album called “Black Magic; All Mysteries Revealed” which was released on the 8th of March this year. As Year Long Disaster came on stage and instantly instilled a sense of confidence in me, they looked like real rockers and my new found confidence was confirmed as they opened with a catchy number that was reminiscent of rock as it used to be. Dave Davies has a polished voice that is a perfect compliment to the wild guitar riffs and toe tapping drum beats. The mix of the three members experience shows through on stage and it makes you wonder why you haven’t heard of them before now. The crowd has now moved closer to the stage and although it’s not exactly a lively crowd there is no sense of unrest, the band have the complete and rapt attention of the fans. Every song is opened with a killer drum beat which is a tell tale sign of a rock band that is not made up from modern influences. Their fifth song is the new single “Show Me Your Teeth” and it sounded just as great as the studio version. The band might not be big but they
Music do not disappoint. The final act, Karma to Burn, come on stage or rather the rest of the band come on stage to join bassist Rich Mullins. There is a definite crush forwards as the band launches into their first song. As this band is purely melodic, bar one song, this band is all about the music with no flashy front men to cover for their playing. Each member of the band is also involved in other projects but the music that they are producing is maddeningly good. Each song was at least a five or six minute long epic that has been described as “stoner music”. I’m not sure if the band would agree with this description but that’s what most people I talked to described them as to me. The crowd were completely captivated and although there wasn’t a lot of movement going on there was no lack of engagement. Every pair of eyes in the room was fixed upon the stage and there was more hair swinging going on than there is in a L’Oreal advert. We were then treated to Karma To Burn’s newest song, and their only song to have a vocal part, Waiting For The Western World for which Dave Davies came on stage to a warm welcome. His vocals complimented Karma To Burns sound which they describe as thrash/ latino/afro-beats. When the band had finished their set the crowd called for “one more song” and of course, Karma To Burn obliged giving what has to be thee longest encore song in the history of encores. Needless to say, you get your moneys worth when you see them play. alyce macpherson
ANGUS AND JULIA STONE O2 Academy, Glasgow gig review
A���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ustralian siblings Angus and Julia Stone could not look more different. Welcomed on stage by a sold out King Tuts crowd, Angus – dressed in a shabby demin shirt – sports the ‘homeless chic’ look with long, matted hair and a thick beard to match. His sister Julia stands by his side, her hair falling softy around the shoulders of her floor length beach dress, glowing like a Greek goddess. They open with “And The Boys”, the first track from their new album and it is clear that this curious duo are something special. On songs like “Hush”, Angus melts every female heart as his velvety smooth voice sings about being in love. Julia’s vocals are so light and sugary sweet in comparison, especially when covering “You’re The One That I Want” (Grease) in such a way that it sounds like a lullaby. Despite the obvious differences, Angus and Julia Stone work perfectly together. They seem to connect on stage, creating stunning harmonies on nearly every song. Everything is going too well. The set flows beautifully, with Julia telling funny anecdotes between songs. The crowd are swaying rhythmically, lost in breathy harmonica and peaceful guitar and *POP*! The microphone screeches suddenly. Julia recoils with an “Uh oh!” and the moment is lost. However, the Stone siblings quickly get it back and entertain the crowd with an improvised “jammin’ session” complete with electric guitars and a heavy bass line, which has the crowd clapping along and forgetting about the sound engineers buzzing around the microphones. In such an intimate venue, it feels like the crowd have walked in on a family singsong. Julia floats around the stage in bare feet, dancing unreservedly as though in her own bedroom. The mood is totally relaxed. Angus suggests playing “Campfire” because the faulty microphones remind him of sitting round a crackling fire at school band camp and this just adds to the growing intimacy between the band and the crowd. During the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”, support act Alan Pownall returns to lend his thick, gravelly tones to this interesting cover. Now the stage is cluttered with instruments and amps and musicians but no one seems to mind. When Angus and Julia come back for an encore, fans waste no time in asking for requests. One women chats to Julia about her approaching wedding and hints at them to play “The Wedding Song” which they do. The tear-jerking lyrics can just be heard through shouts of “I love you!” from the crowd. Even I have to admit that after such a mesmerising evening, it was difficult not to be a little bit in love with Angus and Julia Stone. kate chambers THE BANTER | 39
Music EDITORS Barrowlands, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
STORNOWAY King Tuts, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
New indie-folk outfit Stornoway have been causing quite a musical stir since winning Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition last year however even with this title, I did not expect to see a bus-load of fans pour into King Tut’s (tiny) Wah Wah Hut as I arrived at the door. Inside, the atmosphere was electric. The room buzzed with infectious excitement. It was only when the support band took to the stage that I realised that the majority of the crowd had come to see Dead Sea Souls, not Stornoway. This funky Scottish band seemed to have brought the whole of Bathgate along and everyone was certainly in the mood for a party. Before the first poptastic song had even reached the chorus, there were beer soaked and semi-naked persons jumping in unison and singing every line back to the grinning band. With simple, repetitive lyrics I even found myself singing along to some of Dead Sea Souls’ catchier songs. Despite having to follow such an explosive set, Stornoway were on top form for the last leg of their Scottish tour. They opened their set with the soothing yet provocative “We Are The Battery Human”, instantly lulling the raucous crowd into a hushed awe. The haunting vocals and calming instrumentals did not falter as Stornoway launched into “Fuel Up”, a poetic song that captures the nostalgia of growing up and moving on. The band seemed to loosen up as the set progressed and when front man Brian Briggs played an acoustic “November Song”, the Oxford boys had the audience hypnotised. Never before have I seen King Tut’s so serene in their appreciation of a band with the only rowdiness coming from female fans eager to gain the attention of young, blushing drummer Rob Steadman. Stornoway seemed humbled by the crowd’s appreciation of both their music and their good looks. A few emotional songs later and the band closed early without playing their debut single “Zorbing”, causing the previously calm crowd to demand an encore with an outburst of cheers and whistles. Their applause did not go unnoticed. “Zorbing” left the crowd smiling foolishly long after the love song had ended and the lights had gone up. Just like their namesake, Stornoway proved themselves to be a hidden treasure that once discovered you will always want to come back to. kate chambers
The Editors left their mark in Glasgow’s 02 Academy on March 10th with their memorable and quickly sold out 2010 tour. Opening with ‘In This Light and on This Evening’ I was buzzing with excitement as the mesmerizing song blasted powerfully on stage. The Editors painted a dark and hypnotic atmosphere with blue and purple strobe lights flashing like disco lights against the jam-packed auditorium and Editors front man Tom Smith blew the crowd away with his continually strengthening voice and put forth a frighteningly contagious energy that evidently stayed with myself and the crowd. There was no shortage of attention to the stage as the band started off with some of their best songs from their debut and second album. Fans jumped around wildly to ‘An end has a Start’ as the band’s electrifying guitar playing ripped through the academy. My heart fluttered at the mature new look Smith had sported with his dark beard. He bore a strong stage presence as he played the keyboard with a raw, deliberate emotion. The drummer Ed Lay played the drums expertly, never missing a beat and seeming as though he had been born only to sit behind the instrument. The band have clearly improved, bringing in an intense new sound to their music which combined with their superior song writing have proved a dangerous, yet genius choice for the Editors. Effectively it was a song from the new album that first drew me to the Editors; I preferred this new sound and decided to check out their previous work. Halfway through the concert I was so impressed I had declared them my second favourite band. ‘The Big Exit’ proved popular at the concert and the use of traditional synthesizers brought the perfect dramatic edge to the song, which seemed to get louder as the lyrics ‘you took what once was ours’ echoed throughout the crowd. The setting of the stage turned eerie at certain points of the concert with background visuals featuring black figures and haunting lights flashing which made some of their already dark songs seem effectively haunting. If any music can make you think about life in depth then the editors can with their gritty lyrics which often seem to reflect on love, death and pain. Lyrics from single ‘Papillon’ which was the perfect climax song, ‘If there really was a god, he’d have raised a hand by now / it kicks like a sleep twitch’ seem to linger on long after the concert has ended. Constantly being compared to Joy Division, the Editors have had to prove they are not just 80s wannabes. Evidence from this mind-blowing concert proves they are definitely in a league of their own. lisa boyle
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Music ELLIE GOULDING
King Tuts, Glasgow
A poorly Ellie Goulding performed to a packed out King Tuts and still did not let the crowd down. Ellie who had a chest infection and earlier in the day had to call off from the Glasgow heat of her Nike “Ellie Runs” 10k still managed to impress the packed crowd. In what was a short set the enthusiastic crowd sang and danced along to tracks such as The Writer, This Love and Under the Sheets. The biggest cheer of the night however was kept for the closing number in which Ellie told the crowd “This is my last song....its called...” to which she done the “Starry Eyed” hand gesture which had the crowd ready to party. A great if not short set by the BBC Sound of 2010 and Brit Critics Choice Winner. With future visits to Scotland including a trip to the ABC in Glasgow in June and October 29th at the Glasgow Academy and 30th October at the Edinburgh Playhouse Scottish fans will have their chance to see much more of the starry eyed one.
Boy and Bear The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
Hailing from Australia, yes yet another Aussie act, Boy and Bear, Sydneys 5 piece, were Laura Marlings support in her recent UK tour. Described as Australias answer to The Fleet Foxes, lead singer Dave Hoskins, had the Glasgow crowd impressed with this relatively unknown band. An impressive final song in “Mexican Mavis” the bands most recognised song had the crowd wanting more and with touring dates with Lisa Mitchell and Laura Marling coming up, this won’t be the last you see of this grizzly band.
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frightened rabbit T
Chris Hay talks to Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit
he release of Midnight Organ Fight in 2008 heralded the arrival of one of Scotland’s finest bands. Two years later, with the praise still flowing and the number of fans increasing exponentially, Frightened Rabbit are back with their third offering The Winter Of Mixed Drinks. The band’s drummer Grant Hutchison recently took some time to speak to The Banter about breaking America, the new album, big summer shows, and some D.I.Y. movie making. As we speak the band has just arrived back from a successful trip to Austin, Texas for the South By South West Festival. A heavy schedule meant it was a hectic trip, though it had its highlights, of which Grant mentions one in particular, “We played a show called Mess With Texas. We went on after Billy Bragg. He’s got a bit of a mouth on him, and over-ran by about 15 minutes. By the time we got to the last song it was dark, the stage is facing the city so you can see out into the sunset and it’s really pretty amazing to see.” An appearance at this famous festival is just a tiny part of what is going on across the pond for Scotland’s favourite sons; college radio stations are taking major notice of the band which will be touring in April and May with many big venues already sold out. Having played New York more times than London the gathering momentum is largely down to typical 42 | THE BANTER
Frightened Rabbit hard work and promotion, and they are looking to take things to the next level. “I think the next goal for us is to do some of the late night shows, there’s about a million of them”, said Grant before joking about not receiving a phone call from the Craig Ferguson Show. “They’re starting to translate themselves by getting small indie bands in to play. That would be the next aim. The North-East is basically selling out cause we’ve been there about ten times before. First of all we’ll get that out the way and then maybe try and meet some celebrities!” It is understandable to expect our American friends to not get the songs in the way we do in Scotland, but the Rabbit’s drummer doesn’t think that it is a problem. “The general theme of that (Midnight Organ Fight) I think is something that everyone can on a whole relate to. I don’t think they get all the phrases. There are a lot of colloquialisms in there and phrases that might not even come across well outside Glasgow, especially the swearing. When Scott plays Poke and says the line with the C word in it, it doesn’t matter where he is, as soon as you shout that out everyone understands. In Scotland that word… I wouldn’t say it to my mum or anything… but in general conversation it’s used in the same way a lot of other words are. When you go to the States it’s a real taboo word”.
Interview America in general has taken to our proudest export extremely well, with critics fawning over their defining Scottish laments. A suspect review from one website recently led to an excellent response piece by Casey Newton of Crumbler, which was published on twentyfourbit.com. The Pitchfork review compared Frightened Rabbit’s sound to that of Muse, and Casey’s response highlighted the laziness of the writing after a less than favourable response from the band. Grant explained the feeling on the piece, saying, “To be honest we were quite anxious about the Pitchfork review anyway. We had kind of convinced ourselves that’s what they were going to do. When I first read the review and saw the number at the top I was pretty disappointed, but then you read the review and this guy’s retort to the review (Casey’s article) and it explains that it’s just a bad review”. “If someone has a good weighted opinion on music or any of the songs that are on the record then it’s fine, if they don’t like it that’s ok, but this person has clearly just not listened to the record and thinks that one listen, and probably not even the whole way through to be honest, is enough. We don’t really care anymore because in the States we feel we’ve gained success that’s beyond them. Even with that review we sold out Webster Hall (New York) and Metro in Chicago”. The response to this review shows that support for Frightened Rabbit runs deep with both fans and critics who have given The Winter Of Mixed Drinks the glowing response it deserves. It is destined to be one of the albums of the year and continues the ridiculously high standards in Scottish music that the band itself has set. The album has moved on from the break-up woes of Midnight Organ Fight, responding to several songs and sporting a fuller sound and brighter outlook. “This was the record that we wanted to make, that (lead singer) Scott wanted to make, from the time we started writing songs. I feel like we’ve matured on this record and we had the opportunity to do what we liked with these songs rather than what we had the time to do. The last record worked for what it was because the songs were so personal and so raw, and had there been massive production it might have taken away from it. This time we felt like these songs needed and deserved to be bigger and sound fuller cause there’s a slightly happier tone to the record. We all feel a lot happier about this record and it just came down to figuring out how to play them live which was quite difficult”. You will be able to catch the new material this summer at Bellahouston Park on June 12th as part of the Snow Patrol spectacular. Snow Patrol actually requested they join the bill, which also features Editors and Band of Horses. 30,000 are set to attend making this the biggest show yet for the band, and while crowds this size could soon become the norm, how they found out about the slot was less than conventional. “We saw a thing on our twitter saying ‘Frightened Rabbit at Bellahouston’. We went onto the snow patrol website and there it was that we were playing”. It’s a massive opportunity for them to play at such a big event alongside one of the most successful acts in the world, but is a level of success akin to Snow Patrol something this band is striving for? “I don’t think we’d ever want to get to the stage where we put a cap on anything that was happening, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being in the charts. The more people that hear your music, surely the better. It’s not
necessarily a goal that we have to reach that, but if we do then it’s got to be a good thing”. Snow Patrol might have gained millions of fans with their chart success, but they have also alienated a lot of their long term followers who would suggest they have sold out. While I could see Frightened Rabbit appealing to millions and going on to be a worldwide name, I don’t think they will be doing it by dropping what they stand for and going mainstream. This is not a band that is looking to move away from its roots, which they highlighted perfectly earlier in the year with the making of their own video for the single Nothing Like You. Grant explained the reason behind this second promo, “The polished video was paid for by the label and we basically thought it was shit. It just wasn’t us and made us look like a crap version of the Killers. It had all this green screen stuff and we watched it the same way we listened to our record; differently and far more intently to try and pick things out. We just hated it, we weren’t comfortable when we were doing it so we had a lot of back and forth with the label and said ‘give us a week and we’ll come up with
something better than that’, so we did. That’s actually the one that’s been used in America, I saw it on their MTV the other week. We feel like the work we put in has paid off”. The video is proper DIY movie making at its best that shows the band are invested in doing things their way. It was also a chance for them to reward some of their loyal fans. “We just invited people along for the end, played the song really loudly and got them to dance. It was nice that people wanted to be involved, I think it’s cool. If I managed to get into a video of a band I liked I’d love it. You’d be showing all your mates. It was brilliant, it was really good fun.” It is due to be a busy year for Frightened Rabbit and there should be plenty of chances for Scottish fans to catch them live. Bellahouston Park is confirmed, there will be a Scottish festival among the many they will do this summer and Grant shed some light on a certain rumour. “Our goal for this year would be to do the Barrowlands. Our next Glasgow show will, fingers crossed, be there”. Frightened Rabbit support Snow Patrol at Glasgows Bellahouston Park on Sat June 12th for further information and tickets visit www.gigsinscotland.com or call 08444 999 990 THE BANTER | 43
Chris Hay interviews Jonathon Pierce of The Drums
Photography by Daren Borzynski
“It could easily make us feel pressure, but any pressure that comes along we do our best to ignore. I think we were fortunate to have recorded our album before any of this hype really happened, so we’re just waiting to release it. We’re really happy with it as a band, excited to put it out. A lot of bands get hyped up and then they have to go into the studio and work against that pressure and make something near perfect, whereas for us it was already done.” says Jonathon Pierce, frontman of The Drums, regarding the expectations surrounding his band’s upcoming album. 44 | THE BANTER
Interview It’s been a rapid rise to success for the New York quartet which has seen them incessantly tipped to be one of this year’s breakthrough acts.“I don’t really know how it happened, we only did our first show last May. We don’t understand it, the only thing I can attribute it to is people listening to our songs rather than their production. In a world where everyone is trying to be the next new ingenious thing, we tried to keep it simple and maybe that’s why we’re standing out so much.” You can hear the influence of 1980’s British acts prominently in their music and while this is not lost on their singer, it is not something he thinks defines them. “For us it’s not about a l ocation or a genre, it’s about songs. If songs were written on the moon, then you could say we like bands from the moon. I like songs more than I like albums and more than I like artists. It’s really what drives me to make music, so every time we sit down to write we just want to write songs. Simple, strong, honest, pop songs. The Smiths, Orange Juice, Joy Division they had some incredible songs.” The band’s style of music has gained them much support in the UK, with its laid-bare approach and floating guitars allowing fans to reminisce whilst taking on some sounds that are not so commonplace today. One famous fan in particular has left Jonathon very happy. “We’ve been talking to Edwyn Collins. He’s asked us to write on his new album, so we’re gona meet with him in a couple of weeks. For me he’s the epitome of cool, a great songwriter, and everything about him is incredible.” While he talks down the production quality of The Drums music, Jonathon explains the band’s lively stage performance, saying “I know definitely for me the show starts and then it ends and I don’t remember much in-between. It’s just blurs and smoke. It sounds cheesy and clichéd, but I just let myself fall into the song, forget what’s going on and just try to feel it.” This propensity to forget a show might have come in handy in England recently where they came across a less than friendly crowd, though the headline band are not exactly the cheeriest bunch. “I guess the worst thing to ever happen to us was opening for White Lies. We were very excited, it was our second show ever in London; the first show we played there was really incredible, full of life and people were excited. I don’t know if it was because of the type of people who listen to White Lies, but you could hear crickets between every song, and literally people were scowling at us.” Fortunately this was a one off and with their live shows gathering glowing reports they should not disappoint this summer when they play T In The Park; they return with a definite affinity for the Scottish crowds. “In Scotland the crowds are incredible, we played at Barrowlands and it was just the best, one of the highlights.” enthused Jonathon, before turning his attention to May and the shows with Florence And The Machine. This will be the biggest tour to date and the start of busy times for The Drums. “Its gona be great, we’re excited to get the opportunity to go on the road and play in front of a bunch of people. It’s kind of like jumping in the deep end with us being so new, but we’re ready to do it.” A new band they may be, but with their self titled debut album due for release June 7th and the band set to play “a whole bunch of festivals” it’s unlikely many will not have heard their name by the end of the summer.
t is not long now until an empty airfield in Balado will be transformed into a musical city for the weekend, with 80,000 people flocking to join the annual T in the Park festivities. With the main line-up announced and tickets selling out in only 90 minutes all that is left to do now is pray for sunshine! Although good weather is not guaranteed, a brilliant line-up is. Headliners Muse, Eminem and Kasabian will be joined by the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Madness, Jay-Z and Vampire Weekend to create a well-rounded bill that is sure to draw a mix of fans. There is also plenty of home-grown talent to look forward to with Biffy Clyro, Calvin Harris, Paolo Nutini and even old favourites, The Proclaimers making an appearance. As always, T in The Park has something for every music lover: from Florence and The Machine adding a feminine touch to the proceedings to The Prodigy contributing that much needed rave. There is no doubt that the weekend will be packed with fun, frolics and fantastic music... So grab your wellies and I’ll see you there. kate chambers
COMPETITION WIn an autographed lemar cd Following the success of his recent hit single ‘The Way Loves Goes’, released in February of this year, Lemar will release the brand new studio track ‘Coming Home’ on May 17th. Like ‘The Way Love Goes’, this track was recorded exclusively for Lemar’s greatest hits package ‘The Hits’. To Celebrate the release of ‘Coming Home’ The Banter has 5 signed copies of the Lemars Greatest Hits to giveaway. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: In which reality TV series did Lemar first make his name? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Lemar along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010. THE BANTER | 45
K AT E NASH Interview - Sean David
The bar was empty and cold, doors hadn’t yet opened, and Kate threw a jumper on before we discussed the Classic Grand being the biggest venue she’d play all week. With other venues on the tour including a social club and a working men’s club, the engagements hark back to when she first booked her own show debuting material in a bar before going on to top the album chart with Made of Bricks in 2007. “It’s just to warm up, and to keep the fans included. I feel they’ve been really supportive and important to me as an artist and I just want to give them a bit of ownership over the songs before the album is released” explained Kate. The new album title was only announced the day prior to our meeting, and it transpires that for some time, it could have been something far more abstract. Kate said: “The idea I had was ‘I Wanna Be A Frozen Pea’, which is an X-Ray Spex lyric. It’s kind of about hiding, putting your head in the sand really, but then I thought it seemed a little bit negative so I thought a more positive title along the same lines would be ‘My Best Friend Is You.’ Much of My Best Friend Is You is notably different to Kate’s debut, and this can be accredited to finding inspiration in the sixties girl group sound, also made popular again in recent years by the likes of The Pipettes. “I became obsessed with girl group music, and the One Kiss Can Lead To Another box set, full of rare singles and such, it’s good, you should buy it” said Kate. “I also listened to The Supremes, The Chiffons, the Flirtations and the Shangri-Las. I love all the vintage stuff. It shouldn’t be replicated but they are good pop tunes. You have to admit there’s a lot of crap pop music out there right now” she added, and it’s hard to disagree. Also involved in the new record is producer Bernard 46 | THE BANTER
Interview Butler, a former guitarist in Suede during the Britpop era. Kate said: “I got on well with him, it was my boyfriend’s idea, he introduced me to him. He worked with Duffy on her album, so I wasn’t the first female singer-songwriter for whom he had produced.” Kate’s boyfriend, for those unaware, is The Cribs frontman Ryan Jarman. In addition to the new direction for her solo career, last year saw Kate Nash become the bassist for new punk band The Receeders. Formed by friends, the opportunity was one the Londoner couldn’t pass up. “I’ve always been a big punk fan” she said. “My friends said they had started a band called The Receeders, because you need to have a receeding hairline to be in it!” laughed Kate. “I was like ‘Can I join?’ and they said fine”, mimicking the groans she received in jest from the others. “We’ve played a bunch of gigs, and every time we’ve practiced we’ve written a new song. So once we get to ten songs, I’d like us to release an album.” she added. At present, the band notably don’t have a MySpace page for their material and unlike many these days, maintaining an online presence doesn’t seem too important for the 22 year old. “I’m scared of it” she said. “I had a fake on Twitter, who said, ‘my name’s Kate Nash and if you don’t know who I am you better google me’ and she started talking about her friends dying and going to Moscow and playing in Blackpool and stuff and I was like ‘this girl’s crazy’. So I’ve had a lot of fake Twitter pages but I’ve never ‘tweeted’ myself.” Nash’s videos have traditionally been directed by Kinga Burza, but in the video for new single Do- Wah-Doo, what you see is the product of the artist herself. “I wrote the treatment for it, and the label would like me to do that for all my other videos from now on” she said. The people featured in the video are actually friends and band mates of Kate, something she intends to continue. She said: “I’d like to keep them as the same people in every video, so hopefully you will recognize them in each.” It was following rejection by the Old Vic Theatre School and becoming housebound after falling down a flight of stairs that Kate was given an electric guitar by her mother and wrote songs before beginning her career. She credits the time alone however for her independence. “At the time it was pretty lonely, because all my friends were off to uni and I was stuck by myself. I do sometimes think it’s a good time for chilling out and developing but having independence really shaped me as a person because I think it’s good to be independent” she said. She felt brave enough to do things on her own. “I went to Paris on holiday by myself, to gigs by myself, and to dinner by myself and not being afraid to do that is good. You really learn that you have so much freedom in what you can do and you don’t have to rely on what other people want to do.” Kate continued: “It’s not in a selfish way, but it’s really good to spend time being okay hanging out by yourself, not restricted by feeling lonely. Just learn to be brave. A lot of people feel the pressure from having to go to uni and you can be successful in life without it.” The new album My Best Friend Is You is available now, and Kate will appear at T in the Park this summer. THE BANTER | 47
Music education and the fight against mediocrity
f you ask someone these days what a musical career is about, many will answer “to be famous”, or “to be on TV”. And how do you get there? By winning a talent show? By auditioning for “XFactor” or “Britain’s got talent”? Being a singing teacher and vocal coach myself, I am always saddened by the fact that especially many young singers these days have exactly this attitude. Singing is very often not about the beauty of the instrument or appreciating music anymore, but rather about fame, being in the spotlight and winning dubious competitions. I have been singing and working on my voice since my early teens, I got my voice professionally trained for 8 years. I am still working on it, and I still want to improve - it is a lifelong process, there’s never a “good enough”. You cannot expect to be an amazing singer with a handful of lessons or a bit of karaoke. Talent alone is nothing but a good foundation - the rest is hard and sometimes mentally and physically exhausting work. It is also sad to see that many budding musicians these days have a very low frustration tolerance and therefore opt for the supposedly “easy way in”. The question is: Who is to blame for this attitude? It is very easy to say “the media”, but that alone isn’t true, because let’s all face it: Imagine it’s the X-Factor, and nobody is watching (or even attending the auditions). What I mean by this is: We all play our part by watching these shows, even if it just to get annoyed at them (as I usually am). And there is nothing wrong with watching them, as long as we do not mistake them to be the only way to have a musical career. They really have very little to do with the life of a musician – they are made for entertainment purposes. If anything, they are the fast track, and apart from very few exceptions, people usually pay for not honing their skills first - be it with vocal damage or a mental and physical breakdown. If we can plant the idea of what music is really about into the brains of the youngest people, and I am really talking primary kids here, we have already won, but it requires perseverance. 48 | THE BANTER
Not only with the kids, but also their parents. I met more than one parent in my life who believes that their child will be able to study music at a Conservatoire with a handful of lessons leading up to the auditions. It is not our job to discourage people, but it is our job to be realistic and correct the image that has already been planted in their brains by years of lowest profile TV entertainment. It would also be wrong to neglect the fact that there are enough “music clubs” out there who are happy to play along and have mainly one interest themselves: Making money and jumping on the “fame bandwagon”, even if this means that they have 10-year-olds hopping along to karaoke tunes that are vocally completely inappropriate for them. Yes, even the smallest ones like their popstars, and of course that’s what they want to sing. If you care about a voice though, you know that a primary school kid doesn’t have the range of a 20-year old, and consequently shouldn’t attempt to sing like one. Music is about being inspired and therefore being inspiring yourself – and mediocrity is not inspiring. Sadly, there is too much emphasis on it these days though: „Good music“ is often used as a synonym for something else: Celebrity image. It doesn’t seem to matter if you can’t play or sing these days – as long as you have an edge and a sob-story, it will sell. However, what message does this send to budding musicians? The answer is: Sometimes it sadly leads to the misconception that they don’t need to study their instruments anymore. They want a career without putting in the years of work required to have one. And in all honesty: Can we be surprised if that’s the only culture we expose them to, because it is easier, doesn’t require so much work and above all: no brains? People need to get in contact with all sorts of well crafted music, and such can be found in literally every musical style, but seldom on TV talent shows. The bottomline is easy: If someone is exposed to real art and has an open mind, their own art will always be better. It requires a bit more effort though than just sitting in front of your TV on a Saturday night ... petra raspel
DVD REVIEWS tenderness (15) lions gate home entertainment This psychological thriller centers on the release of Eric Komenko (Jon Foster) from the juvenile detention centre he was held at for the brutal murders of his parents. Russell Crowe plays NYPD Lieutenant Cristofuoro, a man obsessed with the case and certain that Komenko is in fact a serial killer, guilty of more than just the murders he was convicted of, and destined to kill again. The troubled cop is convinced Komenko is heading for his next victim and follows him on a road trip, but he is not the only person making the journey. Abused teen Lori (Sophie Traub) enters the fray as she joins Eric on the road, and with her arrival comes an uncertain past and an unexplained obsession. chris hay
WIn tenderness dvd and book
To Celebrate the release of “Tenderness” The Banter has 5 copies of the DVD 5 copies of the album and the book by Robert Cormier to giveaway.������������������������� For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: What is the name of Russell Crows character in the movie Tenderness? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Tenderness along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes June 11th 2010.
dance of the dead (15) lions gate HOME ENTERTAINMENT There are a lot of Zombie films out there, and rightly so: they are popular, and when done well can be absolutely superb. Sadly, for every Dawn of the Dead, there are at least five zombie features which are rushed, clichéd and overall dreadful. So, coming hot off the heels of last years box office smash Zom-Com, Zombieland, and hoping to follow the footsteps of the definitive Zombie parody Shaun of the Dead, can Gregg Bishops Dance of the Dead run with the big dogs? Overall, the film is quirky, entertaining and certainly better than many of the train-wrecks in the same genre, but not quite there yet. The film has a lot of potential, but never truly develops into anything special. Worth a watch, but only just. simon cassidy
sherlock holmes (15)
warner home video On a quest to solve a string of mysterious and brutal murders, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his trusted ally Watson (Jude Law) plunge into a world of dark arts and startling new technologies, where logic, and a good right hook, are the best crime fighting weapons. Explosive action, baffling mystery and astonishing intrigue follow the two in a race to uncover and foil a terrifying plot that threatens to destroy the country. Director Guy Ritchie helms the all-action adventure reintroducing the great detective to the world. Robert Downey Jr. is the new Sherlock Holmes. With so many remakes these days big question marks were raised as to just how good this would be but once again, as in Iron Man, Downey Jr steals the shop and the DVD is worth watching for him alone. A good movie with an exceptional performance. THE BANTER | 49
TWILIGHT SAGE: ECLIPSE
12A IN CINEMAS FROM july 9th
Bella (Stewart) once again finds herself surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward (Pattinson) and her friendship with Jacob (Lautner) -knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella is confronted with the most important decision of her life.
TOY STORY 3 18
IN CINEMAS FROM july 23rd
The creators of the beloved “Toy Story” films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in TOY STORY 3. Woody and Buzz had accepted that their owner Andy would grow up someday, but what happens when that day arrives? In the third installment, Andy is preparing to depart for college, leaving his loyal toys troubled about their uncertain future. Lee Unkrich (co-director of “Toy Story 2” and “Finding Nemo”) directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award®winning screenwriter of “Little Miss Sunshine,” brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings. 50 | THE BANTER
DEATH AT A FUNERAL 15
IN CINEMAS FROM JUNE 2ND
Aaron (Chris Rock) is a well-mannered and hard working young man, married to Michelle (Regina Hall), and still living at his father’s home. When his father dies, it is up to Aaron, the oldest son, to organize the funeral and give the eulogy. The funeral takes place in his father’s home and Aaron tries to put on an appropriate expression on his face to welcome his relatives, including his famous writer brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence), and his father’s friends. But preserving a civil atmosphere will be a hard thing to do, especially, when from the very start, the undertaker makes a horrifying mistake. And Ryan wants to be the celebrity of the event without paying for anything. But those incidents are only minor compared to the information that Aaron and Ryan get from Frank (Peter Dinklage) the mysterious dwarf who is attending the funeral and nobody seems to know.
THE A-TEAM 15
from july 28th
THE A-TEAM follows the exciting and daring exploits of Hannibal Smith and his colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going “rogue,” they utilize their unique talents – and eccentricities – to try and clear their names and find the true culprit.
ROBIN HOOD 12A
at ciinemas now
“Robin Hood” chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self–preservation, from his service in King Richard‘s army against the French. Upon Richard‘s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion (Oscar–winner Cate Blanchett), a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary
skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff. With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the ineffective rule of the new king and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure. This unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.
THE TOOTH FAIRY
PG IN CINEMAS FROM MAY 28TH
KNIGHT AND DAY TBC from july 14th
Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in the action-comedy KNIGHT AND DAY. During their glamorous and sometimes deadly adventure, nothing and no one – even the now fugitive couple – are what they seem. Amid shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals, they race across the globe, with their survival ultimately hinging on the battle of truth vs. trust.
Dwayne Johnson is “The Tooth Fairy,” also known as Derek Thompson, a hard-charging minor league hockey player whose nickname comes from his habit of separating opposing players from their bicuspids. When Derek discourages a youngster’s dreams, he’s sentenced to one week’s hard labour as a real tooth fairy, complete with the requisite tutu, wings and magic wand. At first, Derek “can’t handle the tooth” – bumbling and stumbling as he tries to furtively wing his way through strangers’ homes…doing what tooth fairies do. But as Derek slowly adapts to his new position, he begins to rediscover his own forgotten dreams. THE BANTER | 51
Doctor Who? I
t must be hard to be plucked from obscurity to become one of the most recognisable faces on TV but this is what exactly happened last year to Matt Smith, when he was chosen to become the Eleventh Doctor in the seminal TV series Doctor Who. Smith was a relatively unknown actor compared to the actors speculated to take on the role, who included Paterson Joseph, David Morrissey, Sean Pertwee, James Nesbitt, Russell Tovey, Catherine Zeta Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Robert Carlyle and Billie Piper. The announcement that Smith was to become the new Doctor was met with headlines such as “Doctor Who?” due to Smith’s obscurity to the majority of the general public. Smith was one of the earliest actors to audition for the role, performing on the first day of auditions. The production team, consisting of the incoming producer, Steven Moffat, and BBC Wales Head of Drama and executive producer, Piers Wenger, immediately singled him out based on his performance. At 26 years old, Smith was three years younger than Peter Davison was at the time of his casting as the Doctor in 1981, and younger than any other actor suggested for the role. After three weeks of auditions, Moffat and Wenger agreed that it had “always been Matt” and approached him to accept the role. 52 | THE BANTER
The BBC were cautious about casting him because they felt that a 26-year-old could not play the Doctor adequately; Wenger shared the same sentiment but thought Smith had proven his acting quality in BBC television drama series Party Animals, which Wenger thought highlighted Smith’s “mercurial qualities”. Some fans of the show believed that Smith was inexperienced and too young for the role, while others supported him by citing his demonstrated acting ability. To make matters worse Smith was replacing David Tennant, the man many believe to be the greatest Doctor ever and a national treasure. With the new series coming to the half way stage, we here at the Banter thought we’d have a look at see how Matt Smith and the some other key cast and crew are doing so far in a Dr Who Mid-Term report. Smith has been a revelation in the role of the last Time Lord and luckily for the tabloids he’s been a revelation for their gossip pages with rumours of a romance blossoming between him and co-star Karen Gillan as well as pictures of him and the lovely Agent Provocateur and runway model Daisy Lowe getting... emmm... friendly at the Coachella festival appearing all over the red-tops. Less with the idle chit-chat and back to the Who talk, Smith
Television that a 26-year-old could not play the Doctor adequately; Wenger shared the same sentiment but thought Smith had proven his acting quality in BBC television drama series Party Animals, which Wenger thought highlighted Smith’s “mercurial qualities”. Some fans of the show believed that Smith was inexperienced and too young for the role, while others supported him by citing his demonstrated acting ability. To make matters worse Smith was replacing David Tennant, the man many believe to be the greatest Doctor ever and a national treasure. With the new series coming to the half way stage, we here at the Banter thought we’d have a look at see how Matt Smith and the some other key cast and crew are doing so far in a Dr Who Mid-Term report. Smith has been a revelation in the role of the last Time Lord and luckily for the tabloids he’s been a revelation for their gossip pages with rumours of a romance blossoming between him and co-star Karen Gillan as well as pictures of him and the lovely Agent Provocateur and runway model Daisy Lowe getting... emmm... friendly at the Coachella festival appearing all over the red-tops. Less with the idle chit-chat and back to the Who talk, Smith comes across as excited, exuberant but awkward, but the good awkward as the Doctor is still coming to grips with his new body. Smith’s confident performance has had this Doctor Who viewer thinking David Who? Matt Smith’s Grade A The series five premiere wasn’t the first time Karen Gillan has appeared on our screens in Doctor Who, she was briefly in the series 4 episode The Fires of Pompeii but the season five premiere sees Gillan step into the shoes of the Doctor’s companion as Amy Pond and boy does she fill them. Gillan makes her companion feisty, witty and smart and Pond also comes across as an equal to the Doctor, well as much as a human can be an equal to a Time Lord, instead of a lovesick girl following the Doctor around with her puppy dog eyes. Oh! Before I forget Gillan is also absolutely gorgeous, not that that matters of course but she is fantastic. Karen Gillan’s Grade A The BBC announced in May 2008 that Steven Moffat would be taking over from Russell T Davies as head writer and executive producer for the show’s fifth series, up until then Moffat was mostly known for writing some episodes of Doctor Who, usually the best and darkest ones, such as the magnificent series three episode Blink and the award winning series one two-parter The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances. Moffat has continued his wonderful streak of compelling and engaging stories in his new role of head writer and executive producer, which including the brilliant series premier and the phenomenal two-parter The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone which saw the return of the downright scary Weeping Angels and the mysterious River Song. Steven Moffat’s Grade A Well that brings the Banter to the end of our Doctor Who mid-term report (mostly because I have ran out of positive adjectives) and the Doctor has passed with flying colours but with just over half the series to go we’ll have to wait and see if the show can keep it up until the end of term. Show’s Grade A+
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Theatre & Arts
exhibitions The Glasgow Boys 1880-1900 @ Kelvingrove Museum Two years ago, Kelvingrove welcomed us to peer and leer at Kylie’s gold hotpants through perspex; last year, we took our chances and stood against a menacing Dalek at its Dr. Who Exhibition. Whilst the diva and the doctor may have slipped back to Australia and back through time, Kelvingrove’s latest exhibition strikes at the heart of the arts in Glasgow. It celebrates the work and lives of our cherished local Glasgow win tickets to the national theatre of Boys, a distinctive group of influential late-nineteenth century Scotlands latest play beautiful burnout artists who helped to pioneer the Art Noveau movement in hilst knockout performances are not uncommon on Britain. Whilst their names and works might not be as well the Scottish stage, Frantic Assembly and the National known as Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Antoni Gaudi, the Theatre of Scotland’s latest play takes this notion to a influence of the Glasgow Boys has left an indelible mark on whole new dimension. Their new production of Bryony Lavery’s the city and inspired artists worldwide. Running until the 27th original play Beautiful Burnout promises to capture the thrill of of September, the exhibition is free to under 16s and only £3 the fight in an evening of high-octane, physical theatre that floats to those with concession cards. like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Featuring an electronic soundtrack by ‘Born Slippy’ Confrontation @ The National Galleries of Scotland beat-bangers Underworld, this is sure to be a night unlike any other. Tackling the controversial nature of boxing, the production Over the next few months, the National Galleries of Scotland throws its audiences into the heat and noise of the ring. Its will attempt to find the roots of modern art by delving into explosive story follows a young and driven boxer on an the past. Open until the 18th of July, ‘Confrontation’ displays all-consuming quest for the ultimate fight of his life, drawing him groundbreaking pieces side by side and challenges the into a dangerous world of near-ritualistic violence and audience to find the common links and similiarities which life-changing egotism. they share. The current pair, aligning the high Renaissance Amongst its cast are former River City actor Ryan Fletcher and German painter Lucas Cranach with the Weimar era Otto Dix, West End performer Henry Pettigrew, both of whom starred in the is a challenging and, at times, discomforting coupling, which National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed Olivier nonetheless finds a common humanity between the artist Award winning play, Black Watch. and the subject, however separated by time and style the two Throwing its first punch as part of the Edinburgh Festival, the great men may be. production will run from the 4th to the 29th of August at the capital city’s Pleasance Forth before fighting a second round at Treasured: Wonderful Things, Amazing Stories @ The Glasgow’s Tramway theatre between the 2nd and the 11th of National Museum of Scotland September. The Banter has 5 pairs of tickets for the Glasgow Tramway Spanning five centuries of human accomplishment and performance to give away. To win just answer this simple travelling across all five continents, The National Museum of question Q: Which electronic group provide the soundtrack to Beautiful Scotland’s latest exhibition is breathtaking. If you’ve wanted to marvel at a samurai’s armour without facing the chop, to Burnout? stare into the eyes of a great Egyptian king without being Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the forever cursed or stand face-to-face with a massive Emperor heading Competition: Beautiful Burnoutalong with telling us penguin without facing the Antarctic chill, this exhibition is your name, age, address and e-mail address. for you. Free to all and situated within one of Scotland’s most Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, all-encompassing collections, the pieces are a sneak-preview competition closes June 11th 2010. of the bigger, brighter things which are coming to the Royal Museum following its £46 million refurbishment. scott purvis 54 | THE BANTER
effect by lisa boyle
ffortless headband chic, Herve Leger curves and an array of grungy stockings…The Gossip Girl wardrobe holds perhaps the most enviable range of clothing that one could ever wish for.
Whether its Serena’s sexy curve hugging dresses, Jenny’s rock-chic glamour or Blair’s preppy combo’s, it is clear who owns the most stylish crew crown.
Miss Selfridge have now collaborated with the hit TV series and now have released their very own exclusive Gossip Girl range, sure to set fashion-lovers hearts pounding with excitement. The range includes a collection of eight dresses is inspired by the individual fashion styles of the four leading female characters. The range includes Serena, Blair, Jenny and Vanessa and focuses on the captivating style of the girls that we know and love. Created by costume designer Eric Daman, the collection has a dress to suit every girls taste.
The Serena dress is typically slinky and glamorous, with plunging necklines and body con silhouette. Blair’s outfits will be perfect teamed with a signature headband and takes inspiration for the pretty, preppy outfits she is often seen wearing on the show. Vanessa’s laid back, bohemian style is represented in this collection with a gorgeous print maxi dress and Grecian style LBD. And finally little Jenny Humphrey’s punky fashion is embraced with a cute mini prom dress and glam black dress, and will go perfect with smokey eyes at a rock festival. This range is sure to be snapped up ultra quickly by fans and we’re almost certain there will be plenty of clothes to gossip about. 56 | THE BANTER
xfam might not instantly make you think of music festivals but it should! Oxfam are using stewarding, trading and campaigning at music festivals to raise awareness to fight global poverty and in 2010 Oxfam will be visiting 15 festivals! This year, Oxfam will be celebrating their 17th year and Glastonbury, their 10th year at Leeds and their 3rd year at Bestival. They’ll provide over 3,000 stewards, have shops at 9 of the festivals and they’ll be bringing their Fair Deal campaign to 10 festivals! So, forget what you know about volunteering for charities, it’s not all working in a shop or protesting in the rain! Now you can go to amazing festivals, get to see bands you’d really like and help out all at the same time. What could be better? Here’s how it works, festival organisers donate to Oxfam for providing stewards at their festivals. If you’re a steward at the festival you have to work three shifts that will be 8 and a quarter hours long. Usually you’ll work one will be in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night which means you’ve got tons of free time left to enjoy the festival while you’re there! Stewards are a vital part of the festival team; they’re the eyes and ears. Stewards have to look out for things like hazards, disturbances and crowd build-up and while 99% of stewarding involves assisting, advising, reporting and checking tickets, 1% of the time stewards are needed to act quickly and calmly in emergencies, sometimes in life saving situations. Think it’s for you but don’t fancy cleaning toilets and talking to people about Oxfam? You don’t have to! Stewards are just security at the festival. Their primary role is to keep people safe
and informed. Fancy helping out at a festival but don’t think that stewarding is for you? Fancy doing something more laid back and concentrated on charity work? Why not help out the campaigning team? Oxfam’s campaigns at festivals have been hugely successful gaining support from over 500,000 people since 1993 on things like global trade and climate change. This year Oxfam will be launching their “Fair Deal” campaign to raise awareness about the effects climate change has on poor people. They won’t be asking you to give them money or sign anything; all they want you to do is write “Fair Deal” on yourself, hardly a huge sacrifice. Since 1993 Oxfam have gathered 333,000 signatures from people at Glastonbury alone. So if you fancy campaigning then why not join the team, every year Oxfam offers around 300 volunteer campaigning opportunities over 8 festivals and like the stewards you’ll only work three 8 hour shifts leaving the rest of your time at the festival open to your enjoyment! Maybe you can’t afford your ticket to a festival this year and you fancy helping out and making a difference while you’re there but whatever your reason for volunteering, you’ll be get some guilt free fun! And it doesn’t get better than that. alyce macpherson
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