In Letter Form Shakedown Stockholm Mohawk Radio The Winachi Tribe Jack Thompson Gold Jacks
THE MANC TANK
RADIO ROOM THE WINACHI TRIBE SCENE & HEARD 18-21 Knockanstockan 22-23 Groove Fest The Ruby Sessions 24 25-36 38-47 48-50 51
Album Reviews EP Reviews Single Reviews July 4x4
IN LETTER FORM
Last month’s readership: 173, 165
U& I Mus ic Magazine 26 K ings Inn S treet Dublin 1 Editor-In-Chief: Phillip Ó’ Baoighealláin Deputy Editor: Greg Clifford Writing Staff: Jamie Kelly Sean Brennan Marky Edison Liverpool Correspondent: Joe Loftus Manchester Correspondent: Dave Beech U&I Gigs Photographers: Peter O'Hanlon Eric Cooper Dom Marceleno
Interested in advertising with U&I? Contact: email@example.com
EDITORIAL We have another excellent issue that is full if some of the best in emerging music that our co-op network has yet again come up trumps with in the shape of the
The first thing that we should discuss is your EP ‘IV’. Not only did it instantly become an instant office favourite here at U&I (which still sees it get played here at least once a week) but you also walked away with the honour of being named ‘2014 Best International EP’ in our magazine. That is no mean feat to say the least but it was well earned in our opinion. Not only does it comprise four truly outstanding tracks, but the most interesting thing that stood out for us was the fact that it was released before you had even played your first live gig. In terms of how bands start off that is an approach that we will admit is a first for us to have heard of. That was a bold move. Was that a deliberate attempt to have people talking about you for the right reasons by letting the music do the talking? We wanted to have something to show for ourselves upon announcing the founding of Stegall. It’s one thing for three sisters to start playing shows, experimenting, and going through that initial band evolution. It’s another thing to step out with a finished product that we feel is strong, having already figured out who we want to be, what we want to sound like, etc. We really love having intent. In terms of what you offered up with your debut we were immediately hooked. Of the tracks that are on there, ‘Tribal Woman’ would seem to be one that piqued our interest most. Is there a theme running through that song or is it just one of those tracks that leaves everything open to interpretation? We experienced a lot of prejudice against indigenous groups living in both
Arizona and Canada. That’s the theme that inspired the song and where the irony lives, but the overall message goes beyond prejudice against one group. Any general interpretation is still very relevant and interesting to us. With the high octane pull to how your music comes across – there is a hip and nouveau balance as much as there is a hardier side with the synthesised flourishes that are factored in – that has seen it being labelled as ‘indietronica’. But how would you describe your sound? Hmm… our genre? We aren’t too sure…We know what sounds we like. What grooves we like. What textures we like. And that’s all endless, so imagining Stegall’s sound/genre even six months from now is a bit of a mystery. Overall, we exist within pop, rock, and alt. As we have just pointed out you have a sound which has a high dynamic to be found in the mechanics and execution. In terms of the influences growing up musically who would you cite as leaving a lasting impression on you for all the right reasons? Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Talking Heads, St. Vincent, Mutemath, Trixie Whitley, Robyn, Bjork. Just the most brilliant… In terms of the band dynamics how does the creative process work with the three of you? What instruments do you play and what equipment do you use when you play? We try to mix up our process, but usually we write independently from one another and then overhaul it together. By the end, the original idea might be totally tossed. But it gets the creative conversation going.
Clara - lead vocals, rhythm guitar. Sydney - lead guitar, vocals. Liza - synthesizers, vocals. Our primary axes: Fender Tele, Gibson Les Paul, Moog Subphatty. With both your parents being musicians, you grew up around music but you also spent a lot of time traveling around. On reflection do you see that as being a steady influence on your decision to become musicians or do you think it is something that you were born to do? I would say we were bound to become musicians no matter where we lived, however, traveling around has definitely had an influence on where we draw inspiration from. For example, living in Atlanta and watching our dad perform in big funk and jazz bands as we grew up exposed us to great artists like Herbie Hancock and Tower of Power. Do you think that has influenced you to get Stegall Fest off the ground? Yeah, you could say that. Stegall Fest was also inspired by living in a small town full of local talent and really supportive people. It’s a great way to get everyone together and give back to our community. It is now in its second year, so tell us a little about it. Stegall Fest is great fun. It originally started as a laid back fundraising event right in our own backyard. It’s a full day of live music featuring local bands. This year we expanded a bit and held it at a local bar so we could have more people. It’s a great way to get the neighbourhood together and enjoy all the local talent. This year we were raising funds for our recoding project at Grouse Lodge studios, but it’s a free event and open to everyone.
Then you played your first gig on June 14th of last year and shortly after that announced that you were touring with Amity Beach. That is a little over a full year now. Looking back on that what have been the highlights of playing live for you in that period? If you look back on the band you were starting off, how much of that entity remains today and how much have you grown into a completely different animal since then? Our energy and enthusiasm is still kicking ass like last year. But wow, we are loads more experienced today. Our first gig is pretty hilarious in hindsight. There was a significant crowd and everyone knew the music…We were so freaked out. It was freezing and the keyboards wouldn’t work properly. Now we drop and play, running tracks out of a big ole’ rig. And as performers, freaking out on stage is much more comfortable. Experience has done a lot for us. Clara collaborated with Ted Hunter on ‘And I Know’ and that has clocked up an impressive 250,000 plus plays on Soundcloud. How did that all come about? Are there any plans for future collaborations with any artists? Who would be your ideal collaboration (dead or alive)? ‘And I Know’ was featured on beatport.com, which resulted in the 250,000 plus plays on Soundcloud. Although it was a solo song that Clara did with the production of Ted Hunter, Stegall is also very open to collaborating with other artists. We think the best part about collaboration is the on-going momentum of creativity and energy everyone brings together in the room. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. Either way, you walk out gaining something. You have described coffee as the official fourth member of the band, but when you
go into the studio to work on your music is it strictly a family affair or do other musicians become involved in the process? For our first EP “IV”, our sound engineer certainly contributed some production, but it was mostly self-produced. This past year, however, we have been working at Noble Street Studios in Toronto with a super talented producer, Doug Romanow. He has become a key member of our team. We also collaborated with several other musicians. We have only released one of those tracks — Predator. This summer is now seeing you play this side of the Atlantic for the first time. That is now going to see you recording in Grouse Lodge in Westmeath. That is a really impressive studio. In terms of what you are going in there to record will that be a full album? No, we are working on 4 new tracks while at Grouse Lodge. However, we have 4 other unreleased tracks and our single ‘Predator’ to complete the album. You have worked with Doug Romanow on your EP. Is there anyone else involved with the production and other aspects? Yes, we are collaborating with Doug for this project at Grouse Lodge as well. As far as song writing and production of the music goes, it is just the four of us. In terms of what you have planned with the recording in Grouse Lodge, what can people expect from the new tracks? The new tracks have definitely evolved from our last EP. We have a product we’re very proud of and hope
our fans enjoy it too! But London is also on the radar for you. There have been a number of gigs in Dublin as well. As a band you would seem to be one who throve on playing live gigs. What is it about playing live before an audience that means the most to you as a band? It’s almost like having a conversation. We sing and play to them, they reply with body movements. To us it’s more than just a show we put on for any ear to listen to. We want it to be an experience for both parties. For those not familiar with your own local music scene it is one that is very rich in terms of emerging artists. This year for Record Store Day you played alongside Tangerine from Seattle. But there are a lot of fine acts coming through the ranks. There are also some fantastic live venues – Blackshire and Rancho Relaxo to name but two – that are worth playing. What makes a great venue for you guys? There are a lot of factors that can either make or break a venue, whether it be sound, or light, location, etc. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is the audience. A receptive audience that appreciates the music can make for a great gig anywhere. Where is home for the band? Although we have moved around the US and Canada numerous times, Grand Bend, ON Canada will always be our home. What are the plans for the rest of the summer? After Grouse Lodge, we will finish up the summer with a few more gigs back in Canada and start planning our album release!
IN LETTER FORM
Photo by Rachel Escoto
When we first listened to your music in May last year it took some work to convince us that you were a band from San Francisco. That is because we immediately picked up on a vibe that draws notable comparisons with Northern bands such as Joy Division, Voltaire Cabaret et al. That raw, disenchanted sensibility that fuses something morose alongside the indie aspects really stands out. Would it be safe to say that they would have been the kind of bands that you draw influence from musically? Or is it a case that your style is one that seems to draw those comparisons in a way that is entirely unintentional and just comes about of its own accord? James: Yes, post-punk/new wave/dark wave are all a big influence but I think everything we’ve listened to in the past also has an impact on the music we make. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Eric: I agree with James and add that it's a hard question to answer and therefore a great question! We strive for the music to come about "on its own accord" but impossible to disassociate with what we know. Yet you also seem to corner a real sense of purpose from how you find the essence of the worth in the post punk/New Wave style of your sound. You can pick up on other elements such as Krautrock on your sound also. That adds potency in the dynamic that finely mixes style and substance. But being an American band, and being from California, how did you come to be exposed to the music of those artists in the first place? James: There is a large community of music lovers in the US, especially in the Bay Area. You get exposed to all sorts of music, even at a very young age. Most of the people we know are musicians or at least passionate about music. Eric: Music is a lot like drugs or anything worth doing, you start off with an introduction and of course before you know it you're sneaking into your dad's room to listen to Sgt. Pepper’s and the Velvet Underground and Nico then you buy a tape at a flea market with the word Still on it. Next you know, your best friend is introducing you to the Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, Sub Humans, Wall of Voodoo then you follow that to find Birthday Party, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cramps. Everyone's journey is unique. It comes down to one simple fact, good music transcends national borders. When you look at how bands like that came to stake their claim, they also made a bold statement that let the music do the talking by giving a voice to a generation. They were very much both a band of their time and made music that has stood the test of the time. What was it about that style of music that spoke to you? James: Music is unique in that a song can connect to you through melody and then you explore further the lyrics and what they mean to you. Sometimes people’s perception of what a song means might not be what the artist intended, but their interpretation is still valid. Do you think that there is a second coming of that generation and can it be possible for a band to have that same kind of impact in an internet age? James: That is the great unknown. The internet has made it possible to have a direct conduit to people, but now there is so much to sift through. You may never find what you are looking for if you don’t know it’s there. Eric: Our goal is rarely impact. That would be the wrong idea. The goal is to make music that frees us in a way. If that translates for and is relevant to our audience then it feels good sure, but it's not the goal. You have been quoted as saying that you would love to make a Berlin trilogy of your own. That would have to consist of a beginning, middle and an end; although not necessarily in that order to slightly paraphrase Jean Luc Godard. But if you were to take three albums that fit that category what would make up the definitive trilogy for you guys as a band? There are so many to choose from but these three always are at or near the top: ‘Heaven up Here’ Echo and the Bunnymen ‘Disintegration’ The Cure ‘Unknown Pleasures’ Joy Division When we started looking into finding out more about you guys we learned that you killed two birds with the one stone by combining your first ever gig with the launch of your first EP. That was a shrewd move in our book. Why did you decide to go with that approach on both fronts? James: That was us going full steam from the get go. It may have been a bit too ambitious because we weren’t yet solidified in what we do or how we approach it. It’s always a learning experience.
Eric: Agreed, that was us learning a valuable lesson: Don't record until you're ready. We needed more time feeling things out and realizing that the drummer we were playing with at the time was coming from a completely different uncomplimentary place. But it's a record of who we were at the time, so it's honest. Then in October that year you announced your single releases – ‘Knife’ ‘Reasons To Reconsider’ and ‘Explorations Of Unknown Destinations’ – and that would seem to suggest that alongside your EP launch that you had the album worked out a long time in advance. Was everything in 2012 all part of a plan or did you find everything falling into place in a way that allowed you to recognise that you were heading in the right direction? James: We had no well thought out plans other than write, play, record and release. Sometimes you can sit on material too long and by then you have moved on. Each song we record is like a snapshot in time of where we were. Peter Dosanjh re-joined the band in the summer of 2013. What did he bring to the band dynamics when he came back into the fold? James: Peter brings a bit of levity which is necessary when 4 people are locked in a dark room for hours on end. Musically he brings a sense of urgency, which is key in a lot of our songs. Eric: Levity is a fitting term, comic relief more apropos. Peter is a brother, founding member and his tone is inseparable from the In Letter Form moniker. He plays from the heart and therein lies the goal. Soon after that you uploaded ‘Lie To Me’ and ‘Killing The Time’. Were they tracks you had been working on before that happened or did they come about under a completely different set of circumstances? James: The ideas came around early on but were put on the backburner for a bit, then we decided to pull them out explore them, pretty much both at the same time.
public eye. We are still busy writing and/or recording all the time. We have a lot of song ideas that we constantly fleshing out, some of them will make onto the album. Some people would say that doing something like that when you had the momentum clearly working in your favour would have been a suicidal move given you are still an unsigned band…but do you think it was the right thing for you guys to as a band? Has it given you guys a fresh perspective or different outlook on how you will approach things in the future? James: Taking a show hiatus is key if you want to continue to both grow as an artist and also be able to release new material. Playing live shows and rehearsing for them is a different mindset than the creative and technical processes of writing and recording. The local scene is one that you are very much a part of. If you take ‘Disorder’ (a post punk night held at Knockout) through to playing other venues such as Bar Sinister and DNA, you are very much getting around and bringing your music to the masses. For you guys it would seem that you are equally at home in the studio as much as you are playing to an audience. What is the most satisfying thing that you guys get from performing to a crowd? James: Being able to feed off of the crowd and vice versa is something that can’t be replicated or described really. You have also supported other acts such as the March Violets (who you toured with) and other venues such as Boardners in Hollywood and Stork Club in Oakland. Yet it seems to be that the audiences have taken to you even though they are not necessarily your fan base per se. How important to you guys to avoid any complacency when it comes to playing to a new audience? James: It’s fun to play to different crowds. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there. In the past we have been paired up with perhaps not the best fitting line up stylistically and the crowd was expecting maybe Pearl Jam or Dave Matthews type music and didn’t know how to take us. At these types of shows is when the sound engineer and bar staff thank us and have glowing things to say.
Maybe it is the aesthetic of the texture in your sound but your music does lend itself to video in a truly impressive way. From ‘Lie To Me’ to ‘Wait Now’ to ‘Reflecting The Rain’ there is a dark touch in there to be found but it is highly artistic. Do you have any input in the creative process when it comes to your videos or have you been very fortunate to work with the right director each time?
In terms of the local scene, is there any particular venue that you have a soft spot for and, if so, why?
James: Both. We talked to the directors first to discuss ideas and they were very much on the same page from the get go.
You have also begun to get gigs on the festival circuit. This year you played Fog City in March. Are there any other plans to hit the festival circuit over the summer?
‘Lie To Me’ was a video concept entirely conceived and executed by my late amazing friend/creative partner (Brodie Giles) and me at his Sonoma house. We literally wrote the idea and shot it in one day and edited the next.
James: We just played Pandemonium in Oakland which was a celebration of dark music. We don’t have any other festivals on the books, but are keeping an eye out for a good fit.
The concept of Wait Now was inspired by the lyrics but mainly a performance video whose concept was conceived by Amin Shahsavar. The team behind the ‘Wait Now’ video included Brody Giles, Rachel Escoto, Dennis Gwinn and Adrienne Azzara. ‘Reflecting The Rain’ was a concept by the director Ant Boyd and pulled together with the help of friends and the art community (RIP Submission SF). The team included Dorothy NotRobot, Pauline Maccay, Flo Hernandez, Jose Jaramillo, Rachel Escoto and Tyrone the Tarantula. How do you find the approach to making a video in comparison to recording in the studio or playing live? James: It’s fun to see the director/editor bring the idea to life. They take something that you helped create and give it a whole new layer of depth. That leads us nicely into your upcoming EP. That is off the back of your debut album ‘Explorations Of Unknown Destinations’ which was released last year. How excited are you to be back in the studio? James: We can’t wait to finish up. Our EP is turning into an album and we are excited to release it into the ether. You also had a break in November. That was something that was welcomed by everyone in the band it would seem. Has that led to you approaching the music with a new approach or did it serve to make you hungry to get back to the music side of things even more? Did that time away lead to any of the new tracks that will be on the EP being born? Eric: Whenever we take breaks, it usually just means we aren’t playing shows, so we are taking a break from the
James: We like to play DNA a lot. It’s professionally run and the staff is always cool. You can tell the people that work there do so because they love the scene that DNA provides. It’s also hosted some of our favorite shows. Bar Sinister down in Hollywood has also been a great venue for us and is our home away from home.
As well as turning up on our radar here in Dublin, albeit via our network in San Francisco, your double A-Side ‘Wait Now/Reflecting The Rain’ was picked up on by Rolling Stone Russia. That is a bit of a big deal. When you see that the right people on the other side of the world are taking note of your band how does that have an impact on you? James: It’s validation. We are happy that people are listening. That is possibly a fair reflection of the potential that the age of the internet now gives to any unsigned and independent artist or band. But the other side of the coin is how it has also shaped the industry in ways nobody would have imagined 20 years ago. With Apple now entering the streaming game where do you see the future of music for emerging artists going in the next few years? With the traditional model of selling CDs and albums etc. not offering the security it once did where do you see the sync and stream revenue model playing its part in the future music industry? Do you think that the internet will see a model that is fairer to artists but also offers something financially viable to both sides? James: You don’t have record companies going out and pouring money into an artist like in the past. The hope is that things will stabilize and artists will be able to make a living wage. Sync and stream revenue pays next to nothing but at least it’s reliable and steady. What else have you guys got planned over the summer? James: Our 7” for ‘Wait Now/Reflecting the Rain’ will be out in August so we look forward to that. We have a few more shows coming up as well as radio performances. We plan to finish up our album and start sharing it while we work on the next set of songs.
‘All Shook Up’... It was Thursday, April 26th 2012 and we were working alongside our Liverpool based co-op. As luck would have it our travels took us to Winsford that evening. We stopped in to a venue called The Red Lion which had been recommended to us and we saw a band by the name of Shakedown Stockholm play their first ever gig. From that moment on they were firmly on our radar because they really impressed us with what they showed that night and we have kept close tabs on them ever since. We caught up with the band to hanging out with Johnny Marr, catching the eye of Alan McGee and their eagerly awaited upcoming EP that is due to be released in the not too distant future. Here is how it went down – That first gig was when we first discovered you guys and we were suitably impressed by what we saw. We wear our hearts on our sleeves here at Unsigned And Independent. What has always impressed us from your early days is that you are very much a band who exemplifies what it means to be unsigned and independent. But it is not the unsigned aspect that really interested us…but rather it is the independent side of what you do. If you take your first EP ‘Viva’ that was very much an independent affair all the way through from production to its release that was solely done on an independent basis. They say anything worth doing is
never easy but looking back how much of a learning curve was that experience overall? For us it was a massive learning curve and it's contributed to how organised and focused we are today. Doing it alone meant we decided ourselves what songs went on the E.P and we produced them the way we wanted them to be. People would point out the obvious about how hard that was etc. but it seemed to bring about a more determined front from you as a result. Did that make you tighter as a band because you had to do it all on your own? It was challenging at times but we love making music and we love others listening to our music which in the end made it all relatively easy. It did make us tighter as a band as we relied on every member to pull their weight, do their job and not let the others down. You then followed that up with ‘The Kill’ and ‘Peace’. For those two tracks you got to work with John Delf as your producer. What did he bring to the table that maybe wasn’t necessarily there before? John heard things in that room at the edge studio which none of us could hear ourselves. He had us trying all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Even today, there's an in-band debate everytime a finger bell gets mentioned.
You can hear a song now and then and acknowledge that it is really something special. But in our opinion you really came up with the goods with your track ‘Who Says I’. What stood out for us there was the ambition and scope of the tune. You also worked with John Davis on the production side of that. In terms of the end product how much of that was your own stamp and how much was down to him? Yeah, I think ‘Who Says I?’ was the moment ourselves and everyone who ever listened to us beforehand acknowledged that we had something special going on as a band. That we weren't here just to play pubs and make a few quid. We were in it wih the aim to make it right to the top. John did a great job with the track but we feel the groundwork was already done with the mixing and producing by ourselves and Mark Winterburn at The Edge. From the outside looking in it would appear that you are a band comfortable enough with being in the studio. How receptive are you collectively when you get into the studio in terms of working off one another’s ideas and how much do you invite the input from the people involved in the production side of things? We are comfortable in the studio and even more so
us. The sound that you will hear is still our unique sound but quite rightly better than what you've heard previously. It's where we are at this moment in time in the band's journey. They say that you should never meet your heroes but you seem to have flipped that maxim on its head because you have turned up on the radar of both Alan McGee and Johnny Marr. They have both been impressed by your music and you have worked alongside both of them now. How did you come to work with both of them? We have and we are made up that both like the music we make. I wouldn't say we've worked with Johnny Marr, he's watched us play twice but that's as far as that one goes. He might be a bit busy for us at the moment! Alan McGee on the other hand seen an acoustic video we posted online and he really liked it. We've played for him three times now which included headlining a Creation Sessions night in Liverpool and playing in his home town in Wales. He has plans for us to play in Glasgow and London too. You have also played the Creation Sessions on more than one occasion. You have played alongside Mz Moxy and The Black Delta Movement among others. It is a very high standard of artist that gets invited to play. When you see the company you are in by being part of the line-up how does that impact on you? Does it make you feel you have to up your game or are you more inclined to sit back and see what that band can do in their own right and learn from them where you can? I wouldn't say it has a great impact on us (in a good way). For every show we make sure we are well prepared and, not to avoid clichés, we feel any gig could be the gig where an A&R scout is hiding in the corner of the room so we always play, and push ourselves to play at the best of our ability. Obviously nights like them with Alan McGee are special but show wise it's service as normal for us, to play our best. You are also not inclined to sit back and becoming a band who is big in their home town. It would seem that you are not intending on succumbing to the pitfalls that so many before have fallen privy to by staying local. That has seen you play Liverpool, Cardiff and London among many places just for gigs. Is it the intention to get out and grow as a band by playing as many new towns/venues as much as it is learning from the folly of an infinite number of bands before you?
with the input of others' ideas. Being a band of seven, there are seven brains with seven different ideas. That means alot of ideas and the occasional argument. But any idea that's said with the aim of making the song better is very much so welcomed. One of the things that has kept you guys busy is the new EP and it has been in the works for quite some time. When are you planning to release it? Does it have a title and how many tracks will be on it? Will your fans be familiar with any of the tracks already? The launch date is Saturday 22nd August. We are launching the E.P at Liverpool 02 Academy with JAR Music in association with RCA Records. The title is 'The Reality of Truth' and there will be 5 songs on it. People who have been to our love shows will be familiar to some tracks but obviously with them being recorded, produced and mastered there's a few surprises. If you compare your output of your music now to your earlier work there is a noted progression. Are you trying to go for a different sound here with this EP by intent or has that just been something that has naturally come about from the band dynamics changing over time in their own right? It's something that's natural after being in this group for almost four years. Naturally any band's songwriting must get better and it's no different for
Yeah! I mean there's nothing wrong with playing your home town it's great for family and friends to not have to travel far to watch you. But being from a small town it's quite obvious that we need to play away from it. We want as many people around the country to hear and watch us play. This can't be done by staying local in Cheshire. Over the years are there any gigs and venues you have played that still hold something special for you as a band, and, if so, where and why? We would say the 02 Academy Liverpool. The main stage there is huge and with there being seven of us it's nice to play with loads of room! The sound there complements us greatly and we can't wait to go back. What is your view on the current unsigned and independent music scene in terms of what works and where there could be more done to support emerging artists? Who would be the new emerging artists that you would recommend to our readers who are looking to discover new music? I feel at the moment that the competition and quality of unsigned bands is very high. It could probably have its own festival and stand its ground with the current mainstream ones. There's a lot of support for unsigned acts like ourselves in terms of
gigs and festivals available and also BBC Introducing is a great route to go down if you can. New emerging artists for your readers...we would say Seabirds , Paul Wilkes, Sundowners (Interviewed in our May 2015 issue) and Black Delta Movement (Interviewed in our March 2015 issue). Apart from being in the studio you have been kept equally busy this summer with the festival circuit and live gigs. There has been Headlander, Lymelight and a lot of other festivals with more to come. In terms of being comfortable in the studio you are also equally in your element when you are playing to a larger crowd at festivals. For you as a band what is the best thing that you get out of playing live? We love playing live. That is everything for us as a band. That's the thing we enjoy the most! When we play to bigger crowds and on bigger stages we enjoy it even more. We have such a powerful sound having seven of us in the band, festivals and large stages compliment that fact and make them great shows. The best thing about playing live is standing there with six of your best mates playing music that you've created to people who've never heard you before. Alternatively, playing and people singing along to every word, that's special too. Do you tend to pick up on anything different in terms of atmosphere when you compare a festival appearance to a gig at a smaller venue? Or do you just go out there each time and let the music do the talking for you and it goes how it goes? Yeah, we'd say festivals are a lot more laid back in terms of there's usually plenty to see and plenty to do other than stand there and watch Shakedown Stockholm. At festivals we feel that we have to go out there and prove ourselves to everyone watching because they're not necessarily there to watch us. Shows where we are the headlining band, that idea is reduced slightly. Although we still feel we have to prove ourselves to people, as people may be there to watch the support acts, we can relax slightly (not too much mind) and enjoy it. Plus you were also part of ‘Party On The Rock Train’ for Richard Branson’s 65th birthday celebrations. That was the first year that it was launched and looking back on it now it was a big success. Will that be something that will happen on an annual basis now or was it strictly a one-off event? We're unsure ourselves if it is to be annually. We'd hope so, it was a great experience and the very basic feel of you know sitting about a metre away from someone playing the guitar and singing, was special. With the release of the EP will there be any plans to follow that up with a promotional tour? There is! There are plans already on placed and all will be revealed on the 22nd August alongside the E.P. Will there also be plans to follow it up with future releases further down the road – say in the form of an album or another EP? What are the rest of the plans for the summer? The plans are to launch this E.P, play the gigs that come with it and get straight back in the studio at the end of September to record again. This time it will be a single. With RCA Records contacting us regarding this E.P (The Reality of Truth) we have also been asked to play a show at the 02 Academy Islington. Where does the band name come from? The first part of our name Shakedown derives from seeing something online by Alabama Shakes. The Stockholm comes from the Adidas trainer city range 'Adidas Stockholm'. They're the guitarists (Danny) favourite trainers. It's also an alliteration for the English students out there.
'Going Radio Ga Ga’.....
Mohawk Ra It’s difficult to list any recent British hard rock groups that have managed to break into the mainstream in a way that American bands seem to find so easy. Muse are one such group, but it’s been a decade and a half since Origin of Symmetry and the legion of axe-wielding acolytes one might have expected to follow in their wake have not emerged. Biffy Clyro took the scenic route to stardom and have finally reached their destination. Manchester headbangers,
Mohawk Radio, are hoping to buck the trend and emulate their rise. Their two EP’s are unfashionably heavy, unabashedly ambitious and unashamedly catchy. They have been described as a cross between Cher and Metallica, and it’s an apt comparison. The past two years have been busy for Mohawk Radio-Being introduced by Shaun Goater onto the Manchester City Stadium stage
- 10 -
-Winning the UK's Best Rock band in the Rock the House, Parliamentary competition -Playing at the American Ambassador's residence in London -Being signed to Chatfield Entertainment -Launching their EP at Blackthorn Festival with their friends and family in attendance
land, (bass), and James Gregory (guitar). U&I spoke to the band about their idols, their story so far, and their love of rock. Your two EPs have done well. Are there any plans for an album? Yes! We are so excited to get into the studio in the latter part of the summer. If you could have anyone in to play a guest slot on your album, who would you ideally like to have a session with? Wow! I think the boys would have a combination of Dimebag Darrell, Jimmy Page, Slash, Arctic Monkeys & Radiohead …and, of course, the one and only Freddie Mercury. What guitars and gear are you using these days? Over the years we have evolved our taste in gear. At the moment we are very settled with Orange amps, Parker Guitars, and, of course, our legendary Echo drums. How many drummers in bands have actually hand crafted the kit they're playing? Mia has a standard SM 57 with an everevolving string of mic stands, that she has kindly leaves all over the country. Have you any festival appearances planned this summer? What is your favourite festival to play, or that you would like to play? We do have a few festivals lined up this summer. Our two favourites are a local festival, the Blackthorn Music Festival. And one that is very close to our hearts; Sat in a Field (Somerset). Festivals we idolise and cannot wait to play; Glasto, Download, Sonisphere. On the subject of festivals; Imagine you are curating a festival of your own. You can have anyone, living or dead, perform at it. Who would be on your line-up?
adio -Playing the Real XS radio live from the Hardrock Manchester to a sold out crowd -Flying to New Orleans and playing for the Premier of Bermuda at the Superdome If you are wondering why they were playing for the Premier of Bermuda, it’s because singer Mia Page was born there. She is now a Mancunian plying her hard-rocking trade with Dave Quinn (drums), Sean Frank
Hmmmm ... well, our festival would be a crazy mash-up, due to our varying background of musical tastes! Led Zep, Tina Turner, Pantera, Metallica, Blink 182, No Doubt, Bob Marley , Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Jeff Buckley, Smashing Pumpkins, Lady Gaga, Guns N Roses, Johnny Cash, Oasis, Janis Joplin, Queen, Skunk Anansie, Amy Winehouse. What’s happening for the band for the rest of the year? We continue to grow our band and opportunities. After recently being signed, we head into the studio and prepare for world domination. Tell us a bit about the songwriting process for Mohawk Radio. Who brings the initial ideas? Is their much jamming involved, and time in the rehearsal room? We write together as a collective. The guys
- 11 -
create the melody and Mia writes over top with the vocal melody and lyrical content. Sometimes we write to just a vocal melody that Mia has written and we just let the music move us. The fastest song we ever wrote was our current popular song Lifetime Sunshine. We wrote that in about 10 minutes down in Sean's basement. What about your previous musical adventures? And about what sparked off the formation of Mohawk Radio? Mohawk Radio was formed originally by Mia in Bermuda. Moving over to the UK in pursuit of her musical dreams, she met James, Sean and Dave... the rest as they say is history. Our musical adventures have been such a magical mystery tour so far! We have played in the tiniest dives in Manchester, to stepping onto the stage at the American Ambassador's residence in Regent’s Park, London. We have had so many highs and so many lows. We have travelled thousands of miles together, and have stayed in love with each other and our music all the way along this crazy adventure! With Mia’s popstar looks and voice she could easily pursue the candycoated Simon Cowell road to instant fame. What makes you hitch your wagon to the world of rock rather than the easier option Rock runs through each and every one of our veins. From an early age each and every one of us has had our 'love at first sight' moment with rock music. Mia has been dubbed the Princess of Rock. The band has been described as 'the moment when Cher met Metallica'. It would be easy for her to sway towards the candy pop of lip syncing and slutty outfits, however there is so much more to her. Listening to her lyrics she really possesses the same depth that her predecessors Stevie, Debbie and Janis all hold; beauty, soul, a message, and the voice to back it up. Our message and our music are best communicated through rock n roll. It is closest to us, the rawest and the most authentic to who we are. Rock is the only option for us. You have done some big support slots. Which stands out? Anyone you really want to play with? Performing at the Etihad stadium was a pretty big deal for us. Along with playing in London for Parliament in front of all the major music heave hitters in the UK music industry, which was pretty incredible. While playing an acoustic set at Sanctum Soho Hotel (Iron Maiden's Hotel), after just playing at the American Ambassadors residence, we all looked at each other and thought ‘is this real?’ We'd really love to play with Muse, Foo Fighters, and Radiohead. Which band’s career path would you like to emulate? Other than Mohawk Radio?! Rolling Stones, Queen, Led Zep, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead.
The Winachi Tribe
Listening to one of The Winachi Tribe’s songs is like walking into a club when the band has already been jamming for 20 minutes. You get a short slice of deep funk. The sound of a band that have been playing together for years and know instinctively what each member is doing and where they will go with the tune next.
'You're gonna have to change that name or you're gonna hit a brick wall' so we did it. And from the moment we changed the name to The Winachi Tribe. Everything that was missing from China White slotted into place like the missing pieces of a jigsaw. It's sort of an anagram of China White too so we sort of kept it. It was Anthony who thought of the name. We had a few names knocking about.
put meanings on it. This is what it's about. This is what the lyrics mean. It's already watered down from what's come out of your head. A song comes from somewhere… I could be having a shower and write a song. That's when the song is in its rawest form. Once it's been recorded, produced, mixed, mastered, the press get it, they write their opinions on it, it slowly but surely gets chipped away.
When the recording ends, you get the feeling that the band is still playing and will continue to do see even though you are no longer present. Because that’s what they do, they just play, man!
The name suits the music.
The songs that have been recorded, they sound great but I also know what they originally were, how they sounded when they were originally played. That moment of magic, when I'm sat with the lads, when we wrote them and played them, you can't help but smile like the Cheshire Cat. That moment of magic that you'll never hear again. Only a select few people will ever hear that.
Frontman Liam Croker describes The Winachi Tribe as “a kind of Electro Funk Rock N Roll collective”, and that’s about as neatly as their sound can be captured. They are all about the groove and deep funk, merging The Family Stone and Grandmaster Flash with Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses. Percussionist Inder Goldfinger was a member of Ian Brown's band for thirteen years and helps to imbue the dance- orientated swagger with sparkling soul. Formerly known as China White, The Winachi Tribe came together in January with new purpose. The change of name has seen a change of attitude and a change in fortune for the Warrington collective. They’ve a new single out, and friend of the band Keith Allen stars in the video. U&I spoke to Liam about the turnaround in the band, the communal power of real music, and Keith Allen’s cock. You are just back from London. How did that go? Yeah, we had our single launch on a Saturday night playing at a burlesque club called the Electric Carousel. It's in the west end of London. We even put on a free guest pass for the night so people could turn up to the venue and show the flyer at the door. But also we were doing a video there for our next single. It's a real sort of seedy Soho club. The Beatles used to play there. It's all red velvet everywhere. When the burlesque dancers are on stage there's a red velvet curtain and when that lifts up we're all stood there. We'll film throughout the night and then edit the footage to the song. Your last video had Keith Allen in it. He's playing me 30 years down the line. You'll notice in the video that in the first part of the video the colour is degraded and the film is grainy, an older 70s look. And when Keith comes in it becomes HD and clearer but he's wearing my clothes. Keith's playing an older version of myself. He has a bit of a reputation; did he get his cock out? Yeah he got his cock out. He had his cock out the night before. We're from Warrington and he came into town the night before and spent the night with us. Don't wanna say too much in case I get him into trouble but yeah he did. I've stayed at Keith's house a few times. Once in the morning I woke up and looked out the window. He's got like a granny flat in his garden, a little bungalow but all the walls are glass. It was Keith's 60th and we were at his daughter Lily's house having a big party. She doesn't live far away, so we ended up back there. I say I woke up but I hadn't been to bed. Me and Kermit from Black Grape sat up drinking. I look out the window. It’s maybe eight or nine in the morning. It’s bright as fuck because he lives in the countryside. I look round and there's Keith wearing a cowboy hat and nothing else. Just struts in the door and says breakfast will be ready in about half an hour and nobody blinked an eyelid. He's a good guy. He doesn't suffer fools gladly. He's a proper Manchester lad and you'll see him down the pub. You know when you're in his company there's a reason you're there. He wouldn't let just anybody into that circle. If you're his mate he'll have your back to the death. When he was in that video for us…we've done a few things with Keith like the Olympic opera. They did a remix of a single we put out and we all did a little tour. And he remembered that. He didn't take it for granted. He did a remix for us and appeared in the video so he's been a good friend. You might not see him for ages then the phone will ring and he invite us all round. I've not a bad word to say about Keith. You were called China White back then. We were called China White for a few years. There are a number of things. I suppose I'll get the blame for it. When me and Anthony, the co founders of the band, started off doing this, we'd been writing together for about a year, getting stoned in his shed and playing guitars. And I remember we said we need a name. We went through all sorts but at the time I was really into Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five, and the song White Lines. At that time we listened to that song on repeat. If you listen to the 12 inch version of the track there's a drug dealer that comes in and goes 'Hey man, I've got what you need. I've got mother of pearl, china white...' and I thought 'We'll have that!’ But there's a cult band from LA called China White and they'd copyrighted the name. And also its slang for heroin which as you would imagine has connotations when you're in a band with that name. You can take it so far but we couldn't break into the mainstream. When I say mainstream I'm not talking Rihanna, Top 40 and that. You can only get so much backing commercially being called China White. Ian Brown said to me
I think so. I'm 32 now and when we started China White I was in my 20s. We'd been messing around in the studio. We don't do anything fast. What we do is majestic when it comes out but it takes us a long time. We’re not in a hurry. Everything comes at its own time. If you rush it, it lacks in substance. Eventually we got on the road as a live band. It took us a while. When you write songs and you're 21, 22, 23…you're quite an arrogant young man and some of the hang ups I had at that age I haven't got anymore. It had a dark edge to it. It was a big part of our lives and those of our friends and families. The main difference between The Winachi Tribe and China White is that the dark edges have been rubbed off. It's a bit more positive, a bit lighter. We're rid of the baggage that we had at that time. Did you change a lot in those years between the early 20s and the 30s? Yeah, I was basically still a boy and I was putting down on paper what was happening in my life at that time. It does put it in perspective. What China White tried to achieve within six- seven years as an entity, Winachi has done within six months. But to be fair, all the work we put into China White over the years has paid off. After that we just stepped up put that into The Winachi Tribe. When we spoke about it, it was more than a rebranding. It was the ditching of baggage that had me around us for a long time. I don't think I was aware at the time how much of a change it would be. Just changing that name. How much of as difference it has made. It's the same band, same members. The China White stuff had a real dark angry edge to some of the stuff. I couldn't be arsed now to be that angry. But it's going well so I'm happy and proud about what's going on at the moment. You've singles and videos coming out. Is there an album next? Yeah, the single is already out and were doing loads of PR. We just signed with a big agent, guys that deal with Hollywood. Things are going well. We've another single coming out in October. For the album, we've got a back catalogue so we can pick and choose. Maybe next year, well get the album out, signed sealed delivered. And festivals? You were booked for the Big Weekender in Manchester I see. It was cancelled that, some health and safety thing but we ended up doing Ricky Hatton's party. It was the 10th anniversary of his world title so there was a massive party in Manchester. We played that with Black Grape. The next festival were doing is in Portsmouth on the 29th of August. The Victorious Festival. 100,000 people. We're the only band that's been asked to play twice. We're doing the main stage in the afternoon and then we are on the BBC Introducing stage later that night. So were opening up for Primal Scream and Tinie Tempah in the day and then playing on a smaller stage by the sea. That's the next festival for us. How does the recorded work compare to the live experience? The two are completely different entities. To hear us how were meant to be heard you'd have to see us live. If I'm sat here in the conservatory, in my kitchen and you sat here with a couple of congas, some acoustic guitars, and a piano and we're just jamming you'd hear our songs in the most natural, rawest, best form. But you take that into a studio and you put a microphone in front of me, that microphone takes my voice down that lead into that mixing desk. You lose something. If you put a microphone in front of an amplifier and the guitarist plays, it's the same thing. It has to lose something. It's impossible not to. Live as well. When you're on stage you've got a PA, a mixing desk, DI boxes. It's all compressed. The only way you can hear the music really is in its rawest form. The closest you can get is live. Recordings are always slightly watered down versions of live bands. But being a musician you can hear music and it goes to your core. I never got into this to be a career. When you're a young lad and you hear music and are getting into bands, listening with your mates in the back yard singing along to the likes of Guns N Roses. Listening to ‘Appetite For Destruction’ and the lads are buzzing off it. But I always imagined myself playing it, imagining what I could do with it. That feeling has never gone. I record music. I play it live. Because this is what I chose to do with my life. I couldn't do anything else. This is what I signed up for. This is who I am. The rawest way to hear is for you to be sat in front of me and me singing it to you. That little bit of soul, just me singing to a guitar or even if it's a cappella. If I sang you that song you get a little piece of my soul, that's what you get. Once you've recorded it and packaged it, you
- 13 -
When John Lennon wrote ‘A Day In The Life’, I know for a fact that him and Paul Mc Cartney would have sat in Abbey Road or at John's flat. John would have said 'Here you are Paul, sit down here and listen to this'. And they're sat there with guitars and John has played that to Paul and those two looked at each other and went 'Fucking hell, that's unreal, isn't it?’ And then they had to play it to Ringo. Then they had to play it to George. Then to George Martin. Then actually record it. The result sounds brilliant but I know that the real moment of magic is the minute that it comes out of that person's mind. But you should definitely hear us live. It's like Russian Roulette. The thing I've always liked about our band is and I think this makes a real band, a proper band, there's no grey area with us, and we’re never alright. No one ever saw China White and said they were alright. We were either shit or the best music on stage you've ever seen. That's how we roll. We're never alright; we're either good or were bad. When we're bad, we're bad, and when we're good you know all about it, we're the best. It's the best feeling you could ever have. Better than sex. Better than any drug. It turns me on to this day more than anything else. It gives me faith in the human race. The fact that we can still, in these dark times when we're blowing each other up, and shooting each other on beaches, even still as a race we can create something. In its rawest form it is untouched by mankind. It gets promoted and watered down and manufactured but it's still there. I'll often write a song, just me and the guitar and I'll think 'How the fuck has no one else ever wrote that song'. It's that blatant. How have I been the first person to come up with that? It's that good and that blatant that it must have been done before and that's the magic of it. There are only so many chords, notes and scales. And every instrument except maybe synthesizers, and even they use the same scales, they've been played for hundreds and thousands of years. There's only so much you can do. You're curating a festival and can feature anyone from any era, who do you have? Headliners over two days, Id have Sly And The Family Stone and I'd have the original line up of Guns N Roses. Parliament Funkadelic, Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five, The Beatles, The Stones. I'd really, really like to see Sly And The Family Stone at their peak. I'd love to see the La's because of Lee Mavers. He was the one person who could have rivalled John Lennon as a songwriter. James Brown, Tricky and Massive Attack from their heyday. If you haven't seen it check out Sly And The Family Stone on the last day of Woodstock. It gets overlooked. Woodstock was a three day festival. The Who headlined one night. I think Hendrix did the second one. And you had Sly And The Family Stone headlining the last night. They didn't come on stage til three in the morning. Sly Stone was tripping his tits off on acid. He was backstage and all paranoid from the drugs and the manager came backstage and said that it was time to go on. And he wouldn't go on. He was only a little guy so the guy picked him up by the neck and lifted him off his feet and said 'You are going on'. And he walked on and gave the performance of his life. We're a mixed race band but arguably they were the first. They were the first commercially viable band to do it and I think it brought down so many barriers. It's funny, were doing this show in London. Our bass player is English but he's West Indian, his parents are West Indian, he's got a West Indian accent. I'm Irish. I have red hair, fair skin. My name is Liam Croker. My dad is Sean Croker, my grandparents came from Limerick. And you've Inder playing too. So you get a white lad, a black lad, and an Indian lad walking out on stage. I don't care what anyone says, people are taken aback when they see us walk out. I saw The Family Stone at Glastonbury and it was strange how much of it I knew through samples over the years. It is remarkable how much of their tracks have been sampled. Snoop Dogg's first album, Dr Dre's first album, it's basically Parliament Funkadelic with them rapping over it. I was listening to Snoop when I was 11-12 years old. I loved those albums. And then as a teenager discovered Parliament Funkadelic. I'd hear a song and be like 'I know that song'. Sly And The Family Stone, if I could have any band it would be them. They came on at Woodstock. It was three in the morning. People were sleeping. And he's getting people up, getting them to clap. And he's there with his massive afro, tripping off his tits. It's such a great performance, a great, forgotten performance. And that made them the legends that they became. There was talk about a collaboration between Sly and Jimi Hendrix just before he died. Can you imagine those two playing together?
French Connection YOU ARE NUMBER SIX The confirmed appreciation of the New Wave sensibilities of this Montpellier artist draw suitable comparison with Pulp. There is that roguish and cheeky charm that imbues it with a classy degree of pensive worth as much as there is a sterling touch of intelligent movement contained in the music. The real showing of this artist suggest an impressive gem for anyone looking to discover something left field.
THE POPOPOPOPS A versatile band from Rennes, they have a wonderful richness to their sound that sits on the right side of Avant Garde. This is well reasoned and the freestyling at times guides everything. This picks up in a way that sits well and it presents with a subtle sense of diversification that is reasoned well. That draws you in and the euphoric indie worth of each track is carefully considered.
THE PSYCHOCANDIES A band very much their weight in salt it must be said. With their post punk sound they assemble something that has a kitsch calling to it but the entwining way that the distinction is carried through in the formidable pensive qualities bleeds commitment. The anomic distinction of the music is dragged across each track but the morose calling is superbly doled out and taken into consideration which is reflected in the direction their sound takes.
THE ODDMEN Here is a band that shows there is French indie scene. The continuation in the flow is one that also locates a calling that is admirable but built around a solid degree of contemporary influences as much as it exhibits a Gallic flair. There is a detailed nuance about the structure which is carefully crafted and that locates the impact on each track.
CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS There is no denying why the music is all about here. Each track has a careful sense of appreciation which is favourable embraced. That sees a profoundly innovative approach carry through in the retro styling that is married to a wonderfully rich sense of scope and ambition in the sound. The equalised way that everything is fashioned hints at prowess and potential - 14 -
BANQUISE Again there is a clever sense of sophistication worked into the music that lights it all up. The resurgent way that everything gathers is reflected in a truly promising way. This is carried through on an air of triumphant chic that is distinguished by the way it all rises up and is felt out. One of those wonderful bands for any music lover to come across because of the mixed bag of influences at work in the sound.
CALL ME CHERRY Another band that brilliantly find that middle ground between pop sensibility and indie chic. The willing way that they master that pours through in the glorious richness of their sound. That is carefully crafted and fixes a steady calling to everything here that takes you along for the ride.
OPHITE This is a band that have style, confidence and the tunes to back it all up. They have this high calling to their sound that is directly a result from the appreciated way that they capably build each track. There is a finite direction on show that represent everything that you need to know about the band. How they wear their heart on their sleeve is realised by the music in a truly apparent manner.
PART TIME FRIENDS If ever a band represented that timeless French quality of artists from the bygone era of the heyday of the Olympia it is this band. Locating a fashionable oeuvre in the sound that visits pop, folk and other genres on each track they become this band that take you on a journey with them musically. The well thought out manner that they track the emotive resilience is noted but there is a lingering impartiality on show at times that seduces you considerably.
BYE BYE LEADER A band with a striking sense of resolve that captured an immersive sense of subtle worth while at the same time gifting the delivery of each track a sense of unrivalled underground chic. Factored into the mix each time is a telling sense of inspiration that drives the creativity. They relay that in a befitting manner and the sporadic nature at times also embraces a subtle Lynchian fervour in places that adds a noir touch to the texture in all the right places.
- 15 -
JACK THOMPSON Interview by Joe Loftus This time last year I was lucky enough to bump into Jack Thompson after seeing The Jayhawks at The Kazimier. I stumbled over, half-drunk, and we spoke of his band. Since then the band have become a figment of the past but Jack continues to prowl the music scene. His music is a folk, indie cacophony. A collaboration of Tom Petty, David Gray and The Counting Crows in terms of how the music comes together. Here, we talk America, depression, sex and his solo career. So recently you've made the transition from being in a band to focusing on your solo career. How did that come about? I was writing songs and showcasing different ideas and the band didn't seem to want to play original stuff anymore…they started messing about with RHCP and whatever. Then a little bit of attention got slung towards us as we were number 1 on ReverbNation for a couple of weeks and I decided to call it a day when moods and personalities clashed and, me being the songwriter, continued on my own. Although I am planning on making a new band…one more musically astounding. I couldn't agree with you more man. I guess a bonus of working on your own is not having to change your music whatsoever. As soon as you're happy with them that's all that matters. You're the only judge. That must make it a whole lot easier does it? It makes it so much easier when all members of the band want to make music similar to one kind of music. Yeah it's great having diversity with funk guitarists and whatever but I personally find it easier alone because that's how I began and you have more trust in yourself when it's your own songs and there is only you playing. I prefer a bigger sound… like add a bit of bass, piano etc. but I'm waiting for the right musicians. I know a great 'band' called, And The Golden Choir and there is only one member in the band but he plays the drums, guitar, bass, keys and vocals all by himself. He is fucking incredibly sound as well. Anyhow, how's the
music going? Are you happy with the way things are moving? I am very happy with the way things are going. I play an open mic in a place called 'The Junction' in Rainford every Friday and random ones through the week. I'm sort of scouting for certain musicians to join my band. I've been jamming with some bass players and lead guitarists…all very, very good players but none stood out. We'll have to play sometime together soon. I've not heard a bad song of yours online. We spoke in the past, before you went on your own, and we spoke of your influences. Have your influences changed in the past couple of months? Or have you turned your ears elsewhere? I am a big Decemberists fan now. I still love the same bands really. Counting Crows, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fun Lovin Criminals. Since I started on my own again my bluegrass love is rekindled and I can't stop listening to the likes of OCMS and Union Station. As a solo artist Jason Isbell is a great idol to have. A lot of great bands there. I adore Counting Crows. There's just so much depth to a lot of their stuff! Although you can't forget The Jayhawks. I wouldn't have met you if it wasn't for The Jayhawks! As you said earlier, you write all the songs personally. What inspires you to write?
prick in a hole. It's ludicrous yet possibly the very height of life! Anyhow. Surely it's not all so joyful. What's the hardest thing you've gone through as a songwriter? What leaves you lost and puzzled, angry and frustrated? The hardest thing I've gone through as a songwriter would have been depression and at the time I had one friend and I felt like music meant nothing and I am wasting my time. But luckily my friend was there and helped me through some hard times of my life. I wrote over 100 songs since then although we all feel down sometimes I never want to be in that place again. Politics makes me all three of those as well as women. It's good to see you've got your head screwed on properly. Politics has the capability to repulse us all day in day out. Never fails. I'm glad to hear you're in a good place though Jack. Music is everything. Can you imagine a world without it? Let's turn the tables. What's the best thing you've been through as a songwriter? The best thing I've been through was when I took a trip to America and seen the capitalist country through a different pair of eyes. I got a lot of influence from what I saw out there. When a few people saw me they were really into what I was doing with my life and shown a real interest in my music. I actually have a couple of fans out there.
The Jayhawks will always be in my top ten. My life inspires me to write a lot of the time. It's like I write a song and I don't realise how relevant it is to me but also very relatable for others. Obviously there is the odd lovey dovey song there, but as a 19 year old boy I see beautiful women everywhere and love songs and sexual tension is always a genre I could write to!
Shit, that must be uplifting! America is a complicated place. It's one of the worst countries in the world for an innumerable amount of reasons; but then again, it's definitely one of the greatest countries in the world for a further innumerable amount of reasons. How can one single place create Ernest Hemingway and Kim Kardashian? That is what fools me. Where are you aiming Jack?
It's inspired anybody who is anybody over millennia! Jean Genet to Oscar Wilde, James Joyce to Jack Kerouac. Although sexuality is a matter that puzzles me everyday. Perhaps I have to read Freud. The whole nature of it is wholly bizarre. Why does man lust to put his
I'm aiming to make my friends and family happy. I know it sounds so cheesy but the whole reason I play music is because of them, they made me who I am. Musically I'm aiming to have a good time playing my instruments and performing songs that people hopefully like.
- 16 -
THE MANC TANK by Dave Beech
GOLD JACKS With their eyes firmly set on massacring the mundanity that's began to plague the indie scene for a while now, Manchester's Gold Jacks are breathing new life in to the cancerblackened lungs of the genre. Harbouring both swagger and sleaze in equal measure, the four-piece might not be reinventing the wheel, blues and booze-fuelled rock a staple of the Manchester scene for years, but they're touting their wears with such belief and conviction that it hardly matters.
busy working on a heap of new material. Working alongside Chris Warr of Scruff of the Neck Records, the track is certainly a lot darker and more sinister than our debut and that's more to do with the types of music we've been listening to of late. We're influenced by tons of artists, but I certainly think you can hear shades of The Dead Weather and Band of Skulls in this release.
With their debut single 'One Kinda Women' allowing the band to find both their feet and a small army of fans, their latest offering 'Take It Back' sees their confidence mounting and their song writing skills stepping it up a gear. With that in mind, I caught up with singer Liam Dunning for a few words ahead of its release.
We worked with Standby Productions once again for this video. We have a great relationship with them guys and the videos just get better and better each time.
Hi guys, could you tell us a little bit about the band and how you got together? An all too familiar tale of a late night conversation over a few beers back in 2013, where me and Stewart would commit to finding a drummer to help us unleash some dirty, raw garage rock upon four walls of an available rehearsal studio. Nothing more to it really. You're about to release your second single 'Take It Back', in August. What can you tell us about that? Since releasing 'One Kinda Woman', our debut release, back in February we've been
I believe there's a video accompanying 'Take It Back' is that something you've done before?
There's a single launch at Manchester's Deaf Institute on August 8th. What can we expect from the show?
You were asked to play this year's Beat Herder festival, what was that like? I bet the crowd was a little different to what you're used to? Any interesting stories? Beat Herder was great. One of the larger festivals we've played on that's for sure. The crowd was a little different to what we normally expect but great none the less. Plenty of hazy memories on Saturday morning of sexy CCTV lap-dancing robots, you know, the usual stuff... How do you think festivals differ from your normal show? Have you got any more on the horizon? Festivals are a great chance for us to showcase our material to a whole new audience but also make new friends along the way. We played on the same bill as Good Foxy at Beat Herder and they're a great bunch of lads.
We've been looking forward to returning to the Deaf Institute since we last played there. The venue is incredibly intimate with a great sound. We've got a great support bill and we'll of course be aiming to bring all kinds of chaos, showcasing the new single amongst some other new, yet to be released, material.
We've got a few more festivals lined up this summer, kicking off with Blackthorn Music Festival and Liverpool Calling this weekend (24th & 25th July). We close festival season at Glass Butter Beach festival in Abersoch, Wales in August.
Have you got any plans to record an EP following on from this, or are you focusing on singles for the time being?
With the single release fast approaching, what's the plan going in to the latter half of the year?
We've actually signed up to a two-single launch deal with Manchester indie label Scruff of the Neck Records, so we'll be releasing our second single with the label in November some time. After that, who knows?! Hopefully an album sometime next year...
In addition to the single launch in November, we'll be playing a few more gigs in Manchester before deciding on the next plan of action into 2016. Next year is set to be huge! Any parting words? Support new music!
- 17 -
TWIN HEADED WOLF MONGOOSE
ELEPHANT - 18 -
- 19 -
Photos by Peter O’Hanlon
OTHERKIN OTHERKIN - 20 -
TONGUE BUNDLE NEEV KENNEDY
Photos by Peter O’Hanlon - 21 -
MAUD IN CAHOOTS
THE YOUNG FOLK
JAMIE DUFF - 22 -
BUNSCIONN - 23 -
Photos by Peter O’Hanlon
THE RUBY SESSIONS Doyle’s Bar (28-7-2015)
CLARA BYRNE It was our first time seeing this artist, but against the backdrop of the intimate surroundings of a packed room upstairs in Doyle’s, her set very much confirmed that she was very much at home here as she performed. To get things underway was her opening song ‘To Rome’. What firstly draws you in here is the soft composure that is worked into the guitar. This carefully crafts a deadening that stirs the tender attributes in a meaningful way. When that is added alongside the softer virtue of her voice her performance is endeared that little bit furthermore by how it is hauntingly traced in the outlines of the delivery. It is dutifully stirring and excellently contained by the richness that abides in the lyrics, which confirm a high degree of observation in what they bring to the equation. Another well-versed affair then followed in the shape of ‘Begin Afresh. Here her ability seeps through and clutches at everything in a somewhat erratic manner, but it cradles the emotion in her performance squarely. That deeper display is defined by an inspirational calling that is lighter before picking up in a harder way that slightly suggests a grunge influence played out in the acoustic running. She then expressed everything accordingly with her next track ‘Just Stay’ is another sweet number that is expressed accordingly. The high break down is significantly appreciated and felt from the performance here. That gives it all a well suited sense of composure that comes across comfortably in her playing. As such the guitar feels as much an extension of her as the artist as does the guitar that sits so comfortably in her hands. To close out she got the crowd behind a very good working of ‘Little Eliza Jane’ which captured the providence of the song superbly and it also worked the crowd in the right way.
THE LOCAL HONEYS This Kentucky duo underlined the international appeal and rich history of The Ruby Sessions. They have been something of a fixture on the Irish circuit these last few months and they head back home soon, but we managed to catch them perform while they have been here. They are quite an impressive and promising duo. There is a tidy sense of discourse about them harmonised worth of their performance and it showed in an emphatic way with ‘Lost John’. This gets behind the harmony in a very clean way which is incredibly suited to the acoustic setting. The seasoning pull added from the banjo also displays a neat wholesome side that comes through commendably. That is tracked with the weight of the sentimental side and weighs in favourably here. The softer demeanour of ‘I Love You Charlene’ prevails in a noted way. What is put on show here considers the emotion in the reflection and carries it all through considerably well. They seem to locate the heart without making it over sentimental and it is a nice touch in how they achieve this. The more angled feel is applied on the pace of ‘Katy Daly’. This endears to the audience in a relevant way. There is a rich endeavour to how it is all processed. As a result there is a commendable sense of humility tracked in the delivery that feels rather natural. They closed out with ‘Glory Land’. As the title would suggest there is a Deep South calling to this one. This is held by the American balladeer side and how that is leverage gives it movement. The lateral a capella style it is delivered in is also brilliantly judged.
BABA Sometimes it is good to see someone make a return and it has been too long since we have seen Siobhan Lynch perform live, but she hasn’t lost any of that magic she has in that time. Which we are extremely glad to say is still there. Starting everything off in a very brief set was ‘Scrape And Crawl’. There is real depth to be found here, but it was the initial way it is launched that grabbed our attention. With the high attention to the showmanship aspects of her performance, replete with boa head dress, everything about this was highly stylised. Yet the substantial way the bravado abounded was striking. Again there was something finite incorporated into the running with a Disney classic getting the rework treatment. This time out it was ‘Baby Be Mine’. The synthesised touch added something rather dark to proceedings. That was fed off in the performance and it very cleverly called out everything. How their own stamp was put upon all of this blended in rather well to the solemn and twee characteristics cornered in the performance. Sometimes three is the magic number and here things were closed out by ‘I Feel Your Loss’. There is an extremely good countenance in the piano alongside the drum machine. That is what gives the track a savoured lustre as a result. It deadens the resolve rather cleanly as a live tune and becomes rather complete because of this. The intricacy of the arrangement is what traps the spacious here and is excellently handled.
- 24 -
ALBUM REVIEWS KID WAVE
Wonderlust Here is a band that everyone is talking about for all the right reasons and we couldn’t get enough of this album here in the U&I office. Things get down to business with ‘Wonderlust’. The drift of the quality is steered by an adamant statement of intent that is certified by the how the foray of the guitar work guides it all through. The harmony of the vocals is another prominent feature here that is again mirrored on second track ‘Gloom’. This is one of those tunes that make you go ‘fuck me’ the first time you hear it. The careful depiction in the delivery skits through and stops you in your tracks. What is displayed is very giving and secures the band’s indie credentials as it clocks in with a deft resonance. ‘Honey’ embraces the deadened pastiche of the intro before stepping out with a cocksure swagger. The well placed weight of the running exerts a smart sense of balance here and helps it all play like a dream accordingly. Again they get down to it with ‘Best Friend’. The listless commitment abounds in a way that excites the listener. The way that is commanded suits the band’s style. The lush texture denoted in the swathes shows for all the right reasons here. They up their game with ‘Walk On Fire’. It has an open sense of style that displays a vulnerability that connects in an way that adds to the virtue on show. Take away the distraction of the intro and you see the sense of intent behind ‘Baby Tiger’. That sees the tenacity carry it off and the rhythm steadily climbs as a result here. The
10 prowess deliberates in a way that muscles its way through cleanly. That is a trick repeated in how ‘All I Want’ takes flight. This is a kick ass tune that rings the changes. But the masterful way it exudes confidence helps close everything down in the right way. From how the darling cut of ‘Sway’ commits to the intro of the song sees everything carefully carried through in a befitting manner. What is carried off in the softer attributes rallies the intimacy but removes it from being pigeon holed as a softer tune. Instead it becomes a broader offering denoted by the grounded worth that is there to be found. Banged out with scant regard is ‘Freeride’. Found in the perforations of the delivery is a comfortable sense of style. They seem to comfortably allow the running garner in a way that gives off a sensible appeal that contends finely with the overall running here. It is very subtle too. Not only is it a great title for a song but ‘I’m Trying To Break Your Heart’ has this impressive dynamic on show. Again they hone in on making the lethargic drawl of the guitar work in their favour from how it closes around the track. The emphatic allure of the chorus showcases all the real deal qualities that those songs that stand the test of time possess, and it easily falls into this category. ‘Dreaming On’ is a great closing track it must be said. There is a penchant located in the running that is endearingly rich. Yet there resides a passive calling that takes it away from the raw exertion of the album as a whole without feeling out of place. This is a card that is well played in fact.
- 25 -
Get Some Scars This is a strange one to include in our album section this month because it was sent as an EP but given the number of tracks on it we have included it here. The first track here is ‘Memento Mori’ and it is a commendable effort. There is a comforting feel about this as the calypso styling meets with a comparative Talking Heads influence. It slowly builds the lay feel into the tempo and it comes full circle in a finely committed way. There is a more distinguished showing to the gospel correlations of Get Some Scars’. The referential styling of the lyrics is tellingly fastened to the slower burn of the tracks. It is all felt out and it retains those safer qualities with the right level of appreciation all the way here. Marked by the change in vocals ‘The Devil Got Me Dancing’ sees the band up their game. This is where they put everything on show and the clever way this is chased down shows. It is a marked improvement in terms of how it all comes full circle, while it has an authenticity to be found from how the lyrical narrative plays its part here. A bit of a limp affair is ‘Bullingdon Club’. You can’t help but feel that they are trying to be like The Killers too much here. Granted it does have a neatness about the styling but it does leave the impression that they have arrived at the party too late. Essentially it feels as if it is a by the numbers affair on account of how you sense you have seen it before. Call it familiarity breeding contempt but there is not enough here to get behind. They do develop their own take on the same
7 approach with ‘Demons You Show’. There is a heightened lift to the texture here that is cleverly centred in the dynamic. The synthesised structure on show with ‘Your Heart Is A Weapon The Size Of Your Fist’ is well worked, but it is let down somewhat by the overall lyrical content. It doesn’t fail per se but it doesn’t bring anything inspirational to the mix either. Rather, on fair assessment, it is what it is. The next track is a live recording of ‘We Don’t Believe In Love No More’ and it shows that they can cut it where and when it matters. This is a sweet effort and they do show that they can bring it when required. It sounds excellent and there is a lot to be said for how they confirm those credentials. A second acoustic track followed with an acoustic version of ‘Demons You Show’. The buoyant way that the acoustic side of this is nurtured sees it right. ‘Animals’ doesn’t really take things anywhere new either. Yes it shows a high sense of investment in piecing together the arrangement, and it has a strong opening, which gives it a bona fide sense of contention. But it falters as it goes the distance because there is a lack of consistency. However that doesn’t apply with ‘We Don’t Believe In Love No More. It is a sweet number. It does have pop written all over it but it develops everything in the affirmative. How the mainstream showing is chased down so well sees it work sweetly as a duet. The last track here is ‘Keep Me Wild’. It is quite confident in the right way and that is what keeps it on track. The relevant way things are closed down allows the lightness of touch land upon it squarely. There is a degree of the compact in the showing and this is also cleverly realised. It works where it should and there is a lot to like about this it must be said because it does embrace a neat sense of industry in how it is all built. Overall, if the two live recordings weren’t included here there could almost be the makings of an album instead of it being released as an EP.
- 26 -
MONO WAVE Jells Meah
‘Murmur’ is the first track here and it is one that gets down to the task at hand. What is steered through from the pitch of the drawl of the shoegaze captures something spirited in the disenfranchised apparel, yet it doesn’t dwell on the morose sentiment. Instead they comfortably run with how it is pitched and that is angled finely in the committed showing of the resolve. It has this clean definition as well in how it is executed that sees it travel so well and retain the consistency in the composure. Second track ‘You Are Alive’ is another excellent offering that comes from a solid sense of being grounded. The elevated feel to the tempo as it takes flight comes from a stark point of realisation you feel. But nothing is taken for granted here. There is a solid sense of goodness also noted and this lights it all up appropriately. They contain everything as a real point of contention here and what materialises shows in the music for all the right reasons. The sauntered ebb and flow of ‘Junkie’ comes up with the goods straight away. This is ably processed with the added lustre of the yearning found from how the vocals are leaned into being the makings of it all here. You admire the bravado here and from how it all comes into being there is a commendable chic to it that helps it click into gear. That subterfuge in the collective showing frees them up to let loose here. If ever the guitar work could be the making of a song it is there to be found on ‘Dead Trees’. This is a solid tune and the dynamic at work is one that sees things through with a knowing sense of commitment coming through in the brandished calling that is gifted to it from the rhythm. You also pick up on the impasse of the lyrics as they also add a noted cut to proceedings from
how they allow the vocals impart licence over proceedings. The catchy hook in the chorus is also engineered finely. Another radio friendly track follows with ‘Subculture’. The fond shoegaze derivative is one that is easy to relate to. The token way that things take flight is comfortably contended with and this allows a higher sense of development to branch out in the guitar work, but it has an added sense of charm found in how everything is given lift. Then we have ‘It’s On’ which softens everything with the hint of surfer pop that is kneaded alongside how the pace picks up. It has a distinct American calling about it all that sits right. This is comfortably contended with but it has an air of confidence to it that is matched by the stylish way the substance is chased down. Again there is a noted kick to be found with ‘That Girl Friday’. This is a killer tune. It has this gritty feel that is chased down in the playing avenues and how it resides is met by a fashionable sense of commitment that nails everything to the mast. The elevated distinction in the course of proceedings is absolutely top drawer here and quite dynamic.
The churning guitar intro of ‘Winter’s Mourn’ is followed up by a withdrawn sense of distinction. Yet the heady way the splendour bears down on things here is excellent. In the way that the vocals are pitched the arrangement displays a noted sense of consideration. Here they offer a good contrast against the harder pitch of the running but they also fit well alongside it. The sloped feel of ‘Lunar’ channels something disjoined in the way the looping pedal work and guitars play their part. They all happen upon it though by design. What that collects in the showing is chased down brilliantly and it contains the euphoria in an equally suitable fashion. Another track that this the ground running is ‘Broken Lights’ and the confident way that the pace clocks in holds off and shows how good this album is overall. The high rise of the delivery takes it where it needs to go, with the confidence oozing out of the guitar work, which is of an incredibly high standard. ‘Noise’ is the swansong here. It is a morose showing but is absolved by the anticlimactic feel that the ambient tone seems to bring. In that regard it closes out in a way that brings it full circle.
- 27 -
Empty Century The follow up to ‘Under Your Carbon Constellation’ picks up where that one left off. The emphatic way they embrace the New Wave is characterised fully with opening track ‘Police Station’ surfing in on a wave of indietronica tidings. This all converges in a committed way to fashion something sullen but gloriously rich in texture. What this adds to the characteristics of the track is enriched further by the coarse distinction of the vocals. They touch on a deadened roadhouse apparel with ‘My Own Grey’. It seems to spill forth in a committed way yet it retains something innovative that is darkly attractive. You recognise the industrial temperament that arms the showing but it is also developed in a contextualised way which sees the innovative aspects embrace a fitting degree of modernity that cuts to the chase. After that comes ‘Let’s Carry On’. The opening here is cleverly calculated and leads to a fine tune indeed. There is deftness found in the lyrics which lights up the ambient composure of the delivery as a whole. How this one works adds something right to the dynamics. It is highly developed and there is a knowing influence of Krautrock at work here that is impossible to ignore. Opening with a more heightened sensibility about it is ‘Alyss’. This sees the pitch of the edgier aspects imbue it with a raw cut but there is a patient feel to the backing aspects of the sound. As such it locates a specification in the vocals which isolate something rather specific that is suited to how the delivery works as a whole. It is that solitary feel in the way it is all pitched, combined with the meting of the fine bridge here that really defines the band. Next up is ‘Hyperbola’. This is a more confident showing with the pace seeing it hit the ground running. It is quite solid and the way it is
10 engineered draws a Depeche Mode comparison for all the right reasons. It is heavier on an electronica showing but it plays like a dream. That noir overture sculpts the sound in a defined way that teems with class from beginning to end. There are those songs that grab you for all the right reasons and ‘Position’ is one of those. From the offset it denotes an ambitious sense of scope that is realised as everything comes to pass. The risible definition of the tempo tees up the running brilliantly and that is then met with a definitive surge as everything comes through. It feels underground and that is important to mention. But the synthesised calling is gloriously embraced and this feeds into their New Wave intentions formidably. It is a hardened track too but it seems to have that calling measured from how well everything is placed here. The best track on the album is arguably ‘Moneytron’. The impact of this is immediate. What they manage to embrace here is high on the retro characteristics but has a deeper sense of resolve that comes through expertly. The swagger of the vocal delivery is dangerously cool and the way everything is heralded in on the back of the arrangement is brilliantly applied. That finesses is extended with ‘Rip Me’. What comes to pass here is highly articulate. The intro alone is a marvellous attempt in its own right and then as the vocals pour out you feel a latent Gary Numan influence at work in the dynamic. This really comes alive as it comes into its own it must be said and it is another brilliant showing from the band that nails everything. The final track here is ‘Mystical Color’ and it is a long player at over twelve minutes. Initially it opens with a high ensemble focus before the vocals come in. As that occurs the tracking in the arcs shifts the direction to familiar surroundings. It then has a second coming that sees them embrace a more alternative showing as the synthesised elements are removed to allow a more guitar oriented sound dominate the landscape. That holds until the 9:35 mark before the darker overtures return to see things close out in some style.
- 28 -
Cirque Du Sleaze Having graced our cover as far back as our second issue this is an album we have been waiting on for some time. ‘Strange Friends & Peculiar Enemies’ is the first track on the album. They tidy away their blues influence with a fanfare of deliberate riffs and hooks that light it up. You can sense the definition ushered in on the tempo as it is all driven on. The steady resolve of their sound is comfortably contended with on ‘The Getting’ Older Casanova’. It has a sleight of hand the effectively processes the slightly leftfield dynamic of the delivery in a way that hits well. It is a moderate tune but it is carried through with a stern sense of composure as everything falls into place. You have to acknowledge what is on show on next track ‘It’s Not Love’. There is a stellar amount of urgency cradled into the compact elements. The steady way it builds before it cuts loose allows things to move up a considerable notch when the vocals are launched into on the chorus. Showing a lighter touch is ‘For You’. A well-reasoned effort, there is something located in how the tender calling is pegged down. That is contended with and the deviation from the full on rock calling does come as a pleasant surprise yet it retains their high level of musicianship in terms of arrangement and structure playing their part in how it is all processed. With the well checked opening line of ‘The Doomed Romance Of Tricky
Tessa And Juicin’ Jeremiah’ everything muscles on through with a handsome showing. As the ballad qualities are relayed things collect in well versed way. The approach undertaken gets everything right and that sees the potential of the tune fully realised. Coming in off the back of a frenetic rhetoric is ‘Swear By Your Love’. That is managed in a straight forward manner and leads the tracking into the chorus cleanly. What is measured in the execution finds the conviction with nothing coming up short.
A preened guitar riff announces the intro of ‘The Party Hard Smoker’, yet the productive way it all breaks down is highly promising. There is a leaner derivative that is richly condensed, but it comes across a little bit too sedate by lacking impact at times. Those shortcomings are more than compensated for by ‘Wear It Out’. It is a rather mature offering and one that gets everything right. The worth is channelled through on the pleasing way that the opening line is delivered. It just follows the right path and the savour Funkadelic call is a splendid touch indeed. The same goes for ‘Sick As Me’, in particular the way that the chorus hooks you in. The realised face value of the showing here is something that grows in stature and gets better on repeat listening. Closing out the album is ‘Cirque Du Sleaze’. Blessed with a sense of the comfortably numb it is something that definitely brings the album to a sensible conclusion. The viability of the lyrics add a sense of closure here, while the formidable way the outlines are drawn showcase an ambitious degree of scope that surmises everything right about this band in the context of just one song.
- 29 -
You Need To Hear It This is a superb little gem of an album from start to finish. Getting proceedings underway is ‘Solar System’ and this is a reserved affair. But it is well thought out and the exacted weight of the showing is one that implores you to appreciate everything on show. The casual demeanour projected carries it all off, while there is a lot of admiration felt from the intricacy of the playing elements here. It is a highly detailed affair indeed. Again the well thought out oeuvre of his style shows with ‘There & Then’. It has a dandy sensibility to it that is matched by the orchestration of the structures. It is that approach which contains everything so specifically and the courteous extension of the running here is carefully laid out all the way through. The ambled meander of his style shows again on ‘Disappointing Son’. It has this sweeping joy to it that is from the same school of leftfield as the solo material of Lou Reed. In those obscure observations the charm offensive is found but it is a quantified facet here because it is what locates the substance of the showing so extensively. It is on fourth track ‘Doesn’t Take Much’ that the tone develops toward a more enriched affair. The remedial qualities confirmed by the range of scope on show move the album forward. This has a symposium located in the arrangement that carefully provides the track with an able bodied construct within which it all operates so openly. Again the diversification of the album shows with the wallowing sentiment of ‘Diggin A Grave’. It is a tasteful tune that brings a warm country endeavour to proceedings despite the brief running time. Imparting some majesty upon the listener is ‘The Steady Flow Of Time’. The tidy concentration of the delivery is
felt keenly. The square ebb and flow of the delivery has a fleeting transition that is listless and lingers ever so well. That is where the real worth of this one is found and it gets better on repeat listening.
The telling way that the polka styling is processed on ‘I Was Made’ leaves its mark. The compact showing here collects the urgency and this is channelled in a direct manner. The strong way that the tracking closes around the finer outlines keeps it all on course. As soon as the tranquil opening of ‘You Were The One’ takes shape there is a commendable showing to the be found. You are enamoured by the deadened resolve in the vocals here which loosely covet the delivery. Another sterling facet here is the lingering worth that the opus creates. This saunters along in an industrious way that retains a sense of the fashionable as everything about the delivery is taken into context. The sporadic temperament of ‘Far Too Far’ serves it well. There is a choice and unassuming nature to the song that traps the true worth. The indifferent call of the lyrics is well versed and there is a finite kick in the step the tees it all up triumphantly. Taking the album back to a more idyllic setting is ‘Pioneer Square. Somehow the fondness keeps to a Jim Reeves styling that is quite abstract. This is a rather deliberate tune that focuses on the adverse romanticism with a veritable degree of flair and panache. This is very much a song true triumph and thoroughly deserving of inclusion on the track list here. Offering the album a certified sense of scope and ambition is ‘You Need To Hear It’. There is a penchant to how this plays out that covets a certified sense of the morose to great effect. Adding to the appreciation is the ambient texture that is found in the rotund sensibilities of the established way that it proceeds to play out. The album’s closing track is ‘Don’t Take Names’ and the barren calling is something that is embraced knowingly. When you look at it closely it is a rather lonesome song and plays out accordingly. There is nothing happy about the reflection really, but it is more of an acknowledgement than a dwelling which is why it plays out so well.
- 30 -
Pause For Effect The deliberate way that ‘Hollywood’ opens curtails a classical sense that is highly sophisticated before launching into a more abstract fusion of sound. The pangs of the guitar work the unbridled majesty of the raw running to get underneath the tune in a way that is expertly tracked. How it closes also becomes highly developed. What is cooked up with ‘A Cage For The Animals’ drives the flight in a provisional way. This narrows the focus and brings merit from how the piques behind the delivery weigh in. Initially it doesn’t comes across as such but it does have a tightness that is carefully calculated. ‘Dark Sparks’ sees a more industrialised progression leave its mark. The faux New Wave narrative is somewhat average it must be said. There is however a noted sense of purpose managed and contained that is ably processed in the handling. There is an evident pick up to the standard with ‘Be The Last’. This coasts along on a wave of solid play that is smartly joined together. Marked by the more urgent showing, what meets with the scope also sees a more formidable showing come through. The wonderful waspy feel of the intro is also on the money. Now that they have taken hold of the album we see them develop things with the morose combinations of ‘Codes’. Patiently listless adds weight that is completed by the endearing way it moves. This invests the grandeur as it delightfully picks up. What
7 works for ‘Ghosts’ equally works against it at the same time. The leaner way it plays out is a bit too familiar in places but it is countered by the determined way it all comes to pass. They definitely grasp everything in the affirmative with ‘She Makes Me Fly’. It is rather unexpected in terms of how it stops you in your tracks. The essence of cool hiding away tastefully collects and is brought to bear in a paramount way. The mature texture is worthy of mention but it is the way it is embraced that the dynamics truly leave a lasting mark here. The album steers into this careful retro lament on ‘God Help The Queen’. That is apparent in the lightness of touch. An air of virtue seems to tidy itself in the breakdown here and the soft way it all carries through shows. Then there is a clean derivative procured from the opening of ‘Only Human’ which frames it by chance. In some ways they point toward a Crowded House influence here. This has a favourable calling drawn upon in the way the lyrical narrative lifts it all. The simple way it is harnessed allows it to sit right from the off and be carried all the way through. Darker in terms of the calling is ‘Masquerade’. Here they ride in on a more determined shake up of New Wave margins that a driven on prominently. You also sense that here they could very much be playing to their strengths because it towers above the rest of the tracks on the album for all the right reasons. That same assertion applies to the album’s closing track ‘Until Tomorrow’. It is a long player but there is a kind turning that comes to the fore in the rhythm that is incredibly well balanced. That is what sees it right. How it locates the remote aspects in the lingering way that it does certainly brings a more refined sense of balance to proceedings here.
- 31 -
CHICK QUEST Vs. Galore
There is a justified sense of kitsch to be found with ‘Somebody Call A Doctor’ that give it a risible quality that provides it with heart. The raw cut carried through isinspiring in a remarkably leftfield meets punk kind of way. That eccentric approach is rather supple as much as it is innovative, in particular the Latin fervour collected on the bridge. Steadily handled but with a confirmed sense of cool is ‘Girl On Fire’. The sleight of hand that draws a neat comparison with The Style Council for the right reasons, yet the alternative cut is cleanly processed. The approach here is rather inspired as much as it is bold, yet committed in a fashionable way. Neatly engaging and well fleshed out is ‘Vengeance Is Fun’. The ratty appeal of the vocals calls the shots with a a menacing turn that is cleverly honed. Yet you can also see that the shots have a twisted K-Pop feel to the overall aesthetic. It is weird but in a frightfully good way. While it may be titled ‘Sounds Like Bruce’, it in fact sounds highly original. What follows through from the intro embraces a 60’s revisionist vibe, That is carefully nuanced and the rich texture defines considerably. Somehow it invests the approach to come to a forward conclusion that is a spacious ensemble with the playing arcs coming to pass expertly. Brought around with a sterling sense of pedigree is ‘I’m Tired Of Pretty Girls’. It is a joy to hear this track because of the imaginative way it goes against the grain. The grounded determination harnessed grabs you in the right way. It is rather stark but it retains a certified underground calling. Blessed with a sturdy sense of prominence is ‘Shatzi’. The apparent finesse is sharply processed in the fluidity of the
10 guitar and indie calling. The way that blanket of sound, albeit somehow a hybrid of many influences, manages to avoid being overcomplicated shows a fine level of musicianship at work here in the end product. Cornering the spirit of something like The Clash when they were at the top of their game is ‘Explain Yourself To A Bat’. You pick up on ska, reggae and other influences at work here while the vocal delivery channels the inner spirit of Mr. Strummer in terms of execution and composure. This is a real standout on the album for all the right reasons. They continue that rich vein of form with ‘Fashion Fascist’. If anything, everything is going from strength to strength by this point. The clean cut to everything here is something with a modernity that also feels somewhat displaced. That synchronicity at work prevails in the blistering styling that leaves nothing to chance. With the quintessential way that ‘Monkey No Dance For No One’ opens you are pulled in. The scatty climb and the erratic calling of the shots imbues it with class. The composure that meanders through in the tempo clocks in with a stunning degree of prowess that galvanises it in a way that betrays it being a mere interlude. The fortunate way ‘You Have A Future In Television’ displays the forward thinking of the band owes as much to their musical influences. You could cite obscure bands such as X-Ray Specs as much as you could contemporary punk bands such as The Ramones, The Buzzcocks et al. It is an off the hook special that hinges on the gnarly fit of the marriage between the clean urgency in the rhythm and the raw expertise of the vocals. Then the album closes out with ‘Go Back To Ze Desert’. Fed into this is a slight synthesised call but it is attractive. You can see Krautrock influences at work and it draws a comparison with ‘The Model’ by Kraftwerk in part. Yet the sombre trumpet playing across heightens everything in a brilliant way. This is an outstanding album that is so far removed from the mainstream that it has cult classic written all over it.
- 32 -
CARIAD HARMON Cariad Harmon
The British songstress is based in New York and this cultural shift and experience is palpable throughout this impressive LP. Kick starting this suite of songs is ‘Every Time’. Here the charm lies in the honesty and purity. Inside the first 45 seconds the listener is already satiated as we are presented with a wonderful voice, subtle textures in the form of piano and glockenspiel and clever backing vocals. This is well produced and maintains the interest throughout with hooks and counter motifs. There are touches of Norah Jones and the popular country style of Joni Mitchell but this is no carbon copy as authenticity is exuded. ‘Wicked Town’ showcases her ability to lure the listener in with an endearing and alluring story, while vocally Harmon excels. The drumming is also worthy of special praise too, as the player displays both ability and a sensitivity in terms of timbres and dynamics, which is often neglected in modern and popular drumming. ‘I Want You’ is a gem. Lyrically she exposes her true feelings and vulnerabilities; and this is something that has to be recognized and admired. The instrumentation and style run in tandem with the sentiments expressed in the text, as it creates a sense of loneliness and isolation.
Up next is ‘Like You’, in which she makes a virtue of sweet harmonies and somewhat unorthodox percussion. Even if this genre is not your bag one has to appreciate how well crafted these compositions are. ‘Shame’ then exudes raw emotion, as frailties, in the best way possible, are prevalent. The polytextual and counterpart in the voice is a standout moment in the track for me. Following on from this is ‘You Don’t Know Me Yet’, which has a country ballad feel throughout due to the inclusion of the banjo and lap guitar tones. ‘California’ sees her change the soundworld slightly, which is a great move, as it prevents the album becoming overly predictable with the electric guitar very much setting the scene here. It’s also quite interesting to hear a very American sound /song performed with an undisguised British accent. In keeping with this Americanized sound is ‘Old and Grey’ and ‘Don’t Forget Me’, which are charming numbers lyrically. ‘I Wanna Be Famous’ then picks the energy and pace up again due to the percussive loop and drive, as the songstress opens up about the want for recognition. Interesting vocal effects are explored during the chorus too in what is a short song with a running length of 1:48. ‘Wiliamsburg Bridge then brings proceedings to a close in what is a rather sweet number. Artistry and skill is exhibited throughout this LP and is very much worth a few listens. One could argue the album lacks a real big ‘single’ with genuine accessibility, which could further create appeal and increase the chances of this fine album getting the attention it deserves.
- 33 -
THE SUNLIT EARTH Between The Lines
The Sunlit Earth, formed in 2011, are a 3-piece alternative rock outfit hailing from Poland’s ‘Pole Of Cold’ Gizycko. Their sound combines aspects of New York rock with UK indie rock. The LP’s opening tracks comes in the form of ‘Right About Turn’. There is genuine intent on display here. Fuzz and distorted vocals and guitars are prominent, as is the youthful exuberance on display. The sound is a like a hybrid creation fusing The Strokes and The Cribs. ‘Amnesia’ follows and contrasts in that it has a lazier feel, while shifting the distortion to one side for the time being. The vocals have a baritone quality similar to Editors. The electric and vocal fuzz characterizes ‘Fish Without Water’. The Strokes choppy rhythmic guitar effect is again put to good use, while the vocalist’s tone lends itself nicely to the distorted effects applied, which is akin, at times, to Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. The musical interlude has a neo-80s feel, with the band showing their fondness and ability to change direction and styles, whilst remaining true to their soundworld. ‘The Luckiest Man I Ever Knew’ then further explores their UK indie rock leanings. ’20 Years & 20 Days’ is an interesting composition with sinister undertones felt throughout. The well-executed harmonised vocals display musicality, while a ‘murky’ accompaniment and backdrop drives the track along effectively. The track also possesses a certain accessibility too due to the disco drumbeat used at times. ‘Rotten Feelings’ opens with a panned electric guitar before the song emerges
with an enthusiastic approach. Again a lo-fi soundworld is embraced and reveals a band in control of the sound they wish to produce.
‘Under My Eyelid’ kicks off with astute electric interplay before attitude-laden vocals take centre stage. The falsetto harmony voices give the number a true rock feel. ‘Little Screamer’ then contrasts with a cleaner electric guitar sound akin to Two Door Cinema Club, which is also sensed in the percussion pattern. Vocally Maciek Minikowicz excels in what is a canny energetic offering. Following on is ‘Same Old Story’ that has a ‘strung out’ feel, which works well at this stage in the LP, with musical flexibility being demonstrated. The vocal pad harmonies are forceful and aid the composition is reaching those emotive heights that resonate within the listener and leave a lasting impression In total contrast to the previous track is ‘Getaway’, which explores a UK summer indie rock sound. The distorted effect is reintroduced and is most commanding. ‘There’s Something In The Air’ then has an early Radiohead rock feel to it, while delving into neo-60s psychedelic rock aspects. Every facet of this creation exudes belief and poise. The electric guitar, which is worthy of applause alone, is similar in ways to Warren Ellis of Grinderman and The Bad Seeds. ‘Between The Lines’ brings proceedings to a close. The track opens with a retro vaudeville-esque, carnival organ and right hand piano melody. The Polish accent singing in English is more exposed during this track and serves as a likeable hook. The second verse is quite comedic and whimsical with the vocalist explaining how he has ‘gone back to the verse, it’s not very good, but that’s the first thing that came to my mind’! The lyrics are quite like The Beatles’ ‘Only A Northern Song’ in that comedic and literal approach and sense. Overall it’s a song, and album, that has much appeal, which showcases a youthful band rocking out, learning their trade and most certainly entertaining along the way.
- 34 -
GRAVEYARD CLUB Nightingale
Graveyard Club serve up a very impressive LP, in which they fuse aspects of 80s new wave with dreamy synth pop. Bands this outfit cites as a source of inspiration include New Order, The Cure, Dead Man’s Bones (Ryan Gosling’s band) and Arcade Fire. The influence is very much sensed, however the band forge a certain type of originality while acknowledging the bands they dig. Kicking us off with a bang is ‘Into The Dark’, which highlights their fondness for New Wave and even Joy Division. The song builds competently and showcases their astute ability and synth pop sensibilities. The chorus is infectious and displays their ability to harmonize effectively. The trading/call and response vocals during the bridge are also a nice touch. All round a well crafted number! ‘The Night Is Mine’ then contains traces of Arcade Fire, in which vocalist Matthew Schufman strongly delivers a moving and almost eerie vocal performance. ‘Easy Killers’ follows and is a fusion of modern elements and surf pop rock. The instrumentation is simple, as are the guitar motifs, but it all works wonderfully. The synch chords stick out and lay an imperative foundation, which characterizes their sound and style. The opening lyrics are the spelling of the word killer, which is catchy and memorable. Backing vocals are again utilized to
great effect. ‘Sleepwalk’ is another standout song, in which the Amanda Zimmerman doubles the male vocal an octave higher, which adds charm and fills out the frequencies and texture. The song itself exudes a vibe similar to The Cure.
The title track follows with synth and honest lyrics setting a poignant air and scene. The broken chords in the piano further instills this musical landscape, while the vocal performance and melody itself is a treat for the ears, in which Schufman showcases his range and flexibility in what is a most endearing song. ‘Stay Young’ then opens with a hopeful sense of anticipation akin to that of Coldplay. Again the shared duo vocal is employed to great effect, while the drumming, similar to the 80s style, stands out. ‘Fire In The Sky’ has a fantastic groove, while neo 80s is prevalent throughout. It’s the kind of track you could imagine featuring in a neo-noir film like Drive. ‘October’ follows and makes a virtue of heavy sweeping synth drones. ‘Skulls & Crossbones’ has a lighthearted, summer sing-along feel to it. Traces of The Drums can be sensed here too. The song builds commandingly and in a well thought out way, in which they embrace dynamic shifts. ‘Kings Of Summer’ akin to ‘Nightingale’, is stripped back, which draws full attention to the voice and story being told. Interesting timbres are explored here, as are percussion patterns that lend themselves nicely to the composition. The track begins to emerge and unfold triumphantly, yet melancholically, as the vocalist exclaims ‘we’ll be young again’. It’s both touching and bittersweet, and is the perfect note to leave the listener on. All and all this is a solid LP worth checking out! - 35 -
BLACK LIZARD Solarize
The highly imaginative way that the psychedelic overture of ‘Everything And Nothing’ is embraced denotes a virtuous appeal in the handling. Hints of majesty pour out in a truly captivating way that is concentrated in a fundamental way. As such there is an air of tangibility that blankets the sound in a way that is highly relevant. ‘Perfect Dope’ is rolled out with a higher sense of determination, yet they take the time to concern themselves with dressing it up in an alternative way that touches on a darker texture. As such the heightened leftfield calling is one that has a new Wave underground twist to it. The way it plays is quite aware of this. Branching out the sound into more nimble territory is ‘Helpless’. The amble apparel of the vocals adds something rich to the delivery. In how the composure is collected in the stationary sensibility there is a solid sense of worth found that is highly conducive to the refined way it is all collected. Nothing feels out of place and they demonstrate a smart sense of comfort in the listless way it all moves. Off the back of a hardened showing in the intro comes ‘Faith’. The hyperbolic feel of everything in the committed sense displays the qualities of fine bands like Primal Scream and The Dandy Warhols in a convincing way. There is something choice fixed to the way this fills out and the singular call of the narrower aspects in the sound play their part extremely well here. The sloped calling of the guitar for instance has a disenfranchised allure that speaks volumes to anyone who considers themselves an outsider, while
10 the lyrics seem to bring it to life in the way they are delivered with an inner retreat that is called upon wholesomely in the vocal performance. Off the back of the traipsed styling on the intro we come to ‘Harmonize’. Glorious in terms of how the languished vocals linger in the spacious arrangement there is a grandiose apparel on show that defines it. The sombre appreciation that hides away with the string arrangement is carefully detailed. With sixth track ‘All Her Time’ they revert back to their more resilient rock leanings. This screams at you from the off and there is a joyous quality to it that furnishes it with a heightened call in the way it takes flight. The tightness abounds and how it all connects lights it all up emphatically in that cursive way it moves. This is what gives it the right degree of impact in the showing. ‘Heaven In You’ is a rather smart tune and it is tracked in a way that makes the most of the outlines. The bigger sense of scope is apparent and it holds to that emotive way that the isolated movement seems to possess. The reflective yearning of the lyrics is felt in a way that leaves its mark. This is steady yet it realises the inner beauty of the artistry that provides it with the impetus it deserves. When it gets going, which is very early on in the track, ‘Waves Hit’ manages to get down to business in a scintillating way that holds true with such vigour that you are lost for words when you hear. . Here the music very much does the talking and it has a lot to say. Closing proceedings is ‘Shine High’ and if you can imagine Bobby Gillespie on top of his game in a circa ‘Screamadelica’ era Primal Scream this is what this reminds you of. So well crafted is this song that it could have easily made the final cut on the album. The sterling way the guitar resonates adds distinction and it allows the shepherded focus of the delivery to take centre stage while also giving every other element its place.
- 36 -
With a steady monthly readership now of over 175,000 that continues to grow, Unsigned & Independent is one of the fastest growing online magazines in the world. Our ethos is all about bringing music together. That is why it pays to advertise with U&I…because our target audience is your target audience. ADVERTISING RATES : FULL PAGE - €100 (excl. V.A.T.) Double page - €150 (excl. V.A.T.) Two pages - €150 (excl. V.A.T.) ½ page advert - €50 (excl. V.A.T.) Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish Artists REVIEWS
TIRED LION Figurine
This Perth band has a lot going for them if this EP is anything to go by. The sunken feel of ‘Pretend’ employs a grandiose exposition that takes it where it needs to go. The fine guitar work on show in the ebb and flow carries the shoegazer intent with a certified worth that is confirmed furthermore by the galvanised countenance of the vocals. That is developed furthermore by the mish-mash replenishment of the guitar work that clocks in fashionably well. Again there is a resilient finesse about the effectual way ‘Suck’ gets down to business. It is hip but it not pretentious. There is that sunken fervour in the sound that carries it through. But you pick up on a certified balance as the urgency interjected builds it up in the right way here from beginning to end. One of those songs that stay with you for all the right reasons best sums up ‘I Don’t Think You Like Me’. What is leveraged in the delivery holds up under scrutiny. There is a vibrancy to the lyrics and the tempered way that the conviction of the delivery brings it full circle is of a very high standard indeed. That is where they stand out from their contemporaries. Firstly it is a smart tune, but more importantly every element of the tune can be heard as it plays. It is the balance of everything supporting the end product that makes you realise that nothing can work here without one element playing its respective part; which everything does as it all falls into place. Then we come to ‘Fugurine’. What is romanticised here is excellent and confirms the indie credibility of the band. This is something with a mainstream appeal but enough about it to reserve it as something exclusively for the cool kids at the same time. Fifth track ‘December’ is another carefully rounded on effort. Here the approach embraces their grunge influences but it is a surprisingly upbeat affair when it takes flight. The bridge itself is one that has a smart temperament to it but it is the dream pop undertone of it that really piques interest. It is not overtly prominent but is measured in a way that washes over the sound here in a way that is truly appealing. As the workings all piece together you actually see what this band are all about and we can’t wait to hear more from this band in the near future.
Blues In Red ‘Blues In Red’ is the first of five tracks here and it is a memorable tune that is carried off with true distinction. The word soul springs to mind here. That is owned by the euphoric allure of the vocals which resides expertly here. That in turn contains the longing of the song’s heart by imbuing it with a certified degree of substance. ‘Sweetheart Rodeo’ also holds onto a careful sense of worth that gives it a timeless quality. Here the way things bear down offers a lot and that is why the chic endeavour of the delivery shapes it in the conclusive way that it does so. It is an upstanding tune that is carefully crafted and what is fitted around the elements here is relayed in a most excellent fashion. Third track ‘To Be Loved’ has a high standard felt on the intro which then peels away to allow the more graceful calling of the song fall into place. It is a tune imbued with a clever sense of meaning. As the high resilience of the vocals provides it with fortune there is a noted sense of distinction to be found that steadies the boat. How ‘Sweet October’ collects also embraces a more autumnal approach for what it is worth. It develops the overall feel of the EP and shows a noted degree of depth to the duo. It is also mirrored by the closing track ‘Wanting More’. It is an evenly balanced affair. The mindful way that they seem to corner the lightness of touch here is also met by the reflective worth of the vocal delivery. As such the impact of the showing is one that necessitates cleanly by design and is fed through on an equally fortunate footing.
8 - 38 -
If ever an EP bordered on perfection this is it right here. The very first track ‘Already Standing’ commits an impeccable standard to the music. Here it is a highly capable effort that is cleverly crafted but is majestic throughout. The rich vigour of the Scandinavian influence is obvious with a large degree of scope present in the arrangement. That derives an inspired turn that is magnificent in both its execution and what shows in the integrity in an artistic sense. ‘Home’ is certainly where the heart is and that is transparent from how the purity of her voice imparts itself here. The soft way everything is motioned is a clever calculation and one that is incredibly inspiring to hear. It also invests Nordic qualities in the spatial layering which give it an additional sense of depth that feel natural alongside the ethereal allure of her vocals. Everything is so supple and inspiring that you are captivated by how it is all presented. With the deeper reflection of the lyrics giving it inspiration is ‘House’. Here the pristine touch of the piano alongside the shared harmony in places is immaculate. The soft virtue is savoured but it is furnished with a compelling sense of servitude that is granted licence in a highly referential way bit the delivery is commanded in a way that captures something truly brilliant through and through. The direction moves in a conclusive way with ‘Get My Way With You’. Here there is a more committed showing in the vocal delivery that is perfectly tracked. The arrangement that accompanies is one that has a careful construction in the way it is laid out. The attention and commitment show in such a proven way that this could very easily have come from a top of his game Phil Spector and the production values deserve mention here. Closing things out is the suitably titled ‘Where It Ends’. The steady opening gives it a patient calling that builds intently alongside the attentive structure of lyric, melody and there is a graduation here that adds poise expertly. Even though it is a long player it never wanes. There is a conditional virtue to it but nothing is taken for granted. Instead there is an invested sense of both purpose and artistry to be found here that you don’t see too often.
.......................................................................................................................... TOURIST ATTRACTIONS React, Reflect, React
The requisite way things open up with ‘Black & Gold’ is a classy affair. The vocal delivery adds a glorious Morrisey/Scott Walker. That tangibility flows effortlessly alongside the way everything comes together. The morose sensibility to be found in the trappings is delightfully rich and dark in equal measure, but it is a steady composure in all the right ways simultaneously. On second track ‘Stories’ they hone that quality more prominently. It is a more apparent indie affair but it does have a clever sense of development found in the favourable way it all plays through. It also cleanly sets up ‘The Fear’ rather well. Here there is a spry kick abundant in the rhythm that carries through from the intro. That is richly cornered and how the solid pace picks up is kept in line. The lyrics are also incredibly sharp. What is presented in the layering here corners everything specifically which seems to bring a broader sense of scope to the EP as a whole which cannot be undervalued. This easily draws the right comparisons with their contemporaries but also stands alongside them. The telling sobriety found works remarkably well but shows how everything in the dynamic is deliberate. The final track here is ‘Faded Away’ and you are blown away by the brilliance here. With the collected ebb and flow of the guitar work they bring the proverbial weight to the mix, but it is something that has a noted sense of development in the artistic sense. What prevails in the management is akin to long forgotten days of Madchester circa 1990 but it is more than adulation – it is poetry in motion. You are also impressed by the warmth that seems to find its way through and that collects in a pensive manner but channels the focus of the delivery on every level.
10 -- 46 39 --
This Is Not A Bedroom You are drawn to this EP from the first track ‘Hallway Eyes’. The careful placing of everything is confirmed by the clear outlines on show. There is a steady pick up graduating from the intro. In how forthright everything comes through there is a real sense of both purpose and direction to be found, yet it is all in the vocal delivery here that the real magic shows. The steady way that they are trapped comfortably processes everything in the delivery and that excellence then abounds in a most comfortable manner. With how ‘Where This Is Going’ changes direction there is a brash under-calling to the delivery that is matched by the confident way it picks up. This is brave and the way that diversification branches out in the song is noted for all the right reasons. It has that cool factor to it that gives it appeal but it is a solid tune through and through. Then the sophisticated tepid structuring of ‘Kill The Lights’ somehow captures an enigmatic process. That is closed in on with a smart degree of tightness in the delivery that gives it a killer appeal. The darling approach of the vocals combines well with the sunken feel of the creeping derivative in the rhythm. It has a leftfield pinch to it that offers a smart dynamic that listlessly lingers in the delivery to great effect. Then the choice intro of ‘Catcalls’ steers everything through. This immediately picks up and the clever way that it is confidently executed shows. There is a harder cut to the running but it is measured in a way to tastefully embrace the dream pop turning so wonderfully here. With the pinched feel of the guitar this is one of those tunes that you hear and press repeat on because it gets better with each listen. The weight of the harder pick up is also carefully constructed with the lead in being something that is top drawer. With the shoot the breeze feel about it ‘Those Secrets’ also flits between directions without losing anything in the process. If anything that allows it a formidable sense of commitment that suits the underrated and unassuming brevity that the band seem to concentrate on each track. Yet here it has a heightened sense of dynamic which is implemented in a way that feels somewhat more personal from the vocals. Last track ‘Weak Knees’ cradles that latent disenchanted allure of their sound. In doing so everything comes through on a wave of committed cool. It is also formidable for all the right reasons. What this fixates upon is a localised sensibility that hinges on some exceptional prowess that flirts with both shoegazer and garage without either dominating the sound. But it retains the entire stylish front that the rest of the EP has in abundance.
.......................................................................................................................... FRANCIS AND THE LIGHTS Like A Dream
The self-titled opening track is one that has a favourable degree of flair and substance. It equates well in the softer calling but with the detailed flow of the synthesised arrangement the tempo shows an added layer of class. It is a distinguished cut that has a fine hint of resolve that is embraced in terms of arrangement and layout of the vocals, but there is a careful structure considered in how the lyrics provide it with a well versed front in equal measure. ‘If They Don’t Come Tomorrow’ is carried through with a more favourable allure. The slower ebb and flow has hints of Caribbean influences located in the sound that are stowed away relatively well. The sedate movement tracked is one that carefully bestows a genteel allure that is very well measured from the off, but it has a consistency to it that you admire it all the more for. In the somewhat retro conditioning of ‘Betting On Us’ there is a tailored feel to the EP overall that is impressive. The way it adds diversification is gauged smartly and there is a lot to note here. Albeit the patient calling is embraced in a way that leans on the safe side of things too much things are compensated from the way the elements line-up here. It is a steady affair but it has a conclusive hold that works by design. Then there is final track ‘ETC’. It has a signature style to it but it is a more engaging effort as well. The stoic sensibility of the play is enriched by the approach undertaken. As such there are flourishes of an alternative leaning to be note but these are also calculated to allow a more measured end product come to pass as a result.
8 - 40 -
HOLY MONITOR Golden Light
This is a trippy affair with first track ‘The Way Out’ embracing a psychedelic fusion of rock that trips the light fantastic. The careful weight of the movement is one that careens along but has a fulfilled degree of volume to be found in the delivery. The pace on this is absolutely top drawer. That is where it really develops prowess and this is why the explicit calling on show is so keenly felt. After comes the equally impressive ‘Golden Light’. This is also rich in a 60’s revisionist overture that is carefully doled out. The lean figurations of the guitar move through it are big on movement. As such it is all played out with a commendable sense of satiated fortitude that is ably processed in the mechanics. Another telling trait here is the way that it all processes this into something that is so industrious. The third track here is ‘Cacti’ and again the flourished feel of the guitar is remedied in the pace. That clicks into gear from the off and the de facto way it all weaves its magic is telling. The inspired calling of the opening line seems to answer to a higher calling but it is so smartly touched out on all fronts that you are left suitably impressed by the weight of the playing arcs. Overall none of the tracks exhibit anything that borders on pretentiousness and that is what marks it out as a brilliant EP that is as much a musician’s musician masterpiece as it accessible to anyone who appreciates good music.
.......................................................................................................................... CAVERNS Tonche
There is a reasoned sense of fullness to ‘Ghosts’ which is trapped smartly in the ease of the delivery. This involves a sterling array of style and substance. The nuanced electronic elements that play their part handsomely furnish the more prominent rock calling with a committed pitch from the vocals that also oversee proceedings with their traipsed worth catching something inspirational which draws you in. Then ‘Ten Feet Tall’ sees them move forward with a warranted sense of urgency swiftly changing things on their own terms. This is also a progressive tune but it is pieced together in a way that offers a clean sense of insight that ably processed on all fronts. The hard approach comes clean and in the offering there is notoriety in the projection that brings it all to life expertly. The expressive touches here are a joy to behold as much as the broader strokes in the play are.
-- 46 41 --
A nice and neat countenance is observed on ‘Count To Five’. Here the placid formations hold their own. In doing so there is a precision to the delivery that the formations are carefully crafted around. This in turn imbues it with a concerted movement that is spacious and reserved in equal measure. But you also see how the dynamic of the progressive flourishes captures something endearing in the play that is chaste. The way it retains that fluidity incorporates a fuller dispersal of an array of musical deluge that doesn’t falter. Nicely played out is ‘Phantom’. It has a quantified appeal as the playing arcs cornered settle upon it squarely. As they give way there is a confirmed essence that assuages all of the virtuosity in the delivery. It is big on scope and it incorporates that approach so meticulously that you are left in appreciation for everything that comes through in the movements. The last track here is ‘Aurora’. It is another progressive showing from the band with a careful approach to the musical side of things paying dividends. You can appreciate it all the more for how the softer call of the vocals accentuate in a way that elevates the reach of the track. The mainstream splendour is also picked up on but it does have this euphoric sophistication to the layering that procures a heightened sense of distinction that merits appreciation for the right reasons.
KARMA WEARS WHITE TIES EP One
Like a moth to a flame the guitar riffs of ‘Cancer Dancer’ immediately pull you in. The pomp found in the motion adds to the nouveau dynamic yet concentrates this in a realised way in its execution. The impressive meandering in the tempo provides it with a fluidity that glides expertly across. That confidence is expertly exuded in the delivery and the fashionable oeuvre in the groove shows true smarts. Dropping the rhythm into a more alternative territory is ‘Man On The Moon’ but it also retains their indie chic signature. In the taut delivery it boxes clever, but how it steals a march owes a great deal from how the mechanics of the leftfield indie calling are embraced. The full on urgency fuels this in an obvious way but they keep that under control and, as such, the approach works. They again capture something resilient in the guitar riff of ‘Casey Jones’. The steady way it finds its groove is carefully weighed up. But it has a commendable charm about it all that also presses ahead tellingly. It is incredibly slick and the inventiveness offers a lot here. They again demonstrate their brilliance for creating casual songs with substance in the form of ‘Purple Mr. Nice’. There is something chased down in the delivery that is checked by the pace but it also has this relevance ushered in with a heightened appraisal coming across in the overall handling. The excellent interchange of the rhythm is a snappy affair and shows how carefully constructed everything is here. Again there is a feeling of extension with ‘Chapstick’. The tempered feel of the delivery has a handsome kick that implores a jagged groove that is motioned. But it is the shape of this track that really sells you on the band. The final track is ‘Shitfaced’. Here there is a lighter approach on show but it works. What is carried off retains the same dynamic but things are brought together with a more sedate overture in part. Cornered in the ample resolve is a fortitude that is smartly presented, yet there is a stoic sentiment in the industrial worth of the tempo that weighs in with a good determination that is followed up on its own terms.
.......................................................................................................................... THE SMITTENS
Typing, Texting This is a tight three track EP that gets going with the dandy sensibility of the eponymous opening track. This is imbued with a lithe sophistication that is intricately balanced by the charming way it all comes off. With the ample way it is all touched upon there is a real bravado that comes across in the hearty and jovial sensibility that is so sensibly comprehended here. The middle track of the trinity is ‘You’re So Cute’. The shuffle in the garage calling of the tempo provides it with lift, while the eccentric flourishes in the rhythm also travel well. The connected transition here follows the focus and the subtext is one that has an underground kitsch to it that draws a noted comparison with band such as The Mouldy Peaches. It has that college band appeal but it has it carefully considered too. Then we come to ‘Sometimes People Get Sad’. This is a demo but it is quite accomplished in the minimalist approach undertaken. In the steady acoustic perseverance it bears fruit and the unpolished aspects are easily overlooked by it being classed as a demo, but they do denote a promising work in progress.
7 - 42 -
Holy Water This has a very clean opening track in the shape of ‘I Forget’. The spatial transition is one that is filled out by the vocals and the sparse return that comes to bear from the rhythm. The interjected feel of the synth provides a mooted front to everything here that is bathed in a neat composure. That is felt from how everything moves so excellently. The way that the sultry arc of ‘Memorials’ plays out does draw you in. It shows a solid sense of investment and clever artistry that is approached in a way that confirms everything in the end product. The finite way it is executed shows in the layering. It is nuanced but it has something that identifies with the listener that boldly lingers. Third track ‘Come Together’ develops the splendour in the fissure of the sound impressively. This is another concise track that confirms a formidable sense of style and substance factored into the equation. The causal way things pick up and step out carefully align to complement one another. As such the reward is one with a finite coming together of everything in a way that is marvellous to behold. The last track here is ‘Holy Water’. Again the lustre held from the synthesised margins imbues it with a high sense of credibility. When the shepherded feel of the vocals breathe life into the song it locates something of fortune. It is also impressively fleshed out and the lithe touches certify the scope and vigour that the entire EP is caked in. That is an affirmative attribute and the majesty of this track suitably closes things out by recognising that old adage of saving the best ‘til last.
.......................................................................................................................... JOHN J PRESLEY White Ink
It is all in the opening that the best of ‘Come To Me’ is found. What is brought to bear comes down on the delivery with a hard weight behind it on all fronts. The lyrics and morose tone of the play signal their intent but it is the hardened approach here that lights it all up. How it is placed upon everything arrives where it should and when it should. There is a neat Nick Cave comparison to the murder ballad feel of it before it picks up with a telling sense of urgency. The excellence is cornered on ‘Come Calling’. The capable way that everything is fashioned readies everything in the trajectory cuts across here superbly. The sweet allure of the way it all fits together floors you. The determination committed from the off is one that never lets up. For that you also are left in awe for all the right reasons.
‘Sweet Superstition’ has a more seasoned intro. The countenance added by the vocals locates something inspirational. That is consummated in a way that connects in a masterful way all of its own making. That sees him squeeze the prowess out of the delivery in a way that calls upon everything in a way that gathers in maturity. There is a more hands on blues appreciation noted with ‘Rise To My Confession’. The way that the leaner value is brought to the fore comes through in the opening line. That is cornered alongside the deeper harbouring of the play. Yet it is not overtly lean, instead it allows a solid outline from start to finish that remains true to itself. On final track ‘Ill At Ease’ combines a progressive approach. This is achieved. The morose hold of the delivery casts a deadening resolve across the track that is easily pulled through. It is laid on in a loaded way that cakes the running in a harder showing but doesn’t over do. This is very easy on the ear at the same time and it is not easy to master something like that either.
-- 46 43 --
SAMPLE ANSWER Good Boy
There is a high sense of greatness to the opening track ‘Good Boy’. How it is all set out is characterised by the compelling sense of depth that is offered up by the lyrics. He seems to chase down everything in the execution and you are in real admiration for it all the more. From the excellent way that the opening is pitched to how it comes together, nothing is left to chance and it counters that on the chorus to devastating effect. There is no doubting the brilliance on show here. Holding a sense of dedication about it all is ‘Proud’. In the reflections there is also a solid sense of contention that packs a punch. Yet that allows the notoriety to come through in an enabled way. From doing so here hones in on the worth of the track in a specific way that is truly something to behold here. There is a pleasing sense of motivation behind everything that connects. He shows that he is the real deal with ‘Hold On To Me’. His pedigree is confirmed from how the refined aspects of the song collectively come together. In the tempo there is a virtuosity that is steadily pitched. The scope of how it all sounds is rich when it picks up and the precision to be found as it takes flight is nothing short of excellent. The highly effectual calling of ‘No Need To Say’ lands just right. The orchestration of the deadened guitar steers it through. The weight of the tune, and the partial reflection, seem to convey an earnest virtue that provide well for the song overall. Here it is the yearning warmth that gives it passion, while a stirring degree of worth must also be mentioned from how the arrangement canvasses the running in a way that is favourably considered and warranted.
.......................................................................................................................... GRACE KELLY
Perfect Psycho Things open up on the right side of pop with ‘Perfect Psycho’. There is a fine balance between how the lyrics flaunt a lighter touch in places and take things to a more mature precedent. Things are guided through with that context in mind and it is a light track but one that does keep things in focus. Next up is ‘Lost Boy’ and this is a much improved offering. She seems more comfortable in the delivery here. You get caught up in this for all the right reasons. That charm offensive that takes hold, replete with the attractive quality of the whistling, is anything but a by-the-numbers affair. The melodic sensibility holds in a taut way and that drifts across in a haze of relevance that slips through. ‘Waste Time (Love Don’t)’ lays down a marker. The opening bass hook alongside the doo wop allure that the rhythm is bathed in fastens to the track as it all steps out. The neat way that the song is arranged adheres to an outline that is richly condensed. What cuts across here is a really impressive tune that endears as much as it embraces the soulful approach laid out for it. A big draw from all the tracks here is ‘Wildfire’. Here she serves it all up with a stirring vocal performance that is controlled and direct. But there is a desirable appeal located from the inspired way she gives it her all here. This is a big number and it impacts accordingly. You sense that there is an awareness of that fact because there is a heightened sense of purpose that is followed through suitably. You are floored straight away as ‘Not Gonna Cry’. This is a strong track. The indie worth if it at the start draws comparisons with Gossip. It has that nuanced disco chic to the way it sounds, however it doesn’t live up to the promise. It seems to deviate toward a safe tune instead, which is a shame. It fairs well in that regard but it doesn’t offer anything to proceedings that stands out. Some acoustic flair is brought to pass with ‘Black Eye’. There is something to be said for the inspired way that the reflective lyrics play their part. It is an astute number. The tidy way it is aligned imagines something with a delirious vanguard about it, yet it is pursued in a grounded way that departs from the keepsake opening. This is a strong track and does see the EP close out in style.
8 - 44 -
LIZA ANNE Two
This aptly titled sophomore offering from this Nashville artist shows why she is beginning to garner attention in the right circles. The productive way the sober calling of her voice is employed on ‘Lost’ masters everything. Hiding behind the ornate structure of the arrangement is a seamless quality that is also realised in an ethereal manner from how it is processed. Second song ‘Northern Wind’ lays down a fine marker that exceptionally comes to pass. Here the approach is chased down superbly, while the arrangement has a feverish urgency that comes together with distinction and character. This suitably bowls you over. We then come to ‘Take It Back’. As the darling calypso foray of the intro plies away you are drawn to the grounded approach. The sullen keepsake attractiveness picks up in the rhythm euphorically and gifts it a degree of flair that is nothing short of absolute brilliance. Nursing something faithful in the delivery is ‘Low Tide’. Be it the impartial way it all holds together, to the emotive display that shapes the hold of the delivery, here is a tune that gets everything right. Her voice is carried through in a bespoke way that is a joy to behold, yet the nuances of the playing details adding to the intricate manner paint it with brilliance. Then we come to ‘Room’. Again there is a distinction to the movement. That sees the contented way this is ushered in develop a highly inviting transcendent quality that delightfully corners a more urgent calling as the rhythm becomes contained by the outlines and tracking. She confirms her prowess with the magnificent ‘Overnight’. How the lyrics play their part imbues the performance with a sense of intimacy. That creeps in with a high degree of believability as much as they are reflective. From the ambient fixation there is a sullen quality cornered with an utmost pedigree that has to be heard to be believed. She just runs with it on ‘Ocean’. It is a neat affair and the sheltered feel is felt furthermore by the partial way that the minute detail of the piano steadies this. In the deadened hold worth is found but the distal allure of the tune adds something token to the configuration which is worked in expertly.
.......................................................................................................................... RICH GIRLS Fiver
As soon as ‘Worse’ begins to play the clever swirl of the guitar work confirms the potential of this band. You are attracted to the underrated calling that gets down to business. The awning is collected on all fronts and it sways through with a fond derivative that captures the hardened chic dead on with no expense spared. Stepping out the pace a bit more is ‘Get You High’. That lifts the delivery and the frantic relevance of the tempo calls the shots. That is admirable, while the way it is all fronted just catches everything with a sweet sense of calculation on every turn. That is not just a slick calling but rather an astute reflection of the dynamics at work that call the shots.
-- 46 45 --
Somehow ‘Fiver’ embraces a nuance sense of retro that is intelligent as soon as it begins to play. The confident way it is pitched seems to play like a nod to early grrl bands such as The Go-Gos et al but also seems to harness a sense of identity that sounds the band out for all the right reasons. It holds that West Coast cool and sweetly carries it all through on that wave of play. Again ‘Soft Disease’ is another impressive showing. You pick up on the leaner intent in places for all the right reasons. Lyrically it has a hint of The Velvet Underground and it is felt out accordingly with the intrinsic left field temperament stealing a march correctly. Things are closed with ‘California Girl’. The softer shoegaze frames it deliberately. As the vocals lean into it all the more it becomes a more telling affair. They show here how clued in they are musically because it is all about the token fervour of the rhythm here as things slow down. The way it is all stowed away is handsomely productive and the rapturous euphoria of everything is deliberately matched on all fronts.
YOUNGER STILL Golden Sun
We loved this EP when we first heard it for its bolder approach at times and that is certainly felt on ‘Sail Away’. It is opens sedately but proceeds to build neatly. How the elements hang off the approach is commended furthermore by the layered way things fall into place. The vocals are chased down and their steadfast presence gets underneath the delivery in a tangible way. With a more subtle grounding is ‘Before The Tide’. As the initial quality of the opening pulls way it takes off with a certain degree of confirmation. What is held down in the tidings gives off a ‘beach’ style vibe but also sets in to the running a sense of maturity that is equally as West Coast signature. That develops the sound and what comes to pass connects well with the listener by being attentive to the de facto fissure of the guitar and drum combo. The proven workings of ‘Golden Sun’ are apparent from the off. The soft opening then progresses to a highly extensive hybrid of jazz, funk and latent psychedelic touches. It is an essential dynamic and one that takes off with real aplomb. ‘Long For You’ is another favourable effort. This again embraces a 60’s revisionist vibe that draws steadily from a Wilson brothers influence. There is no denying this but that is what gives it groove, especially in terms of how the bridge and chorus come to pass. With the defined guitar riff on the intro to ‘Amends’ the arrangement is carefully orchestrated from the get go. Yet there is a lift in it that is somewhat dignified as the more ambitious worth of the playing opus is carried off. ‘Dream Drive’ is the final track and it plays like a dream. It is a very astute affair that is carefully laid out. The imaginative way it is approached seizes upon a more modern influence – Arcade Fire being one that springs to mind- as the fundamental worth of the playing brings everything full circle. That is neatly conveyed and the commitment is very much an aspect that doesn’t put a foot wrong here.
.......................................................................................................................... TRIPTIK EMPIRE
The Age Of Mistakes There is something about the left field aspect of the band‘s identity apparent in how it fits their music. The first track here is ‘Faster Than A Mistake’. It has an unorthodox approach but the kitsch sees it through and into alternative territory commendably. The lustre of the guitar work readies the raw presence, while the Screaming Lord Sutch comparisons drawn from the vocals also offer an interesting insight into how immersed they are in the creative process. Opening with a harder cut is ‘The Snake’. That gives the direction added contention and they embrace that with a darker sleight of hand on show. That suits how it is geared up and the extensive fluidity suggests there is more to the band than brash shoegaze guitar rhythms. The running aids the abstract vocals before the aptly titled ‘Requiem For A Swing’ sees the band’s palette flourish. Initially it starts slow but the interesting flit between playing arcs gives it character. Overall it is an eccentric affair that channels everything in a way of relevance. How that is focused squares things away fashionably well. Straight away ‘The Fall’ hooks you. The displaced calling encourages this furthermore as do the lean showing of the vocals. The way everything is balanced heightens the feel of the texture. Musically it is adventurous and develops the band’s reputation as much as it does the overall aesthetic of the EP. With the incredibly broad so well managed there is something conclusive to be found in the tone. Embracing an ensemble approach is ‘So Far’. Doing so yields everything correctly and allows the depth to play out in a measured way. The final track here is ‘Vizio De Forma’. It has a pan-European flair that shows in the indie styling that covets an approach that places the rock at the fore. The estimated way it is all brought shows a high standard that does feel tepid at times, but is delivered with enough panache to justify it being credited where it deserves to be.
8 - 46 -
CULT CALLED MAN Mr Wednesdae
We are very familiar with this band having seen them numerous times performing on the Irish music circuit. The first track here is ‘Wickyr Mice’ and the certified way that front man Luke Cunningham channels his inner David Byrne adds a solid sense of leftfield contention that steers it through. The commitment from the band behind him adds to the prevailing way that the tune is tracked but there is an enigmatic presence to the track that is gloriously pitched. Cleverly leaning on a more developed sense of musical composure is ‘Mr. Wednesdae’ sees them work everything over. Thee latent leftfield aspects are embraced in the overall context, be it the lyrically or in terms of how the erratic buoyancy of the rhythm carries it all off, but here it is a showing that sees them play to their strengths. The soulful brilliance conveyed in the second half of the song is nothing short of brilliant. Then we have third track ‘Jar’ and this sees them turn in a broader delivery. The deadened feel of the music is processed in a way that opens the tune up tellingly. That is mirrored by the obscure way it is shaped and the enigmatic expertise that settles upon it all is exceptionally displayed. It also has a rather leftfield dandy quality that is processed intelligently with regard to the heavy weight of the bridge. ‘The Coffee Song’ is the closing track here and it has a softer sense of focus in a way, bit it has a delightful countenance about it all that serves it well. In fact, to use a pun, this is a song that would be anyone’s cup of tea. Bearing down in a composite way there is a proven maturity to it all that is underlined by the way they develop the alternative apparel as the track plays out. That makes the enigmatic calling something that wonderfully wraps itself around the music all the way through.
.......................................................................................................................... THE HAZE The Haze
There is a sedate feel to ‘Am I The One’ that is angled in a neat way. The way everything runs has a steadfast feel to it that abounds in a worthy while. In some ways it is a bit too safe and formulaic, which does detract from it in a noted way. Yet there is a sturdy sense of resilience in the pockets of play that carry those fallings through. As such it doesn’t leave you not liking the song for what it is worth but it also leaves you liking it for what it is worth and nothing more. With an opening you can very much get on comes ‘She’s My Baby’. Armed with a degree of latent charm this is novel and the mature realisation that shapes it is what drives it on. The formidable characteristics of the indie influences denote a northern cut and this is a bone of contention as much as the casual appreciation located in the delivery overall is.
-- 46 47 --
Armed with a solid sense of taut contention is ‘That Boy Don’t Love You No More’. This signals their intent form the opening line and the way it travels is excellent. The big way they gamble on this bringing through the contention pays off handsomely. It is smart and the fixed running is where they press ahead the advantage in the lean showing. This is a tune that very much takes you along for the ride in fact. There is a zest to ‘Fool For You’ which adds bite. This is honed in an obvious way. The fluid sensibility of the handling sets it on its way and the way they ride in on the back of that has a youthful exuberance but it is managed in a full on way that addresses what it intends to. With how the licks of the guitar play their way in you draw comparisons with the late Carlos Santana on ‘There Are Times’. That is met with a bereft dynamic in the vocals that leaves its mark in the right way. The alluring way the seasoned showing all plays out stares everything down but it glides through with a more passive showing that is an impressive departure from the other tracks on the album.
THE SONIC REVOLVERS Blackstar Immediately this song draws you in. There is an incredible level of conviction concentrated in the showing here that the rock style manages to convey in a way that feels incredibly well. It really plays like one of those songs that has a neat degree of calculation behind every stroke and it is definitely one for anyone who considers themselves an aficionado of good music.
THE TWOKS Doona/Happy Endings
The first track on this double A side is superb. The slick way that it all moves showcases why this Melbourne band is held in such high regard here in the U&I office. There is a favourable degree of artistry found in the movement, while the sultry apparel of the vocals is made of magic. The lay manner that everything is comfortably delivered in rises squarely but the classical modernity processed with the violin carefully crafts everything. That is again a key factor on ‘Happy Endings’. The approach here is more mature and careens though in a manner that denotes the classical influences at work. The differing approach also works well for it as a simple ensemble piece.
The head-on way that this track unfurls is rather distinct. The confident calling of the dynamic falls into place. It has this bereft quality that is carried across in a way that displays a rather astute calling in some ways that relies on nothing but what the band intend to put behind it. That rough around the edges notation is something that sees them play to their strengths.
BITCH FALCON TMJ
As this opens there is a force of intent about it all that is matched by the intensity concentrated in the proactive showing. What this signifies about the band’s potential spills out in the music with a prevailing sense of belief. The harder edge to the sound is further heightened by how that adds a compact sense of urgency found on all fronts, yet there is a considerate kneading to the delivery as a whole that denotes the heart and locates it furthermore by bringing it to the fore.
AFTER THE IBIS Dig Up We loved this track and it got a lot of repeat playing while we edited this month’s issue. It carries a retrospective flourish through from the conveyance of a measured worth found in how it collectively configures the wonderful styling of reggae with such conviction. The pure worth of the lyrics also adds something of true merit that is pursued and chased down from the overall conviction that cuts straight to the chase. This is a real stand out tune and certainly worth tracking down for all the right reasons.
THE SNEAKY NIXONS Sex
It is true what they say – Sex sells and what this Liverpool band have produced is a song that very much sells you on what they are all about as a band. The opening fanfare of the confident brass that bellows out gives way to allow a committed guitar riff ply away. With how the vocals strut through along with the slender ska skiffle of the rhythm brings something that is equally volatile and select in equal measure through. With how they throw everything into the mix here they comfortably process the detailed layering of the running in a way that is exquisitely teased out. - 46 -
- 48 -
VOLTAIRE TWINS Modern Gore
There is a lit to admire here from the secluded qualities of this track which travel furthermore as it steps out. This then sees a retro texture collect in the running that is impressively handled. Everything that comes to pass has a warranted appeal for all the right reasons. With the courteous way that the synthesised elements score it all here there is a formidable precedent found in the overall dynamic that is contained by the fluid stature of the movement on show.
THE DURTY WURKS
From the opening sense of intent there is something prominent processed in the immediate sense. The languishing hold of the arrangement builds in a conclusive way, but behind that there is a rather formidable sense of prowess noted from the compact temperament of the drumming. How the two combine with each one residing separately denotes how accomplished the balance of the sound here. It leads it all to a realised point of conclusion that takes it all in and relays it through the music.
The commendable way that the fink is felt makes up some impressive ground it must be said. Yet the fly is confirmed as the vocals spill out in the performance. That adds to the overall bravado that is fleshed out in the delivery. It is delivered in a triumphant manner that cruises through with a n effervescent sense of cool that is entirely of its own making. There is also something about it that adds up in terms of it bringing a timeless sense of neat worth through in terms of how it is all carefully processed and delivered with such refinement.
When You Go
Another band making waves on the London circuit this is yet another superb offering from the band that follows up where they left off with â€˜Resonateâ€™. The careful way it is guided by the ornate awning of the spacious calling traps the music in a truly prevailing way here. Adding to the appeal is the lustre of the vocals which linger alongside the carefully gauged landscape that is the spacious arrangement. This has majesty in abundance and the careful way it is patiently expressed separates them from their contemporaries by elevating it above a standard retro fair into something much more.
COURT ROYAL After the brash intro pans away what is left standing is a track of fine pedigree indeed. The checked flow of the vocals retreat to a sleight of hand that embraces a pop calling on the chorus. Yet there is something to how this one is bossed that sees a standard brought to bear that sees the band own it. They bring a lot to the table with this one and the way it boxes clever lands punch after punch with how vibrant it gathers. You can also sense the confidence projected is there by design and a reflection of what the band wanted to achieve by intent here.
SONS OF RICO
Inspired. That is the word that springs to mind when you hear this track for the first time. The clever way that they flirt with an ELO influence leaves its mark in a superior way, but it is very much an offering that is distinguished by everything that warrants appreciation on the merit of what the band are all about. The clean way it is all placed commands everything in a supple way which moves it along with a defined touch of class that is highly fortunate from how it gathers the appeal on show.
This Is Heaven Here is a tune that very much comes to life from the off. There is a joyous lift to the resonance of the guitar work. It feels its way through in a way that has an unbridled cut about it that kindly falls into place and is engineered alongside something that is keyed in with the lay shoegaze quotient in the rhythm with formidable heft.
There is a replenished sense of composure that is drawn in the reflective outlines of the song. When that gives way there is a bit of a more loaded kick to the tempo and it lands squarely upon the running. Somehow there is a standard fare about the way it is delivered, but it is met with a highly defined sense of grit that does deserve appreciation because of how it adds something tentative to proceedings here.
Top Of The World
Staying with this song rewards you as a listener. Initially it opens in a way that feels as if it going to be a by the numbers affair but it has something in the showing that suggests otherwise. That hard showing sees it bottom out in a level way that embraces the rock side of their styling. They stay on top of it as well and the manner that the delivery as a whole is carried off is one that measures everything correctly it must be said.
There is a wonderful essence about how this track is pursued. What abounds in the tempo has a defined sense of purpose, yet somehow there is a charm about it that sets it all up. The charm offensive is abundantly clear and the specific way that adds weight to the overall delivery is what helps pull you in. Holding its own is a defined showing of prowess and musicianship on the bridge that curtails the progressive side of proceedings in an eventual way that really vitalises everything on show in a top drawer way.
THE WOOD BURNING SAVAGES Premier League
We have seen this band play live on numerous occasions and they come up trumps here with this tune. Adding a trigger happy kitsch to the running combines well with the Brandon Flowers like vocals of frontman Paul Connolly really work their magic here. The way that the tempo is projected contains the urgency but also gives it a real sense of purpose and direction. That is an apparent characteristic from how well it plays out, but also from the consistency that carries it through.
SAINTS BOULEVARD 21st Century Jesus
While there is a good showing of commitment from the band with this offering it falls short in ways that are too apparent to miss. There is a lack of substance firstly from the lyrics and the vocals are carried across with a sense of the average about it all. The sees the urgent calling lack direction. What does work in their favour here is the way they go all out on it and that furnishes the delivery with a controlled sense of presence and it does pick up squarely, but where it falls down shows for all the wrong reasons and overshadows the aspects that work.
This is the July 2015 4×4. It is an editor’s pick of four videos by four artists selected from four of our music networks. At U&I we work with 95 co-ops across 49 countries and the music network that the recommendation comes from is indicated in brackets.
BLØSH ‘Keep Your Tongue’ (Norway)
THE TWOKS ‘Doona’ (Australia)
AZTEC JACKAL ‘Feeling Groovy’ (Dublin)
CHAPPO ‘Hang On’ (USA)
In this month's issue we talk to Canadian band Stegall. We also have interviews with In Letter Form from San Francisco, Shakedown Stockholm,...
Published on Jul 31, 2015
In this month's issue we talk to Canadian band Stegall. We also have interviews with In Letter Form from San Francisco, Shakedown Stockholm,...