Vibrations Magazine Leeds and West Yorkshire June 2013 Free
05 Editorial 06
22 22 22 22 22
Live At Leeds
Leeds Music Hub Witch Hunt
Leeds Festival China Rats
The Last Brew-Cast
24 Reviews 34 40
One for the Road
Editor Rob Wright - firstname.lastname@example.org Design Ben McKean & Niall Hargrave email@example.com
Contributors Neil Dawson, Bart Pettman, Rob Wright, Steve Walsh, Tim Hearson, Mike Price, Glen Pinder, Matt Brown, Tilly Reed, Rochelle Massey, Paddy Gunn, Alex Wignall, Cactus, Fuzz Caminski, Tom Bench, Sean McGeady, Greg Elliott, Oscar Gregg, Ian MacDougall
Picture Editor Bart Pettman - bart @vibrations.org.uk
Cover Photograph Dinosaur Pile-Up by Bart Pettman
Reviews Editor Steve Walsh - firstname.lastname@example.org
Live Editor Tim Hearson - email@example.com
Vibrations is looking for Advertisers - 2000 magazines seen by music lovers across Leeds. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Editor Ellie Treagust - email@example.com
Writers, Photographers, Artists and Sub editors - Come be a part of it, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Design Sam Hainsworth - email@example.com
Send demos in to: Steve Walsh Vibrations Magazine Eiger Studios New Craven Gate Industrial Estate Leeds LS11 5NF
Advertising Tony Wilby - firstname.lastname@example.org Founded and Published by Tony Wilby - email@example.com Jack Simpson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Links/streams to email@example.com
Yes, the FESTIVAL SEASON! A time for outrageous celebration, dispensing with the normality of the everyday and embarking on myriad quixotic endeavours in the name of hedonistic pleasure. Sunburn, trenchfoot, booze induced bankruptcy, month long comedowns and that hardly perennial anthem, ‘I’m getting to old for this shit, never again, never again...’ Hmmm. I get the feeling I’m repeating myself in this editorial. Weather: check. Age: check. Preachy rant: check. All in place. Marvellous. So, I daresay you’ve got a few outings planned? Gonna see some bands? Gonna check some tunes? Good luck to you, and as we (hopefully) emerge from the financial fuckstorm that has been the longest period of state induced misery ever, known as the recession, there are a whole load of exciting festivals to go and spend your hardborrowed cash at – and not just the big ‘uns. Take our beloved Beacons Festival, prone to being a bit weather beaten but always comes out fighting, or Kendal Calling with its increasingly eclectic line-up, or how about Fell Foot Sound... let’s look at Fell Foot Sound, shall we? Not ‘cos we’re involved or anything... alright, maybe we are. To say it will be intimate is an understatement – there’s a very limited number of tickets available – and to suggest it will be interesting is an inevitability – Nope, Sky Larkin, Cowtown and Bilge Pump... yeah, should be fun – but the setting looks stunning and the whole ethos behind it... trying to get back to what festivals used to be about; getting into the woods and losing your shit for a couple of days before returning to civilisation with a knowing smile and an unmistakable glint in
But life goes on, and the new must replace the old (we still have Dead Young Records, Destroy All Records, I Like Records, Something Something Records...) so this issue we’ve got a lot of new bands featured... some new writers cutting their teeth, as it were... hell, we’ve even been looking for acts and contributors at a grass roots level by doing a bit of teaching, sorta, ish. I had to rein in the swearing a bit, but some of us at Vibrations Towers took a trip out to the Leeds College of Music to talk about running the magazine... yes, we did have something to say, cheeky... and it was encouraging to see so many young people who still want to get involved in music in Leeds in one way or another – we even had one of them write a feature for us – fancy that!
Editorial Words by Robert Wright
Apparently summer has arrived, and it has been a difficult and significantly late birth, but the arrival of the sun is more than welcome... though it could have made its presence felt a little earlier. Still, let’s hope it sticks around for the festival season.
your eye. Oh, and they’ve got good beer and food on hand. Good times, uncompromised.And shoehorning in the whole uncompromising thing, it is with deep sadness that we at Vibrations Towers confirm the demise of the always surprising Brew Records. After six years and nearly 30 releases, Si, Tom and Jez have decided to pull down the shutters, turn off the amps and power down the drones. It’s been quite a ride, with some notable moments of sheer terrifying genius – who can forget the psychologically scarring Kong, or the scene polarising Castrovalva, or the... the... undescribably... yeah, Blacklisters? Personally, I’m gonna miss them as a label who did interesting things... sure, questionable things at times, but interesting. I’ve even penned an obit for them – a tearjerker, if ever there was one.
And so it goes... the wheel keeps turning, and somehow Vibrations is now ten years old – or at least it will be next issue. How did that happen? More on that towards the end of the year, but let it be known that there is still a lot of life in the old dog yet... Young Ed on Old Shoulders, June 2013
Hello everybody out there in listening-to-music land!
All Killer, No Floor Tom
Despite their moving to London, Dinosaur PileUp will always be a Leeds band, due to their previous ties with Off The Bone Records, Mother Vulpine and Pulled Apart By Horses. So shut it. They’ve got a new album on the way and another in gestation, a whole lotta touring going on and possibly the worst drum roadie (sorry) in the world, but somehow they managed to find time to give Tim Hearson the low down on what’s happening in the world of DPU... It’s a pleasant afternoon in early May, probably the dawn of what can be lazily referred to as ‘shorts season’ and Dinosaur Pile-Up are sat outside Leeds University’s premier student dive, The Old Bar, following a successful late afternoon Live at Leeds slot in the Refectory. “It was good: really full, and in reality a circle pit formed,” Matt Bigland (singer, guitarist and brains behind the operation) opens with. “Yeah, yeah, at 5 o’clock, for real,” pipes up the geekily bespectacled drummer Mike Streils. “We get a lot of Twitter action from little skate dudes and such,” Matt explains, “I mean, they were there, so I guess it was just a good vibe. We had a nightmare though.” “Many nightmares,” Mike continues. “So basically we got our stuff on stage, set my drum kit up and looked down and there wasn’t a floor tom.” “Which we’d left in London,” interjects bassist James Sacha. “I managed to see another band loading in their gear and asked them if we could borrow their floor tom,” Mike describes “luckily enough they let us – but it was this old, 70s Ludwig floor tom which kind of moved around during the whole set. Then I was going to sound check the kit before we went on, as you do at a festival, and realised I didn’t have my stick bag. So I literally ran behind the stage and stole Everything Everything’s drumsticks and played. During the first song I had a call from my girlfriend who was on route to finding the drumsticks and I er… took the call…” “Onstage, we were just about to go into the next song,” says Matt, doing little to hide his incredulity.
“I just said, ‘I’ve literally got to go, we’re about to play’.” “Mike was on the phone - what the fuck?!” Matt finalises. I suggest that as long as you’re well rehearsed, you can get away with that kind of thing, to which the band respond with a chorus of dubiously high-pitched, drawn out ‘yeaaahs...’. This brand of pinch-of-salt-professionalism is part of what make Dinosaur Pile-Up such an appealing prospect. Their catchy
and punchy grunge nuggets clearly manage to connect with people and since their relocation, there is an obvious hole in the Leeds scene, something the band find a little disorienting. “We watched a couple of bands afterwards and, no disrespect to them, but there just weren’t many people there. It was just interesting to see how full it was for us and how empty it was after,” Matt muses. In another context this might sound arrogant but there’s a sense of genuine incredulity to his tone. “Yeah, it felt like [our set] was a bit of an event. It was a revelation really,” says Mike, picking up the thread. “We actually semi-fucked up one of the songs because Mike was side blocked by the fact that some people were singing the words,” James adds. Their popularity in these parts is unsurprising given the band’s Leeds connections. “I used to live with Tom [Hudson] from Pulled Apart By Horses and we were in a band (Mother Vulpine),” Matt begins. “We split and he made that band and I made this one. I’ve got a lot of friends in Leeds and when I made this band, Mikey moved up and started living with me for a couple of years.” And how was that, Mike? “[Matt] promised the world, delivered nothing – no, it was cool. Then we moved down south and James joined the band. We’ve lived down there a while now but [Leeds] is really the only place we’d call a hometown.” “I’m from neither Leeds nor London, so I don’t know where the fuck I’m from,” says James, with a wistful hint. “Yeah, James is a nomad we found wandering in a pile of ‘70s covers, circling the M25 for the last 5 years,” Matt clears up. As far as the modern-day muso fairytale goes, Dinosaur Pile-Up are basically living the dream. They currently reside in Archway among a musical community that sees them rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tribes, Summer Camp and Big Deal. Their label, So Recordings, is based just down the road in Camden. “The label’s fucking killer,” describes Matt, “it’s such a small, independent label and when we walk down to catch them, we can go in and sit down with the head of the label and the guy who owns the label. So we’re sat there with the two big dogs and they actually take us seriously.” In terms of demands and riders, DPU are relatively easy to please. James says “to be fair, we just want to make sure
Photography by Bart Pettman
we’ve got the right gear on stage to make us sound right.” “It’s tough as well, now when you’re in a band you have to look after your own back and look after your own shit. There’s not much money knocking around so it’s good when you’ve got a label behind you.” Another positive result of being involved with So Recordings is the appearance of X-Factor contestant and Lancastrian Diana Vickers as the protagonist in the video for their new single: Erm… what’s it called again? “Interesting that you remembered that Diana Vickers was in the video, yet you couldn’t remember the song name… That’s a bitter pill to swallow.” Mike is quick to expose my half-arsed research. “’Yeah, I really love that Diana Pile-Up,” Matt joins in, “no, that’s a happy coincidence. She’s friends with the label so we met her and we were doing this new single (‘Derail’) with a video and we were thinking ‘fuck, we can’t actually make this video because we’re on tour.’ She’s starting her acting career so we were like, ‘Hey, do you want to be in the video?’” It turned out that the director the band had in mind for a video had scoped out a location not too far from where Vickers was recording a video in LA. “Yeah, so he had time, she had time, and we thought ‘well if we can’t be there then you should be there.’ She wanted to work with us because it would be a cool project and we wanted to work with her because it would be a bit of a name to the video.” When you consider that So Recordings boasts an eclectic range of artists – The Chevin, Joshua Radin and Danny & The Champions of the World, to name a few – Diana Vickers and Dinosaur Pile-Up doesn’t seem that grating a match. “I think some of our fans who are into the more hardcore Grunge/heavier side of stuff were a bit like ‘Oh, what are you doing?’, but at the same time we’re growing as a band so we’re never gonna turn our backs on where we were because we’re still there.” Dinosaur Pile-Up’s next LP Nature/Nurture is due for imminent release after a 3 year gap – how does a band on the up fill the time? “Between now and Growing Pains we did a lot of touring and spent a lot of time on the road,” Matt explains. “Obviously, we went through a couple of members, solidifying who the band actually was. It’s so important to have the right people in the band and we’re still friends with everyone who used to be in it, like Harry [George Johns] who’s still playing around Leeds, and we text, which is killer.” “And we’ve got James filling in on bass for now,” pipes in Mike, never missing a dig. “Well, good luck to you – my tutorial DVD actually comes out in a few months, Bass for Beginners: Dinosaur Pile-Up,”
responds James. “It was a heavy time for us, we did a UK tour then went to America and did SXSW and then went to Mexico and played some big shows there,” describes Matt, rising above the fray. “A lot of big highs but at the same time a lot of big lows – no-one’s under the illusion that being in a band is easy. So I feel like a lot of the songs on this record are stronger for that. There were a lot of songs between Growing Pains and this album, like hundreds of songs, so when we came to picking the songs that were going to make this records it was quite tough. I went in to the studio with 25 songs to record.” James clarifies, “that’s to record, not necessarily all ones that would go on the album.” “Ian Davenport, the producer, said ‘we need to go into the studio with 25 songs because I can’t pick between the 25’ so that was a strong position. Then I ended up recording 17 and obviously 11 are on the album with 2 more as bonus tracks. So there are still tracks to come out which is a nice place to be in.” Dinosaur Pile-Up are nothing if not prolific, certainly doing their best to justify their modest rock star lifestyles. “It’s funny in rehearsals now because we’re rehearsing for our headline tour which will be half-Nature/Nurture and half-Growing Pains and it’s just tune after tune after tune. In between nailing the set we’re also penning new tracks which are all just killer.” James goes further. “We’ve almost got our 3rd album on the way as well, but it’s nice because it’s the first time we’ve had the three of us in a rehearsal studio writing together – It’s pretty distracting, in a good way though.” Wrapping up what has been a thoroughly enjoyable conversation with the three gentlemen, I ask them where they think their music will be taking them, to which Mike responds with a touch of cartoon smugness, “I think there’s a song on Growing Pains that sums it up pret-ty well. It’s called ‘All Around The World’.” “That’s a good point, although you couldn’t have sounded more like a dork.” A frank, if necessary put down by Matt. “To be honest, we just want to play music and write music and we want to take it all around the world. And we don’t want to work jobs. Specifically after this tour we’ve got festivals coming up, then we’ve got a headline tour lined up and we’re going to go overseas quite a lot. So it’s going to be a fucking busy year and ahead of that, we’ve got our 3rd album.” Nature/Nurture is available from all good record stores from 17th June 2013.
Live at Leeds 2013
Now in its 7th renewal, L@L has grown into quite a monster with this year promising to be the biggest and best of all, with over 120 top bands to choose from. Formulating one’s plan of attack proved harder than ever, several big fancies having the audacity to be appear simultaneously.....the selfish bastards, why didn’t they consult us first? Needless to say, without access to Mr Wells’ time machine, considerable coin flipping was to be required before taking the plunge. Mike Price and Glen Pinder do their level best to catch the level best at Live at Leeds 2013... First up, it was time to catch up with the affable Harry George Johns at Holy Trinity Church (the first of his many appearances that day) to see how he delivered songs from his very personal ‘Post Break Up Blues’ EP. With the seats taken out in anticipation of bumper crowds, the venue seemed much more relaxed than the hushed reverence you get from the seated audience with no apparent loss of intimacy. The place filled up nicely as Harry, with just a guitar accompanying his fine bluesy holler, bared his soul to the warmly appreciative audience. Decent footwear is a pre-requisite as the miles are soon racked up flitting between venues, next being The Wardrobe for the largely forgettable Backyards, followed by the indietronic musings of painfully shy Nadine Carina at a heaving and somewhat bewildered Nation of Shopkeepers. Judging by the queues at the ticket office and some of the venues, L@L has drawn a record crowd, helped by the long weekend and first decent weather of the year. Let’s hope precious few spent more time in queues instead of watching live music. With a trek to Brudenell looming to catch up with The Coopers, I’m suddenly feeling like Harry Callahan as he’s bounced all over San Francisco by arch-villain Scorpio. The crowd is smaller than expected, perhaps a little too far to walk for some but the band is in fine form, delivering eight sun- drenched pop nuggets including the terrific new single ‘Summer’s Child’.
Back to the city centre, this time to the Leeds Met to enjoy a splendidly brooding boy girl duo Witch Hunt tearing up Stage 2 (see feature for more details), followed by the upwardly curving London Grammar who have filled the main stage to bursting point and, after a couple of numbers, it’s
clear to see why. The striking Hannah Reid’s ethereal vocal seems to fill every corner of the venue, ably backed up by the less-is-more approach from her two band mates Dot Major and Dan Rottman, producing a very urban sound perhaps something between Zero 7 and Trip-Hop. Definitely one to watch. The queue to get in The Cockpit is approaching the two hour mark so The 1975 are swerved in favour of local political hardcore super group Kleine Schweine, pitching up downstairs in Milo and, getting my vote ahead of all girl Post-Punksters Savages. Having previously witnessed two visceral Savages performances, Kleine Schweine have a lot to live up to and as show time approaches, Milo is so full the band and crowd have become a single entity. Every L@L I’ve attended produced one stand out performance and tonight ladies and gentlemen, this tiny little venue became the centre of the universe. Neil, Drew, Bart, Declan and Matt manage to take their postage stamp of space and turn it into a fireball of such intensity not seen since the lid came off the Ark of the Covenant in the first Indiana Jones film. This was Rock and Roll in its purest, loudest and most surreal form as a tray of Jagermeisters appear stage left midway through the set and are gleefully scooped up by the spontaneously combusting band members. You couldn’t make it up! Following a quick breather for essential rehydration and to pop back out a couple of displaced ribs (well worth it guys!) it’s off to the Leeds University for the evening as with three venues in the same building, the tired legs will get a bit of respite. Intense crunching metal trio These Monsters are scarily impressive in the Mine although the moshing has taken its toll on the floor which feels like it’s been covered in superglue! Department M frontman Owen Brinley looks suitably moody as The Stylus crowd lap up his austere new-wave inspired material. Theme Park deliver a clutch of surprisingly stylish numbers in the Refectory and Hawk Eyes don’t disappoint back in the Mine as yet more bourbon and coke find themselves on the mosh pit floor. They’re even joined by Blacklisters front man Billy Mason-Wood for their final number. Closing proceedings in fitting fashion in a teeming Refectory are the ever angular Everything Everything arguably the biggest draw of the day and proving beyond doubt that L@L is firmly established on the music calendar. Long may this continue. Mike Price
Live at Leeds
That time of year is again upon us, Live at Leeds has become the true start to festival season, so grab your comfy shoes and bring your drinking ‘A’ game – today might get messy. Menace Beach are my first port of call. This Leeds hybrid band, featuring members of Sky Larkin and Hookworms, are a fuzzed up riot of early nineties influences. In the mix I hear elements of Pavement and Weezer, yet with the boy/ girl trade-off vocals they make a glorious racket all of their own, ‘Drop Outs’ is testament to their aesthetic, updating the grunge model for the 21st century. Happy Daggers hit the stage at Leeds Met Stage 2 and this is a band that instantly grab your attention. Their Disco-PunkFunk is something quite irresistible, a sound somewhere in the realm of The Rapture throwing shapes with The Scissor Sisters at carnival time. Songs like ‘Hey’ and ‘Finally (Some Modesty)’ have the early afternoon crowd shuffling their feet and bouncing along reaching a fevered peak with new single ‘Closer’ – an instant crowd pleaser and evidence that this is a band heading for bigger stages and far off places, take a bow boys, the world is waiting. Almost filling the Stylus venue and holding the entire crowd in thrall of their moody almost gothic brilliance, Post War Glamour Girls bring a bit of mid afternoon excitement. New song ‘Jazz Funerals’ is a powerful statement of intent from a band growing in confidence both on stage and on record – shades of The Birthday Party mix with Pixies-esque harmonies, only to shine through with a sound that is at once familiar yet wholly their own. One of Leeds’ most unique and intriguing bands may just be coming of age, and in times like these they are one to hold on to and treasure. On next to SKATERS, a New York based outfit boasting
former members of The Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things, though boasting may not be the correct word for it. Sporting the most unforgivable of head wear, the baseball cap, they run through a set that at times is Ramones-ish, with a smattering of the Clash, but never really finding their own sound within the formula. For some bands wearing your influences like a badge of honour can work well. Unfortunately for SKATERS, none of this wears well and like the baseball caps, all seems to be style over content. Heading to the Cockpit next and the worry of not actually getting in seems a very real prospect with the queue reaching the end of the street, but luckily in I go to see the rather fantastic Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Live, they are a very different beast to their recorded output, giving songs from new album II a heavier bluesy quality. The floating dream of ‘From the Sun’ is turned into a bass heavy rumble and spiky guitars thrust out to grab the attention of some of the drunker members of the crowd, half of which are here for the band the other half seeming to be hanging around waiting for the club night after-party. A shame as the line outside was mainly waiting to see this gig… ‘So Good at Being in Trouble’ has a sweet, soul swagger to it sending woozy good vibes out amongst the throng. So did ‘One at a Time’, which has a funk groove so thick you could re-lay the M1 with it. This PsychBlues stomp is just what the doctor ordered as I drain the last of my Guinness and wobble from the venue. Once again Live at Leeds surpasses any preconceptions and firmly plants its flag as statement that it has now become the city festival of choice and a showcase of the next biggest things. Live at Leeds, our love is all yours. Glen Pinder
Snot What You Were Expecting If you’ve heard the double-ender that is ‘All These Toys’, you’ll have probably thought ‘what the fah?’ shortly followed by ‘hmmm, interesting.’ Well, that’s what we did, so we sent Matt Brown to go and investigate... Having only released one single to date (‘All These Toys’), Antibang are one of the newest but most intriguing bands to come out of the Leeds scene for a while. The few tracks that are available to listen to online present a band that have the musical chops to combine crazy time signatures and dynamic shifts with melodies that are pure pop, whilst the slightly sick video for the aforementioned debut single displays a visual style to match. Basically, they’re pretty great, so I met up with songwriter/lead singer/musical visionary Sam Slater to find out more about the band. The style of the tracks, including the new single (more about that later), can be hard to categorise: “although you probably wouldn’t guess, the band that has influenced me the most is Tool…their songs are so complex, intricate and well thought out. ‘Graceland’ is my favourite album though,” admits Sam. Those references kind of make sense; there is a degree of muso-complexity to Antibang’s music which only reveals itself fully after a few listens but there is a strong rhythmic undercurrent which comes from Sam’s experience of playing drums. He accurately describes his music as “big, drum-led swagger pop. I can’t stand the fashion for (bands who are) just apologies in 90’s nostalgia or watered down reverb.” To me, Antibang seem part of a fairly recent resurgence in bands who possess some degree of technical ability. “There are loads of local bands such as Front Bottoms, Randomer and Castrovalva who are doing terrifying, interesting and expressionate (sic) things and I want in.” Basically, they’re not going to be popular with the NME.
I was under the impression that such a hybrid of musical styles must be the product of hours and hours of jam sessions, but this is not the case. “I write and produce everything before getting the band in to add their parts and play the tracks live… the live sound has been something we’ve been working on. There are various people such as Scott Nelson playing guitar, Louis Nanke-Mannell and Jambo Simpson playing drums, Sara Zaltash and Irial Eno doing some vocals, Otto Willberg playing strings and Dan McNamara playing saxophone, and some of them pop up in live formats, depending on the context. I want gigs to be a celebratory experience.” Antibang is very much one person’s vision which utilises different musicians to bring the songs to life: “I’m trying to run it as a project that’s flexible enough to be a one man production project that can grab all
the talented people around me and get them to lay their thing on it. And then transfer it into something live that stands up either as one man or ten.” You can check out the live video of ‘Gut Ridge’ on YouTube to see the full band in action. The visual element is also important to the band. “We’ve just finished the music video for the new single ‘ADHD’….it only cost £30 and isn’t quite as disgusting as the first video, although it still features bodily fluids fairly prominently.” The video is a more claustrophobic affair than the one for ‘All These Toys’ and has a kind of womblike quality, despite all the snot coming out of the band members’ noses. “Adam Barnett is the man responsible for all the videos. He is a sadistic, dark bastard destined for grand things. Antibang are actually doing a film score for a short of his at this present time called ‘Mandala’.” Even more importantly, the song ‘ADHD’ itself is fantastic. The song is so catchy that it actually took a couple of minutes before I realised how unusual the rhythm was. Basically the track sounds like a mix of Passion Pit and King Crimson and perfectly illustrates the more programmed, electronic sound that Sam is focussing on at the moment. It’s so good that I’d love to hear a full album from the band, although they plan to release an EP first and “probably release another track from it as a single as I really love making videos….we’ve got no plans for a full album at the moment…I really like the EP format and the idea of releasing short, coherent collections of songs.” Antibang will be releasing an EP in early July and their next single release will be called ‘Broody. Baby.’ Based on what they’ve released so far, it’s hard to know what to expect, but it probably won’t sound much like the Foo Fighters. The ‘ADHD’ single is out on June 24th on Big Ship www.facebook.com/ANTIBANGers www.thebigship.co/artists/antibang www.antibang.com
British Anti Wildlife Bang
Happy Birthday to Hub! One of the great features of the music community in Leeds is the number of creative people in the city who are prepared to put their ideas, time and effort into the infrastructure needed to support and nurture musicians in the city. One person who knows more than most about this is Kate Zezulka. Around three years ago Kate was a music student at Leeds University who had an idea about setting up a physical space that could act as a focus for the music community in Leeds. The story of what happened over the next two years could fill a book, but thanks to Kate’s persistence and the help of several far sighted luminaries from the music community, in May 2012 Leeds Music Hub opened its doors. Steve Walsh - You’ve been up and running for a year now – how would you describe your first year? Kate Zezulka - Amazing, exhausting, unmapped, fairly intense and overall a bit surreal. It’s been a very reactive kind of process, mostly in a good way, but sometimes less so. The best parts happen when you’re surrounded by good, creative people and things just fall into place in a way you wouldn’t quite expect. SW - Have you started to relax yet? KZ - No! Although it’s not the same things that are nervewracking as it was a year ago or more, they’ve just been replaced with new and different learning curves; especially as we’re starting to add more facets to what’s going on at the Hub. SW - One of the aims of The Hub was to provide access to musical instrument lessons – how is that going? KZ - Really well. From a more practical perspective, the word of mouth has been really brilliant and lots of our “students” have really taken it upon themselves to undertake almost ambassadorial-type work for the Hub, which is incredibly reassuring and makes me feel like we’re at least sort of doing the right thing!
SW - I notice you’ve started a course in electronic music production – how did that come about? KZ - There’s actually a couple of more techy-based series we’re starting off over Spring. The first is the iOrchestra, which is basically a collaborative ensemble for iPads,
iPhones and things like that Ben Siddall (This Many Boyfriends/The Birthday Kiss/The Lodger/Tamla Moortown) came up with. He’s running it with James Smith of Post War Glamour Girls and that’s starting on 13 April. The second is Dave Blush Audio’s thing and is looking at electronics, starting with circuit-bending and hardware-hacking then moving on up to building fx pedals and more complex projects - 28th April is the pilot session for that. SW - You’ve started to put on a wide variety of events, like a Record Club, industry lectures, the odd gig – how successful have these been? KZ - All that side of things has taken on a life of its own, really. Katie Harkin (Sky Larkin/Wild Beasts), who runs the Record Club, has been completely brilliant and curates the sessions so, so well. They always have a good atmosphere and people bring such a wide variety of music in response to all of Katie’s ‘themes’ for each session. The industry talks have just started up again for a spring series and they’re running in chunks of fortnightly seminars. The idea with that is to invite up a range of ‘industry’ and infrastructure-y figures to talk about their experiences and show the depth and breadth of what’s happening in lots of different areas of the music industry. We’ve only done a handful of live sets but we’re working on getting that a bit more regular, as they’ve all been brilliant and worked in the way I hoped. We’ve also started linking up with Ben Brady Photography and Leeds Music Scene to record and publish live videos from these which I’m really wired about. SW - So the future – do you have big plans or is it more of an organic strategy? KZ - I’m certainly not planning massively far in advance at the moment! That’s partly out of necessity but also that idea of not overplannning and overmanaging things to the point where the Hub doesn’t develop naturally. We’re definitely looking forward to celebrating the Hub’s first birthday over summer, though, so keep your eyes peeled for details on that. And, as always, we’re carrying on planning a selection of new things we can run at the Hub but nothing we can reveal just yet! The Hub is there to be used, so get involved. Oh, and the cakes are something else…. Steve Walsh Leeds Music Hub is at The Coach House, 20 Wood Lane, Headingly, Leeds LS6 2AE and details of opening times, courses and events can be found at www. theleedsmusichub.co.uk or www.facebook.com/ theleedsmusichub.
Leeds Music Hub
Salem’s Hot I always thought that three was the magic number when it came to bands – Motorhead, The Police... Fun Boy Three, but on closer inspection of bands such as The White Stripes, Wet Nuns and Drenge, three is a bit flabby. Mike Price corners another one of those dynamic duos at Live @ Leeds, before only going and doing a live review too. They’re called Witch Hunt, they’re gonna be very busy this summer and watch out for them at Fellfoot Sound this year – it’s gonna be Yurtally awesome... The great thing about covering such a unique festival as Live@Leeds has become in its short life is that you get the chance to chat with some of the people and bands who help to make it happen. One of the dozen or so bands I watched on that warm (I know, hard to believe as June is ushered in with yet another arctic blast) spring Saturday happened to be boy/ girl duo and former students of Leeds College of Music, ‘Witch Hunt’. The pair are currently in talks with a former American hardcore punk band sharing the same name, ironic really as they came up with their moniker after being so stressed out by having to do so for a college project they felt like they were victims of a ...................... you can guess the rest.......and it appears to match their music perfectly so I suppose it’s all’s well that ends well. Louisa Osborn (lead vocals/guitar/percussion) and Chris Mulligan (backing vocals guitar/gadgets) are enjoying a pre-gig Babycham with yours truly at the Wardrobe. We’re all there to watch Backyards, after which they’ll head off to Leeds Metropolitan University to prepare for their 5pm slot. The mood is most definitely ebullient following their storming Leaf Cafe gig as part of Liverpool’s Sound City the previous evening (their first ever foray to the City of Beatles) and there are a bunch of extra shows coming up including London, Long Division in Wakefield in July and Fellfoot Sound at the end of July. I’m also holding a new and beautifully packaged 3 track poster CD single, hand bound by finest string, showcasing the exquisitely eerie lead number ‘Crawl’, following on quickly from their debut release ‘Chairman’. With more material planned for release later this year courtesy of local label Dead Young Records. It appears that the only way seems to be up.
Louisa and Chris have been making music together for only about 12 months, seemingly thrown together at a Rock and Roll Circus (where Chris also works, with Louisa spending some of her downtime teaching at the Leeds Music Hub) party having not really mixed as students. Witch Hunt were originally a quartet, with a full time bass player and a drummer, but Chris admits
he quickly realised that things weren’t working with the rhythm section. A last minute gig with Michael Kiwanuka provided the opportunity Chris (formerly of Buffalo Bones) and Louisa needed for the two of them to fly solo and make as much noise together as possible on stage. Originally starting with some of the lyrics Louisa had penned, what followed was their first true collaboration in ‘Basements’, turning up as the B-Side to their next collective effort, the aforementioned ‘Chairman’. This creative template of Louisa’s words accompanying Chris’s tunes forms their basic song writing process, although there is plenty of overlap and experimentation once the basic idea for the song has been formed. This ‘stick with it and do your own thing’ rhetoric seems to be one of Witch Hunt’s recurring themes. Good for them. Both agreed that their chief inspirations include the White Stripes both musically and for the sheer ‘fuck you’ attitude, adding the fact they performed a Jack and Meg tribute show on NYE at Brudenell, (on the same bill as erstwhile Vibrations contributor Rob Paul Chapman’s B52s tribute band, Mock Lobster, where Rob dresses as the titular crustacean). PJ Harvey also gets a big thumbs up, with Louisa citing the West Country artiste’s Desert Sessions work with Josh Homme the most inspiring of all. There is also a big thumbs-up for the likes of Blacklisters and Hawk Eyes proving there is solidarity as well as competition in this fine town. And Now, The Live Stuff... With neither admitting to stage fright (their biggest neuroses in the live environment relate to simple equipment issues) it’s less than two hours later and I’m at The Stage 2 and like virtually every other venue in town today, it’s packed to the rafters. The previously demure Louisa is now stalking the stage like a panther as they crank out number after number including a belting version of ‘Crawl’ and the bluesy and perhaps Depeche influenced ‘Chairman’. Louisa’s voice is formidable, part Polly Jean, part Janis, with Chris providing a nicely understated backing vocal, content to play second fiddle whilst providing just enough lower end. The only downside seems to be one or two technical issues with the backing tracks and I feel that their material deserves something better when played live, as we have some pretty decent songs here dying to grab the audience by the short and curlies. Nevertheless, the substantial crowd are warm and appreciative and shows like this are a valuable learning curve and with time all the rough edges will be ironed out. www.wearewitchhunt.com Mike Price
Leeds Festival is the indie and rock festival of the north. With a rowdy northern crowd, unique atmosphere and a sometimes controversial but always entertaining line up, it’s fair to say that Leeds Fest is something which everyone should try at least once. Tilly Reed has lined up some top tips to help you get the best of the best, not only from Leeds Fest but any outdoor event you happen to be frequenting this summer. Be prepared for muddy wellies, messy hair, all night parties and the most unforgettable weekend of your life. TOP TIP - ESSENTIALS With the best weekend of your life at stake what do you really need to be trekking around? We’ve got it covered, all you need is a sturdy backpack and a muscly friend. 1.Travel light! We guarantee you’ll throw your bag in your tent and wear the same outfit all weekend, so take shorts, t-shirts, thick socks,warm hoodies and of course a water proof jacket. It might be August but the notorious northern weather has a mind of its own. 2. It’s a festival and despite what some may think, it’s a field not a fashion show – remember, hygiene not beauty. Dry shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and lots of wet wipes are all you need. 3. Invest in a good tent or risk being one of those campers who end up with soggy sleeping bags. Pick carefully! We’d also recommend a sturdy chair to give your feet a rest. Halfords, B&Q and Go Outdoors offer the best. 4. Your feet are your transport so treat them well. By the end of the weekend the ground is usually a mud bath. You’ll be running, walking and most importantly dancing so a trusty pair of wellies is what we suggest. TOP TIP - TICKETS If you’re only going for one artist then why not save money and buy a day ticket?
We understand that most festival goers are students and are on a tight budget. Look around for the best deals. Cheaper tickets means spare cash which allows you to save up for all the Leeds Fest merchandise on offer... or perhaps some food and drink? (I am hoping, as I do every year, that the Haggis Hut returns – Ed).
TOP TIP - TENTS AND STAGES There are 8 stages and tents to explore! Main Stage- The Headliners. Big crowds, an electric atmosphere and let’s face it, the reason why most of us are there. Makes for some legendary performances and moments you’ll never forget. Just look out for the sneaky cameras, you might be caught out on the big screens. NME/ Radio One Stage An interesting array of acts from Johnny Marr to Scrillex. Always provides a brilliant mix of old classics with new bands. Festival Republic Stage A calmer atmosphere, with smaller bands and smaller crowds. Sit back, relax and enjoy some great music. Lock Up Stage Runs for two days of the festival and produces the best in Punk Rock. Dance Tent The name speaks for itself. It’s only on for one day out of the three so make the most of it. BBC Introducing Stage Handpicked, unsigned artists, with total emphasis on new music. The likes of Ed Sheeran, Florence Welch and Pulled Apart By Horses have all performed here early in their careers. Alternative Stage Not only does this have top DJs but it also shows cabaret and comedy acts! Best of both worlds. Silent Disco If you just aren’t done after the headliners then the Silent Disco is open from 10pm onwards. It has quickly become a favourite amongst festival goers and yes, you can take your drinks in. SO, WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2013? A phenomenal array of artists has been announced. Alt-J, Biffy Clyro, Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Editors, Hadouken, Foals and of course to headline is the rap artist of the 21st century, Eminem. It’s his only UK performance of 2013 and his first Leeds Fest appearance in 9 years, not to be missed. Leeds Fest 2013... It’s set to be bigger, better and even more electric than ever.
Teenage Rodent Uni Dadrock Last year, China Rats swarmed onto the scene with a blistering set at Joseph’s Well for Live at Leeds. Sadly, Joseph’s Well is no more, but the ‘Rats are alive and well, playing SXSW and hanging out with the Jarman brothers. They’re pop; they’re punk; but they’re not pop-punk. Rochelle Massey goes deeper underground and tracks them to their nest... You are playing Live at Leeds for a second year. What is going to be different about this year’s performance? Graeme - We have a lot more songs this year, last year it was quite early days; we had been together less than a year. Luke – We have done a lot more gigs now, so we are a little bit more rehearsed. Graeme – It feels a lot better to play together now. Luke – Yeah it is more natural. You got to play with the Cribs in London a few weeks ago - what was that like? Graeme – it was just unreal. We all love the Cribs and to be that close and having beers with them in the dressing room afterwards was just crazy. You don’t think that kind of stuff is going to happen to you. Luke – It was quite surreal. Did anything crazy happen with the Jarman brothers? Graeme – We were just bevvying really. They played a mad set, it went a little crazy in the 100 club, so we were chilling with them afterwards - they were pretty dead.
Graeme - I hadn’t even played gigs until I came to Leeds, then all of a sudden I was playing with my mates. Where did you play first? Graeme – First? It was in the Elbow Rooms. Luke – That was five or six years ago, when we were in different bands. Graeme – Yeah we were in a different band then, but were playing together as friends still. It was more like a college band back then. Your tracks are short but stupendously catchy. Luck or judgement? Luke – I think it was when we first started out, short was what we wanted. Graeme – Everyone likes pop music, don’t they, and we wanted to write music that was fun to play, and that we had fun playing. Also catchy so we can get stuck in people’s heads. Luke – I think they have progressed a little from that now; they are more developed a little bit longer. Graeme – We are still trying to get stuff recorded. Maybe something that is longer than two minutes. What is the most annoying comparison that people make about your music? Graeme – I don’t think we get any annoying comparisons - we get called pop punk a lot, but I don’t think we sound similar to Blink 182 or Sum 41.
Luke – I think they were pretty worn out.
Luke – I think there is a difference between the 2 genres. We are like pop and a little bit punky, but we are not pop punk.
Graeme – I think someone was covering Ryan Jarman in ice because he was just steaming.
Graeme – It is a set genre. People just say it and I guess that is the most annoying thing.
Leeds is a very special place to you guys. What is it that you love so much about it?
Luke – You read loads though, because people can just write what they want on the Internet.
Graeme – We all moved away from home to come to uni here, it is where we grew up properly really.
Graeme – Usually it is just the Ramones, and stuff like that, which you can’t complain about.
Luke – We are all from little towns. Leeds is a proper city and stuff; it is where we all got together.
Luke – It is quite simple to compare us to them, because it is quite fast. I don’t think we sound like the Ramones.
China Rats down the highway.
Graeme – Go on you pick five, and I will pick five.
Luke – It was bit of nightmare though, because it was dark.
Graeme – It is a bit more Dad rock. Luke – We have gone from lad rock to Dad rock. Graeme – I would say fast, sweaty, sharp, mental, electric, and sketchy.
Graeme – We got a McDonald’s to see how big the portions are compared to here - they were massive. Good value for money. What were the first records you bought? Luke – Mine was ‘Mr. Boombastic’ by Shaggy.
Graeme – Raucous.
Graeme – I can’t remember what mine was. I had a couple of singles first. I got ‘Going Deeper Underground’ by Jamiroquai on tape.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at Live at Leeds after your set?
Luke - I remember getting Michael Jackson History – it was a big double cassette.
Graeme – I think Luke was saying someone like Everything Everything.
Would you change them if you could?
Luke – Unsure, loud.
Luke - I was not into them at all, but I have been listening to their album a bit. I didn’t get them at first; I think it will be interesting. I wanted to see Happy Daggers, but they are on in half an hour. Graeme – They are our mates. Savages are playing as well; we saw them in SXSW. How was SXSW? Graeme – It was crazy. I have not really been out of Europe, so to go to America was amazing. Luke – It was our first time in America, and on the first night we got there we flew into Austin, and had to drive into San Antonio to pick up our bass player, and our manager, because the flight got delayed. Graeme – So they got re-directed, and we were driving
Luke – No, ‘Mr. Boombastic’ is still a quality track. I have read at least three different versions of how you gained your name. The best being you named yourselves after Splinter from TMNT. Is it to keep things interesting? Graeme – We messed that one up, because Splinter is from Japan, not China. Luke - I think it’s just because we do not really have a story behind it, and we always get asked it, so China Rats is a different name, how did you come up with that? It just gets repetitive. Graeme – I think it actually comes from a guitar being made in China. China Rats are currently working on a new EP, but you can keep with what they’re doing at www.chinarats.co.uk.
Luke – A little Psychedelic with the new stuff.
Photography by Bart Pettman
In ten words tell us what you sound like?
As if Leeds didnâ€™t have enough genuine bands, Art Projectees Amy Lord and Rebekah Whitney aka Lord Whitney have been busy creating an exhibition of 20 imaginary bands album covers. Blending the dayglo audacity of the eighties with a healthy dose of absurd humour and pop art, Mock and Roll is pretty damn striking. Bart Pettman took pictures of real bands looking at pictures of imaginary bands. How post modern is that?
It is with great regret and dismay that Vibrations announce the passing of a great Leeds institution, Brew Records. Adored by some, abhorred by others, their influence was undeniable, and their demise has been marked by such publications as Kerrang, Metal Hammer and The Yorkshire Evening Post. Things will be a lot quieter without them around. Brew Records was born in December 2007, no connection with certain other notable events occurring annually in that month, I am reliably informed, when Tom Bellhouse received a sizeable grant to start an independent record label. He contacted Simon Glacken, who was in International Trust at the time and had been doing their ‘admin’ so had a few contacts in the music biz, to see if he fancied the idea of a doing a record label. He did. “We were in jobs we didn’t enjoy and wanted some kind of musical business away from the daily grind of life,” says Simon as we share a pint (times is hard) in the fittingly named Brudenell, “releasing music by bands we liked – a very simplistic ideology.” Their first release was a seventeen track compilation, featuring the likes of Vessels, Chickenhawk (later to become Hawkeyes) and Humanfly (who, according to Simon, I rubbished), which went on to do fairly well for them (and still sounds good today), so they decided to keep going. Later on they were joined by Northern Music’s Jez Cook, who also had some contacts and between the three of them they began to build a more robust Brew that would take in management and PR as well as recordings. And then... it stopped. It’s the big question: why? “It was self sustaining,” admits Simon, “we’d release a record, we’d sell records, we’d get money for the next release. We wanted to take it to somewhere where it’s more than self sustaining, but we weren’t able to take it to that point without compromising in terms of the music.”
It would have meant abandoning the ethos, cutting the quality of the releases and representing bands that they weren’t so passionate about, which they weren’t prepared to do. So, a decision was made several months ago that Humanfly’s Awesome Science would be their last release, a glorious double-gatefold swansong,
and the reaction to both this album. The news of Brew’s shuffling off this mortal coil has been ‘amazing’. I’m wondering if this might have been a bit of a My Chemical Romance/Black Parade moment, but Simon shakes his head: “Once the label’s dead, it’s dead – we’ll not come back as something else. Unless something happens in ten years time...” Despite the label being in state, it will not be leaving its roster high and dry and will be looking for good homes for their artists. Someone needs to take Blacklisters in hand. The label may well be an ex-label, but them Brew boys continue to be active in the music business. Simon has been working with Simon Fogal of I Like Trains on their joint PR company I Like Press, which partly came out of Brew not wanting to deal with London PR companies. Tom has recently set up the management company Tone Management and Jez... “Not sure what Jez is going to do, but I’m sure we’re going to work together at some point.” So, it’s been quite a ride, but all good things and that. Goodnight, sweet prince... High points: I Concur’s first single – “I remember when it came... and I could hold it in my hands and think ‘my god, this is real’.” Releasing Kong’s Snake Magnet – “If you can imagine all the bands we’ve released, they encompassed all of them in one, almost.” Low points: Pressing errors – “the shitty stuff, like a record turns up and a and b are on the wrong side... which is kind of annoying.” Holy State splitting up – “They’d just finished mixing an incredible album, a tour was booked, the vinyl was about to be ordered, when... they broke up.” Brew wish to thank On The Bone and GZH records for all their advice, Futuresound for putting on their bands and the whole Leeds music thang for their support. Tom would also like to say thanks for all the sausages. They also have stuff to buy on www.brewrecords.net – we would recommend Snake Magnets (Kong), You’re Not In Hell... (Castrovalva), The 10” Split (feat. Castrovalva, TFT, Kong and Shield Your Eyes), Awesome Science (Humanfly) and BLKLSTRS (Blacklisters) - go on, buy a bit of history...
The Last Brew-Cast
Albums Cut Yourself In Half – Mekkanizm (New Heavy Sounds) In the bewildering and fecund world of Heavy Metal genre, it’s sometimes difficult to locate where exactly a new band sits on the metallurgical nexus to give people an idea of what to expect. Bradford’s Cut Yourself In Half present a particular problem in that what they do remains rooted in pretty traditional metal while it hops across most known styles that have developed in the past 30 years. Does that make them unclassifiable? I guess it does, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Most of the songs contain at least one hammering riff and vocal hook that give each its own particular shape. So you get mathy sludge in ‘Comatosed’, proggy thrash in ‘Viracocha’, the hurtling hardcore of ‘Do It Or Die’ or even the ballsy glam rock of ‘Spider Legs’. Best of all, ‘You Carry the Curse’s writhing grind and stop start juddering creates its very own mad logic. And you can tell CYIH mean business because they haven’t felt the need to include anything that’s remotely restrained to give a break from the clattering mayhem. All you can do is buckle up and enjoy the ride. Most of the songs hover around the three minute mark but are packed with so many ideas, tempo changes and neck snapping breakdowns that the album feels twice as long as it is but is still replete with compressed excitement. Steve Walsh Nancy Elizabeth – Dancing (Leaf)
It has been said that bad times make for good art, and for Nancy the last three and a half years since Wrought Iron have been a bit poor. As has she. Skintness has a habit of focussing the mind and, as Nancy herself states, seeing as it ‘doesn’t cost anything to make music’ (debatable), the result of these lean years is a lot of very interesting tunes, imbued with an air of solitude and fortitude. It is easy to draw comparisons to Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Imogen Heap here... you could even throw in a modern day parallel to Emily Dickinson, but though the
music is unavoidably ethereal, with its multi-layered vocals, harps, bells and dulcimers twinkling over the more robust piano lines, what Nancy possesses (an appropriate term as many of the tracks sound positively riddled with phantoms) that the floaty dress brigade occasionally lack is a healthy dose of pragmatic realism. It is a beautiful voice, comparable to the missing in action Laura Groves, but it is resolute enough to deliver such lines as ‘I love you for your love/now can you let me go’ on ‘Debt’ (a line followed by a major modulation, a flock of clapping hands and an upbeat suggesting nothing short of blessed escape) and the knock-out punch of ‘I was woken last night by a man in the street singing money can’t buy you love but I have neither’ (‘Indelible Day’). Blunt, simply stated and effective. Funny, too – one song, entitled ‘All Mouth’ is just that, a song comprised entirely of vocal sounds. It’s this juxtaposition of witchy flightiness (‘Raven City’ is full of Bush like helium vocals and ‘The Last Battle’ is intoned and tuned like a spell), unsettling spookiness (‘Early Sleep’ is like a haunted music box, albeit a Mancunian one) and down to earthiness that makes this electro-psych-folk album so unique, so satisfying... so buy it; poverty makes for good music, but it also sucks. Rob Wright Jimmy Islip & The Ghosts – The Wild West Riding (Self release) An interesting collection of tunes from That Fucking Tank’s drummer’s latest project, The Wild West Riding is an album firmly rooted in the traditions of Americana, driven by the kind of catchy melodies and strong lyrical content that runs through any great album of the genre. That being said, this is by no means a simple foray into faux-country by an artist usually associated with the UK Punk scene. Songs like ‘X’ may pay homage to the traditionalist stylings of artists like Johnny Cash, full of galloping guitar lines and dark, low vocal lines, but as you move further into the album’s depths, you begin to hear the tone change, with an almost new wave influence punching through the twangs of ‘Johnny and Julie’. ‘By Land, By Sea’ and ‘Time Waits’ demonstrate Islip’s ability to take his songs down a much more delicate road, while ‘It Tastes Bitter’ and ‘Digger’s Volvo’ bring back those classic, country-esque vocal harmonies and upbeat guitar lines to make sure the album comes out as a beautiful
mixture of emotion and tenacity, performed excellently by Islip, his band, and the many guests that appear with him. A definite listen for any fans of good, old-fashioned foot-tappers, but with enough inventiveness to keep the attention of more left-field listeners. Paddy Gunn Sunwølf – Midnight Moon (Ark Noise Recordings) Still only around a year old, Sunwølf seem to have hit the ground running with a constant stream of gigs in the UK and Europe, both as headliners and support, and now this their second album in six months. This indicates a level of self-confidence and belief that only usually comes from several years of application and hard work, suggesting the band are either trying to run before they can walk, or have stumbled upon a style and formula that works in a pretty spectacular fashion. Guess what: it’s the latter. The band’s debut, Beyond the Sun, was a baffling affair altogether. Although clearly accomplished and assured musicians, the album was largely based on restrained ambience with only a couple of forays into noisier areas. On Midnight Moon the self confidence has only burgeoned and what is more the proportions of ambience to noise has been reversed. The album opens with its longest track, the stately and majestic ‘Sellanraa’, which is fairly simple in structure and execution but provides a succession of subtly telling moments as emphatic but slow moving guitar lines resolve themselves in unexpected ways. While the subsequent ‘Prey to Melancholy’ and the title track continue to mix clean, chiming guitars with crunching riffs, the rest of the album acts almost as a gradual slide into guitarless abstract ambience. Although not exactly sequentially named, the last three tracks, ‘Plateau I’, ‘Plateau II’ and ‘Glacial River’ could almost be a musical triptych that charts the dissolution of harmony and form into a warm, pulsing throb. Completely instrumental music this sparse and organic is often revealed to be hollow and insubstantial after repeated listens, but Midnight Moon has a depth and quiet intensity that persists. Highly recommended. Steve Walsh Talk to Angels – This Broken Home (Self release)
The debut long player from Talk to Angels begins with perhaps the defining moment in the Bradford band’s history; the 49 second opener ‘Keller Drive’ documents the moment when the band’s manager and original bass player were struck by a car in the USA, both taking
months to recover and ultimately signalling the death knell for the band as both members of the rhythm section went their separate ways within a year. Despite this, the fifteen songs here bear testament to their turbulent existence and perhaps one day we may see a TTA reunion, picking things up from where this album leave off. ‘Brain Man’ kicks off proceedings properly, all jangly guitar punctuated by anthemic chorus, followed by the slightly heavier ‘Hickory Dickory’ with its retro new wave keyboard. ‘Enemies Close’ is more urgent with elements of Mr Brightside, with ‘Real’ providing one of the album’s dreamier moments. Alas we get a little too many examples where the band really go for it but never quite pull it off, ‘He Loves Cilla,’ ‘She,’ ‘The Unravelling Emotional Boy’ and the title track all try and up the melodrama factor to 11 using a combination of piano, sweeping strings and strategically placed guitar solo without ever quite managing it. This Broken Home is certainly big on sound but a bit short on ideas with one having to doff the cap to Mr Flowers once too often for my liking. Mike Price Percy – A Selection of Salted Snacks (Tenfoot Records) These guys have been knocking about on the Leeds scene since the late 1990s and following a few line up changes (the original incarnation included former Housemartin Hugh Whittaker), a lengthy hiatus leading to a reformation in 2010 as a traditional guitar, bass, drums trio, they’ve finally got a long player out courtesy of Tenfoot Records. A Selection of Salted Snacks carries on the glorious tradition of Northern kitchen sink indie of The Buzzcocks and combines this with the eccentricity of Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, The Fall and more recently The Wind-Up Birds. The sound throughout the ten songs here varies from grunge to music hall and included are plenty of clever lyrics and catchy tunes to keep the listener’s attention, this trio boast plenty of song writing kudos and know how to make a decent racket. Opener ‘Heavy Industry’ is a lament to the new sweatshop of the North, the call centre. The heavier ‘Big Fellas’ (containing the album’s title) and ‘Man Up’ bemoan the macho Northern culture whilst the hilariously chaotic ‘Donny Rednecks’ is a modern Yorkshire take on the specials ‘Friday Night and Saturday Morning’.
Singles and EP’s Chumbawamba – In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher (Self release) Some years ago, Chumbawamba had a great idea – produce a record to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher and sell it by subscription before the great event happened. I’ve no idea how many copies they sold, but I’ve been waiting for mine for quite a while now. So was it worth the wait? On one level, obviously it was (I am one of those “mindless bigots” that Norman Tebbit was referring to – I take it as a badge of surrealist honour to be called a mindless bigot by Norman Tebbit!). I just wish I had got my hands on it sooner. But musically? It is latter day Chumbawamba when they had transmogrified into a folk band. And yes, it is jolly good. ‘So Long, So Long’ is a thirties pastiche that subtly points out that Thatcher will rot in hell. This is thrown in with a selection of vignettes and snatches of song that are witty and poignant. And ‘Waiting For Margaret To Go’ is a stand out song, using the imagery of the personal – Albert, Beatrice and Muriel (her father, mother and sister) waiting for her to leave – to demonstrate the universal. That shows you can be so much more vitriolic quietly than by shouting. But the best bit is a sample of Frankie Boyle – “they could give everyone in Scotland a shovel and we would dig a hole so deep that we could hand her over to Satan personally”. It’s a shame you can’t go out and buy it. Cactus
This is Andy’s first material since his debut album, Lights and Mirrors, in 2011. It appears the wait has diminished none of his ambition.
Andy Doonan – Here You Are (Fourlands Music)
‘Hometown’ sounds like it should have been written by someone older, but is clearly written by someone who understands the simplicity of the epic. Its Arcade Fire/ Springstein-esque slabs of melodic tinkling accompany a humble tale of a homecoming. Big, hardly clever, but effective, as is the Pachabel-based follow on track, ‘Sky on Fire’. You can hear where the time has been spent, honing his style into something as commercially viable as Gary Barlow whilst maintaining his Yorkshire charm. It is text book, confident... but likeable. The following tracks don’t quite have the impact of the first two, being a bit Biffy Clyro and Coldplay respectively, but it’s a strong opener, and, though modest, there is nothing modest about its ambition. Rob Wright Post War Glamour Girls – Jazz Funerals (I Like Records) It would be entirely unreasonable to expect PWGG to produce anything that was immediately accessible. That’s not what they do. No, you have to work to unravel the layers and cul de sacs of their songs to lock on to the pearls of melody and sonic invention that lurk within. And typically, ‘Jazz Funerals’ only begins to sound cohesive after repeated plays, thereby guaranteeing that mass adulation will continue to evade them. However, James Smith’s vocal, usually the ‘bloke next door’ anchor that grounds all the musical flightiness, here adopts a guttural growl that just sounds peculiar. However, the reason you should buy this single is because the b-side is a cover of Robert Palmer’s sublime ‘Johnny and Mary’, which the band make entirely their own, Smith’s vocal superbly tapping into the irony and poignancy of the lyric, and Alice Scott’s cavernous bass giving the whole thing a haunted sound. Steve Walsh The Seagulls - International Rubber Band Standards (Sandtrap Records) Leeds-based outfit, The Seagulls, produce subtly dark,
The album’s highlight, the fruit machine inspired ‘Noel Edmonds Ruined My Life’ featuring the ‘Redhouse Gastric Band’ and a killer rockabilly coda. ‘Gaelic Delusion’ is a Housemartinesque tribute to the vicarious Celtic culture of our homeland. Closer ‘Anthem of a Doomed Youth’ leaves the listener feeling sad yet painfully aware of their predicament. Not for everyone but those who get it will love it to bits.
indie pop with The Bluetones and The Housemartins-esqe vocals, Mockturtles drumming and Johnny Marr inspired chord progression. Its chirpy pop with melancholic undertones in the vein of The Wombats and Reverend the Makers, with ‘If It Fits’ being the EP highlight. With their lyrics that bounce from kitchen sink drama to abstract metaphor, The Seagulls are a heart-warming throwback to the intellectual Britpop bands of the 90’s, who were too highbrow to be seen on an 18-30 holiday, pretending to be either of the Gallagher brothers. Fuzz Caminski Black Moth – Savage Dancer/Tree Of Woe (Too Pure Singles Club) This single merely serves to confirm that Black Moth are on a pretty spectacular roll at the moment. ‘Savage Dancer’ doesn’t so much start as erupt and, driven principally by Dave Vachon’s ecstatically banging bass, barges around the room knocking furniture over and insolently slapping your face as Harriet Bevan (why does she always sing like she’s grinning her head off?) shrieks “Who the hell are you!!”. Despite the heaviosity there’s clearly a stab at commerciality going on here. By contrast, the five epic minutes of ‘Tree Of Woe’ alternate between groaningly slow verses and double time choruses with a neat Sabbathesque headlong gallop of a coda. Steve Walsh Mahogany Hand Glider - (Destroy All Records)
Mahogany Hand Glider indulge the ears with a wave of percussion, leftfield guitar melodies and eerie, dreamlike production. ‘Well Perched’ teases the ears with math rock guitar melodies, then kicks you sideways with a crescendo of Mars Volta inspired prog rock. ‘Terrain Station’ is a rhythmic, swaggering statement of sci-fi intent, a space rock opera of guitar hooks, snares and hihats, climaxing in a barrage of sound. EP closer, ‘Baulsa Erupt’ sways with ghostly imminency, jazz styled off kilter percussion and glacial synths add delicacy to the sharp, contrasting guitars. A complex and interesting trio of songs, worth consuming. Fuzz Caminski
Witch Hunt – Crawl (Dead Young Records) Odd move to have a song that featured as an additional ‘live’ track on their debut single as the lead track on their second, but hey, when it’s as good a song as ‘Crawl’ why not? Although it has to be said the live version does a better job as a showcase for singer Louisa Osborn’s extraordinary voice, the instrument that lies at the heart of Witch Hunt which, on the evidence of these recordings, is best experienced live in all its glory. ‘Crawl’ has other things to commend it though; the really quite lovely melody carries a tale of violence that’s either meeting out grisly revenge to another or, more disturbingly, some kind of extreme form of self harm. Support tracks ‘Polly’ and ‘I’m Finding It Harder to Be A Gentleman’ don’t really do the pair justice; the former sounds too much like PJ Harvey for comfort (although the extended and rock solid held note at the end hints at Osborn’s tremendous technical skill) while the latter has a pleasing bluesy swagger but for a live recording is strangely limp. Hopefully single number 3 will not include ‘Crawl’…. Steve Walsh Black Wolf Catch – Sobering Light (Self release) This is the second release from this Leeds based trio and displays the same eclectic mix of styles on their debut CrackPot Summer Lodge. Opener ‘Twinkle Toes’ has sprightly guitars and drums driving forward a wellconstructed verse/chorus combo and its two minutes even manages to contain a frenzied guitar wig out. ‘Someone Better’ is a longer, moodier affair and strives for some kind of significance but just sounds clumsy and half baked. It doesn’t help that singer Neil Brown adopts a vocal tone that sounds unnatural to him and he ends up just sounding peculiar. Oddly, closing track ‘French’ also appeared on the debut EP but you can see why the band wanted to give its Wire-ish brevity and punch another outing. Two steps forward, one step back then. Steve Walsh Not Great Men - E.P (Self Release) With frantic angular guitar pushed to the forefront of their punky aesthetic it’s not difficult to draw comparisons between Not Great Men and the legendary Leeds outfit Gang of Four. Indeed, the comparison seems even more apt given that Not Great Men is itself the title of a Gang of
Alex Wignall Trowser Carrier – A Flower for My Hoonoo (Ojud/ TTTT) Based on a flurry of recent releases in different guises, Dave Proctor seems to have hit a purple patch just now and, although the quality is variable, successive releases seems to be buoyed by the sheer delight of sonic experiment. A delight which seems to have found its fullest expression in this cassette release of unapologetic no-fi quality noise and spoken word recordings done in conjunction with German noisnik Java Delle. Apparently, Trowser Carrier “exist to bring politeness to the harsh noise scene” and the sixteen short tracks on offer here have titles like ‘ Fluffy Bunny’, ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ and ‘Thanks for Hoovering’. The spoken lyrics don’t really expand much on the theme suggested by each title and are excessively, even compulsively, polite. The whole thing has a kind of Spike Milligan surrealism about it and to Proctor’s credit he hasn’t tried to introduce a knowing sinister undercurrent to give it ironic cache. Although the noise backing is ‘interesting’, most of the pleasure in these recordings comes from the almost poetic music that is invested in the banal words and sentiments as the short phrases are repeated and modulated in each piece. Genuinely amusing and, oddly, almost profound. Steve Walsh DSDNT – Demo 2013 (Self release) Leeds hardcore quartet DSDNT are a welcome and regular fixture at many metal and hardcore gigs around Leeds at the moment. The band’s dynamic, bass heavy sound displays a high level of musical invention to compliment its brutal power. Not exactly prolific when it comes to recording, this release was specifically produced to coincide with the band’s appearance at ‘kin Hell Fest at Templeworks in Leeds in May. The band recorded, mastered and assembled the cassettes (yup) the day before their appearance and sold the limited run (20 copies) at the gig. The recording quality is determinably lo-fi but the graininess adds a frisson to the overdriven mayhem of the songs, two new ones (the hurtling and brief ‘Human Manager’ and the slow, dramatic five minutes of ‘I Lord Over a Pile of Shit’) that fit nicely into the band’s sonic pocket. Steve Walsh
A plodding gamelan melody, droning strings, slight touches of some sort of flute, and chanting vocals. These elements settle immediately into a comfortable raga pattern, and ‘Inside the Mountain’ essentially sticks to that pattern for its full 20 minute duration. The feel is of a gentle ritual, repetitive in a soothing, hypnotic way, rather than a patience testing way. Although the music doesn’t ‘go anywhere’ as such, the place where it stays is an excellent one to remain. 20 minutes is a good length for this mood, but feel free to loop it for 3 hours for full trancelike effect.
Tuuluum Shimmering - Inside the Mountain (Sheepscar Light Industrial)
Tom Bench Plurals - Gland Extraction (Sheepscar Light Industrial) ‘Gland Extraction’ starts out sparsely, with what sounds like creative clunking of a guitar jack in its input, over wavering drones and tones. Curious ‘other’ sounds begin to disrupt the surface, creating an uneasy state of relative stasis that nonetheless seems to be going somewhere. The sounds progress, but you aren’t sure how. After an indeterminate amount of time the listener becomes aware that the background drones have dropped out and the guitar is beginning to shake itself awake. Shortly after that, the piece reaches a peak of fierce howling guitar activity, which eventually subsides to a low, densely layered cloud of drone. This is a perplexing work, full of unclear sounds, shifting and growing even as it appears to remain still. But it is well worth your exploration: delve into it repeatedly, listen closely, and enjoy. Tom Bench MonMon – Soupe Au Lait (Self release) Following recent EPs Sheep Hanger Blues and Pop Disaster Noise, this single track release is a timely reminder that all the evidence points to MonMon’s second album being an absolute corker. It’s a relentlessly bouncy song that features a typically compressed and opaque lyric from Andy Mills that has Mills alternating lines with new addition to the band Candy Hayes. The lyric has two parents delivering a torrent of (mostly clichéd) advice to a hapless son who remains unheard but his resentment just oozes out of the song. The parents are of course oblivious (“This is as good as it gets/This is us doing it right now”). In addition, Soupe Au Lait packs a middle eight with a guitar solo and an brief ambient interlude into its hectic three minutes and is as clever a song as you’ll hear all year. Steve Walsh
Four song. However, Not Great Men are a pretty excitable prospect in their own right. Channeling sharp bursts of excitable guitar with an almost panicked vocal, their debut E.P. is alive with a fervent restlessness certain to get crowds moving.
Dirty Otter All Dayer @ The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds Strong opener from bearded songsmith, Tobias Hayes, who, having forgotten to sort out his acoustic guitar, gave us a selection of band-lite distorted songs. Vaguely political and forceful, it’s a solid set and Hayes’ mathtinged accompaniment eases us in gently. Well, gently compared to Axes who have phenomenal energy; the rhythmic complexity of The Mars Volta with the joie de vivre of Cats x Cats x Cats and Adebisi Shank. Followed quickly by the stop-start stylings of Suffer Like G Did, it’s an intense couple of hours and an absolute treat to behold. Both bands tight as you could ask for but with a sense of fun that only comes from a proper love of the music they make. If the last 2 bands were intense then The Physics House Band are the equivalent of being stared down by your in-laws after giving them a particularly graphic account of your sex life. With drumming Jon Theodore would have been proud of mixed with gritty, winding synth lines and Three Trapped Tigers style chord progressions we’re now reaching ear-bleed territory. After all that rhythmic and harmonic intellectual posturing, Blacklisters offer a brief respite, bulldozing their way through a set of relatively repetitive, simple and brutally heavy riffs. The games room is the perfect setting for Billy Mason-Wood’s skulking, ominous stagecraft and the 4th wall reduced thoroughly to tatters along with my eardrums. No Spill Blood follow on nicely with their obnoxious bass synths and chugging riffs. Certainly spending most of their energy on the lower end of the frequency spectrum, save for a few swirling loops, which makes for a moist set. Personal highlight of the evening, Tangled Hair rock up now and once you’ve acknowledged the endearingly delivered lyrics, cunning guitar harmony, perfectly executed stops and deft bass-work, it’s the expertly handled drumming that really makes this a band worth their salt. Effortless and interesting, the band navigate feel changes and songs with passion and energy.
“What is a Rolo Tomassi?” asks your nan. She doesn’t know what Rolo Tomassi is. It’s better that way. She’d be appalled by this band. They’re boisterous and brazen. They piss on your strophic forms, they laugh at your consonance and they’re not wheelchair accessible. Alone on stage, James Spence begins ‘Howl’, summoning up his bandmates. Somewhere between sultry and ghastly, vocalist Eva Spence struts and screams like the bastard daughter of Mick Jagger and Regan MacNeil. Eva’s schizophrenic demeanour is echoed throughout ‘Kasia’. It begins as a plaintive jaunt before being hacked to bits by the siblings’ chainsaw vocals, nimble synth and Chris Cayford’s fierce guitar. Eva dedicates ‘Empiresk’ to the Brudenell Social Club, where she played her first show outside her native Sheffield. An appropriate commemoration, the song has wistful beginnings but by its end the time signature and the crowd is at sixes and sevens. The commanding rhythm section comprised of Nathan Fairweather’s gnarly bass and Edward Dutton’s virile drumming ensures ‘Echopraxia’ unfolds with trigonometric precision, the vociferous ‘Oh, Hello Ghost’ sends the crowd into another communal conniption. James Spence tells the crowd he’s unimpressed by their stage diving. If any song can help them make amends, it’s this. As ‘Party Wounds’ begins, he springs into the throng and is carried aloft. Eva says it was “better than London last night”. Yorkshire pride ripples through the crowd. After tracks spanning the young band’s career, finale ‘Illuminare’ is an uplifting end to a kinetic evening. It seems unsuitable to host hedonistic geometric mathcore shows on a Sunday. Sunday is a day of rest reserved for the reverence of God Almighty. Your nan’s probably sat watching Songs of Praise, wondering where you are and why you’re not praying.
Finishing us off for the evening are No Spill Blood label-mates and tour buddies, Fang Island. After all the angularity of the aforementioned bands, it’s a little bit of a shock to the system to return to something rocky in 4/4 but Fang Island prove themselves to be able closers.
“What is a Rolo Tomassi?” asks your nan.
What The Blood Revealed/Barricades/People As Places As People @ The Fox & Newt, Leeds
Rolo Tomassi @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
“Shut up, you old bitch.” Sean McGeady
I arrive in time for People as Places as People’s last
Two’s Company are, appropriately enough, a duo who have their gear set up on a table draped in a crisp white tablecloth that is spookily luminescent in the muted blue glow of the lights. The place is in darkness apart from this and the metallic ‘ting’ of what sounds like metal on glass
An impressive combination of witty story telling mixed with good old fashioned piano ballads, Beccy Owen has a voice you could tune your guitar to, and makes the art of translating human relationships and daily experience into a melodic and soulful performance look easy.
announces the commencement of the performance. A pulsing bass throb emerges from the silence and changes only in that it gets louder throughout. At some point a projector begins throwing an image on the wall of a pair of brown eyes viewed through some kind of frame of fabric, the eyes in constant motion tracking events we can only guess at. Meanwhile, the vocal half of the duo begins reciting prose that tells a kind of nightmarish, disjointed story full of startling and sometimes disturbing Next up are Barricades, a metallic tour-de-force images. After a brief lull, the vocalist returns with some borrowing as much from the likes of Killswitch Engage as extreme breathing exercises that mutate into ravaged, from the more atmospheric end of Pelican. There’s even wordless shrieks and yelps, which in turn morphs into some classic, old fashioned screaming in there for good ‘Delilah’ (yes, the Tom Jones chestnut) sung like a measure. A few slips in timekeeping are easily forgiven for leering Northern club singer (and even manages to this thoroughly enjoyable foray into the heavier arts. For squeeze in an allusion to that other great interpretation me, though, it’s really the more thoughtful and melodic of the song by Alex Harvey). All the while the singer sections that grab and make for fine contrast with the uses a hand held mini spotlight to illuminate different more barbaric material. I can’t help feeling their music is parts of his distorted face and writhing body. The bass a little ‘stock’ for some tastes but as a sludgy treat every throb eventually crumbles apart and dissolves into once in a while, Barricades will do nicely. silence again, another ‘ting’ announcing the end of the performance. It’s as much theatre as a musical Like a heavier Maybeshewill and borrowing heavily from performance and despite its relatively simple constituent the leftfield box of tricks is Scottish quartet, What The parts, its overall effect is a complex skein of auditory and Blood Revealed. Showing craft and trajectory, the band cultural allusion and inference. Brilliant, really. saunter through lengthy epics, underpinned by some powerhouse drumming and ominous rhythmic chords. After that, Sam Mitchell was on a bit of a hiding to For a band generally lacking melody, they do well to hold nothing, dealing as he was in tuneful if uninspired proggy attention. A few songs in, they hit on a groove that borders dance music that sounded like nothing so much as an on feel good, before slowing it down to add potency. It’s a unholy alliance of Underworld and mid-70’s Yes. Mitchell brutal set full of surprises but one worthy of rounding off also used projections but the images were predictable, this solid evening of music. lifeless and didn’t seem to connect with the music being played at all. Tim Hearson This was edition 6 of Dave Proctor’s monthly Hogwash Sam Mitchell/Two’s Company/The Truth About Frank night. @ The Fox & Newt, Leeds Steve Walsh The word on the wire says there’s been upheavals at The Truth About Frank headquarters of late. As the Dancing Years/Matthew Cuban/Beccy Owen/Jasmine people involved have always been somewhat anonymous Kennedy @ Sofar Sounds, Private Location, Leeds and, perhaps, shy it’s impossible to verify if TTAF have upsized, downsized or simply “evolved” as a project. Sofar (which stands for ‘sounds from a room’) is an One thing that has contributed to the mystery is that emerging global movement in which new artists and despite releasing some compelling recordings using musicians play gigs and sets from secretive private tape collages, electronica and beats over the past five locations to a select few. Leeds’ first taste of these years, live sightings there have been none. Certainly atmospheric evenings came on the 20th of April at the this, to all intents and purposes, live debut of TTAF house of the lead singer of Dancing Years – and what features one individual manipulating keyboards and noise an evening it turned out to be. boxes making music that while being reminiscent of the band’s recorded output quickly rummages off in some The first of the night’s performances and an ideal new, novel directions. The one constant is the use of opener for such an evening; Jasmine Kennedy has voice recordings, both clear and distorted, in a swirling that unique, husky voice and which demands hushed mass of throbs and judders that reek of paranoia and attention and makes the slightest movement during her threat. It lasts for 20 minutes and, to be honest, I’m a bit set seem like a drunk being escorted out of a church. All nonplussed. the more impressive considering she is just 19 years old.
song, thankfully clocking in at a hearty 8 minutes, in which the four-piece noodles about on some spacious, atmospheric chords before crashing into a stormy bout of riffage and afterbirth. The secret to great slow moving music is control and accuracy and unfortunately it’s a while before I realise the band’s acceleration is deliberate. The ideas are nice and the atmosphere is perfect, nail the control and we have something brilliant in the making.
LIVE International award winning poet and teaching artist Matthew Cuban turned out to be a late inclusion in the Sofar line up, but his presence and performance was undoubtedly a highlight of the evening. Hailing from Florida, USA, his crowd warming skills, effortless rhythm and powerful delivery enamoured the audience immediately, particularly his poem ‘at risk’. Dancing Years are the sort of band that revel in such close and personal circumstances. A glorious blend of ambient folk, powerful vocals and a violin that could break your heart, DY proved to be the musical pinnacle of the night with a masterful performance in their singer’s front room. Indeed, with a mix of the old and the new (‘Here’s to my old friends’/’Leaving the House’) and a blistering Broken Social Scene cover, we were duly treated to one of those hairs-on- the- back of your neck moments. Oscar Gregg Juffage’s ‘Sonic Cauldron’ @ Left Bank, Leeds Tonight may have been trailed as the only Juffage show of 2013, but its particular nature is even more profound and explains the sense of anticipation amongst a sizeable Left Bank crowd. The sight of the hitherto steadfastly singular Jeff T. Smith heading up a for-onenight-only four-piece is striking, but what really qualifies this as an ‘event’ is the ingenious way he plans to make use of the space to present an almost entirely new batch of songs. It soon becomes clear we’re in for something quite outside the standard parameters of live music, as a computer program written by Smith especially for tonight breaks apart what the performers are doing and sends these fragments of sound to a plethora of speakers and amplifiers which surround the audience. In essence this means that a number of different ‘shows’ are happening in the room simultaneously; we’re encouraged at the outset to move around the space during the performance to experience this effect in full.
Other aspects of the endeavour also depart radically from what we’ve come to expect from Juffage solo – most notably, with musicians and friends backing him up the frenetic energy of the one-man-band is absent and our attention is focused fully on the manifest quality of his song writing. Smith’s lyrics in particular have never sounded more beautiful than when sung by Katie Harkin, who makes a significant vocal contribution tonight and whose ethereal voice is perfectly suited to exquisite acoustics which betray Left Bank’s origins as a deconsecrated church. His Sonic Cauldron might just be Juffage’s greatest achievement yet; as he takes an exhausted but triumphant bow to rapturous applause after the fistpumping run through ‘My Weakness’ which serves as a
finale, you suspect he’s thinking exactly the same thing. Greg Elliott Vessels, Ghosting Season, Mahogany Hand Glider @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds To recap: Vessels have a new direction; guitars are out, keyboards are in. This is the last date of their European tour and the air fair crackles with anticipation. So, it is out with the old and in with the new... ... and out with the new too, it would appear. I have only just discovered Mahogany Hand Glider, and was pretty excited about seeing them. Their sound is an eclectic, vivacious blend of post-rock, 70’s prog, pronk, jazz and general musical mayhem. You can dance to it; you can freak out to it. Then front man Sean Goodchild announces that this is their final gig. I am glad I got to see them, but gutted that it took me this long. Ghosting Season used to be worriedaboutsatan, but it appears that they have got over their fears. It’s techno all the way now, dark, hard, mesmeric and as moody as their look, underpinned by a throbbing, insistent, bestial rhythm. Very danceable, but it ascends by magnitudes when Tom starts to sing with a deep and soothing voice, evocative of Maps, Depeche Mode and Paul Oakenfold. It feels like a missing piece, found; a new direction, sound. Though their new direction caused a bit of consternation with some fans in Germany, the Brudenell crowd seem more prepped, and the boys are not even bothering to conceal their joy at being on home ground. The new stuff gets into your bloodstream, mimics your beating heart, fills your... Vessels, and the crowd becomes a bobbing, pulsing organism. The whole thing flows like groovy water... until some clown creeps back stage and accidently kicks out a plug. To be fair, Vessels don’t stop, and Pete steps up as emcee and de facto front man. After twenty minutes, power is restored, and the whole thing comes to a stunning, if delayed climax. Vessels seem destined to be beset by issues but note: they are more professional, more mainstream and more driven than ever. The future belongs to Vessels – they just need to take it. Rob Wright Ikestra/Mao-oh @ The Packhorse, Leeds Mao-oh are dirty. Very dirty. The kind of live dub that you feel in the pit of your stomach and need a lengthy shower after. Technically speaking, the drummer uses every cerebral, rhythmic trick he can pack in to make you tighten your midriff and keep you in the moment while the Keys player’s deft sample work is a treat to behold. Economy is important in a trio and Mao-oh have it in spades, if you will, creating rich and dark sound worlds for you to explore. Unfortunately for such a groove heavy
style, the bass felt a bit flat, his lines lacking the rhythmic definition that could lift their music into the cosmos. Strong stuff, regardless. A cross between the supreme musicianship of Snarky Puppy and the chilled vibe of Days to Come era Bonobo, Ikestra are a musical powerhouse. Slotting angular grooves, atmospheric instrumentals together with cool vocals and strong beats, they create a sound that is both intriguing and compelling. A barage of pleasant sounding
tones hit hard with occasional hints of dub and flawless transitions between various rhythmic contortions. Ably fronted by vocalist Anna Stott who stands slightly in front of the remaining 6 musicians, there’s a serenity to the performance that underpins the complexity. Ikestra are a band that you want to see with your ears – genre bending, paradoxical, dark and with enough groove to forget you exist. Tim Hearson
The Big Festival Special! Tramlines @ Generally Sheffield 19-21 July Formerly the biggest freebie on the festival calendar, Tramlines will now cost 15 of your Earth pounds for the weekend (or £6 a day) which still comes in at an absolute bargain. Highlights include the ever popular Lianne La Havas, New Young Pony Club, 2:54, Jim Jones Revue, Slow Club, Rolo Tomassi and Dutch Uncles. Fell Foot Sound @ Ulverston, Cumbria 26-28 July Intimate festival curated by British Wildlife and Dead Young Records which means you can expect such delicacies as Sky Larkin, Two Minute Noodles, Cowtown, Witch Hunt, Super Luxury, Ikestra and many more. Just 200 tickets on sale and the Early Birds are cheap as chips. Kendal Calling @Lowther Deer Park, The Lake District 26-28 July And if you can’t be one of the lucky 200 to be at Fell Foot Sound, it’s a good time to be in that neck of the woods, with Kendal Calling celebrating its eighth year of lake based musical mayhem. This year sees headliners Primal Scream, Bassment Jaxx and The Charlatans rubbing shoulders with hip hop royalty Public Enemy, with a good representation from Leeds in the shape of Wind Up Birds, Spirit of John and Fossil Collective. Kendal... consider yourself... warned!
Leeds Festival @ Bramham Park, Leeds 23-25 August As per, the annual tweeny-bopper piss-up returns with a strong line up and Saturday’s Main Stage looks surprisingly heavy (though sandwiching Frank Turner between Bring Me The Horizon and Deftones is an interesting call). Meaty showings across all the stages though it’s the yet to be announced BBC Introducing stage we’ll be keeping an eye on. ArcTanGent @ Fernhill Farm, Somerset 29-31 August Somerset? Eh? Well, ArcTanGent is a new festival from the makers of 2000trees and Gocstock with enough Yorkshire connections (Brew, Musical Mathematics) to justify finding itself on this page. 65daysofstatic will be headlining a troupe that includes Castrovalva, Blacklisters, Maybeshewill, Three Trapped Tigers, Rolo Tomassi, Public Service Broadcasting, Future of the Left, Jonny Foreigner and heck tons more. I feel that’s worthy of your attention. Bingley Music Live @ Myrtle Park, Bingley 30 Aug-1 Sep This little gem goes from strength to strength every year and 2013 one sees another fattening up of the musical CV with The Human League, The Cribs and Primal Scream all on headlining duties. Further down the bill sees Indie favourites Summer Camp, The Fratellis, Theme Park as well as last year’s Benacassim surprise heroes, China Rats.
Beacons is as appealing for its locally brewed musical talent as its national pedigree – some of the finest bands on the Yorkshires scene will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bonobo, Ghostpoet, Local Natives, Fucked Up and Django Django. For the full experience there’s also whiskey tasting, film and theatre to ensure that all your senses are well catered for.
Beacons @Heslaker Farm, Skipton 16-18 August
The Brothers Morricone Paul and Steven Morricone, purveyors of quality tunes since 1986, wearers of spectacular shirts and sporters of dangerous haircuts, are somewhat of an institution within the whole West Yorkshire music scene. They’ve been in more bands than Josh Homme and Dave Grohl put together (unconfirmed), and do more on a quiet Sunday afternoon than most of us mere mortals do in an ENTIRE LIFETIME. And they are twins. Scaramanga Six, Being 747, Mock Lobster - How do they do it all? Rob Wright gleans some secrets of the stars from these evil geniuses... genii... villains following their recent gig supporting Eureka Machines... Which was by all reports amazing, but due to everyone enjoying the night too much and me only catching the last three songs... um... yeah, sorry... Life is Too Short to Worry About What Other People Think... Paul Morricone – Don’t give a toss about what anyone thinks. A lot of bands, musicians, half the reason they do it is they’re looking for some kind of approval in what they’re doing. That’s not really what music should be all about – music should be just about someone wanting to create something. And it doesn’t matter if you’re thirteen or seventy, the need to create is still going to be there. Put your art first, so it stays enjoyable, and as long as it remains enjoyable, you keep doing it. If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same... PM – Success is relative and in our minds we are the most successful pair of musicians that have ever been. Steve Morricone - We’ve been able to pretty much do what we want, how we want, when we want for all of our musical careers, and we’ve formed structures around what we do to enable us to keep doing things – like building a label in order to put music out – but also we all have jobs, we’ve all been able to fund what we do – it’s a compromise in terms of rock n roll lifestyle, whatever that crap is, but it’s been absolutely no compromise in terms of artistic output.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play... SM – Best way to balance work and play is to make sure work is play.
PM – If work isn’t fun, you’re not going to give anything. If it is then you’re going to give everything. It’s about days and time and how much fun I can get out of it. We’re in a very fortunate position in that we’ve got each other and we’ve got a similarly hectic and ferocious work ethic and we egg each other on. We support each other in all aspects of life and it enables us both to keep doing it. When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life... PM – Being brothers, and not just twin brothers, is our greatest strength. What I like most about Steve is that he’s my greatest critic and I’m his... and that sorts the good from the bad, so when I come up with an idea and I’m not so sure about it, I’ll run it past Steve and he’ll go ‘nah...’ So then I can throw it away and start again. You’ve got a friend and an ally who is always going to tell you exactly what they think – someone who’s genetically identical to you is going to do that. SM – We don’t always agree... but we never disagree. We should use our imagination more than our memory... PM - Albums are the key thing for me. Albums are a body of work, they sum up what you’ve been doing for the last year. Sometimes it spans more than a year... me and Steve both write songs, but we always think what else is gonna accompany this – it’s always a body of work rather than individual pieces of work. SM – Yeah, but everything you do has got to be as good as or better than what you did before – you’ve gotta push yourself. PM – No resting on laurels. As you get on with the creative process, you get better at it – your skills get honed. Say, are you in showbiz? Then get your fwigging feet off it! PM – Tonight has proved one thing – you’re in two schools as a live band. Eureka Machines are an astonishing live band, and they are everybody’s friend – and that’s amazing. We go on, the last thing we want to be is everyone’s friend –we’re aloof. We’re the band that you don’t want to know. My favourite bands... the last thing I’d want to do is go up and talk to them, because I’m so in awe of them.
One for the Road Ian MacDougall firstname.lastname@example.org undeadme.co.uk, ianmacdougallart.co.uk (coming soon) Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside of us... PM - Because we have so much else going on in our lives, every time we get the opportunity to get up on stage, we play like our lives depended on it, because for that 45 mins up on stage they do. It all gets spilled out on stage. If it wasn’t for that, a lot of our songs are about murders... we’d probably be murderers.
And Finally... One For The Road... PM – I’ve never sought advice, but I give out a lot of advice... and the best advice that I could give is... make yourself busy. Whatever you choose to do, even if you’ve got nothing to do, make yourself do stuff, because if you make yourself busy, you will become... busy. If you do nothing, then nothing will happen. This whole path of least resistance stuff is bollocks. When I feel overstretched and I feel I haven’t got enough hours in the day... that’s when I’m at my most creative, that’s when the most things happen. Do stuff, stop pissing about and do something. ‘Phantom Head’ by The Scaramanga Six is currently available on Wrath Records, as is ‘The Clockwork Universe’ by Being 747. Go on then... get busy living or get busy buying...
SM – Sometimes we start a gig by pointing at the stage and saying ‘this is ours, that is yours. We’re going to make the best use of this, and you need to make the best use of that.’
Published on Jun 24, 2013
Bi-monthly print music magazine covering bands in Leeds, and West Yorkshire (UK) featuring Dinosaur Pile Up, Witch Hunt and Antibang