Vibrations Magazine Leeds and West Yorkshire October 2012 Free
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This Many Boyfriends Recorded Reviews Live Reviews
Editor Rob Wright - firstname.lastname@example.org Design Ben McKean & Niall Hargrave email@example.com
Contributors Bart Pettman, Rob Wright, Mike Price, Lindsey Kent, Ben Rutledge, Tim Hearson, Rochelle Massey, Greg Elliott, Cactus, Neil Dawson, Matt Brown, Steve Walsh, Jessica Bunyard, Hayley Scott, Alex Wignall, Fuzz Caminski, Jack Moss, Chris Mulligan, Steve Wilson, Emily Marlow
Picture Editor Bart Pettman - bart @vibrations.org.uk
Cover Photograph Leeds Festival by Bart Pettman
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Live Editor Tim Hearson - email@example.com
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Editorial for Inspiring a Generation
One thing that has become apparent from the success of the Olympics (and despite the mathering of the diehard cynics, I believe it has been a success) is that it wouldn’t have been half as successful if it wasn’t for the sterling efforts of the cohorts of volunteers (you can see where I am going here), individuals dedicated to the cause despite the lack of pecuniary remuneration or anything as crass as ‘a salary’ – they do it because they enjoy doing it, regardless of what certain political figures insist about ‘big society’ and ‘broken Britain’ and other such bollockry. The bods I saw doing their bit for the Olympics were, as a certain fast food corporation pertains, ‘lovin’ it’, and helped make the whole event – and not an example of jobsworthism in sight. Now you may or may not be aware that Vibrations depends solely and wholly on volunteers, no-one takes a wage, no-one makes a penny. And we do it because we love it, freely giving of our free time to create the artefact you now hold in your hands. We have adverts, sure - if we didn’t we couldn’t print, could we? And for the most part we’re representing for local concerns. The buzz of seeing this mag out there and knowing people are enjoying it is our pay day. Dammit, I’m sounding a bit too hippy now. What I am trying to say is that... well, we’d be nothing without our volunteers, quite literally, which is why we are eternally grateful to all our contributors and are always looking for people interested in getting amongst it, just for the hell of it – not necessarily for the big leap forward, just because this is fun, and fun is priceless. So, go on, send us an email, even if that is the first bit of writing you’ve done. We’d love to hear from you...
More good news! In an effort to be even more useful than ever, we’ve got together with Peter Bott of Blacks Solicitors (and formerly of Heads We Dance), more specifically the music, media and entertainment department, and he is willing to field your questions on any number of legal aspects of the music business, be it to do with royalties, performance licences or where you stand over dangerously live microphones... mentioning no names, but I’ve seen some very dodgy equipment in my time. Please stop tittering. Right, I’m going to get me some rest – Leeds Festival is nearly upon us and I need to prepare myself physically, mentally and spiritually (see article within for the full story of my complete gonzo collapse). Then there’s the Paralympics too... here we go again...
Words by Robert Wright
Don’t worry, I won’t let it go to my head. You won’t for instance find me nailing my colours to the flag pole of some over hyped, over paid, over rated football team... one hopes that the dominance of these no count shysters is at an end. Yeah, still not fond of professional footie.
I’m getting seriously chilled out on the new James Yorkston album stream, even though I’m back to work tomorrow, so I’d round this off with a couple of points. Good news! I Like Trains are back on the tracks, with Dave Martin fully recovered from his recent bout of ill health, and they shall be playing a unique gig at Leeds City Museum on 13th October. No sharks this time, but watch out for the tiger with the weird face.
One last thing - keep an eye on www.martinhouse.org.uk for details of a fantastic auction made up of musical items donated from bands that played Leeds Festival. As we go to press we can’t confirm dates or a venue but it promises to be a great night for an even greater cause. Rob Wright The Edbot
At the moment of my writing this, I am suffering from unexpected Olympic withdrawal. I am not a sportsman, as anyone who knows me will testify to, nor do I go in for watching sport on the whole, but over the last two weeks I have slowly warmed to the idea of sport being quite entertaining and encouraging, to the point where I actually found myself standing at the barriers opposite Buckingham Palace cheering on the Brownlee brothers on the auspicious occasion of their gold-bronze achievement in the triathlon and even started screaming at the telly during Mo Farrah’s 5000 metre triumph.
Well, we came, we saw, we conked out. A hardy trio, Rob Wright, Mike Price and Bart Pettman, took on the might of Leeds Festival, rolled in on Thursday and came up smiling on Monday. It didn’t rain as much as we expected, wasn’t that full of idiots (though certain actors from a certain TV serial were misbehaving) and was a full on hoot. Mike and Rob try to put the whole thing into words, whilst Bart Pettman goes for the visual option. Good luck with that. The Price Report This rain sodden summer has not been the best time for music festivals. Due to slow ticket sales, inclement weather, tired looking line ups, not to mention licenses disappearing up in smoke (thanks to local council officialdom), a fair few have bitten the dust, in a year when there’s not even a Glastonbury to compete with. That left Leeds/Reading as arguably the daddy for 2012 although daily and weekend tickets were still on sale in the week leading up to the off, unheard of in recent times and perhaps due to would-be revellers waiting to see the weather forecast before taking the plunge. I don’t blame them; from personal experience, roughly two thirds of outdoor gigs I’ve attended have been rain lashed affairs and it isn’t the same. Fortunately these days, the big top stages provide some respite. Nevertheless, with yet more unsettled weather forecast, I kept the wellies and waterproof handy which proved a wise move although the gods seemed to be smiling on our little corner of Yorkshire as it turned out to be nowhere near as bad as first feared. Having seen last year’s Beacons Festival washed away in a flash flood, not to mention the premature curtailment of Creamfields, held the same weekend as the Leeds festival just across the Pennines, we need to thank our lucky stars plus, hats off to the organisers who managed to keep the mud to comparatively low levels. One other cause for concern was my indifference to the three headline acts, namely Foo Fighters, The Cure and Kasabian. Admittedly that’s personal choice as all three are indisputably successful acts but would they provide enough of a draw, considering the biggest comeback band of the year, The Stone Roses, had played V Festival but were not on the line up at Leeds where they would surely have been worshipped like Northern Indie gods?
Nevertheless, loads did turn up and looking down the supporting acts gave plenty of cause for excitement as I got used to the perpetual smell of soft drugs on the opening day where, the key question was would Mr Grohl’s band be good enough to keep me away from the NME stage boasting a very tempting double header....and indoors? Having kicked off with a bit of the Kaiser Chiefs on home turf, The Horrors followed by the thoughtful
musings of local boy Benjamin Francis-Leftwich, clearly thrilled at being here as a performer instead of a punter, recounting his story of a 16-hour bender induced blackout on his previous visit. The moment of truth then beckoned as Foo Fighters took to the stage, all fired up and raring to go. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that from where I was standing, the sound quality left a fair bit to be desired, reminiscent of a poor quality cassette for those who remember them. With more rain imminent, after perhaps half a dozen numbers, the time had come to cut losses and retreat to the aforementioned covered stage for some spiky tunes, courtesy of Two Door Cinema Club, knocking out a glorious racket and warming up the crowd nicely for the opening night climax. When talking about the French, one automatically thinks of fine wine and gastronomic expertise as their principal exports. Forget all that, France’s premier gift to the world is a truckload of great dance music over the past two decades, Justice being one of the finest current exponents. Boy, did I feel vindicated as they tore the place to shreds; their illuminated twin 3x3 Marshall Stacks either side of the DJ riser gave the impression of giant Rubik Cubes about to take over ze vurld (or ‘le monde’ – Ed). With the main live music done and dusted, there was still plenty going on with Silent Arena the pick of the bunch as thousands of revellers, all wearing headphones quietly danced the night away. What a great idea. Moving into the weekend, the tone had been set with more time being spent watching acts away from the main stage. A new and improved Future of the Left got things off to an intense start on NME, front man Andy Falcous is the nearest thing we have over here to Henry Rollins. It was then off to the BBC Introducing stage for the first time to see Family of the Year, one of many fine new bands championed by easily the best new music showcase on Radio today, Introducing with Tom Robinson (Mr Peel would be very proud) who treated us to half an hour of glorious sun drenched west coast harmonies, putting me on top of the world. Taking in three further acts that day, one can see the quality can be a little variable but singer songwriter Danica Hunter, the eccentric indie of Park Bench Society, plus the entertaining motor mouth rapper Lady Lykes all exuded freshness and raw talent, great to see. Meanwhile all- girl neo-Goth quartet Savages
Images by Bart Pettman
were producing another taut high octane performance in the Festival Republic tent, indeed throughout the set, drummer Fay Milton’s exertions rendered her in a physical state not dissimilar to a Team GB Olympic rower after crossing the line.
The Wright Report
Back on the main stage, Crystal Castles lead singer Alice Glass exuded all things rock and roll, swigging from a bottle of bourbon in between bouts of impromptu crowd surfing whilst next up Londoners Bombay Bicycle Club calmed things down nicely. Morrissey’s darlings The Courteeners packed the NME tent to bursting point with their boisterous Northern terrace indie, and things got really tasty as Foster the People took it up a notch, delivering a sparkling set distilling the cerebral indie sound of Vampire Weekend and giving it an infectious upbeat twist to create party time. Catching the back end of The Cure’s 32-song opus, I did wonder whether the kids down the front knew who they were, considering Mr Smith first played Reading in the late 1970s, when most of those watching tonight were still a glint in the milkman’s eye. I hope I’m proved wrong and we see a massive spike in sales of lipstick and hairspray this autumn.
Due to packing issues, we miss The Likely Lads, but make it stage side for China Rats. When I saw them at Live at Leeds, I was enchanted by their boysih enthusiasm, the rough cut of their indie punk sound but for some reason... something has been lost. Their guitars jangle, they bounce about, they sing mickey mouse rhymes and the crowd enjoys it... but for me they have become disengenuous. A shame.
The final day was all about emerging local talent on the BBC stage, starting with Leeds based, Barefoot Beware, clearly influenced by the angular sound of The Futureheads and still managing to sound oddly endearing. An hour or so later, Black Moth delivered a much needed shot of good old fashioned heavy rock, serving as a handy appetiser to the main event later that day when the road drill speed metal of Hawk Eyes proceeds to completely upstage Kasabian. This gig had everything; bags of energy and menace, the best mosh pit of the weekend (started prematurely by our glorious editor Rob) and lead singer/guitarist Paul Astick delivering the final song from the middle of it. Mr Kilminster, if you haven’t done so already, please go and see this band; your legacy lives on. Other notable performance on the final day came from Brighton based guitar/drums vocal duo Blood Red Shoes who bossed the park with a terrific clutch of punky nuggets early doors. Dog is Dead and their surprisingly good gospel tinged pop wowed the Festival Republic and what better way to finish the weekend off than by welcoming back the reunited At the Drive-In after more than a decade away. What took you so long?
On a general note, Leeds 2012 was one of the best organised music festivals I’ve attended boasting good access, free parking, decent drainage, a good variety of food, plus not too many idiots to spoil the weekend. It really was a blast although the usual grumbles about the bogs and the price of a pint still ring true. http://www.leedsfestival.co.uk/ Mike Price
Thursday has been curated by DTTR for many years, but looking at this year’s offering I’m beginning to wonder if it might be time for a change of management.
Scars on 45 may well be the worst band name in the world, but for all that they’re okay. Country infused Fleetwood Mac-esque tunes which appeal to a person of a certain age (me) in that it all sounds very nice but doesn’t really engage the emotions. Pleasant enough, but essentially music for people who’ve given up on music and are waiting for something major to pack up. Various Cruelties are getting a lot of interest but... I’m not convinced. The mix on the mic is right off, but it doesn’t disguise the fact that this is Arctic Monkeys tribute music devoid of the cleverness, the sincerity and the basic tunage. Fortunately, Asian Dub Foundation are doing a live soundtrack for La Haine in the alternative tent, sending out intrusive basslines to accompany a film that definitely leaves a mark. Those three rappers in the run up though... less said, soonest mended. I saw Little Comets last year and they didn’t set my world on fire. Maybe this year it will be different? Sadly, no. The band clunk around the stage making desperate noises with their guitars whilst Mark Harle goes ‘oh-oh oh!’ a lot in a Razorlight lite style. Lighter than Razorlight; I think you know what that means. I am sorry to say this, but with an entire city of talent at their disposal... DTTR have really lost the plot. Sorry.
Stretching my legs, I happen across Toy in the Festival Republic tent, who are a shoegaze surprise. Slow and crushing needn’t be dull - I shall be looking out for more from them. Eagles of Death Metal is calling though, and Boots Electric is strutting like a rooster, testifying like a preacher and rocking like a cheap gigolo. It’s good old dirty sexy fun (see ‘English Girls’) that’s a bit Frank Zappa in content and a bit Blue Oyster Cult in delivery. You don’t have to be serious about rock n roll to be serious about rock n roll. Amen! DZ Deathrays, on the Festival Republic stage, make an awful lot of noise for a two piece, and it crunches nicely on the ear. If you can bring to mind a hard rock White
I hang about the Introducing stage for Marmozets, a very young, very noisy 5 piece from Yorkshire who are part Paramore, part Rolo Tomassi. It’s loud and scrappy, riffy and chuggy, shouty and singy and... doesn’t quite hang together yet. But all the elements are there, including some impressive guitar acrobatics and lively stage antics. And that mullet has to go. Mark Lanegan is a moody man; he growls like a grizzly and looks like Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart. He is charismatic, though, and incredibly tall and rasps his way through marvelous tales of woe, A Tom Waits for the grunge generation, glancing sideways accusingly at some unseen adversary. It’s not the most fun you could have, but very compelling - Joy Division on Valium.
Leeds Festival - Friday
Stripes or a denuded Metallica... well, you get the idea. Very nice, a bit twiddly and awfy loud. Iceage, however, despite being passionate, thump on the ear - it’s an angry noise full of grunts and white noise guitars, but it seems amateurish after DZ, so I leave it and stumble across Rachel Sermanni on the Introducing stage. I am immediately charmed by her wit, candour and melody, and at her style that is more robust than most female acoustic acts (not complaining) and more Joan Baez and Chris Izaak than KT Tunstall. It isn’t folk in the same way James Yorkston isn’t folk... and I love that song about working in a burger van.
Fortunately, local lads Kaiser Chiefs are providing the aural equivalent of Citalopram on the main stage. Say what you like about them, they do write a decent pop song, and despite myself I screech through their small but perfectly formed set. Nice one. Two and a half hours is quite a serious amount of time to watch a band, and with the best will in the world, I cannot manage that amount of Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl may well be the nicest man in rock n roll (and only living human/muppet hybrid) but the prospect of two and a half hours of Foo is like the world’s biggest baked potato. Lovely at first, but... you’re never gonna manage all that. Instead, I want Justice. Seeing that imposing glowing cross center stage is enough to illicit roars from the crowd, but when Xavier and Gaspard strike up ‘Tocatta and Fugue’, the place goes incandescent. It could be a bit more booming, but the ensuing son-et-lumiere and selfmash up is overwhelmingly satisfying. I would not have been surprised to see a Martian tripod striding across the crowd. Vive le techno de France!
A change of pace comes with Band of Skulls, who’s slow sludgy southern blues rock could have mosied straight out of a seventies free festival. Emma Richardson, channelling the twin influences of Chrissie Hynde and Stevie Nicks, drawls her way through a set that is deep and dirty, full of mood and melody and with a bit of dirty Zeppelin thrown in for good luck. Real purdy.
Images by Bart Pettman
Oh, Pulled Apart By Horses, how you’ve grown! Can our home grown great white dopes manage the main stage? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’, as they leap and scream through the hits, dominating the colossal stage. First on, yet they can still generate a double circle pit and engage the early birds in a sing along. And they look so happy to be there. It brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat as I see James Brown leaping from a speaker stack twice his height and Tom Hudson with a grin so big that it threatens to take off the top of his head. Welcome home, guys, welcome home!
Do not annoy Future of the Left’s Andrew Falkous - it is liable he will tear off your head and... you know the rest. As a Saturday opener on the Radio 1 stage, this really blows the cobwebs away, with a sound like a souped up Ministry jamming with At The Drive-In. I only manage to catch two songs, but I can imagine the fury would probably destroy you if you were there for much longer. Fidlar at the Festival Republic tent are a bit more party party. They throw out fast, tight pop punk that resembles a cross between Dick Dale and Therapy? but takes a pop at The Ramones too. Or AC DC. The lead singer sounds like Chuck Mosely and one of the band is called Elvis. All they need is a decent mix and they would rule. They still rock. When you see a punk band sporting a trombone, chances are ska punk is about to hove into view. As it is, yes, Random Hand do do ska punk, but more than that, they do fast, hooky speed punk that just happens to have a trombone in. Moshness abounds in the Lock Down tent, the circle pits circle and a good time is had be all. Putting the ‘oy’ in ‘joyful’. Spector are very likeable - the fare is indie stadium rock, but without the bombast of U2 or The Killers. Frederick Macpherson is amiable and self-deprecating, the band are mild mannered and, though it has elements of stadium rock, this is more front room rock on the Radio 1 stage. The Hives, where have you been all my life? The last time they played Leeds was eight years ago, and the only reason they haven’t played since then, I must assume from their youthful visages, is that they have been in cryogenic suspension between albums. Pelle Almquist still leaps about the Radio 1 stage like a frog on a hotplate,
whipping the audience into a light and frothy fury... even getting them to sit down at one point. ‘Main Offender’ and ‘Told You So’ still have a rockabilly magnum load, but the new stuff is also something to get excited about. Stay out of the freezer, guys, and come back soon. Another marvellous two piece, Wet Nuns from Sheffield are ripping up the Introducing Stage with a dirty southern (Derbyshire) sound. It reminds me of the Old Romantic Killers Band but is dirtier, heavier... more Motorhead. I hit the mosh pit and get pole-axed in two seconds. Good times. Niki and The Dove borrow more than a soupcon influentially from The Knife, but veer more towards Julee Cruise. Malin Dahlstrom still rocks the eighties look in her shoulder pads and beads, and there is something a bit off kilter about her (confirmed in the last track of looping madness), but it is appealling in its madness. Like the Eurovision song contest. I was expecting something more electronic with the Proxies - what I got was a bit emo. Very accomplished, melodic, full of harmonies, destined for greatness, but not electronic. Enjoyable though. I have had The Cure in my life for 22 years, getting me through the good times and the bad, so... no pressure. Rob et al may look a bit long in the tooth, but his voice is still as strong as ever, his guitar playing spot on and... they are a lot jollier than you think. A bit of talk, but it’s mainly about the classics, of which there are many from their 36 year back catalogue.. When they close with a slowed down version of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, it’s almost as if they don’t want to leave. I don’t want them to leave either.
Images by Bart Pettman
Leeds Festival - Saturday
After Saturday night’s fun and games of catching Summer Camp, Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey providing a poignant electropop soundtrack to an imaginary John Hughes-style adolescence in glorious technicolour and a vain attempt to get into the silent disco, I am properly up for Green Day not happening and cutting to the chase with Futuresound winners Post War Glamour Girls playing the Radio 1 stage - a first for Futuresound. The atmosphere is dark and moody, bleak and desolate; post goth rock, very accomplished and a voice lying somewhere between Nick Cave and Danzig... though they did have me thinking they were about to do a goth version of ‘Down Down, Deeper and Down’. Theme Park, at the other end of the spectrum on the Festival republic stage, are bouncy, light and colourful, disco pop that is less electro than Friendly Fires and a bit Metronomy, but not as wistful. They have a nice pulse to sway to, and I am full of vigour in time for Backyards at the Introducing stage. Like an Irish/Leeds version of Villagers that morphs into British Sea Power with just a hint of Deacon Blue. Ideally placed in the bill and good feelings all round, until they injure someone with a CD... After a jaw droppingly strong performance by Black Moth (see stage to page) it’s off to the dance tent for Grimes, another Fever Ray like affair, but ghostly and floaty as opposed to just plain nuts. Loopy and ambient, Claire Boucher puts on quite a show wrestling with her keyboards and sequencers... so quite what the topless long hair Bez is doing stage left is beyond me. Makes it all a bit odd. On passing the Introducing stage, I catch a bit of Rio, Manchester rapper and rare hip hop act this weekend. Backed by a live band, he keeps it exciting without getting aggressive, working on the impact over the attitude. Good rhymes and times... shame they spoil it by going off to ‘Wonderwall’. I make the Radio 1 tent just before the heavens open to catch Santigold’s act. It’s like watching Arertha Franklin with Devo on backing and a female S1W made out of Fimo. It gets madder when she invites about a hundred audience members up on stage and is joined by a pantomime horse. Madness aside, the mix of dub and rock, electro and disco is a pretty heady brew but... It’s a good drop.
Miike Snow’s Christian Karlsson really wants to be Sebastien Tellier, but I think he wants to be Doctor Who more. The stage looks like the console of the Tardis, and he strolls around it, pulling the sound of nineties rave through time for our delectation as the house piano lifts us higher. Uplifting anachronistic fun and games. Mastodon are massive. Their riffs are massive, their beards are massive, that freaky satanic bull thing is
massive... but they could do with being louder and having clearer guitars. It’s good fun though; Troy Sanders looks like an evil gnome and Brent Hinds looks like an aging space rocker, and it’s another case of being more jovial than I expected. It also appears that drummer Brann Dailor does most of the singing, leaving the guitars and bass to gurn and riff. Not that he has enough on his plate with all that double bass drumming. Full metal salute. Hawk Eyes have had a good year and at the Introducing stage have gathered quite a crowd. Still a bit timid about moshing... but there you go. Hawk Eyes are not timid about face melting. ‘Scorpio’ and ‘Heartstrong’ are flung out at break neck speed, followed by a scathing tribute to Chicken Hawk and their ‘one good song’, ‘I Hate This...’ - they’re just making it clear that they’ve moved on. For ‘Bears By The Head’, Paul gets into the crowd and with that the moshing begins. Then it’s all over. They really need more time. And so it is to the Radio 1 stage I go for one last time to see At The Drive In. I was told to not get my hopes up and know it’s not going to be loud enough but... ‘Arcarsenal’ dispels all doubt, as does Cedric’s stage antics and that drum sound. So they may have tea on stage now, and little Milo is on stage looking up at his dad on drums but... they can still make ‘Enfilade’ and ‘One Arm Scissor’ sound like that. I go away, a happy man, not just because a box has been ticked, but because this has been a truly memorable and eclectic music festival. And not that rainy. Thank you very much. Robert Wright
Images by Bart Pettman
Leeds Festival - Sunday
Black Moth – From Stage to Page
From Stage to Page And so, intrepid writer Rob Wright manages to collar Black Moth post rock out (not post-rock out) and talk to an elated Harriet Bevan, Jim Swainstan, Nico Carew and Dave Vachon (Dom has been vetoed from speaking due to his controversial opinions about cheese. I’m with him, by the way). They are curiously lucid. How do you feel now you’ve done your Reading and Leeds sets? Harriet: Drunk. Jim: I want to do it again. I want the festival to last until Tuesday. What’s a four-day bank holiday weekend about? That’s shit. Six days. Then we can fit in two lots of Leeds and Readings. Harriet: That’s a better work-life balance. Next obvious question: which was best? Nick: I thought this was. Harriet: The crowd was bigger at Reading... but I had really, really good vibes for Leeds and I feel very good about this now (raises glass laughing). It might be the cider... Jim: I think there’s more moshers at this... Leeds is a little bit scuzzier... Harriet: There’s a higher mosher to indie ratio in Leeds. The riff has taken over. Jim, I hear you had a very special outfit for Reading – want to share? Jim: Yeah, it’s known as the doom thong (a pair of black leather hot pants with a zip up the side)... just brings misery upon people – when I turned ‘round to have a little chat with Dom whilst playing, misery just shines. Harriet: Basically, it eclipses any joy... the crowd would be enjoying the band and then he’d turn around and all you could see is Jim’s gleaming white buttock... and it would rain, and everyone would start crying... Um, looks like we had a lucky escape. Harriet, it looks like you’ve chosen some more sensible accessories – that’s some metal glassware... Harriet – Lauren gave me the skull goblet to drink from on stage because... I was so tired of all the cans of cider that I had to carry around. It’s become my accessory de jour. Jim: You know how at Glastonbury everyone goes around with unique wellington boots? We’re starting a new thing [at Leeds] where you’ve got to get your own glass. Harriet: Get your goblet! Though this is plastic.
Safety first. Unlike you Dave – I thought you were going to blow yourself across the stage when you covered your guitar with water...
Dave: It’s better than yesterday – yesterday I fell on my face. Harriet: Dave at reading festival absolutely kissed the floor. But your guitar was dripping with water... Dave: Yeah... but I’m an engineer, so I know what I’m doing... Jim: He knew what direction the stream would take... he basically earthed himself. Dave: I just needed a better link with my bass for one of the songs... I just needed a bit of lubrication... Lubrication is always a welcome festival addition. Ahem. I hear this is your first festival, Nick... Nick: No. Reading was my first festival. I mean, I’ve been to small festivals and stuff but... this is my first proper one. I mean, I hate camping and I hate being with loads of people... so it’s been okay. It’s fun to play, definitely. I like indoors... internet... showers. I’m a simple city boy. So I’ll make this brief so you can... celebrate responsibly. Are you going to see anything or are you heading straight for the VIP bar? Harriet: Hawk Eyes: Dave: At the Drive In. Harriet: Mastodon. Jim: I think I’ll watch Hawk Eyes and then lose myself... Black Moth will be touring with Turbowolf this October... as long as Jim hasn’t got too lost. If found, please return to The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds...
Leeds Festival - Black Moth 15 From left to right; Ben Dawson, Mat Forrest, Oli Jefferson, Paul Ackroyd.
Big Shout Going Out For Kraut They’re enigmatic! They’re epigrammatic! They sometimes vomit out of fast-moving vehicles! Bearing this in mind, it is a testament to Lindsey Kent that she agreed to confront one of Leeds’ hottest new musical properties... Hookworms are in a pre-gig no man’s land, that pregnant space between sound check and game on. They are hungry for pizza but in remarkably high spirits nonetheless, and settle down in the garden of Wharf Chambers to discuss touring, worms, Texas, record deals and the dangers of giving interviews. MJ surmises the issue carefully - “Because people write about you on the internet. And your mum will google it.” The band comprises five musicians, known by their initials MB, EG, MJ, SS and JW. They are veterans of the scene, having exploded out of Yorkshire’s teeming talent pool as members of bands such as Spectrals and Wonderswan. Now though, Hookworms are singleminded. MB explains: “We were [in other bands] for a bit… [Hookworms] started off as a bit of fun really and slowly over three years it’s become the main focus.” I wonder if it’s the all-encompassing nature of the music that they produce that has finally and firmly glued them together. Hookworms deliver tripped out, slow building, mind melting space/kraut/psych rock. They have a wah wah pedal and they are not afraid to use it to draw in new fans at each gig. Their recent split single and earlier EP both sold quickly. MB - “We’d only got five hundred [records] pressed, because five hundred seems like a lot to us. And when all the 12”s arrived, they literally filled [MJ’s] living room. So we put all the inserts together and it seemed like a colossal amount and then they sold out in like two months.” And with that amount, I add, you know it’s not just your mum buying your records. MJ laughs -“My mum did buy one though.”
They have also received plaudits from master of the weird and wonderful, Julian Cope, who described their debut EP as ‘an epic 26 minutes of sub-Zabriskie Point ambient road-movie heat haze-on-the-road sonic wipeout of the post-Loop variety.’ For good measure, Cope also compared them to a ‘shoegazing Lynyrd Skynyrd’ and the band seems modestly incredulous about the attention they’ve received. MB pipes up “And then he compared us to…Miles Davis’ backing band or something crazy like that.” MB starts as he means to go on with a beautiful bit of Yorkshire selfdeprecation – “Which is about as far off the mark as… well, because they’re actually talented…and we throw together what we can.”
Yet this band is undeniably talented. For one, they keep a firm grip on space and time whilst playing tranceinducing kraut and psych which can so often result in an ‘oh’ moment as you realise you’ve lost three hours of your life. “And you’ve only listened to two songs…” deadpans MB. So, how do they keep things under control on stage and avoid getting lost in the music? MB, typically self-effacing, interjects - “We just…you know, think ‘how many times can we get away with this before people will think we’re cheating?’ We’ve got to play to our strengths. Which is playing two notes over eight minutes.” SS quickly responds, keen to emphasise the musicality behind their noise– “ I think it’s more constructed than people think it is.” MB describes his approach to orientating himself on stage and avoid descending into oblivion – “I always look at a flashing light on my pedal.” However, MJ describes a recent ‘lost in kraut’ moment – “I fell over the other day…you know when we played Manchester? I really enjoyed the end of ‘Form and Function’ and I forgot what I was doing and I was really tired and I fell over, holding my keyboard. Did anyone notice, I sympathetically enquire? MB – “Nah. I was probably looking at my flashing light.” It’s not just the live shows that showcase Hookworms carefully crafted sound. Their recordings are perfectly produced and display MJ’s abilities as sound engineer extraordinaire. From their first EP, ‘Teen Dreams’ in particular combines a pulse quickening motoric beat with searing vocal howls, blended into a seemingly everexpanding whole. MJ clearly has an ability to capture something on record that sounds organic and alive, not just pressed notes on vinyl. As he explains – “We tend to record the same thing over and over again. And then I’ll go back and construct it into a song. And then we tend to learn the recording that we made rather than…” MB finishes his thought –“We demo loads of stuff. And then we decide which bits to change…which bits to keep.” They’ve clearly come a long way from MJ’s spontaneous purchase of a ‘game-changer wah wah pedal’ at a house party which marked the move into Hookworms’ present musical direction. Hookworms have clearly settled into their preferred musical zone and it seems other bands are also beginning to explore the horizons of kraut, including Mazes and Toy. Where have they all come from? “It’s weird isn’t it? I’m not trying to say that we were the first or anything. But in the last three years, lots seem to have cropped up. I think when we did it, the only band we had as a reference point was Kogumaza.” reflects MB. ”I hope the NME don’t start calling it Nu-Kraut,” sighs MB. MJ is quick to add - “It’s best we don’t talk about that band [Toy]. I didn’t think they were very good.”
Images by Bart Pettman
Moving on to reflect on their own success, the band seems pleased with their future plans. They are clearly excited to be playing Supersonic Festival, despite joking that they “try to avoid Birmingham. As a general rule.” MB is aware that “The line up’s always amazing. And it’s at the Custard Factory, which is supposed to be good. And it’s the first time we’ve ever been offered a hotel. We generally sleep on people’s floors, in unclean kitchens. Stuff like that.” Could this be a sign Hookworms are on the up and up? “Oh I don’t know,” grins MB, “could be one of those where we all sleep in the same room…” I’m happy to hear that the aim for their Supersonic rider will be to score ‘Kettle Chips….and horrible English lager’ and suggest that for their next move, perhaps they should consider playing Austin Psych Fest. The band has already made the right connections – MB explains: “We’ve talked to them…they said they liked us. But it’s one of those things where, in this day and age, how much would it cost to fly five people to Austin and back? I bet it’s a few grand.” Not to worry, MJ has a plan B: “ There’s gonna be a psych fest in Liverpool this year, which looks cool.” JW gives us good news - “Black Angels [an excellent psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas] are curating as well.” MJ continues – “We played with Moon Duo the other week, in Liverpool. And it’s the same people who put that on who’ll do Liverpool Psych Fest.” All good signs then that September’s festival is worth getting your best bright T-shirt all sweaty for. Hookworms will just be hoping MB doesn’t vomit when
he sees all the magic-eye patterns, as on a previous tour there was a high speed up-chuck incident during a hangover which MB had managed to hide really well – “and then we got stuck in traffic and I just whiteyed basically…I threw up out of the van, did it really fast… the van was going at 70, 80 mph…” SS continues- “And I had just closed my window as well, which was good….”
When thinking about their next live shows, the band are excited to play with Colton Melton, who will also be at Supersonic and MJ mentions: “Six Organs…he’s been doing stuff with the original line up of Comets On Fire… that’d be cool, if he brings them over.” MJ is equally excited about some recent bands who have passed through his studio – “The Nope album is really good. Cowtown. Broken Arm. The new Eagulls 12” is also really good.” Unlike other local bands, Hookworms are in a strong position when it comes to record deals. They can afford to remain tight-lipped regarding who may release their debut LP. As MB explains – “Most bands need to get a label first and then the label pays for the studio and then they record the album. But…Matt’s got the studio, so we just record it, and then… we see who wants to put it out. So we’ve got a bit of an advantage.” MJ describes how recording sometimes happens “in the middle of the night…I don’t sleep. I think the studio’s had an impact on the way we sound – because it affects how we write songs. But I don’t think recording in the middle of the night does. That just has an impact on my mental health.” Their entertaining fans are also helping the band get through the business of combining work, study and band commitments. “We got [an email] from America…in really broken English about how he wanted to… Smash a car,” frowns JW. MB – “Oh yeah, drive off a canyon, whilst listening to one of our songs” SS- “It was all in upper case, to emphasise the seriousness of the situation.” How does one respond to such dramatic proclamations? “I sent him the lyrics,” MJ says, gently. “Oh yeah, he wanted to learn the lyrics….so he could sing them whilst driving off the canyon,” summarises MB. In addition, a Greek fan emailed to ask for a signed photo to put on the wall in their café. Hookworms could really be going global in the most local way imaginable – café by café across the planet. And on that note, it’s time to leave Hookworms to tuck into their pizzas. I sneak in a question about their name and MJ responds – “I like that it’s sinister,” but MB disagrees – “All the pictures you get when you type it into google are really cartoony-looking. Tiny microscopic pictures of hookworms. And they’re all like, smiling.” Hookworms the band certainly have plenty to grin about – expect to see much, much more of their smiling faces in 2012. Hookworms’ debut EP is available to hear at hookworms. bandcamp.com, and they should be presenting us with a brand new bouncing baby album towards the end of this year...
Images by Bart Pettman
Kleine Schweine – Holiday in Albania
Neil Hanson, a semi legendary figure in the Leeds music scene, once drew a crudelyshaped cock in my reporter’s notebook. True story. He has also been kind enough to play football with my son. Another true story. Oh, and you may have heard of Bart Pettman. Ahem. Well, proving that nepotism is just another word for ‘help a brother out’, Mike Price goes in search of the truth amidst the porkies... We’re in the final weekend of the best Olympics ever and I’ve been glued to my cathode ray tube throughout this once in a lifetime event as tickets are scarcer than rocking horse shit. So, to tear myself away from watching one must have very good reason, and what better reason than to hang around a recording studio with some proper real musicians as they put their first long player together. I’m at the House of Mook recording studios in Meanwood, also home to the Mook Records label, which has been around since the mid 1990s. Hard at work are the splendidly named and extremely affable Kleine Schweine. These little pigs have only gone and let me, the big bad wolf, in to talk about their eagerly awaited debut album, due for release in November. Actually we at Vibrations have to plead to being guilty of a bit of nepotism at this point due to the fact that Bart Pettman, one half of the bands twin guitar assault team, has been Vibrations’ main photographer for some time now, his pictures bringing many a live review to life on the page. No doubt the pictures you see with these words will come from his intrepid lens. He also makes a cracking cup of tea. So, lining up alongside Bart are his band mates: Neil Hanson on vocals, Declan Hogan on bass (fortunately no relation to the American wrestling star), Matt Delahunty on drums and Drew Lunn the second guitarist. Only Matt is not present today, although the band members are joined by former Dance to the Radio and ¡Forward, Russia! Stalwart, Samuel Nicholls a.k.a. Whiskas at the controls and Boo the Staffie (actually she’s more likely to play the big bad wolf than yours truly).
Kleine Schweine have been together for less than a year, although Drew, Bart and Neil were previously together in punk tinged pop outfit International Trust, who achieved a reasonable amount of success, even appearing on the Futuresound Stage at the 2007 Leeds festival. Before this Neil had been in a succession of bands, spanning a decade or more, but after the latest break-up about two
and a half years ago, the hunger seemed to have gone, with Drew musing “I didn’t pick up a guitar for two years” and Neil confessing to losing the plot a little following the band’s initial successes, adding “we started believing our own hype which was never what it was supposed to be about.” Fortunately, Bart had only been with the band a short time before the split so he was the main driver behind them reconvening for what turned out to be Kleine Schweine. Matt and Declan, already acquaintances with the other three, joined soon after, completing the stellar line-up which, only ten months later, found themselves recording their first album. The band’s recorded output to date, not counting the aforementioned debut long player under construction, consists of a pair of single releases: the first, out last November (‘Breakfast in Albania/Ceausescu Let the Dogs Out’), followed by a second back in January (‘You Can Call Me Albania/Back in the DDR’); do the sums on this and you’ll notice that that’s 50% of the current back catalogue referencing the former communist country famous for taking Norman Wisdom to their heart. When I ask the band to explain themselves, Neil says that he once spent 3 hours there on a day trip whilst holidaying in nearby Corfu and, during an ensuing conversation with a former resident travelling back from visiting his family, the subject matter naturally turned to what it was like to live in the country in the communist era. This momentous chat seems to have left a big impression on Neil and the two resulting tracks are about current Socialist Party leader Edi Rama (‘Breakfast in Albania’) and former communist leader Enver Hoxha. With another song about the Romanian president already in the bag, the band realised that something was going on, albeit unplanned, so they decided to follow the same pattern with the rest of the album to see what happened. For example ‘Back in the DDR’ was inspired by the time Mr Hanson spent in Germany as an undergraduate and indeed even the band’s name has its origins back in East Germany, where it is used as a term of abuse by senior officials when referring to the Proletariat. We’re talking multi level references here. The band members also intimated that the new album tracks have a harder edge than their previous releases, with Declan describing their sound as ‘Tetris Hardcore’, so we’ll just have to wait and see what that sounds like. Neil seemed to agree with my suggestion that they’ve created an East-West theme, blending the classic stateside cerebral hardcore punk sound with Eastern European subject matter. Interestingly when we talk about these US bands, they don’t seem to have been an early influence on any of the band members. “Some of the bands we’ve
Despite the obvious pride at their impending album release, there were considerable pre-gig nerves in the early days, despite the previous experience of the various band members of playing live; perhaps due of the Eastern Bloc subject matter combined with a delivery reminiscent of a 90 second short sharp shock. Neil is unrepentant though: “that’s good, you don’t want Sun readers to dig it. The whole idea that a band are good because so and so likes them (insert famous person here)....I think we’re good because no one likes us.”
Only 2 gigs into their life, the band came up with the Pledge Music idea to try and raise cash to record an album. Not surprisingly, those at PM took a bit of convincing so Neil must have been at his most persuasive for them to agree. Despite initial apprehension, the principle costs of the album (recording and pressing plus a few t-shirts with the loose change) have been covered, proving the Pledge idea is not just about selling the finished article but can also be used as a means to an end for those bands just starting out if they try hard enough. This had the knock on effect of them getting the album released by Whiskas on his Listen to the Silence label, so impressed was he by the band’s ingenious fund raising efforts. On visiting the Pledge website, you will still find a smörgåsbord of Kleine Schweine ‘items’ available for purchase including the standard rock and roll merchandise plus lots of other ‘money can’t buy’ stuff such as a night out with the band, an appearance in their photo shoot, recording backing vocals on an album track (the latter being snapped up by numerous individuals including the host of BBC Introducing on 6music Tom Robinson who by all accounts is a fan of the band after playing ‘Breakfast in Albania’ on his show). The lads are naturally thrilled to bits about this, with Neil enthusing, “We get an email every time someone pledges and one of them said ‘Tom Robinson’....Tom Fucking Robinson was paying money to sing on our album, that in itself is fucking
Basically, having lived the dream in previous bands and watched it turn into a nightmare, Kleine Schweine are five blokes who’ve parked the careerist credentials on the back burner and just want to make a racket, have a bit of fun and sing about off the wall stuff they happen to be interested in. By not caring who likes/dislikes them, the band are a more honest proposition and it will come as no surprise that, unlike a certain former Eastern Bloc leader, Joseph Stalin, this time there is no five year plan. Just glory. Debut album “The Party” is out on Listen To The Silence on 5th November and should be available to stream at www. kleineschweine.com
been compared to in reviews, stuff like Black Flag, I wasn’t massively familiar with to be honest,” says Neil, “but when I listen to them I find myself thinking, ‘The fuckers have stolen half of our tunes!’ ”
Kleine Schweine had original material right from the start, but due to their propensity to keep ’em short, they had to fill out their set list with the odd cover in order to fill a time slot (despite having an album’s worth of songs now, the quintet still likes to play The Damned’s ‘Smash It Up’ on stage). The song writing process is pretty organic, as Bart explained: “the single last November contained the first two songs we wrote in that order, then it’s like, ‘How does the next song go?’ and we go into that one.”
Images by Steve Wilson
great,” before adding, “we met him the other week, he’s an absolute dude, he’s so enthusiastic about new bands, the only national airplay we’ve had was through him, there’s not enough people (in the music industry) like him. It’s (the vocal session) going to be cool,” and finishing with, “we’re going to get him drunk on Monday and make him do a gig in here.”
A year after the festival’s proposed debut and cancellation; it seemed we had inherited the Beacons curse. After being ripped off for the taxi in a region that boasts the cheapest fares in the country –only to arrive another 30 minute walk from our destination – the torrent of bad luck flowed right through to the Greendales tent where, a couple of minutes into a jittery and intermittent set from Disclosure, the rising South London duo announced their departure due to technical difficulties. This was not the only unfortunate cancellation of the day. The removal of Julio Bashmore from the bill left a catastrophic and colossal dent in Friday’s sterling line-up. Disheartened, but still itching for something to dance to, things were soon slightly appeased by local darlings, Submotion Orchestra; a band who seamlessly blend live instrumentation with the less garish qualities of Dubstep. Ruby Wood’s belting soprano acts as the propulsive hub around which a powerful and forward thinking behemoth of sound envelops the entire tent. Their musical dexterity is second to none. From serene dub to the gritty punk-rock of Runaround Kids who have no trouble garnering a decent sized crowd for a comparatively early slot at the Noisey stage. Despite this, the crowd conditions aren’t ideal and though the show is convincing there’s a noticeable barrier (physical and mental) between band and crowd. Despite the disappointments, Beacons were getting the hidden gems in early with Being 747’s latest educational rock opera – ‘The Clockwork Universe’. It feels weird comparing a rock band to the Horrible Histories series but that’s genuinely the best frame of reference I’ve got. Witty, daft and superbly executed it’s hard to say whether I’d have appreciated it as much as a kid. The production will mostly get its airings in schools but it’s promising to say that even I learned some stuff. Factory Floor are next up on the Stool Pigeon Stage and offer a performance equal in stature to the sheer force of Submotion Orchestra, albeit somewhat more minimal in approach –more minimal and more savage. The stage is usurped by repetitious industrial rhythms as the band’s sound, honed and perfected over the past seven years, falls somewhere between house music and an oppressive tribal beat. Black sheep of the electronic music scene, Factory Floor regress to the foundations of dance music and steer it into a new, more southerly direction. The Devil incarnate in disco.
A trio of acts on this stage culminating in a profound performance by Mount Kimbie stood testament to the Stool Pigeon’s approbation of the left-field, celebrating the diversity and originality of few acts in the niche truly challenging the conventions of electronic music.
Roots Manuva served as a welcome break to a day, for me, almost completely motivated by perpetual synthetic rhythms. Roots produced an enjoyable if less-thanmemorable set bar the unmissable rendition of ‘Witness (1 Hope)’ which, as good as it was, served as a rather fitting epitaph to his once held title, ‘King of UK Hip-hop’. Ben Rutledge and Tim Hearson
Reliably unpredictable and predictably awesome, Juffage manages to pack out the Noisey tent to a pleasing capacity. This, of course, makes it difficult for the shorter among us to fully appreciate what a wizard the Chicago native is with a loop machine. A particular highlight is when the set stops as several boomboxes are passed into the crowd and Jeff Smith becomes visible amongst the throng, bellowing the remains of his song through the crowd. Another excellent surprise now, in the form of an unbilled set from Welsh legends Future of the Left. Their storming, modern political punk is a brash sigh of relief after a prolonged session of 80s revival schmindie. Angry, articulate and intelligent with the riffs to boot, these should be on everyone’s earlist. Then off to the Stool Pigeon Stage to catch Japandroids. Their set was one that relied very much on the more upbeat and uplifting sounds of their latest LP. A slight departure from the unashamedly angst ridden lo-fi of their debut, the band’s live performance reached a new level of accessibility. Whilst revelling in the new found public and media attention as well as the infectious sugar coated shout along choruses of songs such as ‘The House that Heaven built’, Japandroids were still conscientious enough to include the classics that formed the foundation of their fan base. An impromptu set in the Ladybird tent for the Wonderful Sound of the Cinema Organ injects a certain amount of delight into proceedings. Using a barrel for a bass drum, the overall sound is surprisingly sharp and within minutes the tent is grooving along to their eclectic Jazz and World tinged Drum’n’Bass. The next stop was the Greendales tent to catch the end of Bok Bok’s set; indulging in a short interlude of propulsive 4/4 beats before the start of Ghostpoet. Running through a morose set of his mercury prize winning repertoire, Ghostpoet’s enigma was slightly ruined by the fact that he seemed so happy to be there. Eagulls were another band ostensibly setting aside the hormonally charged endeavours of their salad days. Former members of Fast Point and Hordes, the much-hyped Leeds five-piece manage to retain a bite of hardcore whilst setting aside the confrontational stage presence in favour of a more surly, nonchalant demeanour. The performance of their glassy-eyed
Beacons Festival Having packed out the mud-soaked Stool Pigeon tent, it’s up to the seedy strains of Wild Beasts to close the day. Last year’s LP ‘Smother’ was a particular highlight so it’s great to hear so many in the crowd bellowing out the lyrics – Wild Beasts’ introspective, squelchy music isn’t obvious anthem material but the appreciationfor this Lake District delicacy is such that the crowd make do. They’re as commanding a headline band as you could hope for and the new material especially has live gravitas.
Next, over on the Stool Pigeon stage, Lanterns on the Lake who despite being both affecting and demure, were far from nuanced in their approach. Appearing as a caricature of a morose 90’s alternative band, the Geordie incarnation of Sigur Rós stared bleakly at their feet whilst their guitarist attacked his instrument with a violin bow.
For those a little too high spirited still to call it a day, Pearson Sound provided the bass-quenching after-party. Another former student of one of the local universities, Beacons is certainly offering a less than subtle nod to the home-grown talent of the region whilst never compromising the quality of its acts. Ben Rutledge and Tim Hearson
After the brief spell of sunshine the previous day, Sunday afternoon saw a soggy end to the festival, bringing a grey haze over the vast green pastoral landscape. Below the misty hills all the rain, sweat, urine and blood had coagulated in huge pockets of mud that stretched across every tent floor. Every tent floor, that is, except of the Noisey stage where I took refuge from the pungent last day festival stench as That Fucking Tank were setting up. With a familiar collection of meaty metallic hooks and guitar wizardry, Leeds’ loudest two-piece had little to do maintain their status as riff gods. Andrew Abbot’s virtuosity really shines through live as he manages to create the depth of sound of an entire band with one instrument and a reasonably limited array of equipment.
Completely by chance I then stumbled across rising producer, Star Slinger – an alumnus of Leeds Metropolitan University – churning out danceable twisted re-workings of Pop and Hip-Hop tracks. Never having been previously blessed with this audible frenzy of samples, I watched in awe as he used the fragments of songs at his disposal; tiny intricate pieces, weaved into his grand sugar-coated sonic vision. Blacklisters were another local band it would have been a crime to miss. Currently riding the acclaim from both within and outside their local music scene after the recent release of their eponymous debut album, Blacklisters raced through a visceral set of dark humour and seismic riffs. Living up to their reputation, Billy Mason-Wood’s confrontational stage presence dominated the Noisey Stage as he was held above the crowd during a triumphant and climactic execution of ‘Trick Fuck’. Last on the bill was the Rosetta stone of Reggae and Ska, Toots & The Maytals, arguably the highest calibre headliner and they brought the most high-spirited of performances matched equally by the crowd’s excitement. Possibly the happiest gig I’ve ever attended. Everything was set to close at midnight on this final day but as Toots and co. jammed through a seamless set of classics, this was soon forgotten and they provided an apt and joyous end to the weekend. Ben Rutledge
Images by Bart Pettman
Whilst simultaneously conjuring that tinny guitar sound pioneered by local legends Gang of Four the bass of his baritone guitar is ever present, ominous and oppressive throughout.
frontman, barely engaging the crowd as he staggered and snarled around the barriers, indentified them as something more disinterested, unenthused and distinctly British.
You may have come across this band before... they seem to be popping up everywhere (including the font of all knowledge, The Metro)... but our determined writer Rochelle Massey has managed to corner them and interrogate them... in the nicest, most comprehensive possible way! Tell us how you met? Richard: There have been many incarnations of this band, and I am the only original one. Laura: Tom is an original one, but he isn’t here. Richard: Yeah, I met Tom through our old guitarist. They went to uni together. Laura: We have known each other... Richard: what for like 6 six years or something? Dan: I met Tom at college, and I have been stuck with him since. Richard: He roped him in telling him that he was going to be a rhythm guitarist, then we told him he had to play lead... Laura: and we just know Ben. Influences? Dan: I like a lot of post punk stuff, and a lot of rock music. Laura: I like The Slits, and Pattie Smith. Ben: I suppose the sound of this band is what I like and liked when I was a teenager. I generally like listening to my own songs that I am trying to write. Richard: So egotistical. I really like Motown as well. Dan: Yeah, I just like guitars, loud guitars. Laura: I just like girl music. Dan: Tom likes angry music. Richard: Tom is a very angry man. He is still a massive Oasis fan, but it is because he is a massive Man City fan, goes hand in hand really. Dan: It is not a cliché, he’s got a Man City tattoo. In less than ten words, tell us what you sound like? Laura: Good Richard: All right. Not bad Dan: Persevering, amateurish, noisy. Richard: Lucky. Ben: Dedicated. Laura: Lazy. Dan: Is one of the words ‘terrible’? Ben: That Tramlines gig wasn’t one of the best, but people that have reviewed it said we were bloody good.
What’s the most annoying comparison reviewers make? Dan: The Smiths. Richard: The Smiths. Ben: Twee. Laura: Twee. Richard: I really like The Smiths but none of us are as good as them.
Ben: It’s quite sophisticated music. It’s quite complex, there is lots of stuff going on. Laura: I think the only reason we get Twee, is because we had a joking thing on our biog that said ‘we are not Twee’. Things seem to be going very well for you at the minute as a band. How has it been getting to this point? Ben: People in the audience seem to know the songs. Richard: Yeah, we have never had that before. We always take the worst experiences. Laura: We do a gig, drink a lot afterwards, go home, and then go to work the next day. Which Venues do you enjoy playing? Richard: Here (meaning the Brudenell Social Club). Laura: Yeah, it is good here as it is within 5 minutes of where 3 of us live. Richard: I really like Buffalo Bar in Cardiff. You get fed when you play there. Ben: Leeds Met University is pretty good. Dan: The Ritz Manchester Richard: I really like The Hop in Wakefield. You look like a band that has some good stories.... want to share a few with Vibrations? Dan: We could make up a story. Laura: We went to this birthday party and the Klaxons were there. One of them goes out with Keira Knightly, so we were at this party and so was she. Dan: She looked me in the eyes for more than a second. She wanted me, but I was drunk and I needed to go to the toilet so I left her. Tell us your fantasy super-group line up. Richard: Mine is Edwyn Collins... Dan: Kevin Shields on guitar... Laura: The drummer from this band called Sarandon who are awesome. Ben: Wilko Johnson, from Dr Feelgood. Dan: Tom would choose Peter Hook. You each get to invite one person to a dinner party. Who comes and why? Richard: Woody Allen. He might get a bit morbid and depressed towards the end. Dan: I would invite God. Then if he didn’t come we would know that he wasn’t real. Laura: Probably Patti Smith. Dan: I would pick David Bowie actually. Ben: Larry David. Richard: Yeah but him and Woody Allen would hang out all night, Jewish emos in the corner. If you could pick any musician to join your band for a bit who would it be? Think Jonny Marr joining the Cribs….
What’s next for you? Richard: The album. It’s out early October; we will tour around the same time too. Dan: We have recorded a B-side and mixed it today. It is called ‘Polite Swearing’. What is it about Richard? Richard: It is about words that fit with music. Dan: It’s about dreams
What’s the best excuse you’ve given for not handing in homework/going to work/ going to college? Richard: We had a gig but wanted to stay over, as it was Sunday. So we decided that we were going to lie about the battery on our car dying. But it actually did. Laura got fired for it. Dan: I am quite reliable I hate missing work. Ben: It is normally doctors, dentists, hospitals, and then it starts to become deaths.
This Many Boyfriends
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Dan: Time travel. Laura: I want the power to absorb knowledge. Richard: I want ice hands - like hands that shoot ice. Laura: Compared to limitless knowledge, that is the shittest power ever. Ben: I don’t have one.
How do you feel about illegal downloading? Has it affected you as a band? Richard: No. We are not famous enough to get downloaded yet. I am going to do a search for us and put torrent after it. Laura: It is just the way of the world now, isn’t it? Dan: There’re different ways of getting money now. Richard: Yeah, you get money from touring and from advertising, that is bad but it’s the decline of the music industry.
‘(I Should Be A) Communist’ is available to purchase, download (or illegally download) from www.thismanyboyfriends.com. And various other places as well.
Richard: Johnny Marr, he just joins any band. Ben: He might steal the limelight from Dan though. Dan: Yeah with his haircut. Richard: It is probably a wig, maybe he dyed the wig.
ALBUMS Ghosting Season - The Very Last Of The Saints Manchester-based duo Gavin Miller and Tom Ragsdale’s first LP under the Ghosting Season moniker sees them jettisoning the slightly underwhelming post-rock/ electronica hybrid they once pedalled around these parts as Worriedaboutsatan and – avowedly – immersing themselves in pure techno. In fact it’s only a partial break, with a number of the tracks featuring ingredients familiar from their earlier work,
harnessed to stately, fragmented strings, whilst the spacey ‘Through Your Teeth’ is particularly stripped-down, with the only the most delicate suggestion of a piano line to hang itself on. Miller and Ragsdale leave it until the last few tracks, however, to show just how much they’ve come on in recent years. ‘Time Without Question’ is an out-and-out banger which you feel has been more than earned by its studious preamble, whilst the melancholic ‘Pio’ manages to be intricate yet club-friendly in a way Kieran Hebden would approve of. The aforementioned ‘13’ is the best of the lot, New Zealand’s Birds of Passage laying down a gorgeous, breathy vocal evocative of some of Apparat’s finest moments. It’s a triumphant final flourish on an album which points to a bright future for this unassuming two-piece. Greg Elliott
Wot Gorilla? – Kebnekaise
but which are used much more effectively here. Guitars once overbearing are now subtle – just another layer of sound on the meticulously constructed ‘Far End Of The Graveyard’, allowing the listener a welcome moment of pause on the pensive ‘Lost At Sea’ and providing the lovely cut-up melody which distinguishes ‘13’.
With a name taken from a Genesis track and an album title taken from... a Swedish mountain, you’d expect a pretty major non sequitur to occur right... here. There you go. This Halifax four-piece have been (moderately) quietly building their empire of progmath for the last couple of years and here is the summit of their progress (pun 1). And it’s summit else (pun 2).
As you would expect from such a stylistic shift, the emphasis is more on atmosphere and texture and the subtleties of studio production, and while opener ‘Ghost Drift’ may strike all but the most ardent lovers of minimalism as a little bloodless - its unremarkable ambience punctuated by glitchy rhythms and squalls of processed noise - over the course of its ten tracks ‘The Very Last Of The Saints’ ultimately delivers an immensely satisfying exploration of mood and tone.
I must say though that my first reaction to the album is one of sad reflection. When I hear Ben Farnell and Mat Heigh twiddling up and down the fret board, I remember just how excited I was when I heard Wintermute for the first time. Now Wot Gorilla? are nowhere near as harsh – Mat has quite a sweet voice and on the likes of ‘Suspects’ sounds almost twee – but their technical excellence is comparable to the ‘mute and a timely reminder of how invigorating math can be; it makes your brain itch. Wot Gorilla? are not just about the tech though, and they throw in the occasional chug to alleviate the Chigley-esque riffs (good math sounds like a seventies children’s TV theme tune), are not afraid to embrace a more poppish feel and have some definitely jazzy flourishes (the closing chord of ‘Is’ is so jazz it has a beard). They almost have choruses.
The hypnotic ‘Follow Your Eyes’ boasts a beautiful, tremulous vocal from Gregory Hoepffner, winningly
I do personally find the almost constant rim tap of the drums a bit wearing, but the rhythm section are absurdly tight,
auditCONTROL – Lines (King Prawn Records) This is the debut album from the Huddersfield 5-piece auditCONTROL. Their first single, ‘To the Universe’ was released back in February – if you’ve heard it on the radio, you probably know what to expect from the album: atmospheric, slow building songs somewhat hampered by a lack of distinct hooks and an overwhelming sense of portentousness which seems impressive at first but gets a bit wearisome over the course of the LP’s 41 minutes. Arcade Fire and Interpol are obvious reference points but the band lack the inventiveness of the former and the inspired melodies and lyrical intrigue of the latter. The most effective tracks here are the short, relatively light and spacious title track and the closing number ‘Follow Me’ which sees the band making more use of dynamics and features some excellent guitar work and vocal harmonies. This is definitely a path auditCONTROL should follow more often as it makes for a far more engaging listen than the listless misery of some of the record’s earlier tracks. Matt Brown
More info at www.auditcontrolband.com
Chris Hill – Down Stream, Down River, At Sea (Self release) This isn’t my usual cup of tea. It sounds like an updating of late ‘60s/early ‘70s instrumental guitar folk and the first name that sprang to mind on listening to it was John Renbourne. But, with no disrespect to Chris, not of the same calibre. And so we get a lot of pretty shapes picked out in gently shifting patterns. It doesn’t speak to me of water, despite the title, but there is a thread of melancholy running through it. The shorter tracks almost seem like exercises
And yet, and yet…it is all rather pleasant. I have memories of watching Chris sing mellow songs at Garfest on a summer’s evening. And this has a similar feel. It won’t get in the way of conversation but when the talking falters it will help you drift while watching the clouds. And that’s no bad thing.
rather than pieces of music. The two longer ones (they have no names, only times) have more development, more variation, and are better for it. But tonally it is all much of a muchness – the most extravagant that it gets is some heavy strumming. There are no crescendos, no tension.
Available free from http://chris-hill.bandcamp.com/album/ down-stream-down-river-at-sea
forgets – and my equal vegetates for her boy (Self release) Once upon a time, Kroyd, from The Wind-Up Birds, and Mitch, from Unstable Journey and numerous solo adventures, got together for a couple hours, made up some music as they went along, recorded all of it and released it in its entirety (cutting out the tea breaks) on Bandcamp. A noble and courageous adventure by anyone’s standards. Or rampantly egotistical – improv convention would have them edit it down a bit. And it would benefit from it. But the results are surprisingly endearing, though best sampled in small doses. Mitch makes guitar noise mainly (there are some electronics and occasional guitar tunes – ‘Dogs’ has a blues feel that deserves development) while Kroyd rambles on about his usual themes of alienation, small-minded civilisation, the everyday and ordinary that wears you down – small stories of despair (‘Donkey’ and ‘Deliberately’ stand out). Both manage to throw in enough variation and accessibility to maintain interest– it doesn’t get boring but it is a bit relentless. On a practical level, the recording is amateurish. Kroyd’s voice is too low in the mix – it works better through headphones – and his voice is scrapingly out of tune a few times. And some of Mitch’s noise breaks down unexpectedly, having nowhere to go. Overall, it feels like a demo which has several pieces worth revisiting. Cactus
Available as name your price from http://forgets.bandcamp. com/album/and-my-equal-vegetates-for-her-boy
performing feats of tempo excellence – the way ‘Holy B’Jesus’ folds in on itself in ¾ is marvelous – and though it threatens to get just a bit too clever around ‘Hold Me Back’, it never quite collapses into complete smugness, and the ‘whoop’ at the start of ‘Snow White’ is perfectly justified – Wot Gorilla have made an album that is clever, funny, tender and infectious – Like David Brubeck jamming with Foals and Belle and Sebastien; so pretty unexpected too.
Dolphins – From Pickerel To Flipper Those of us long enough in the tooth to remember the late-lamented This Et Al will likely feel a rush of nostalgia listening to this debut LP from Bradford trio Dolphins, which abounds with the kind of delicious, crunching riffs that accounted for some of their forebears’ best moments. Sadly, guitarist Ben Holden has neglected to bring much of the melodic nous, which made his old band so startlingly original, with him onto this new project. With the exception of a couple of nods back towards TEA - the machine gun drums and winning melody of ‘Oswald’, unexpectedly tuneful closer ‘Caved In’ - this is heavy music by-the-numbers, albeit with impeccable influences. Opener ‘Kingdom Come’ brings the angry stoner vibes, fusing Josh Homme guitar licks with snarling vocals reminiscent of Mark E. Smith, whilst post-metal instrumental ‘Still Falls The Rain (Bradford)’ betrays a heavy Pelican influence and ‘Home’ recalls math-core titans Converge. With ‘Indifference’ the band manages to step out briefly from the shadow of their influences, with some interesting percussive flourishes and a beautifully simple riff, but for the most part ‘From Pickerel to Flipper’ sounds a single pummelling note across its ten tracks. It also sags disappointingly in the middle – the pleasingly compact structure of ‘Hard Times, Hard Lines’ giving way to a clutch of songs which veer between unremarkable and just plain dull. Dolphins show flashes of brilliance on their first long player, but they miss as often as they hit. Greg Elliott
occasionally rises above its limitations. You can forgive musical incompetence in a band as long as there’s plenty of imagination and general pizzaz to make up for it. Although the pizzaz sometime bubbles to the surface (‘Tentacle Love’, ‘Princess Piss’ and ‘Toast and Tramadol’) the songs are generally a predicable trot round well used shapes and formats that sounded tired in the mid 80’s. And being a queer band, you’d expect JAHJF to have something cogent and relevant to say about what it’s like to be a lesbian in Leeds in the 21st century, but most of the lyrics tell pretty standard ‘girl meets girl’ (sometimes ‘girl meets straight girl’) stories, or get worked up about very little. For example, ‘Rockstar’s target (spotty teenage boys dreaming that their guitar prowess will get them laid) is so easy it’s tantamount to bullying. There is one exception –‘CUNT’ (their capitalisation, not mine) packs more energy and originality into its hurtling, deranged 27 seconds than the rest of the album put together. JAHJF would probably claim some kind of connection with gay and lesbian pioneers of the 90’s like Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear and the Riot Girl crowd. But while these bands succeeded in pushing things forward, and God Is My CoPilot effectively dropped a bomb on expectations about what kinds of music gay and lesbian songwriters could produce, JAHJF are just back-peddling. Still, what a brilliant name for a band! Steve Walsh
More info at http://www.facebook.com/ jesusandhisjudgementalfather
Jesus and His Judgemental Father – Kings & Queens (Self release)
What a brilliant name for a band! Sadly, Jesus and His Judgemental Father’s (JAHJF) music is lumbering, clunky punk-by-numbers that only
Jonjo Feather – Held (Numb Tongue) In the 18 months or so since Jonjo Feather’s debut album ‘Is Or OK’, a fine collection of quirky but generally bouncy left field pop songs, something drastic seems to have happened. Whatever personal problems have plagued Feather recently they seem to have sucked
all the bounce out of the songs presented here, but fortunately for us it hasn’t affected the quality of his songwriting and we have here another fine, compelling collection of songs from this hugely underrated artist. Feather sings everything in a voice that is not much more than a breathy whisper. The songs get only simple guitar or piano accompaniment, with contributions from other instruments being spare and sparse, the almost total absence of drums of percussion and liberal use of electronic noises and effects combining to give everything a spooky, haunted feel. It’s a compelling evocation of a mind and soul out of joint.
my own suicidal fantasies induced by the interminable racket invading my lug-holes. Legion of Swine was never going to be easy listening and perhaps a groggy day on the sofa in my living room wasn’t the right situation in which to find any potential in the layers of abstract sound. Maybe if it served an accompaniment to a short film or an art installation it would make more sense but for now the album remains basking in its own esoteric obscurity. Benjamin Rutledge More info at http://legionofswine.blogspot.co.uk/ Rupert Stroud - Chasing the night (Xidus Music)
The songs deal with the desolating effects of loss (“Sometimes someone leaves you behind/Somewhere between God and your eyes/It’s not fair/You only feel pain/And nothing makes it better again” – ‘It’s Not You’) and a mind struggling to make sense of how and why things have changed (“All the things I know/Went away… Don’t look back/There’s nothing left” – ‘I.N.T.O.’), the fragments of melody that emerge from the hushed turmoil acting as a kind of easing balm.
‘Chasing The Night’ is the follow up to Mr Stroud’s 2010 debut ‘Rupert Road’, seeing the in demand producer Will Jackson (Pigeon Detectives, Kaiser Chiefs, Embrace) once more at the controls. On his second effort, we’re treated to a bakers’ dozen of crisp pop numbers (with a bit of kitchen sink thrown in) whittled down from a starting batch of twenty five. It’s clear that the Ilkley resident has been busy and the results are polished and, on the whole, pretty darn good, particularly in the second half.
At a time when musicians who have troubles to share tend to either shout as loud as they can about them or emote melodramatically, it’s brave of Feather to expose his troubled mind in such a quietly fragile way. This is a fine, fine album.
Opener ’40 days and 40 nights’ is a mellow, acoustic bluesy affair in contrast to ‘Forget You’, the all-electric follow up. This pattern is repeated until we hit the epic ‘Sunday Night Blues’ (presumably the closing track on side 1 if a vinyl version exists) building steadily over 6 minutes into a stunning climax as slide guitar takes the despair factor up to eleven, presumably written whilst watching an episode of Last of the Summer Wine. ‘No love lost’ borrows a little from a certain Mormon outfit from Vegas but manages to get away with it. We then get the best song of all, ‘Human Politics’, containing a gloriously sun drenched acoustic guitar riff reminiscent of Renaissance in their pomp. ‘Tears for Now’ takes an urban turn and it seems he’s pulled it off again and alas, before you know it, we’re onto the title track, bringing proceedings to a close. Things can only get better.
More info at www.jonjofeather. com
Legion of Swine – They Took Democracy and they Threw it onto the Pyre with the Rest of the Legion of Swine (Ojud Records) Imagine the combined effects of sleep deprivation and sickness whilst nursing the ensuing result of a heavily inebriated night. Now imagine sitting down, setting your feet up on the coffee table and being greeted not by the sweet, lulling, rehabilitating sounds of Enya’s voice, but by a cacophony of grating feedback. Imagination was not my issue - which admittedly might affect the bias of this review. Although, I sincerely doubt that in any better off state I would have found the varying pitches of monotonous noise any more endearing.
‘They Took Democracy...’ is ostensibly a collection of field recordings and noise experiments which range from: a person snoring (Track 3), a washing machine (Track 5), and a personal highlight in Track 2 which sounds like someone’s unintended voicemail message after hurling themselves onto the train tracks. But maybe that was just
MERE – Mere (Gizeh Records) There is no easy way to describe or categorize Mere; go digging and an abundance of genres and influences arise. These include jazz, folk, rock and that nebulous term ‘world music’. These inspirations allow each track to project a different interpretation each time and the
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Contact email@example.com for details.
improvised nature allows a free flowing sound to emerge. The rich sound is due to the combination of talents of Gareth Davis, Thomas Cruijsen and Leo Fabriek that form Mere. The combination of folk and jazz inspired bass clarinet, finger plucked guitar and rock influenced drums form an experimental sound that is welcome both in music collections and playlists, as well as soundtracks and the illusive genre of sound art. Soundtrack is an interesting term to use here, as the venture began as a soundtrack for a Dutch TV documentary. This cinematic influence can be heard in the album, as affective and resonating music transport the listener into a well of sound. This is alluded to in the artwork, where a photograph of a section of a film reel is beautifully illuminated on the album’s cover. This is a rich album, which should be heartily recommended. Mere is the Dutch word for more, and hopefully, with this group, there is more to come. Jessica Bunyard More info at www. gizehrecords.com
Superintendent - First Offence (Mighty Man Bear Records) Yet another quartet to emerge from the Leeds band factory, currently enjoying levels of output not enjoyed since WWI-era munitions works, are Superintendent. Despite the confrontational cover art and the pun laden title of their first full length recorded work, Ad Philips (vocals) Dan Westbrooke (bass) Andrew Poskitt (guitars) and Ric White (drums) have put together 11 tracks of focussed fury.
‘Are we having fun yet?’ opens with the frontman screeching ‘Wake up, wake up wake up you’ve got to see this’ laying down a statement of intent before you’re ten seconds in. ‘The Monotonator’ continues in the same vein and then we get the wonderfully titled polemic at the cathode ray tube ‘Me+TV=Soul Destruction’. The band clearly realise after this three track onslaught that the listener needs a bit of a breather in the once more imaginatively titled ‘Describe Yourself to a Computer’ where man and machine vie for supremacy in a spooky
post apocalyptic soundscape. A popular song theme at the moment is the misery associated with the end of the weekend/ start of the week and Superintendent are not afraid to mine this seam as ‘Kill Me It’s Monday’ exudes flashes of nihilism reminiscent of Big Black. ‘X-Ray Smile’ is the penultimate offering before we round off with the instrumental ‘All is not as it seems’, as crunching stuttering basslines set the tone before an epic duel with guitar ensues to close proceedings. Did the album really need that final number? The answer is that I’m not sure; I am sure however that on the whole this is a decent first effort. Mike Price
Nope – Revision (Obscene Baby Auction/Audacious Art Experiment) It’s hard not to think of Nope as ‘just’ being a side project for That Fucking Tank (TFT) guitarist Andy Abbott, dominated as it is by the roaring beauty of his inimitable baritone guitar. But Nope pitches Abbott against a twin drum set up with Jon Nash and Steve Nuttall walloping the skins to create a much more single minded sound than TFT that basically snags a pile-driving riff and sets about drilling it into the floor. Short opener ‘Black Mask’ has a subdued intro but breaks into an exultant, galloping riff that sets the album up nicely. Thereafter it’s a case of the twin drummers laying down a carpet of murderous rhythm over which Abbott works out some devastatingly arranged but uncomplicated guitar playing. ‘Porous Spile’s chiming single note riff is supplemented by some deftly deployed power chords with a depth-charging synth bass adding weight; on ‘Behind the Skullbong’ Abbott plays not much more than arpeggios over a thumping, primitive drum beat; and in ‘Pentrich Rising’ Abbott goes for the jugular with some crunching Sabbathesque chord playing. The two main exceptions are the schizophrenic ‘Todmorden’, the first half of which features Abbott on bouzouki or steel guitar playing in the more folky, bluesy
If Krautrock had been invented in Bradford, this is what Can would’ve sounded like. Steve Walsh
More info at www.justsaynope.co.uk
Roller Trio – Roller Trio (F-ire) On hearing the first notes of this, Roller Trio’s debut album, I had that tip-of-my-tongue, I-know-this-but-Ican’t-place-it, feeling. The initial blast of brass, bouncing up and down, reminded me of… A similar disconcertion laced the rest of the cd, guitar lines, drum fills, electronic ephemera all finding a place without names. The sax solo at the end of ‘ROR’ (my favourite bit of the album). Intros, especially to ‘Howdy Saudi’ and ‘The Nail That Stands Up’, evoking Gong’s Angel’s Egg. The last track modulated the same sax line as the opener. And then it popped into my head. Oliver Nelson, The Blues and the Abstract Truth. “Hmm…” I hear you say. “So what? Here you are talkin’ ‘bout Oliver Nelson but you don’t mention the elephant in the room.”
Redgrass – British Democracy and Other Myths (Ojud Records) It took a few spins of ‘British Democracy...’ for me to half succumb to its charm and I’m still very much bewildered. Redgrass, as the name may or may not suggest, is a left-wing political Bluegrass group and another mutant offspring spawned by the man behind Legion of Swine and Swinefest, Dave Procter. No surprise then that it’s a fairly odd affair.
style he showcased on TFT’s last album, and finale ‘Crooked Staff’, which is basically a nineteen minute long crescendo, that ends, utterly spent, in a sustained fusillade of drums and ringing guitar.
The musicianship leaves a lot to be desired, the singing is way off key and I’m not really sure how long past the opening banjo line you can actually call it Bluegrass before it descends into a-genred mindless chord bashing but there’s something endearing about this little record. Maybe the half-baked music fumblings give it a DIY edge, or maybe behind the shoddy execution the song writing itself isn’t all that bad - or maybe it’s the lyrics. The lyrics are one of my favourite parts of this record. Whether it’s the affectionate ode to Leeds ‘Old Grey Men’ with its regurgitative ramblings about class or the superbly out of place jovial but aggressive lines in ‘Assassination’s Too Good’, it’s all good. Benjamin Rutledge
Available as name your price here http:// redgrass.bandcamp.com/
OK, you win. What we have here is a Leeds jazz trio – guitar, sax, drums, with electronics thrown in. Leeds College of Music even. trioVD. It must annoy the hell out of them but the comparisons are inevitable. Both bands are highly proficient – musical virtuosity oozes throughout – and are cast in similar moulds. But where trioVD are guitar-led, coruscating, wild, tumultuous and abandoned, Roller Trio are more sax-led, shimmering, mellow, crescendic and thoughtful (in very general terms). Where trioVD are relentlessly modern, many of Roller Trio’s melodies remind me of jazz from a different era, tunes that echo Monk or Dolphy.
More info from www.rollertrio.com
Which isn’t to laud one band over the other but ya takes yer pick. If you’re a trioVD fan, this may a bit tame for you, but if trioVD just go too far, Roller Trio may be the answer.
EPs This Many Boyfriends - (I Should Be A) Communist (Angular) On first inspection, This Many Boyfriends could easily be mistaken for being yet another Indie Pop duplicate that are more evocative of contemporary Indie catastrophes rather than the more reputable, nostalgic sounds of their beloved Pastels, yet ‘(I Should Be A) Communist’ somewhat defies these perceptions and manages to purvey buoyant, light-hearted Indie Pop without being too banal. The title is daft, and so is the song. It’s nonsensical and downright silly, but that’s all part of their charm. Hayley Scott
Cave Birds – In Love From Afar (Two Sisters) On their new single ‘In Love From Afar’ Cave Birds present us with a delicious slab of 80’s influenced synth pop. With a synth led rhythm section which appears to have stumbled into a time machine sometime in the mid 80s and arrived in the here and now, it’s not hard to imagine ‘In Love From Afar’ cramming indie club dance floors near you, soon. Alex Wignall
Fold – Mr President, We’re In Trouble (FoldFM) Fold’s music is an interesting fusion of politics and rhythm. Fold themselves are as their website describes, “socially active”.
Black Meat Trader – Filth Ritual (Self release) This CD is unfriendly, aggressive, uncompromising, violent, harsh and downright nasty. And quite, quite wonderful. It’s Mr Trader’s second EP and carries on where the first one left off. A volley of twisted sounds, some field recordings and some inversions of “musical” instruments (including some awesome skronking distorted guitar) are throttled together to form noise not pretending to be music. But it works as music. Rhythms throb, repetitions loop in and out of hearing, sounds are worked into shapes. It’s visceral and scraping, pushing shards of metal through your head.
Formed of Seth Mowshowitz, Kane Rattray, Ben Walsh and Josh Gardziel, Fold uses famous speeches by renowned figures. The lyrics on this E.P mainly revolve around consumerism, and the title track’s lyrics are sourced from President Carter’s ‘Crisis of Confidence’ speech, which was televised in the U.S.A on 15 July 1979. Whatever your political standpoint this EP is guaranteed to make you think. Jessica Bunyard
Available as a free download from http://soundcloud.com/fold and more info at http://fold.fm/
Karhide - White Cannon (Field Records)
Not for the faint-hearted.
Operatic and gothic, with Siamese Dreams era, Smashing Pumpkins guitars, ‘White Cannon’ and (thrash metal inspired) ‘Lorenz’, are instrumental pieces which, without vocals, feel slightly lacking in completeness and, at times, stray too close to being the music bed for the multiplayer option page of a first person shooter. ‘Lorenz’ is the stronger of the two, but the lack of vocals is sorely felt, hindering it from achieving the kind of power it rightfully deserves.
‘Plumper Compound’, features layers of electronic drones underlaid with a repeated soundtrack of orgasmic porn. It’s dirty and crepuscular. After listening to it on headphones, you can truly appreciate silence.
Available to buy from http://karhide.bandcamp.com/album/ white-cannon
trioVD/Roller Trio @ Fox & Newt, Leeds
“There’s football downstairs – we’re gonna listen to spiky unlistenable jazz upstairs.” – random punter.
Two-Trick Horse feed off the fire and during a set of scorching dissonant post-punk their hyperactive bassist is unafraid to travel the stage, forming some improbable guitar thrusting bends. The minor fuck ups are ignored and despite their pitch perfect screaming the band are polite enough to say ‘ta’ for the drumkit lend.
It is a long time since I have been out of my comfort zone. Too long have I been surviving on a diet of guitar based hardcore – time I got me some jazz and get myself outside my comfort zone. First off, let me just say what a lovely little upstairs venue the Fox and Newt have got there – intimate, secluded – and that Fusebox know how to throw a gig. Now to the bands. Actually, it takes a good while for Roller Trio to get spiky. James Mainwaring likes to get angular with his sax, but also enjoys a good soar into the realms of playful psychedelia – I can detect a hint of Gong and Didier Malherbe here, though that may be the influence of too many ‘jazz cigarettes’ in my youth (congratulations on the millionth use of this gag in a jazz review). Luke Wynter’s baritone guitar complements James’ expressive sax whilst happily pursuing his own agenda and Luke ReddinWilliams palpitating rhythms hold the whole thing together with intricate exactitude. It does get spiky in places, but it’s more stiff velvet than porcupine. trioVD definitely fulfil their spiky quota; they start off with about half an hour of improv, ‘in 7/8’ as Chris Sharky understates. There’s overblown sax from Christophe de Benezac, crushing riffs from Chris Sharky’s Jagstang (thanks Peter) and very random beats from Chris Bussey, who looks just the right side of deranged. The problem is that doing that much improv. means a lot of repetition and matching vibes – sometimes it can be magic, other times a bit uneven. See the latter. When they start playing the stuff they know however, it is a revelation. Stunning guitar work, brutal hilarious saxophone and thumping John Bonham influenced - sorta - drumming (thanks Peter). It goes from being a joke to genuinely funny, spectacular, sludgey... and polite. They wind it down just in time for curfew – how nice. A game of two halves, but a good final result all round. The boys done good. Rob Wright Holy Mountain/Shields/Two-Trick Horse/Cattle @ The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
The crowd is comprised of the suitably tattooed and bearded, all with necks flexed and ready for the two tons of riffage on tonight’s menu. Cattle get those necks nodding with their appetizer of cow-rib sized riffs and tumultuous drumming. Their front man spends the gig looking like a runner just off the blocks, tightly coiled and ready to dive scream first into the meaty bass and drum
Raw rock spirit pours out of Shields. Less ‘thanks for the drums’ and more ‘here’s a faceful of my Guinness spit’ they are unafraid to flaunt the authority of their self-styled ‘medieval power rock’. As they storm through closer ‘Your Name is Mudd’ the hair is out of control, faces are contorted into rock gurns and those arms pump out riffs that shake the meat off your bones. No time to recover from Shields, as Holy Mountain are on stage looking like a proper fucking BAND – 2/3 vest and 1/3 naked torso, topped with straggle-hair that looks like it could grab you by the throat. As they launch into their powerful brand of doooooom the crowd grins and hands beat the air. Holy Mountain do their live reputation justice, pounding out music that’s a bit like a genetically modified hybrid of Sleep, MC5, Lightning Bolt and Sabbath. As they play until at least one vest is sweated off, it feels as though they’re hell bent on blasting the crowd off in a crunchy, riffy,slamming rocket. ‘Gunner’ is so massive it’s like they’re trying to steamroller your face. As they’d say in Glasgow – get steamin’, go see Holy Mountain and prepare tae lose your heids. Lindsey Kent Galaxians @ Wharf Chambers, Leeds On the face of it, Galaxians are just the latest live band to capitalise on dance music’s ongoing reclamation of disco through the whole nu/cosmic/whatever-disco movement. They are unabashedly retro, colliding disco, garage, primordial house and shades of electro funk into one giant NYC scented stew of early-‘80s revivalism. Dancefloor archaeologists will be pleased to note the band’s historical re-enactments are faultless, with every synth patch, bassline and infectious hook emanating from Jed Skinner’s rack of appropriately vintage-looking keyboards sounding like it was thieved from some undiscovered Larry Levan B-side. But what sets Galaxians apart from myriad other discoinfluenced bands is their lack of a vocalist. Freed from this centrepiece, their songs play out like full 12” dance cuts brought to life in front of your eyes, starting with percussive intros and steadily adding layer upon layer of intertwined melodic loveliness in the way all great house records do. The result is pure, intuitive dance music: drummer Matt Woodward opening up his hi-hats
Castrovalva/Shinies/Post War Glamour Girls @ Melbourne St. Studios, Leeds The atmosphere is fraught. There’s a drum and bass club happening in the adjoining studio and a load of pent up indie kids in this one. We’re a bit scared of the cars full of angry eye-browed men who pull up alongside the Melbourne St. Studios, but remain confident that the one woman security team can hurl her 5’5’’ height at any trouble that arises. Thus reassured, we troop in to catch Post War Glamour Girls, already fully launched into a set of haunting alt-rock, post-punk grit. The power of their music lies in the dark underpinnings to their sound and the plaintive, lip-curled edge to their lead man’s vocals. Shinies, hailing from Manchester, take to the stage and after the creepy glory of Post War Glamour Girls very much need to play their guts out. But as the songs crack along and the timing issues add up, the crowd thins. There’s pop melody buried amongst the rubble but it feels somewhat contrived and the effect of the pseudo lo-fi is such that when pushed, it seems the whole ship could sink back into nothing. Castrovalva are old-hands and know how to steer us back on track. As they launch into a bass heavy, screamfired riff storm, your ears fold back in submission. That’s not to say that the three-piece lack song writing smarts. There’s a definite pattern and structure to the noise-wall and a sense that this is a band who are much more than a conduit for experimental urges. Lindsey Kent Freak Out! @ The Rock & Roll Circus, Leeds
rhythm section make each tune a gem in its own right. Moving into the Don Van Vilet Lounge, something a bit more sinister is setting up. Disasters are un-apologetic, offensive and loud and even though they were inches away from having someone’s eye out there was no holding back as they stormed through their hardcore riffs and barking vocals. Backyards, who despite admitting to not being the most “party” band, had no problem filling the back room until people spilled out into the corridor. As ever, the ethereal quintet lifted the audience with a wash of hypnotic arpeggios and soaring violin flurries. Then the party really gets started when Moody Gowns perform for the first time as a four piece. Fan favorites ‘Step Mother’ and ‘Nelson Skills’ were as bouncy as ever, showcasing the band’s exceptional song writing which combines infectious rhythms and zany lyrical hooks. Following suit, Cowtown closed the Doldrums room with more odd rock. The Wind Up Birds were the eagerly awaited closing band for the night. They blasted through a set of crunchy guitars to which vocalist Paul Ackroyd relentlessly spat his punk poetry. To the crowds delight, some older songs were thrown into the set to make this performance more intimate. As drum kits made way for dancing space Freak Out! partied on into the night. Chris Mulligan JBW and the Rakers/In Between Echoes/Dan Audio/ Belle Vue @ The Library, Leeds Opening up tonight’s 360 Club is Belle Vue, an acoustic fraternal duo reminiscent of the likes of Del Amitri and other such Scrubs soundtrack favourites. Having not frequented an open mic in a while, I’m pretty receptive and though the second guitarist is generally a tad underused, the dual guitar set up makes for some nice sonorities. A shameless melody rip from ‘Mmmbop’ and some endearing Yorkshire banter later, you can colour me happy.
Every couple of months, one of Leeds’ coolest rehearsal studios puts on Freak Out! – an all night party featuring live sets from its regular inhabitants spread across two rooms. It’s the house party to end all house parties with its BYOB policy and DJ’s from Leeds music scene fighting for the decks until the early hours. Tonight’s gig was to celebrate the release of a R’n’R Circus remix compilation, produced by the Circus’s very own in-house remixers.
Next up is the energetic, reggae stylings of Dan Audio complete with a cork hat, worn with flair. The rhythm section is tight and the guitar sounds sharp – coupled with slick basslines and polished harmonies this is a powerful live unit. Final tune ‘Freedom’ is a particular belter with its nicely executed samples and booming riff. In Between Echoes show a lot of promise with their big and bluesy sound. A singer reminiscent of Scott McKeon, the overall package is strong and, pleasingly, not too neat around the edges. Possibly a bit repetitive after a while but still brash and entertaining.
Indecisive Crisis show promise as their set spans genres widely. Complex guitar lines over a sturdy
Bringing things to a fitting close are JBW and the Rakers – technically just Raker as they’ve gone from a 3- to a
and providing climactic flourishes at exactly the right moments. By the end of their hour-long set on Saturday, they had transformed Wharf Chambers into a sweatbox of giddy dancers. Who needs a frontman?
2-piece. Drum’n’Riff 2-pieces are all the rage these days with the likes of That Fucking Tank and Sheffield’s Wet Nuns. JBW… manages to stay away from White Stripeslite territory by going for a more straight-down-the-line bluesiness but a thinning crowd and slightly mismatched vocals keep this from being the kind of balls-to-the-wall spectacle we expect from the above. It’s loud and brash though so we’re in the right ballpark. Tim Hearson Nope! and How Long is a Piece of String: The Subjective Pub Quiz @ The Wharf Chambers Saris and turbans, chalkboards and expresso martinis, crisp rounds and moustaches... and a pub quiz that renders the smartphone absolutely useless. Black Dog, for an art collective, know how to be jolly entertaining, whilst hijacking popular past-times in the name of thought, art and fun. We’ve been meaning to review a pub quiz for a while, don’t ask why, and where better to start than something as abstract as this. The questions, chosen by a less than random wheel of fortune, range from the absurd (‘Who has the largest tongue in cookery?’) to the very absurd (‘What is Les Dennis’ favourite egg?’) with quiz teams being at the mercy of a quizmaster who judges answers on the basis of personal preference and Black Dog’s own answers (the answer to the questions given were ‘Jamie Oliver’ and ‘boiled egg with soldiers’). Once we get the hang of it, it becomes a huge amount of fun and a real exercise in creativity (though I must confess the Vibrations team got handed its arse... I don’t think my constant heckling of the quizmaster helped our cause) and abstract thinking. And no-one looks at their phone. I think something like this could really take off, especially if Andy Abbot keeps doling out the expresso martinis.
Jeremy Deller Sacrilege 2012 @ Yorkshire Sculpture Park, You may have noticed that the Olympics is being held in the UK this year (well, duh!). What is less well known is that we are also holding a Cultural Olympiad – a range of artistic endeavours across the country. Leeds has held a few, including the UnderWorlds & OverWorlds events that tramped through the city in May, bringing the spirit of steampunk to strange corners. On a larger scale, Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller was invited to create something on a…larger scale. His “art” is an inflatable, life-size replica of Stonehenge – art as bouncy castle, bouncy castle as art. And it has toured the country prior to spending a month in London with the Olympics. For one day only it came to see the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – an ideal location for this sort of thing. When we arrived, it was still being inflated – something to do with the generator being sent to Newcastle apparently. We watched awhile – the sight of enormous slabs of rock tipping in the wind presented a surreal spectacle – but the Park has much to see, so we trotted off. On our return, its true majesty was clear. Stonehenge is pretty massive and this version matched it in detail (down to cracks in some of the stones and holes where chips had fallen out). Ok, the plastic lustre detracted from the realism, but less so than the massed bouncing going on (I noticed more school trips in attendance than usual and an age range from two to seventy, at least). And there was a lot of bouncing. And smiling. You could ask “is it art?” But that probably misses the point – so many people of all ages and background (both here and around the country) have joined in the absurdity of this work of “art”. Smiled at each other, helped each other up, convinced each other we still had some dignity and agreed with each other that we didn’t care.
For afters, Nope! take to the stage with their what can only be described as hearing threatening sound. Two drummers, Jon Nash and Steven Nuttall, make an Is it art? To paraphrase Two Tone – “fuck art, let’s bounce” impressive synchronised cacophony, accompanied by Andy Abbot’s minimalist riffs and Patrick Dowson’s mostly Cactus redundant synths and vocals. When they do struggle their way to the surface of the turmoil, there is more than a hint of the Fall about them. Not a hugely bad thing, but hardly original – if you’re going to have two drummers, you could try and be a bit more than another Fall-a-like. That aside, the enormity of the noise and the hypnotic repetitive nature of the guitar lines are seductively trance inducing... or that might be my impending deafness. Forceful stuff, if a bit unbalanced. Rob Wright
Katie Patterson’s Steely Dan Big Band @ Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton 7 Oct
Big and brash and loud and proud, it’s Sheffield’s Wet Nuns. I’ve not heard Drenge but if their music is anything like the onomatopoeia of their name then I expect it to be somewhat filthy.
Winner of Jazz Yorkshire’s Musician of the Year, drummer Katie Patterson is becoming one of the mainstays of the Leeds Jazz circuit. For those into that kind of thing, the music of Steely Dan will be arranged for an 18-piece band including Rhodes Piano, Marimba and Vibraphone. Heavens.
Free entry single launch for Wakefield purveyors of shameless Indie, The Grand. If the rest of the lineup’s not enough to excite you then get excited about the fact that their bringing their own ‘The Grand Pilsner’ which will be on tap. Super Luxury/Bearfoot Beware/Juffage/Vasgo De Gama/Double Muscle/Magnapinna @ The Packhorse, Leeds 29 Sept
This Many Boyfriends @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 11 Oct Ryan Jarman’s sweethearts This Many Boyfriends will be schmindying up the Brudenell for their long awaited album launch. I Like Trains @ Leeds City Museum, Leeds 13 Oct
I think the lineup speaks for itself…
This gig sounds about as middle class as an embroidery convention but if you know I Like Trains, you know it’ll be worth it.
Light Night 2012 @ Everywhere, Leeds 5 Oct
Swinefest V @ Wharf Chambers, Leeds 20 Oct
Light Night seems to get steadily more and more worth getting out of bed for and we can assume that this year will be no exception.
Featuring Super Luxury, Sloth Hammer, Yugoslavian Boys, Upfall?!, Brown and Benbow, Forgets, and Legion of Swine – a hearty celebration of all things noise in one of Leeds’ most prized venues. The Lancashire Hotpots @ The Well, Leeds 20 Oct I want my chippy tea, I want my chippy tea… Don’t we all… Rolo Tomassi @ The Cockpit, Leeds 25 Oct Rising stars of the hardcore circuit, Eva Spence and co will be terrifying all into a state of submission. Delightful.
The Grand/Buffalo Bones/Moody Gowns/Jonny and the Bastards @ Velvet, Wakefield 22 Sept
Wet Nuns/John J Presley/Drenge @ The Packhorse, Leeds 21 Sept
Make Mr. Jack’s Birthday a memorable one. Please drink responsibly. *18+ only, terms and conditions apply, see online for details. Copyright © 2012 JACK DANIEL’S. All rights reserved. JACK DANIEL’S and OLD NO.7 are registered trademarks.
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Published on Sep 28, 2012
Bi-monthly print magazine covering bands in Leeds and West Yorkshire (UK) featuring Leeds Festival, Beacons Festival, Hookworms, This Many B...