Archive for January, 2011

LFC 4th Birthday band #7: Channel Cairo

London’s Channel Cairo are purveyors of dark, haunting and romantic indie-pop, or pop-noir in short. Their piano led, anthemic arrangements do remind us of early 00’s band Thirteen Senses, and there’s also obvious comparisons to be made with the likes of The Cure, The Smiths and latterly The Killers.

Like many of the other bands playing our fourth birthday shows, they’re not overly concerned with current trends, instead choosing to concentrate on solid songwriting with memorable hooks. Ones that bore their way inside your head, and stay there. We firmly believe that if you stick to your guns, and you’re good enough, your music will find an audience. And by this reckoning, we’re backing Channel Cairo to succeed.

They haven’t been around for too long, so there’s not a great deal else we can reveal about them, apart from the fact they rehearse next to a whiskey bar (of course they do), and often collaborate with interesting photographers and film makers, to offer us an intriguing audio-visual package. Get down to The Macbeth early on the 27th to catch their live show.

Location: London, UK
Lineup: Josh Bowyer (Vocals, Keys), Luke Saunders (Guitar), Hamish Murtagh (Guitar, Backing Vocals), Joe Cross (Bass, Backing Vocals), James Gardiner (Drums)
Label: Unsigned
Previous LFC appearances: 0
Blog love: “London’s most exciting newcomers” (Gigjunkie)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: The Macbeth, 27 Jan, on-stage 8.00pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

We’re an Anglo-French 5 piece living in London , playing big intriguing indie songs. AKA “Haunting, epic pop”, according to Rough Trade.

What were your highlights of 2010?

Meeting the crazy guy who flew over from Cairo to watch us play. The power in our band name took us all quite by surprise.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

Probably the final mix of our debut album. That’ll be a good day. We’ll crack open the bourbon and our manager will have to take us out for steak. That and playing our first festival gig.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

Nothing official yet, but we have an unofficial EP demo available to hear online and a remix of ‘Twenty’ by upcoming producer Andrew Maury of RAC available to download. We’re also selling off our souls, again unofficially. Hamish’s is the only one currently sold, which is why he has no shadow.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

June 2010. Canonbury tube station. Waiting for the last tube home after a gig we got carried away and ended up playing for hours and sharing taxis with some people that stayed. Other than that we played a wild gig to a sold out 100 club which was phenomenal.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

Josh is our Ginsberg and we’re building a new beat generation for the ’10s. We want to reignite the flame of giant romantic indie – if we succeed by summer, you’ll know about it.

Twenty (alternative mix) by channelcairo

MP3: Channel Cairo – Twenty (RAC Maury Mix)

LFC 4th Birthday band #6: Escapists

South London’s Escapists are one of the best new bands in the capital, we’d confidently suggest. Formerly known as Heart On Fire, they changed their name to Escapists last summer and began gigging London’s bars and clubs furiously. They also won the Road To Standon (Calling) competition, which secured them a slot on the main stage at the Hertfordshire festival in August – a big stage appearance that is sure to be the first of many.

Mixing elements, of North American alt-rock (Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, The National) with elements of early U2 and Coldplay, this is clearly a band with great ambition and a firm vision of where they want to be (not dive bars). Their songs are atmospheric, emotional and almost always bear that all important quality of having a memorable, fist-pumping chorus – qualities that’ll no doubt stand them in good stead as they embark on the big push into the public’s consciousness.

On the two occasions they’ve played LFC in the past (April and October ’10), they’ve turned heads. They’ll play with Let’s Buy Happiness and The Collectable Few on the 27th – come on down to witness the early stages of a band with some serious big game potential.

Location: London, UK
Lineup: Simon Glancy (Vocals, Guitar), Oli Court (Guitar), Max Perryment (Bass), Andy Walsh (Drums)
Label: Unsigned
Previous LFC appearances: 2
Blog love: “They’ve only got demos recorded so far but they show ambition and promise very good things” (Gramofoam)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: The Macbeth, 27 Jan, on-stage 8.45pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

S: Escapists, a London four piece inspired by early 00’s indie from the other side of the pond: Arcade Fire, The National and Broken Social Scene. We’re trying to show that danceable guitar music will always have its place on the radio and in people’s hearts.

What were your highlights of 2010?

S: Seeing The National and Arcade Fire in the same snow covered week in December.

O: Standon Calling Festival in the summer – a great debauch (and we got to play).

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

S: Finishing our record and releasing some tunes.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

O: Not yet, but we have free demo CDs at all our gigs and our songs are available to stream online at

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

S: Laissez Faire Club at The Lock Tavern – the room was so packed that it was hard to tell where front row ended and band began. Also York Freshers Ball supporting Marina And The Diamonds – for some reason we played after her at about 1.30am. We stepped out to a near empty 1,000 capacity venue but after we opened people came streaming back up the the stairs into the auditorium and we ended up having one of our best shows.

O: The first gig where we really started to get heads turning was The Bedford in Balham about a year ago. Plus it’s a lovely little boozer.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

S: To see four guys playing to the best of their abilities and never not giving their all.

O: Apparently we’re like Mumford And Sons but really loud. So if you like Mumford, and/or have hearing problems, then I guess you’ll enjoy our gig.

The Longest Day (demo) by Escapistsmusic

MP3: Escapists – Burial

LFC 4th Birthday Band #5: The Collectable Few

West London’s The Collectable Few have been toiling away for a little while now, patiently honing and developing their sound into what it is today – a mixture of blissed out and powerful, anthemic indie with dark undertones and danceable beats. Think along the lines of The Maccabees, White Lies, Bombay Bicycle Club and harking a bit further back, The Cure.

You might have seen them on bills across the capital in recent times with the likes of Anna Calvi, We Have Band and The Whigs. Their self-released 4-track debut EP ‘Half The Night’ set out their stall last summer, something they’re following up with their debut single ‘Headstrong’, which comes out via LFC Records this Monday 24th.

The single is perhaps their most ambitious piece to date, with a hook designed for large theatres and arenas of this world, rather than the Dog And Duck on a Tuesday night. Music Week said it reminded them of VHS or Beta, which we’ll take as a glowing compliment.

If all goes to plan, 2k11 should be an exciting year for this lot. It all starts at The Macbeth on 27 January, where copies of “Headstrong” will also be available to buy on 7″.

Location: London, UK
Lineup: Tarek Al Shammaa (Vocals, Keys), Nat Cantor (Guitar), Tom Christensen (Bass), Alex Hammond (Drums)
Label: Laissez Faire Club Records (“Headstrong” release)
Previous LFC appearances: 8
Blog love: “A perfect example of the next chunk of beautiful indie goodness to grace our earlobes” (The Whiteboard Project)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: The Macbeth, 27 Jan, on-stage 9.30pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

The Collectable Few from West London. We’re influenced by warmer climates than our own, 80s pop records, low-fi guitar bands, global beats and discos.

What were your highlights of 2010?

Releasing our first EP was definitely a highlight and working with Andrew Maury (Ra Ra Riot, Kisses, RAC) towards the end of the year and into 2011 has given us a chance to push our sound a long way in a short time.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

We’re looking forward to a big year for live shows in London, some festivals, playing around the UK and further afield.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

Our EP ‘Half The Night’ is out now and available to buy. And on January 24th we’re releasing our debut single ‘Headstrong’.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

We’ve had some fantastic crowds recently who may not have heard us before but really got into it. Playing with The Whigs at The Borderline around Christmas was a lot of fun and playing with Anna Calvi earlier in the year was also great.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

We’ll give people a chance to shed some Christmas pounds through the medium of jumping and arm flailing.

The Collectable Few – Headstrong by Laissez Faire Club

MP3: The Collectable Few – Glamour

LFC 4th Birthday band #4: Let’s Buy Happiness

Newcastle’s Let’s Buy Happiness rose to prominence last summer after being selected to play the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury after impressing judges in the festival’s annual Emerging Talent competition.

It’s not only Michael and Emily Eavis who’ve been wowed by the quintet’s ethereal, shoegaze influenced sound – blogs across the UK have been slowly picking them up, and their last single Six Wolves, which came out in October, won them plaudits from The Guardian, Record Of The Day and Q Magazine.

Comparisons to The Sundays, The Shins, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins give you an idea of the type of genre they straddle – this is classic songwriting with a long-haul career, rather than the proverbial 15-minutes, in mind.

We invited them down to London to play a night of ours at The Windmill in September (for what was to be their debut London show), where they headlined a bill which included Canada’s Yukon Blonde and London’s Pushing Hands. It was such a great set, we booked them to come back in January pretty much the next morning.

Location: Newcastle, UK
Lineup: Sarah Hall (vocals), James Hall (guitar), Graeme Martin (guitar), Mark Brown (bass), James King (drums).
Label: Ghost Arc (self release)
Previous LFC appearances: 1
Blog love: “their sweet indie kiss is about to seduce you in 2011.” (Breaking More Waves)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: The Macbeth, 27 Jan, on-stage 10.15pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

We are Let’s Buy Happiness, a five piece from Newcastle.

What were your highlights of 2010?

Glastonbury has to be up there, also our BBC Maida Vale session for Tom Robinson and ‘Loose Ends’ for Radio 4. Going on tour was lots of fun and helped us grow and mature a lot. 2010 was a good year for Let’s Buy Happiness and we will to continue to write more and hopefully improve this year.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

Another tour, some new singles and possibly recording an album.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

The Six Wolves single and No Hot Ashes EP are available to buy from Our new single Fast Fast is out on 28 February.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

Has to be the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

We will heal your demons.

Let’s Buy Happiness ‘Woodrings’ by letsbuyhappiness

LFC 4th Birthday band #3: Holden

Holden are one of the best new bands we’ve come across recently, amongst the plethora of new artists we as a club night / label get sent, come across or hear about via word of mouth – regular readers of this blog will be aware of that fact due to the feature we ran on them a couple of weeks back.

Their throwback, upbeat folk ‘n’ roll has really struck a cord with us, as has their penchant for solid, old-fashioned songwriting with memorable hooks. It’s something that’s often overlooked these days, and we’re not totally sure why.

Their sound certainly compliments that of Scoundrels or Ice Black Birds (all hark back to a bygone era where synthesisers and drum machines were something used in sci-fi movies, rather than on-stage) which is why we’ve brought them all together on the same bill on Wednesday 26 January at Catch. It’s a lineup, we imagine, that patrons of Woodstock might have been proud of. Come on down and get retro with us.

Location: London, UK (via Dalkeith, UK)
Lineup: Jedd Holden (Vocals, Guitar) Anthony Holden (Lead Guitar), Dan Coffey (Bass), Kris Lousley (Drums)
Label: Unsigned
Previous LFC appearances: 0
Blog love: “They are a band that are sure to be going places” (The Undercurrent)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: Catch, 26 Jan, on-stage 8.45pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

We’re a four piece band with a love of folk, rock and the underdog with roots in Edinburgh and London.

What were your highlights of 2010?

Completing our lineup in June, going in into the studio and seeing our beardy muggs playing on TV. Also our first homecoming gig in Edinburgh since moving down to London. It was for a mini festival called ‘Born to be Wide’, and the venue was full of family and old friends. Being sponsored by Levis was a bonus.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

Recording our much awaited debut album. The brothers in the band have been writing songs together for many years. The title is still to be decided although the material is cracking. We’ve made a start to the year with our online YouTube channel of acoustic sessions recorded on the rooftop of our flat in Abbey Road called ‘Holden On The Roof with… – Live from Abbey Road’. It’s a way of us getting new material straight to fans and also introducing artists we really like.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

We’re currently a sleeping giant. When the album is finished we’d like to release it with either a great indie or the major label avenue.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

We try to make every one a great experience both for us as well as the folks that come along. Certainly looking forward to playing festivals this year.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

You wont see anything like it again. Very intense!

Holden – Cider Sunday by ITCManchester

MP3: Holden – In The Yard (Live session)

LFC 4th Birthday band #2: Ice Black Birds

Ice Black Birds require little introduction on these pages. The Brighton psychedelic blues revivalists inspired by early Kings Of Leon, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the rest were our first ever signing to Laissez Faire Club Records.

We put out their second single, the highly charged and anthemic “As Birds We’d Be Fine” last June, which kick-started a great second half of 2010 for them, culminating in shows at Manchester’s In The City, Paris’ Fleche d’Or, the NME Weekender Festival in Camber Sands and Koko for Club NME.

2011 is set to be even bigger, with the band set to embark on a sold out tour of Holland with local heroes Go Back To The Zoo in February (it went so well last time, they were invited back), as well as their maiden US tour in March, which rolls up in Austin, Texas on 15 March for the much lauded SXSW Festival.

They return to Laissez Faire Club for the sixth time on the 26th at Catch, where they’ll appear just below Scoundrels.

Location: Brighton, UK
Lineup: Sam Denniston (Vocals, Guitar); George Grinling (Lead Guitar); Danny McGurn (Bass); Ollie Liddiard (Drums)
Label: Laissez Faire Club Records (“As Birds We’d Be Fine” single)
Previous LFC appearances: 5
Blog love: “The gist is that they’re fucking fantastic, and I was powerless to resist them” (Les Enfants Terribles)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: Catch, 26 Jan, on-stage 9.30pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

S: We’re Ice Black Birds, a rock ‘n’ roll quartet from Brighton influenced by Creendence Clearwater Revival, White Denim, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. We’ve been around for just over two years.

What were your highlights of 2010?

S: Playing on a sold out Dutch tour with Go Back To The Zoo and travelling to a lot of cities that we haven’t perviously been to. Also releasing two singles, meeting a lot of interesting new people, summer festivals, Radio 1 airplay, and generally writing lots of music.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

S: SXSW and another European tour. Also releasing our next single but that is still quite hush hush for now, BUT expect to hear an announcement about that soon…

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

S: Funnily enough we have a record out on Laissez Faire Club Records called “As Birds We’d Be Fine”.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

S: Paris with We are Scientists and The Boxer Rebellion was pretty amazing, also the three shows we played in Holland were great. Europe seems to be where our best shows are. Koko towards the end of last year was pretty immense.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

S: Because we are a band that lives to play live, simple rock ‘n’ roll with an edge. We are massively influenced by 60s and 70s musicians and so plan to do it like they did with years of touring. We’ll be around for a while.

Dante’s Dance by iceblackbirds

MP3: Ice Black Birds – Pretty Ways

LFC 4th Birthday band #1: Scoundrels

So we came up with an idea. Over the next eight week days (starting today, 12 January), in the run up to our 4th birthday shows (see previous post), we’re going to profile each of the bands appearing, and ask them some questions. Think of it as an alternative to The Guardian Online’s much referenced New Band Of The Day feature.

You probably don’t know them that well (if you do – pat yourselves on the back for being ahead of the game), so this is your chance to get up close and personal before they hit the stage on the 26th and 27th. Hopefully, you’ll like what you read (and indeed hear) enough to put on your shoes and drag yourself out of the house and into the sweat boxes of the East End for some good old fashioned live music.

First up are LFC stalwarts Scoundrels, recently signed to the revived Blue Horizon label and set to open their 2011 gigging account at Catch on the 26th, before they hit the road for a 12-date UK tour with fellow blues-inspired rockers Kill It Kid.

Location: London, UK
Lineup: Ned Wyndham (Vocals, Guitar); George Elliot (Lead Guitar); Alex Hill (Bass); Josh Martens (Drums)
Label: Blue Horizon
Previous LFC appearances: 8
Blog love: “clean guitar lines mesh with solo picking and the kind of steadied backbeat that bar brawls are made of” (The Culture Of Me)
LFC 4th Birthday show details: Catch, 26 Jan, on-stage 10.15pm RSVP TICKETS

Who are you?

N: Scoundrels, a four piece “cruddy blues, rock n’ soul” outfit hailing from the four corners of Guildford, Salisbury, Lewes and Chiswick.

What were your highlights of 2010?

N: We were sent by Seymour Stein (founder of Sire Records) to the swamps of South Louisiana for two months to record, live on a house boat and generally get schooled by the local musicians in the ways of blues, soul, country, New Orleans jazz and zydeco. It was incredible. We also spent two weeks in Chicago recording with Alt-Rock legend Steve Albini which was a real experience, recording to analog tape and honing our recorded performances.

What are you most looking forward to in 2011?

N: Releasing our debut album, working under our new label (Blue Horizon) and touring like mad. We thrive on live performances and hopefully we’ll continue to gain a good reputation doing so.

Do you have anything available to buy right now?

N: We released a rather fruity single, “Hangman’s Lament” in June ourselves which got to number 2 on the iTunes Blues charts and is available to download. We’ll be releasing an album and more singles in the coming months but we’ll keep you posted.

What’s been your best gig(s) to date?

N: Our baptism of fire in the US, playing the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette on Mardi Gras to an amazing southern crowd. The vibe was amazing and the reception we got was typical of Louisianans, full of warmth and fervour.

And finally, why should people attend your gig?

N: Because we’ve got good tunes and have enough soul to make your bones jangle to the beat and your nose hairs stand on end. We also release a marsupial on stage during the latter stages of the set which is quite extraordinary.

Scoundrels – Hangman’s Lament by charmfactory

MP3: Scoundrels – Just Can’t See It Through

Laissez Faire Club is four

Laissez Faire Club’s live nights have been around for four years now, and in aid of this fact we’ve decided to put on two shows in two nights at two of our favourite East London venues, Catch and The Macbeth respectively.

In between stuffing ourselves with festive meats and heralding in 2k11 over the holiday season, we’ve been toiling away putting the lineups you see in front of you together. We’ve made an effort to book bands that have played at least one Laissez Faire Club gig in the past and generally supported us through thick and thin, alongside bands who are exciting us right now.

Scoundrels played the first ever LFC at The Windmill back in 2006 (and many more along the way, in various guises), so we’re delighted to have them headline the first evening at Catch. The blues influenced four piece recently put pen to paper with Seymour Stein’s resurrected Blue Horizon label (originally home to Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack), and this will be their first show of 2011. Support comes from LFC Records’ first ever signings Ice Black Birds, throwback folk ‘n’ rollers Holden and one of our favourite new discoveries of 2010, The Jacquerie.

Let’s Buy Happiness‘ debut at LFC came in September, and we’re over the moon to have them playing again for us so soon – they headline the second night at The Macbeth on the 27th. Their shoegazey sound and female vocals have won them many plaudits over the last few months, as well as comparisons to The Sundays and Cocteau Twins. Expect to hear their last single ‘Six Wolves’ aired, alongside its follow up ‘Fast Fast’ (out 28 Feb). Warming things up for them will be our new signings The Collectable Few, who’ll be launching their debut single ‘Headstrong’ (out on Monday 24th), as well as Escapists and Channel Cairo, two new-ish London bands who both play their own brand of atmospheric indie-rock with big, memorable hooks.

All in all, we really do believe these are some of the best new bands out there at the moment, and we’re delighted to have rounded them up to play to you all at once. On top of all this, we’ve confirmed special guest DJ sets from the likes of Post War Years, Monkeysuit and Gramofoam, who’ll be providing you with the latest indie / electro beats in between and after the live acts.

Excited? We certainly are. Full information, ticket details and Facebook RSVPs can be found on our Events page.

Introducing: Holden

First things first – happy new year from Laissez Faire Club! We had a great 2010 – which concluded with an awesome headline set from stars-in-waiting Dog Is Dead at Queen Of Hoxton on 14 December – but we’re intending on making 2k11 even better.

In the meantime, here’s a track from a band we’ve been lending our ears to over the last few weeks called Holden. They’re from Dalkeith (just outside Edinburgh) but are now based in London, and play a brand of throwback folk ‘n’ roll that’s reminiscent of Crosby, Stills And Nash, Neil Young, CCR and Fairport Convention – you know, the kind of music made to be immortalised on a dusty 12″. They look the part too, all bearded and booted and ready to take you back to 1969 at a moment’s notice. They could almost be Stillwater’s support band in Almost Famous.

This particular song, ‘In The Yard’, transports you to that drunken campfire sing-along at many a summer festival, when hoards of people gather round a fire and recite the song word for word, with the chorus being a particularly rowdy moment. If this isn’t the sign of a great folk band, we’re not sure what is. With the demise of London’s harmony driven rock ‘n’ rollers Smokey Angle Shades last year, it seems appropriate that another band of their ilk should rise up in their place at the start of a new year. We’re certainly looking forward to hearing more material imminently.

The good news is you don’t have to wait long to catch them live – we’ve booked them to play the first night of our fourth birthday celebrations at Catch on Wednesday 26 January, as support to Scoundrels. Full info here.

MP3: Holden – In The Yard (Live session)

Past LFC performance