Archive for January, 2012
Back in June, we tipped you lot off about a promising Chicago outfit called Merlin Wall. We’re back in the Windy City with our latest discovery, electro-pop three piece Dozens, who seem to have been doing the rounds in their hometown for just under a year now, and suggest there’s something quite exciting going on in the underground of the USA’s third most populous city.
One of their tracks, “Sounds Of Your Lovers” (which was released on 7″ last summer via US indie DreamBait Recordings) has been on repeat all weekend – on the laptop, in the car, or wherever else we were able to plug the iPod in.
Coming across all Foster The People, Empire Of The Sun, Passion Pit and a little bit Miami Horror, this is an exuberant, arms aloft – and ultimately summery – noise, that wouldn’t have been out of place on the The OC back in the day. In any case, it’ll leave an indelible mark in your consciousness after just one listen, so insistent is its chorus.
We’re in familiar territory, of course, and this certainly won’t have any music theorists scratching their heads in bemusement any time soon. But it will have a lot of fans of the genre, like us, turning our heads and wondering what might come next from the band.
Jake Mattison is a Manchester based singer-songwriter with one of those drop-what-you’re-doing kind of voices. Not since the first time we heard the likes of Marcus Mumford, Damien Rice or Ben Howard have we been so startled, and indeed, dropped what we were doing to stare at the device from which the arresting sound was emanating.
Mattison’s vocal does possess the raw beauty of these successful artists, albeit perhaps with a rawer edge, that really suggests he’s got a story to tell.
We assume he’s been penning songs and performing them to people for at least a little while, perhaps mainly in his native North West, but a short run of dates with Emeli Sande in November last year has brought this rather exceptional talent into the public limelight, and has set up 2012 as a potential breakthrough year.
There are a handful of demos online at present, which hint at something much bigger, but in the meantime check out this wonderful cover of Gil Scott Heron’s 1971 classic “Home Is Where The Hatred Is”, where Mattison comes off complementing, rather than aping, the late great.
“A Year” is Channel Cairo’s uplifting and emotive new track, which they’ve been locked away recording since the release of “Elephant Room” through Laissez Faire Club Records last summer.
You might remember it from its first incarnation as the band’s encore for their sold-out Borderline show last September. We’re picturing the band playing the song in large fields before the year is up, raising lighters and perhaps inducing a tear or two along the way.
Before that happens though, Channel Cairo return to the live scene at HMV’s Next Big Thing Festival at The Garage on Monday 6 February, supporting Atticus Anthem and Tellison. Tickets are available here.
There’s not a huge amount to say about Fast Years at this moment in time, given that they’re yet to appear live in any setting and have just two tracks available online.
What we do know is they’re a garage rock quartet from Brooklyn (another day, another Brooklyn band indeed), and that one of the said songs, “Young Heart” is a mile-a-minute, hook-a-plenty, good time jam that’s got us hot under the collar just now.
It’s essentially the sound of The Mooney Suzuki and The Von Bondies joining each other on stage at a heaving, sweat filled venue circa 2002-2003, say, after a Caesars DJ set in between the bands (where they play Jerk It Out). One hell of an evening, in other words.
Of course, with this genre of Ramones-aping rock being heavily popularised by The Vaccines, and now Howler (who the band are actually supporting for their first ever show, at Brooklyn’s Cameo Gallery, this Friday 20th), we’re guessing that Fast Years will slot right into 2012′s indie rock landscape without anyone so much as batting an eyelid. Which from what we’ve heard so far, can only be a good thing.
One thing we love about the internet is the ability to find a great bands from all over the world every day, without the hassle of even putting shoes on. Sure, there’s a hell of a lot of mediocrity out there, but amongst the plethora of acts trying their darnedest to get heard, the law of averages suggests there’ll be diamond in the rough every now and again.
And it’s very exciting when something comes out of the speakers that isn’t total drivel. You know, actual songs. Ones that don’t try to do too much, and possess some great instrumentation and a juicy chorus. Most of the time, it’s all we ask for. You’d be surprised at the number of bands who shy away from this formula.
Anyway, step forward Pete Hickman And The Divers – our latest discovery fitting the above criteria. They’re a London four piece who take us on a massive nostalgia trip back to our early teenage years with their blend of US alt rock that was popular in the early to mid-nineties. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Bush, Dinosaur Jr – that sort of thing. Bands whose albums you probably bought on the day of release, before super-glueing their badge onto your backpack.
The band haven’t done an awful lot so far, apart from some rudimentary London gigging, but they’ve just posted a studio video of them playing a track of called “A Little Better”, which might open the door to bigger and better things. We think it’s superb, and can’t wait to hear more where it came from.
Another day, another Brooklyn band: Monogold are the latest three piece from the NYC borough starting to make a noise loud and exciting enough to be heard outside of their hometown. From what we can see, they’ve been doing the rounds at various local venues (and Willaimsburg rooftops) for a year or two, lending support to the likes of YACHT and Bear Hands along the way.
Just now, they’ve been picked up by the ever-on-it Charlie Ashcroft at Amazing Radio, who’s giving initial UK spins to their “Spirit Or Something” track on the station’s “Audition” show, which is lifted from their 2011 full length “The Softest Glow”, available via their Bandcamp page.
The aforementioned track is four minutes of psychedelic, tropical infused indie-pop that recalls the colourful, free spirited experimentalism of bands like Animal Collective, Yeasayer, MGMT or The Go! Team. It’s also a track that we imagine would go down an absolute storm live. We’re picturing crazed, face-painted fans and plenty of dancing, and as such are eagerly awaiting the announcement of some UK dates.
Los Angeles based quartet Princeton are new to our radar, but seem to have been around for at least a little while – upon investigation it appears they’ve already had a full-length out; “Cocoon Of Love” through Brooklyn’s Kanine Records in 2009, which spawned a UK 7″ single in early 2010 (through Jodie & Victor) with their summer friendly track “Calypso Dreams”.
We came across them just the other day, thanks to the tip off from their producer Andrew Maury in the interview below. “To The Alps” is the first track we heard, and like all great music, hit us for the proverbial six. It’s a song that post dates the aforementioned LP, and is set to appear on the band’s second album “Remembrance Of Things To Come”, out in the US through Hit City USA shortly. It’s a laid back, and understated slice of electronica fused indie-pop, which reminds us of bands like The Whitest Boy Alive, Hot Chip and Royksopp – and possesses a melody and hook that is hard to forget after just a couple of listens.
Perhaps their apparent operating under the radar to date is down to lead singer Jesse Kivel’s moonlighting with side project Kisses, who were the subject of a fair amount of industry hype in the UK in 2010. However with more songs of this undeniable quality (and immediacy) there should be no shortage of plaudits for their sophomore effort – something that in an ideal world, will translate to commercial success.
Avid followers of our live nights are likely to be familiar with Brooklyn’s Little Racer already. The three piece were in London last month to promote their debut UK 7″ (“Split For The Coast”) released by Young & Lost Club, and we had the pleasure of hosting two shows for them – one at The Social on 28 November with The Static Jacks (which was the band’s debut UK performance), and one at The Macbeth a week or so later with Channel Cairo.
Their breezy, lo-fi surf pop has drawn comparisons to The Beach Boys, The Drums, Vampire Weekend and early Strokes, and none of these are too far of the mark. This is indie rock in its purest form that’s very much a product of it’s NYC surroundings, and is also the type of noise made to be heard solely on vinyl format.
The buzz they created whilst in town wasn’t insignificant, with some healthy blog coverage and well received shows, which from our experience, were tight, energetic and thoroughly entertaining.
It’ll be interesting to see where they go over the course of 2012. Check out the aforementioned single below, and download their rather nifty self-titled track below that.