Archive for February, 2012
A few months back, we were very excited to learn that the songs released on our singles label were receiving airplay on a radio show called El Vagon Alternativo in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. Edwin Poveda, the man and DJ behind EVA, was was cropping up on many an indie band’s Facebook page, informing them of their new audience in South America’s second smallest nation.
EVA has to date been running for 14 years, and is currently Ecuador’s only radio show that specialises in alternative music – very much a niche in a Spanish speaking and traditionally Latin music loving country. The show has its roots in the shoegaze / Madchester scene of the late eighties and early nineties, and also plays a healthy dose of new / unsigned music from all over the world (we’ve seen everyone from Little Racer to Strangers to Red Kite on the playlist).
Intrigued about how this might happen, we began chatting to Edwin, exchanging various new musical discoveries. What struck us was Edwin’s passion for alternative music in a country with no discernible background or foundation for the genre, and also his insatiable appetite for new bands. It’s a classic example of how music, however unknown, is able to transcend cultural barriers, and to this end we thought the whole occurrence was fascinating enough to warrant an interview for this blog – the results of which are below.
LFC: How did you first become an alternative radio DJ and what inspired you to do so?
Edwin: It was always a dream of mine to do a radio show focused on indie and alternative music. When I was a child I would listen to DJs that inspired me. DJs like Rodney Bingenheimer and recorded tapes of John Peel’s shows that friends would mail to me. Here in Ecuador back in 1998 there were no alternative radio shows and it happened by chance that the radio station La Metro Station heard my idea and was keen on doing it. To this day I am practically the only alternative radio show that is on locally. It is good to be able to expand now through the internet and now the whole world can listen to the show. I have to thank a fellow local radio DJ, who sadly passed away two years ago, for helping put my foot in the door for the show, Edison Soto.
LFC: El Vagon Alternativo has been going for 14 years. What do you think is the secret behind its success?
Edwin: I think it’s the variety of music I play on my show and that every show is different from the last one and that keeps the listeners tuned in. It is cool that my show is set up by me. I follow no set list done by the radio. I have full control of what I play on my show which is pretty much rare nowadays on regular radio. Another reason would be is that my show has lasted so long that it’s pretty much the only show that plays all the new alternative indie music as well as the classic alternative bands and artists.
LFC: Do you know how many listeners you have?
Edwin: On average I have about 15,000 to 25,000 listeners just in Ecuador. Outside of Ecuador it is hard to tell. Though I have many listeners from all parts of the world.
LFC: Why do you think you are the only person to have an alternative radio show in Ecuador?
Edwin: Well I think the reason is that I come prepared for my shows. I spend my time researching and listening to all types of bands and artists. There have been other alternative music shows that have come and gone and what I heard was that they were not very prepared with the information that listeners want to know. I tell my listeners all the albums and singles that come out from artists and bands as well as up to date news.
LFC: What is the indie rock scene like in Ecuador, and are there any local artists to keep an eye out for?
Edwin: It is interesting to see what the local indie rock scene is here. It is slowly building but it is hard for a band or artist to break here for the reason that the Ecuadorian community is so interested in Latin music (salsa, merengue, reggaeton etc) but there is a scene and there are local clubs that hold indie rock concerts here but it is small. Bands that are great to see live and on record are Estereo Humanzee, Le Clean Cuts, Los Pescados, Los Alkaloides and La Ventana.
LFC: How do you find new bands and artists?
Edwin: Basically just researching, listening to indie radio shows and just fall upon bands and artists just by chance. I am a lover of music and basically I am listening to music all the time.
LFC: Who are some of your favourite acts, both old and new?
Edwin: I have always been a fanatic of the original shoegaze scene. Bands like Ride Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Pale Saints, Slowdive. I listen to punk and mod bands like The Jam, The Clash, Television etc and I also love bands like The Chameleons, Teardrop Explodes and I’m also into the C86 scene. New music, well there is so much to name. I have been listening to bands like Friends, Selebrities, Channel Cairo, Echotape, The Pale Fountains, The Brights, The Static Jacks, Field of Wolves, and a host of others.
LFC: BBC 6 Music recently announced that they would be having a vinyl-only day on 1 Jan. Do you play any of your records on vinyl?
Edwin: Actually I play vinyl at home but sadly at the station we do not have a record player so it is hard to do so.
LFC: Do you have any words of advice for someone looking to become a radio DJ?
Edwin: My advice for anyone looking to be a radio DJ is come up with a theme that you want your radio show to be about. Be aware of what your listeners want to hear. Research; investigate on bands and artists because the radio listener wants to know information about bands and artists.
You can tune into El Vagon Alternativo every Saturday night, at 20:00 Ecuadorian time (01:00 GMT), here. Further shows, during the week, are announced on EVA’s Facebook page. Follow Edwin on Twitter at @VagonAlt.
Townsville, the Australian city that brought us the wonderful The Middle East (who sadly disbanded last year), have a exciting new talent to shout about: twenty-something singer Kate Martin (and her band The Shallow Sea Choir).
Fairly innocuous by name perhaps, but certainly not by her dreamy and beautiful brand of indie-folk, which appears to be building up a steady head of steam in Oz right now ahead of the release of her second album, “Hand Me My Bow And Arrow”, which comes out next month (23 March) through Shock Records.
Her current single, “Candle Burnin’, Wax Drippin” has just been released Down Under (on Friday just gone), and possesses the ethereal, otherworldly qualities and rich harmonies we’ve come to associate with the likes of Feist, Joanna Newsom, Efterklang and the aforementioned Middle East, with Martin’s slightly kooky vocals drawing in and captivating the listener from the outset.
Previous single “Apples” is a sunnier and far more conventional indie-pop number with a gorgeous chorus that’s (hopefully) coming to a radio station near you before too long. All this bodes well for the forthcoming full length, which on this evidence, might well be one worth going out of your way to seek out upon its release.
MP3: Kate Martin – Apples
The idea of packing your bags and upping sticks to a foreign city is always an appealing one. If the city in question is Berlin, what with its reputation as a haven for the arts and an embracer of hedonistic creativity, it becomes even more so.
Great White Shark are the product of such a shift – three of its members moved over from London a little while back (“to escape their frustrating and repetitive lives”, no less) after dissolving (or putting on hiatus) their previous musical commitments, one of which included the relatively successful indie rock outfit Eight Legs. Whilst there, they met a locally based radio DJ cum drummer, and completed the GWS lineup.
Their music, particularly on their 4-track “Bring Us Back Together” EP (released through Berlin’s Snowhite label back in September) harks back to the mid to late eighties / early nineties, with bands like The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Stone Roses and The Brian Jonestown Massacre coming across as potential founding fathers of their neo-psychedelic based sound.
Of course, they put their own spin on things by adding a current indie-pop sensibility to the songs (see the uplifting EP title track in particular, with its Johnny Marr-esque riff) which make Great White Shark a very interesting prospect for 2012. Below is a new ‘basement demo’ of a track called “Forever Cool”, which didn’t appear on the aforementioned EP. Further new recordings, according to their blog, are imminent.
For those of you who remember singer-songwriter Nat Jenkins – a mainstay on the London indie scene a couple of years back – he’s now fronting a new four piece band called Atlantics, who’ve hit the ground running since their first gig at the end of last summer.
Classic British rock ‘n’ roll songwriting is at the forefront here – on their two online tracks, they display elements of everyone from The Rolling Stones to The Clash to The Libertines to The Kooks – the latter a band who Atlantics have opened for at several continental European dates in late 2011 (Paris and Madrid amongst them), subsequently building themselves a small but devoted fanbase abroad.
“Clean The Sun” is a highly charged, stomping rock ‘n’ roll number which we imagine is probably already a ‘live favourite’, whilst “How High” is a more medium paced affair with some great harmonies – reminding us of bassist Nipsy Fergus Russell’s previous band Smokey Angle Shades, one of the greatest ever groups never to have proceeded beyond the capital’s toilet circuit.
Whilst this is certainly nothing new, Atlantics are clearly (and audibly) an outfit who play with a large degree of conviction, and Jenkins’ rough and ready vocal really portrays a man who means what he’s singing – traits that will stand them in good stead in their quest to become a successful UK guitar act of the ’10s. A full length is already in the can, we read – so keep an eye out for its release this year.
Brooklyn native Devin Therriault – or simply Devin as he goes by musically – is a new-ish singer rekindling the feral energy of The Buzzcocks, The Undertones and The Hives with his unpolished, in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll.
His current calling card, “You’re Mine” is a high-speed adrenaline rush, and while it might be a little too much for some more sensitive souls, isn’t half short of swagger and self belief. All leather jackets, Brylcreem and Shure 55 microphones, it’s the antithesis of anything resembling a Micro Korg, and essentially, Devin is Chuck Berry for the generation who think The Vaccines, rather than The Strokes, changed rock ‘n’ roll.
Recently signed to US indie Frenchkiss (Local Natives, The Drums), Devin released a 7″ EP (which included “You’re Mine” as the lead track) through the label in November just gone, and is set to release his debut full length, “Romancing”, shortly.
He’ll be playing his first ever UK shows at the end of the month too, in short run that includes a support slot with The Drums at The Roundhouse (27/2), a headline show at The Shacklewell Arms (28/2) and one at Barfly (29/2), with our lot The Static Jacks. For a full list of dates, click here.
MP3: Devin – You’re Mine
From the ashes of a number of former Brighton bands (amongst them The Agitator and The Perils) comes Maker, a brand new quartet from the seaside town who are turning the clock back to 1977 or so with their revved up MOR power pop (and also their appearance, although we assume the two are intertwined).
Fronted by singer Lana McDonagh, it’s her sweet and melodic vocals which take centre stage on their songs (at least the three they’ve posted online so far). Bearing a striking resemblance to those of Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper or latterly Lissie Maurus, you could quite easily imagine her getting stuck into “Go Your Own Way”, “Time After Time” or “In Sleep”, the standout track from Lissie’s 2010 debut.
Of the tracks they’ve shared with the public, “Missing”, with its upbeat pace, striking hook and three-and-a-half minute duration, is a pre-packaged hit just waiting to soundtrack a million (or more) five o’clock drives home. That’s not to dismiss it as mere Radio 2 fodder, however, we’re simply saying that the potential reach of this group is quite considerable.
Neither of the other two songs, “We Got It (All Worked Out)” and “Secret Heart”, display a dip in their quality control gauge, suggesting a band who already have a keen ear for what makes a viable, concise pop single (or have simply listened to Rumours a few times). No gigs have been announced at the time of writing, although with the interest in the band sure to reach palpable levels in the next month or two, we expect live appearances to be imminent.
Rummaging through the Facebook page of the last band we featured, Woe & Flutter, we came across Redspencer – another Gold Coast group who look likely to be making waves over the the course of 2012.
The band are originally from down the road in Glen Innes, Northern New South Wales – population of 5,944 – and it’s perhaps an isolationist existence here in their formative years that informs their beautiful, sunny and tripped out psychedelia, which references everyone from fellow Aussies Tame Impala to The Beatles to Fleet Foxes.
Certainly, it’s not a brand of music you’d expect to be made by a band in a heaving metropolis, and with their lo-fi production and hazy vocals, you’re really whisked away to a place where the pace of life is significantly slower that what you’re used to (assuming you live in London, like us).
“Sally Forgets Good Times” and “Happy Slow Riverbends” are the two tracks in the public domain – and both, with their real throwback feel, conjure up images of Woodstock, the early Isle Of Wight festivals and Vietnam War movies. The latter isn’t short of mean pop hooks, either, and could well be a major calling card for the band as they bring their laid back and soothing sounds to the world at large – which, on the current evidence, would be most welcome indeed.
I was recently interviewed by the good people at Killing Moon Limited (a great London based label / blog / club night) about all things Laissez Faire Club – its inception, the live nights and the singles label are amongst the topics discussed. Click on the image above to read the full piece!
February 4th, 2012 • News
Tags: 02 Academy Brixton, Club NME, Fearless Records, Fenway Recordings, Fleche d'Or, Grouplove, Howler, If You're Young, Into The Sun, Koko, Magnet, Mercy Hallelujah, The Static Jacks, The Wombats
Following on from our announcement a few weeks back that The Static Jacks would be touring Europe this month, they’ve added several new dates in both the UK and on the continent.
As before, the run includes three dates supporting The Wombats, which will make TSJ the first LFC Records band to play at the O2 Academy in Brixton, and now there are also shows supporting Band Of Skulls (at London’s XOYO), as well as fellow countrymen Grouplove (in Brighton) and Howler (in Paris).
The band are on the road to promote their debut full-length, “If You’re Young”, which is out through Fearless Records on 5 March. The double A-sided 7″ vinyl of “Into The Sun” / “Mercy, Hallelujah” (which we put out late last year) will be on sale on the tour, or you can pick one up before it all kicks off, from our shop.
Check out this video of the band finishing their set at Koko in November with “Into The Sun”:
Over the last few years, Australia has really cemented its reputation as a fertile breeding ground for new and exciting indie bands, particularly in light of the current commercial success of groups like The Temper Trap, Cloud Control and The Jezabels (following on from The Vines, Jet and Wolfmother, of course).
Next in line are quite possibly Woe & Flutter, a youthful quartet from Gold Coast who play an infectious and alluring brand of scuzzy, lo-fi garage rock and have been recently snapped up by the great Sydney based label Ivy League Records (also home to Cloud Control, Alpine and LFC live favourites Deep Sea Arcade).
An immediate comparison would be to their fellow racket-making Aussies Bleeding Knees Club (who they’ve toured with at home), but on “Cities Of The Red Night” – an apparent Triple J favourite – they give off the raw energy of Nirvana, Queens Of The Stone Age or The White Stripes.
It’s not all breathless stuff – on tracks like the beautiful “Can’t Move The Sun” and the three-minute power pop of “Why It’s So” they hint at The Lemonheads circa It’s A Shame About Ray or Blue Album period Weezer. All these songs are taken from their debut EP (out in October last year), which suggest, as well as an already impressive versatility, a frightening level of potential and a very bright road ahead.