Archive for July, 2012
As the Olympics kick in, there’s very little going on in the way of gigs across London this week. However, there’s of course a few things worth missing the women’s badminton and synchronised swimming for: Sissy & The Blisters showcase their raucous rock at The Social on Tuesday, and the buzzy Luke Sital Singh brings his Neil Young meets Bon Iver compositions to The Old Blue Last on Thursday. Dalston’s Birthdays venue is hosting headline shows from both Fixers and Chapel Club, and there’s a bunch of notable artists playing free shows in Hyde and Victoria Park as part of the BT London Live event in association with the Games. For absolutely nothing, we’re able to see the fast-rising likes of King Charles, Lucy Rose, Jake Mattison and Hudson Taylor. Check out the details below for exact times and places.
Monday 30 July
Kyla La Grange @ Rough Trade East
Tuesday 31 July
Fixers + Deaf Club @ Birthdays
Sissy & The Blisters @ The Social FREE
Wednesday 1 August
Lucy Rose @ BT Vison Stage, Hyde Park (BT London Live, 16:00) FREE
Paul Weller + Spiritualized + Japandroids + 2:54 + Towns @ 100 Club
Chapel Club @ Birthdays
Planningtorock + Light Asylum @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Meltdown)
Thursday 2 August
Mafia Lights + Luke Sital Singh @ Old Blue Last FREE
Jake Mattison + Will Heard + Sian King @ The Regal Room (ASCAP presents)
Stay+ + Swim Deep @ Birthdays (Birthdays official launch party. RSVP HERE)
Blur + The Bots + Savages + Swiss Lips @ 100 Club
King Charles @ BT Vison Stage, Hyde Park (BT London Live, 16:00) FREE
fiN. + Bwani Junction + Born Blonde @ The Lexington
Friday 3 August
Jake Mattison @ Bandstand, Hyde Park (BT London Live; 14:00 & 17:20) FREE
Willy Moon @ The Nest
Joan As Police Woman @ Queen Elizabeth Hall (Meltdown)
Saturday 4 August
Sunday 5 August
Hudson Taylor @ Stage, Victoria Park (BT London Live; 13:00) FREE
Hudson Taylor @ Bandstand, Hyde Park (BT London Live; 17:20 & 21:30) FREE
An argument we often have with friends and colleagues concerns the originality of new recording artists: well into the 21st Century, with music as a commercial product a relatively old-hat idea, is it possible to create something totally devoid of influences, and something that’s not going to remind the listener of something else?
Probably not, we’re going to suggest, especially if one chooses to trade with discernible song structures and obvious hooks. Which leaves us with the next best thing – music that’s going to reference a number of well known artists of the past, and hopefully, give it a current and interesting twist. London’s BLACKEYE do just this – “Bail Me Out”, the first song we’ve heard of theirs, instantly transports us back to the summer of 1996, with Britpop in full swing, the England football team coming close to glory on home turf, posters telling us to choose life, a North-South divide created by two rival pop groups, and a stagnating Tory government.
Sonically, it’s the updated version of Sleeper, Elastica or Republica, and something that wouldn’t be at all out of place on Chris Evans’ TFI Friday. Undeniably British, and evoking images of pop culture over the last twenty years or so as it races along, it also contains a radio-ready, festival-friendly hook that never strays far from the mix.
We expect this track isn’t far away from heavy rotation here, there and everywhere, and where (Viva) Brother might have failed to have the majority of us nostalgically flocking back to the Met Bar, or The Good Mixer, we’re backing this lot to do the business – particularly if they can come up with other material as jubilantly catchy as this.
It seems whenever the sun rears its head in the UK, t-shirts come off uniformly, people are seen carrying bags of charcoal around the place and flock to public houses to sit outside and drink cider on ice. Social media updates about how scorching it is clog up news feeds everywhere, and we’re warned to watch our water consumption. Also, bands with sunnier dispositions start reaching out to us more than they might have done previously – “Sunny summer music!”; “#summervibes”, and the rest.
It’s a promotional opportunity not to be missed – people feel better about everything this time of year, and a band that can soundtrack any of these moments has the ability to make a name for themselves quickly.
We’re going to suggest that Sydney’s SURES might sum up a heatwave better than most – seconds after pressing play on their tracks “Stars” and “Poseidon”, we were whipping on shorts and sunglasses and longing for cocktails on the beach.
Their sound – of course born out a life in all round sunnier climes to ours – is an energetic, hooky and melodic one, merging the jangly power pop of the C86 scene with the current lo-fi sensibilities of Best Coast, Wavves and Real Estate – all of whom they’ve opened for in their native Oz. Signed to Sydney based independent label Ivy League (Alpine, Cloud Control, Deep Sea Arcade), a debut EP, also entitled “Stars”, has just been released there to some gleaming reviews. This weekend (28-29 July), they’ll be supporting Youth Lagoon in Sydney and Melbourne respectively – making for quite the piping hot ticket. Offers of flights and accommodation most welcome.
It’s another relatively quiet week in London for shows, what with us knee deep in festival territory. There’s of course still some decent stuff on – a string of promising US artists seem to all be in town on Wednesday night, including NYC indie rock stalwarts We Are Scientists, who headline The Garage, and Athens, Georgia’s Lera Lynn, who makes her London debut over at Bush Hall. Brooklyn’s Frankie Rose headlines XOYO on Thursday evening with support from Strangers, whilst London band Torches launch their new 7″ single at The Sebright Arms. DIAZ make their live debut at The Nest in Dalston on Saturday night, and Young & Lost Club bring their acoustic events to West London on Sunday, when they host a string of acts – including the promising Maybe Myrtle Tyrtle – at The Defectors Weld in Shepherd’s Bush.
Monday 23 July
Arthur Beatrice @ The Lexington
Get People @ Barfly
Tuesday 24 July
Dog Is Dead + Splashh @ Barfly (14-17 year olds only; 5pm)
Mazes @ The Sebright Arms
Parakeet @ Madame JoJo’s (White Heat)
Three Trapped Tigers @ Birthdays
Plastic Youth @ The Social
Wednesday 25 July
We Are Scientists (US) + Bad Veins (US) @ The Garage
Younghearts + Fractures @ Notting Hill Arts Club (Death2Disco) FREE before 23:00
Pearl & The Beard (US) @ Monto Water Rats
She Keeps Bees (US) @ Cargo
Lera Lynn (US) @ Bush Hall
The White Album + The Hall Of Mirrors @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
Thursday 26 July
Torches @ The Sebright Arms
Splashh @ Birthdays (Luv Luv Luv)
Frankie Rose (US) + Strangers @ XOYO
Esser + The Voyeurist @ The Nest
Mika @ Heaven
Friday 27 July
Amusement + Mafia Lights @ Old Blue Last FREE
Billy Vincent + Second Shepherds @ Koko (Club NME)
Saturday 28 July
DIAZ @ The Nest FREE before 22:30
Sunday 29 July
Maybe Myrtle Tyrtle @ The Defectors Weld (Young & Lost Club) FREE
We were very excited this morning to come across this video on YouTube: “Be Close To Me” is a slice of dark and atmospheric 80s pop perfection from DIAZ, the brand new incarnation of a group we’ve released on our label in the past (we’ll let you work out the rest).
Judging by the quality of this first offering, exciting things could well lie in wait as a result of the re-brand. The prominent bass and drums draw you in, before the spotlight shifts to a powerful and affecting vocal, which then hits us hard with one of the strongest, most memory imbedding hooks we’ve heard in 2012. It’s the comfortable, relaxed sound of a band who’ve clearly played with each other some time, and have found a powerful alchemy as a result.
The video, a montage of grainy footage from 1980s New York City, fits in perfectly with the new sound, all 3am, neon lights, The Cure and New Order, with a nod to the recent dancefloor filling offerings of Holy Ghost.
At just under three minutes, we’re left wanting more and wondering what’s next – of course their intention. We guess the first port of call for anyone curious is The Nest in Dalston on Saturday 28 July, when DIAZ make their live debut.
Whilst we’re probably well past the era of indie rock as a cultural phenomenon in the UK (2001 – 2006; Is This It right through to The Automatic’s “Monster”, we’d speculate), there are of course always going to be groups of four or five men trying to relive the salad days of guitars in the top 40, enthusiastic Kiwis on brown couches and a time when we regularly noted what was being said in the weekly music press.
A memorable, guitar based three and a half minutes is definitely a timeless thing, and success can of course occur when a group composes just this. The latest band to take a punt with guitars, bass, drums and some well placed hooks are London’s The BlackWhite, a quartet fronted by a singer called Josh Bray, who enjoyed some success as a folky solo artist prior to this latest incarnation.
It’s Bray’s emotive and tuneful vocal that takes the lead on the band’s first ever demos, of which “Cut Through The Middle” and “Born To Better Times” are obvious, immediate highlights. Everything from the noisy rock of Incubus and Brand New to the mellower and moody atmospherics of Cold War Kids and The Boxer Rebellion is audible in the song writing, suggesting a band who’ve lived through and appreciated a number of ages in the rock ‘n’ roll lexicon.
Their take on it all, whilst of course nothing particularly new, is sharply executed, and hints at something bigger – if they continue to write songs in this vein we’re sure an imagination capturing moment (every successful indie band has one) is within their capability. We’re very much tuned in to their station, which broadcasts for only the second time live this Thursday night at West London’s AAA venue.
Monday 16 July
Josh Kumra + Alexander Wolfe + Kimberley Anne @ Blacks (Society Of The Golden Slippers)
P A L M s + The Bishops @ The Social
Tuesday 17 July
Post War Years + Cave Painting + Peers @ Birthdays
To Kill A King + Life In Film @ The Social FREE
The Crookes + The Kabeedies @ Bull & Gate (Bamboozled)
Half Moon Run + Hall Of Mirrors + Seasfire @ Old Blue Last FREE
Robert Ellis @ The Windmill
Wednesday 18 July
Roo Panes + Jade Hopcroft @ The Cornershop FREE
The Boy Least Likely To + My Tiger My Timing @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (Farm Festival Launch Party)
Robert Ellis + Half Moon Run @ The Wilmington Arms (Communion)
Jonathan Wilson @ The Lexington
Thursday 19 July
The BlackWhite @ AAA
Man Without Country @ The Shacklewell Arms (Clash Magazine)
Atlas Sound @ Scala
Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles @ Old Queens Head (Oh! Inverted World) FREE
Eagulls @ CAMP (Sexbeat)
Friday 20 July
Man Like Me @ Koko (Club NME)
Digits + Look, Stranger! @ 93 Feet East FREE
Whales In Cubicles + Wild Combination @ The Windmill (Best Laid Plans)
Caan @ The Wheelbarrow FREE
Saturday 21 July
Sunday 22 July
Whales In Cubicles @ The Lock Tavern FREE
We’re sure there are many types of bands in the world. But we’re going to simplify things for the purpose of this piece, and to illustrate a point. We’re going to suggest that there are two types of bands – bands that are simply here today, gone tomorrow, and ones that stay with us for a lot longer, are intrinsic to our record collections, and never veer far from our drunken pub conversations. To add to the latter category – bands who we’d go and see year after year, and ones we get excited by when they announce they’re releasing a record, or coming to our town.
It’s relatively early days for Los Angeles’ Milo Greene – they’re releasing their debut full length in the US next week – but we’re going to go out on a limb here and confidently suggest this bohemian looking quintet are with us for the long haul.
We came across these three songs of theirs (below) a few days ago, and have been listening to them wherever and whenever possible ever since. Put simply, it’s gorgeous, melody heavy, harmony filled indie folk that seduces you on first listen. It’s music, we imagine, created by people who were raised on the likes of Love and Crosby, Stills and Nash and have more recently lived in a world where Local Natives, Fleet Foxes and Edward Sharpe are lauded recording artists, all of the time basking in glorious Californian sunshine.
If there was ever an example of music being a direct product of its environment, this is probably it. Early single “1957″ is the standout, and is sure to be Milo Greene’s calling card as they begin their inevitable rise to the top of alternative indie world. At three-and-a-half minutes, it encapsulates all that’s great about this band, and by the time it reaches its chanting, fist-pumping climax, you’re typing their name into Google to find out more.
In the age of instant gratification and a discernible lack of patience from us consumers, it really does help to have a web search friendly band name. More often than not, if we can’t find what we’re looking for within a couple of minutes, we’re off elsewhere, onto the next thing. So well done, Eye Emma Jedi, you’ve passed the first test with flying colours.
We guess the second one is the strength of the music available. And on the evidence of the songs they’ve got online, we can confirm that this Norwegian but now London based quintet are an exciting new guitar band who play an energetic, in-your-face brand of indie rock – the type that made us fall in love with the genre in the first place.
After building up a head of steam back in Norway (their first three singles made it onto playlists at national radio, for one) their next move is an introduction to the notoriously tough UK market – a debut single, ‘Sin’, is being released digitally by our friends over at Killing Moon Limited on 6 August. Of course, it’s hard to predict what the public will lap up at any point in time, but you’ve got to feel that EEJ’s overt enthusiasm and a penchant for a big hook will give them a fighting chance of success.
The aforementioned single opens up with a attention grabbing guitar riff, quite possibly inspired by Devil’s Crayon by Wild Beasts, before moving into all out foot stomping, festival friendly territory. It’s B-side Crucified that really takes the bacon, though – we never thought it was possible to mix late noughties Northern indie (Courteeners, Pigeon Detectives, Little Man Tate, et al) with the stadium ready sheen of Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age, but hey, we’re all ears if someone manages to do this with aplomb. We’re imagining an absolute riot live, too.
The old adage of London’s streets being paved with gold has been a big guiding factor and inspiration for many an ambitious character over the course of time. One of the more recent examples of someone arriving in the UK’s capital in pursuit of their dreams is Australia’s Israel Cannan, who recently traded the sun, sand and sea of the Central Coast in his homeland for the rough and ready delights of Kensal Rise.
Cannan has left behind (or at least put on hold) what seems to be a slowly blossoming career in Oz – aside from a formative stint as an actor (he appeared in Home & Away for one), a full length album, “Walk”, was released in 2010 and appears to have driven him into the public’s consciousness, as well as onto the stage at a number of high profile festivals.
In any case, it appears the land Down Under’s loss is our gain – Cannan has been doing the rounds in London for a little while now (including a gig for us at Jake Mattison‘s recent single launch party at The Enterprise and one with fellow countryman Matt Corby at The Garage), and anyone who’s witnessed his live show will no doubt attest that it’s an incredibly entertaining and arresting half an hour.
Traits such as a rich, show stopping voice, great songs and a charismatic and charming on stage persona make Cannan someone who is instantly likeable. Up until very recently, he didn’t have much new material recorded, but he’s just posted a free download, the rather moving “From The Start”, up online. It reminds us of the best bits of Damien Rice, Bon Iver and Oh, Inverted World era Shins, and in its duration sets Israel apart from the plethora of other singer-songwriters attempting to walk this line.