Archive for Comment
Scoundrels play LFC’s 4th Birthday at Catch, 26/01/11. Photo by Max Webster.
London blues inspired rock ‘n’ rollers and LFC regulars Scoundrels are releasing their long awaited debut album on 27 June through the recently revamped Blue Horizon label. Self titled, it’ll be preceded by a new single called ‘Gulf Of Mexico’ a week before – a track that’s been on heavy rotation recently in these here parts.
Veering away from their usual mile-a-minute template, ‘Gulf Of Mexico’ is a far more blissed out, spacious and laid back affair that, perhaps unintentionally, doffs its hat towards the likes of Mumford And Sons and Bombay Bicycle Club (at least on their acoustic album Flaws). That’s not to damn it with faint praise, however – this is a track which really sounds like a band truly hitting their stride after a lengthy period of playing together and is a real showcase for front man Ned Wyndham’s unique and soulful voice. If it’s an indication of what’s to come next, we can’t wait to hear more.
Given its title, we can only assume the song was inspired by the band’s time in Southern Louisiana – and subsequent longing to return to their musical Mecca of Lafayette. And who’s to blame them? If you’d like to see what they got up to whilst in the deep South last year, do check out their beautifully shot fly-on-the-wall feature ‘Go Sell Your Soul‘ – it’s in six parts, and documents everything from saloon bar gigs to recording with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago.
London based but very international outfit Vadoinmessico (they’ve got members from Mexico, Italy, Austria and Blighty), who we introduced to you a year ago after their appearances at SXSW 2010 (via this blog and also at an LFC night at The Lock Tavern), have finally got round to recording and releasing their debut single.
‘Curling Up Your Spine’, the follow up to their self released 2010 EP, sees the light of day digitally on 16 May through T.O.D.O./Outcaste and comes just after their recent support slots with Anna Calvi at her two sold out Bush Hall dates. It also precedes their long-awaited debut full length, ‘Archaeology Of The Future’, which is slated for a late summer unveiling.
The single showcases what they do best; blissed out, psychedelic folk with transportive qualities (also seen on free download ‘The Adventure Of A Diver’, below). Indeed, if you’d like to be whisked away for a whole hour or so, the band are marking the occasion with a launch party on Wednesday 18 May at Dalston Boys Club (68 Boleyn Road, N16) in London. Entry is £5, although we’re informed you’ll get a download code for said single if you show up grinning from ear to ear with bells on. We’ll be first in line.
Not since the heady days of The Others’ guerrilla gigs have people been so excited about a bunch of grubby Camdenites plugging in and playing in unconventional (and un-policed) settings: a few Sundays back, new London grunge revivalists and 90s fetishists Tribes (featuring a couple of members from the now defunct indie outfit Operahouse) filmed the video for their current single ‘We Were Children’ literally shouting from the rooftops to a large number of hastily-assembled revellers along Camden High Street.
Of course, it was social network site Facebook that mobilsed the party; a few days before, an event page notifying people of their intentions was circulating, with guests numbering in the several hundred. The page was then swiftly taken down, with a message sent to all attendees saying this was done to avoid the Rozzers catching wind of it all and to fear not, it was all still going ahead – surely only adding fuel to their already simmering fire.
The end result is seen in the above video; it appears everyday life ground to a halt for a short amount of time, and the band got the take they needed. It’d be easy to be cynical about it all, if the song wasn’t so damn good – huge choruses, nostalgic lyrics about being young in the mid 90s and some pretty emotive guitar lines get thrown together to create what is in effect one of ’11s best tracks to date.
We attended their ‘secret’ show at The Wheelbarrow this Saturday night just gone, and witnessed levels of beer-chucking devotion not seen since Pete and Carl took to the stage at Kentish Town Forum in 2003. It’s not only the underground who’ve got excited, either – behemoth Island Records recently picked them up and have just issued their debut EP (iTunes), with this song as its lead track. One suspects there’s a hell of a lot more to come, within the confines of the law or not.
One of our favourite bands in the capital, South London’s Escapists, have recorded a stripped down, acoustic version of one of their best songs (and live set highlight), Post Gospel Blues.
Those of you who managed to catch them at LFC in the past, most recently at Notting Hill Arts Club and The Macbeth (we interviewed them prior to the latter show here) at the end of January, will know they’re turning into quite the must-see live act. Quite often plugged in, beefed up and electric, this video should give you an indication of what you can expect from their softer, more pensive moments.
Aurally pleasing acoustic strums, glockenspiel chimes and front man Simon Glancy’s impassioned croon all combine to create what is a summer-smash in waiting. If you’re into bands like Mumford And Sons, Arcade Fire, Efterklang, Local Natives and Dog Is Dead, you could do much worse than lend this lot your ears for around 5 minutes.
Catch them at The Bull And Gate in Kentish Town on 31 May, and Catch in Shoreditch on 21 June.
The new Mumford And Sons LP (due out at the tail end of 2011) seems to be shaping up nicely, with a good number of tracks not present on their debut now included in the band’s live set, and circulating in various formats online.
The latest of these, ‘Beneath My Feet’ and ‘Lover’s Eyes’ (see also: ‘Lover Of The Light’, ‘Whispers In The Dark’) sound emboldened, beefed up and geared towards the biggest of stages – presumably where they’ll be performing the new efforts from once studio versions are released into the world. They also represent a sizable step forward from the relatively simplistic arrangements of Sigh No More, and a highly impressive quality control button – it seems this is a band who simply don’t do duff tracks, a trait which will stand them in good stead once the inevitable backlash occurs.
In lieu of proper recorded versions to listen to, check out these live bootlegs, which should still send shivers down your spine:
A great cover version can do much for artists in a quest for stardom. An old, well known song reinterpreted and played in new style allows listeners to sing along with ease and also acts as a gateway to investigation – and hopefully appreciation – of original material.
The Futureheads, who famously covered Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’, and Ryan Adams, who took on and slowed down ‘Wonderwall’, will probably attest to this. Although it’s certainly worth having a strong repertoire of your own before attempting someone else’s composition, or you could face being written off as a band whose best song’s a cover – pretty galling for any self-respecting muso. Whether or not this applies to the aforementioned acts is open to debate…
In any case – below are two interesting (and great) cover versions we’ve come across recently. Brooklyn’s Ambassadors aim to capitalise on the recent surge of interest in The Strokes by offering a soulful, late night bar-room take on ‘Is This It’, whilst London’s To Kill A King have recorded a sparse, haunting rendition of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Maps’ (which will serve as the B-side to their forthcoming debut single ‘Fictional State’ – out via Communion Records on 30 May). Both hark back to wonderful debut LPs spawned from the seminal early 00s NYC scene – a time and place that’s no doubt a huge inspiration for many guitar wielding hopefuls of today.
If you like what you hear, do delve further into the catalogue of either artist – both are worth your time and will probably be making much more noise (of their own) throughout the course of 2011.
The sun has finally reared its head after an extended absence, pale flesh is on show all over town and summer’s just around the corner. This can only mean: Wimbledon, Test cricket, Pimms, package holidays, a plethora of festivals and people fainting on the Tube due to the intense heat. We can’t wait. Here’s a 10-track playlist to drink cider in the park to:
April 2nd, 2011 • Comment
Tags: Albert Hammond Jr, Angles, Brixton Academy, Fab Moretti, Is This It, Julian Casablancas, London, Nick Valensi, Nicolai Fraiture, Take It Or Leave It, The Modern Age, The Strokes
I used to collect set-lists from each gig I went to, in a hope that one day they’d be worth something, or at least interesting to look at. This one here is from The Strokes‘ gig at Brixton Academy on 28 March 2002. They were touring the UK on a tidal wave of hype promoting Is This It. NME journalists were declaring them to be the saviours of, well, pretty much everything, whilst a whole new generation discovered and fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll. You know the story. Almost a decade on, and with new LP Angles doing the rounds, I figured it was as good a time as any to release this into the public domain and get all nostalgic.
14 songs in total – the debut album, plus rare B-side When It Started and two new ones, Meet Me In The Bathroom and Ze Newie (which latterly became Between Love & Hate). No messing about. It was one of the first (and to this day, one of the best) shows I ever attended, and is probably one of the main reasons why Laissez Faire Club exists at all.
The mp3 below, the original demo of The Modern Age, is supposedly, as urban myth goes, the version Geoff Travis of Rough Trade heard just 15 seconds of (down the phone, no less) before deciding to sign them. How’s that for gut instinct?
Wow. I stumbled across this Kings Of Leon clip the other day, and was immediately transported back to my teenage days of 2003. The energy, urgency and pure pazazz in this performance is something to behold, and is a stark contrast to the (as good as) boy band I saw at the O2 Arena last year, who played tracks like ‘Sex On Fire’ and ‘Use Somebody’ to thousands of aloft cameras and video phones, and the Youth And Young Manhood / Aha Shake Heartbreak stuff at seemingly dumbed-down speed.
The sell-out debate is ongoing. They are without doubt an entirely different proposition these days to the shaggy haired, wide eyed sons (and nephew) of a preacher man who burst onto the scene seven years ago. However – shall we accept that the fiscal-driven ways of the world quite often leads to bands veering down a more commercial route (a la Killers, Razorlight, Snow Patrol), or begrudge them for throwing away what could have potentially been, excuse the pun, a wondrous musical legacy?
Wherever you stand – sit back for three minutes and enjoy this video, it’ll make you feel young again, and if you fall firmly in the latter school of thought, perhaps induce feelings of extreme nostalgia.
October 10th, 2010 • Comment
Tags: Ben Lovett, COMMUNION, Country Winston, Gentleman Of The Road, Hammersmith Apollo, Island Records, LAISSEZ FAIRE CLUB, Little Lion Man, Marcus Mumford, Mumford And Sons, Review, Roll Away Your Stone, Sigh No More, Ted Dwane
Laissez Faire Club checked out Mumford And Sons‘ second sold out date at Hammersmith Apollo last night (Saturday), which marked the end of their final UK tour in promotion of their million-selling debut album Sigh No More. It was also effectively a prelude to yet another sold out USA tour – thier final Stateside jaunt for this LP too – which kicks off in LA in just over a week’s time, and concludes with two dates at New York’s Terminal 5 in mid November.
At the risk of going all hyperbolic, it was a truly wonderful evening, which brought a real smile to the face, and a spring to the step. I’ve been to some great gigs in my almost-10-year gigging career – The Strokes at Brixton Academy ’02, Interpol at The ICA ’04, Arcade Fire at Birmingham Academy ’05, Arctic Monkeys at Reading Festival ’05 – and this ranks up there as one of the best. It was really that good.
Roll Away Your Stone @ Hammersmith Apollo, 9.10.10:
The tracks off the album received a mightily enthusiastic, impassioned airing, with all the band members seemingly having the time of their lives, and appearing to be truly humbled at the heady position they now find themselves in. The four singles – Roll Away Your Stone, Winter Winds, Little Lion Man and The Cave, alongside lesser known tracks like Awake My Soul and Dust Dowl Dance, sounded beefed up and familiar in the best way possible – like songs we’ve been listening to all our lives. Those hair-raising moments where songs are sung back to bands by adoring fans in a word perfect manner were ever present.
Of the four new ones, there are at least two veritable smashes-in-waiting (Lover Of The Light, Whispers In The Dark) – both of these see the band move into anthemic indie territory, whilst not forgetting their harmonious, folky roots, and you get the feeling recorded versions could see them make the step up to the very top come album number two.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of the evening, however, was the entirely acoustic version of early recording Sister, which saw the band move away from all ‘technology’ to the front of the stage for three or four totally organic minutes. Save for a couple of rowdy, over-excitable idiots in the crowd – inevitable, when you get to a certain level – it was spellbinding. And that’s not to mention a special guest appearance from Ray Davies (yes, Ray Davies) who was invited on-stage to perform a collaborative version of Days. The quality was relentless.
Roll Away Your Stone @ The Old Blue Last, 24.10.07:
I’ve been lucky enough to have closely charted the rise of this West London quartet, booking them for Laissez Faire Club’s first birthday party (Marcus Mumford and band) in late 2007, and also to have been in attendance at most of their gigs on the way up (Notting Hill Arts Club, The Borderline, Dingwalls, Scala included). Seeing a band who LFC has worked with, even in a tiny capacity, progress at such a rapid rate is pretty special, and I very much doubt it’ll stop here either.
I’ve trawled through the LFC archives, and have managed to dredge up my MySpace correspondence with Marcus Mumford from three years ago, where I floated the idea of him coming to play the first birthday gig, as an acoustic opening act. What you’ll see is a humble response from an aspiring singer-songwriter who’s truly grateful for a chance to play some live songs. You get the feeling not a great deal has changed. All cliches aside, it really couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.
—————– Original Message —————–
From: Laissez Faire Club
Date: 15 Sep 2007, 15:43
My name is Jeremy Lloyd and I run a night in London called Laissez Faire – see page for all info.
Really like your stuff and was wondering if you’d be interested in playing at The Old Blue Last on Wednesday 24 October? It’s the first birthday of the night, so aiming to make it quite an event.
So far confirmed are The Scoundrels and Del Nil. A headliner will be announced soon. You’d be first on opening the night.
Let me know what you think!
—————– Original Message —————–
From: Marcus Mumford
Date: Sep 17, 2007 5:20 AM
Thanks for the email mate, i’d love to play the 24th! Can i bring the band? Because i don’t have management or anything i’m afraid i have to ask the awkward questions myself, but what is the pay for that evening?
Let me know details and i’ll put it up on the myspace and get to work promoting it and that..
Looking forward to it!
—————– Original Message —————–
From: Laissez Faire Club
Date: 17 Sep 2007, 08:27
Thanks for getting back to me. Great news about the 24th, if you could bring the band that’d be great.
Payment wise, I can offer £40 – hope this is OK.
As for details, it’ll be 3-4 bands on the bill (dependent on whether the potential headliner gets back to me). The other confirmed acts are The Scoundrels and Del Nil, both in my top friends.
Your set will be for up to 30 mins.
Any more questions, just shout.
Looking forward to it…
—————– Original Message —————–
From: Marcus Mumford
Date: 18 Sep 2007, 15:51
That’s awesome, Jeremy
Thanks very much, i’ll get it all going and it’ll be laffs all round
Looking forward to it