Archive for Introducing
Whilst not quite Jared Leto in 30 Seconds To Mars, Keanu Reeves in Dogstar or Ryan Gosling in Dead Man’s Bones, Londoner “Ed Cares” has created a small buzz with his new band CHILDCARE by being “that guy off Take Me Out”. Indeed, Cares took the plunge and went on the show earlier this year, landing an illustrious date at Fernando’s in the process. Latterly, we learned this proved to be ultimately unsuccessful, but during his initial sales pitch, he revealed he was a nanny by trade who also played in a rock band.
CHILDCARE (no prizes for guessing where the name comes from) have since launched their recording and gigging career – they’re now two songs in, and also have a sweaty and packed-out debut show at London’s Social under their belts. Their most recent track “Gotta Wait” is their first original one (following on from a Blondie cover), and is quite the statement of intent. Racing out of the traps like many great indie rock songs do, it channels the spirit of Graham Coxon’s “Freakin’ Out” and The Strokes’ “Take It Or Leave It” with its raw energy and powerful hook (“Leave your light on” pleads Cares, emphatically) before it gallops along to its frantic and exciting conclusion.
Live, Cares comes across as something of an Iggy Pop like figure, spandex clad, bare chested and completely restless, making for quite an all round spectacle. While this cocktail may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s certainly fun, and will potentially connect with a youthful audience who enjoy their rock pop-tinged and radio-friendly. Having already acquired the patronage of the chart-conquering Bastille, this road is one that seems very open to them.
If you’d like to see how this how hangs together, the band play at The Islington tomorrow night (15 May). “Gotta Wait” is released as a free download on Monday 26 May.
Stumbling across a band the old fashioned way, in an off-the-beaten-track pub back room, is a rare thing these days with everything quickly judged as soon as it surfaces online. Refreshingly, it’s still possible to do this – and when the band are as good as Brunch, it makes it all the more exciting. This very new London group played at Denmark Hill’s Joiners Arms last night, and despite the makeshift set up available to them (a shoe-boxed sized stage with no monitors), really gave a sterling account of themselves.
A traditional rock group in the lead vocal, two guitars, bass and drums / plug and play sense, they trade in a brand of hearty, song-centred, hook-filled indie, heavily influenced by the lauded American exponents of the genre: Pavement, Built To Spill and Weezer. On some songs, there were even elements of early 00s New York City indie rock; Interpol and the sadly forgotten stellastarr* – displaying a promising versatility to their sound.
Not a hell of a lot is known about Brunch just now; although their one excellent song online, “Trussed Yew”, has caught people’s attention already with its anthemic qualities and ear worm of a guitar line – it’s had spins on BBC London, BBC 6Music and Amazing Radio, the latter declaring the track as a “Record Of The Week” last month (you can listen to an interview with them on the station here).
Whether or not they can make some kind of wider breakthrough remains to be seen, although with more songs where this came from, they’ll certainly be knocking on the door of any supposed UK guitar rock revival.
The problem with really great songs is that eventually, they get derided by sections of the public for becoming ubiquitous and inescapable. A victim of their own pop nous, the sheen is perceived to have been removed; worn down by constant radio rotation and drunken festival singalongs. This is rarely the artist’s fault, of course, their only crime being the composing of some lyrics and music that connect with people en masse. In any case, they’re probably not complaining.
This context is important though when talking about Antipodean (Auckland/Sydney based) newcomer Ezra Vine. With his track “Celeste” (the only one available online currently), there’s a feeling that he has the potential to join the illustrious ranks of artists who reap the consequences of having written a breakthrough song.
Taking the best parts of bands like The Beach Boys, Fleet Foxes and Of Monsters And Men, Vine has created something that comes across like Empire Of The Sun or Vance Joy at their potent best. A heady mix, of course, and the track itself buzzes along with a rich enthusiasm and vibrancy, aided by some rigid, floor-tom heavy percussion, hand-claps and some memorable harmonies. It screams summer and everything one associates with this golden season, and clocking in at just over three-and-a-half minutes, its journey to tastemaker radio playlists everywhere seems preordained.
Vine is currently in the UK, primed to play a series of festivals, including Live At Leeds tomorrow (19:00 at The Wardrobe) at The Great Escape in Brighton next Friday 9th (15:15 at The Spiegel Tent and 20:30 at The Festival Hub Stage). If you’re at either gathering, head on down to witness the early stages of someone we’re highly likely to be hearing plenty more of over the next year or so.
We first came across London based singer-songwriter Eliza Shaddad at an acoustic night in a Shoreditch basement in early 2013. Despite the slightly incongruous setting, it was clear from the charm and charisma in her performance that she was onto something. Fast forward a year and a bit, and a lot has happened – no doubt much writing, recording, as well as success with the chart-topping Clean Bandit, whose forthcoming debut album she features on as a vocalist. One manifestation of this additional life experience comes in the form of a sparkling new EP, entitled “Waters”.
The title track, released online yesterday, displays an unwavering confidence, a deadly focused delivery, and crucially, a very strong understanding of what makes for a captivating pop song – all particularly notable given the still very formative stage of her solo career. Aided by the production of Chris Bond (Ben Howard), the brooding verses coupled with a searing hook really demands the listener’s attention.
As far as where Shadadd sits in the current field of first name-second names, on this evidence she’s up there with the frontrunners: RHODES (who she’s supported recently), Annie Eve and Sophie Jamieson. Perhaps, she’s the UK’s answer to the much lauded Brooklyn-based, Jagjaguwar-signed songstress Sharon Van Etten, someone who’s also forging a career through the medium of organic, no-nonsense, heart-on-sleeve songs delivered with panache.
The “Waters” EP is out on Beatnik Creative on 16 June (pre-order here). For those attending next week’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton, fortuitously, you’ll be able to catch Eliza performing a live set on our stage at Latest Music Bar on Saturday 10 May, from 10:45pm.
Back in the summer of 2010, we hosted a record release show for Ice Black Birds at the now defunct Flowerpot venue in Kentish Town to mark the first ever single on LFC Records. Supporting them that night was a plucky singer-songwriter with a big voice and bags of potential called Declan McClafferty, who since then, we’ve recently learned, has relocated to Donegal in his native Ireland, and formed a rock band called In Their Thousands.
The results are no less than impressive, and indeed, since their inception in mid-2011, ITT seem to have caused quite a stir in that part of the world, picking up plaudits from Hot Press and RTE 2fm (essentially their equivalents of NME and Radio 1) – something that culminated in them winning a Guinness sponsored competition back in November declaring them as the best unsigned band in Ireland, after a showdown at Dublin’s well-known Whelan’s venue.
They’ve also recently recorded a 4-track EP (“Cellars”) with Villagers and Cathy Davey producer Tommy McLaughlin, which acts as a great introduction to their big sounding, rich “alternative folk rock”.
McClafferty’s well honed, gritty vocals are a highlight, and when flanked by some rousing harmonies and a big chorus, it’s a powerful alchemy. “War Of Our Worlds”, in particular, is an exercise in clinical, FM-friendly indie rock, and is one of those songs with the potential to open doors to bigger and better things. “0400”, on the other hand, is a more subtle affair, but packs a similar emotional punch – indicative of a band with more than one trick up their sleeve. More where this came from, please.
South Wales’ The Vestals seem to be the latest in that line of bands who have seemingly appeared ‘from nowhere’. Indeed, as recently as late December, we in these parts were not overly familiar with their work, but now, in mid January, they seem almost inescapable.
There’s probably a good reason for this, and we’re going to suggest it’s the direct fallout from two absolutely mesmerising tunes, which have just been posted online and will make up their debut, double A-side single, which is to be released by our close acquaintances at Killing Moon on 11 February.
It’s dreamy, electro infused indie-pop that will remind many a music fan of why they fell in love with recorded sound in the first place. As for reference points, we can hear everything from early Ash to Placebo to Death Cab, and when this is channeled through some watertight pop writing, the result is a very powerful one. “Perfect Pain” is the big one here, displaying a dab hand around a nifty chorus and an intensity that never once wanes during its 4-minute duration.
Already this year the band have appeared at Artrocker’s New Blood Festival and confirmed a tour with Pure Love, as well as a launch for the aforementioned release at The Social on Saturday 16 February. 2013 is set to be a great year for music by all accounts, with new and ‘returning’ artists alike, and with these guys set to star in the limelight, it just got a little better.
If you’re influenced by people like Cold War Kids, Wintersleep, Band Of Horses and Arcade Fire, and have a violin in the mix, it’s not going to be complete tosh, is it? Well, it could be, but it’s easier to be sympathetic certainly. It’s a firm footing from which to introduce a new band. Winterhours, from Winchester, fit this above description and, very pleasingly, put their own South Coast spin on it all, performing some pretty affecting, powerful and most importantly, hook-filled music.
We’ve been fortunate enough to catch them live on a couple of occasions recently (at The Borderline and The Enterprise), both times on the same bill as our very own Divers, and can confirm they’re able to do it live as well. Research informs us they’ve shared stages with the lauded likes of Cloud Control, Wolf Gang and To Kill A King, and on current form, it shouldn’t be too long before they’re mentioned in the same sentences as this bunch.
The band are kicking off 2013 with the release of a new single, entitled “Ocean Heart”, and rather good it is too. Drawing the listener in from the outset and building up to a suitably rousing finale, it sets out their stall perfectly for what could be a fruitful year for the quartet. They’re back at The Borderline in London on Saturday 2 February, which could well be one for the diary.
Now then. Anyone who became acquainted with our new music blog over the last year may well have realised it’s been on a small hiatus since the summer. Apologies to any regular readers – other projects took over for a bit. However, we’ve been wanting to resurrect it for a while, and after hearing new London band Palace, decided there is indeed no time like the present.
Palace’s first demos were posted online over the summer under the guise of their singer Leo Wyndham, and displayed a knack for a great tune and bags of promise. Now Leo has recruited a full band (Wilby, Matt and Rupert, says Facebook), performed some new recordings with said members, and the results are startlingly good.
It’s blissed out, dark and atmospheric folk driven blues, with nods to early Kings Of Leon (see “Trani” or “Milk” especially), Jeff Buckley and Dan Auerbach. “I Want What You Got” in particular is refreshingly timeless in its disdain for current trends, carried by Wyndham’s slightly lackadaisical but always emotive vocal. The songs suggest a band who have been together for much longer than they have, and a maturity well beyond their years.
Their first gig proper happened on Tuesday night, where they opened for James Iha (of Smashing Pumpkins fame) at Bush Hall. We weren’t there, unfortunately, but have it on good authority it was something that people will be talking about some time from now. We’ll be damn sure to get down to one of the next ones – they tread the boards at The Wreck in Camberwell this Friday (tomorrow), and then at Power’s Bar in Kilburn on Wednesday 19 December.
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.