Sunday, 29 May 2011

Get Loaded in the Park 2011 - Festival Preview

Over recent years there has a been a distinct increase in the rise of 1-day festivals. In London alone there is now Field Day, Underage and 1234 Festival to name but a few. One of the more established of these 1 day-ers is Get Loaded in the Park. Now in its 7th year, the festival returns to Clapham Common for its annual celebrations of all things indie and electronic. With previous headliners including Iggy & the Stooges and Orbital, the 2011 line-up has much to live up to. Luckily the festival has delivered this year with a wide variety of acts both established and new set to delight punters. There's crowd pleasing British indie aplenty with the recently Johnny Marr-less Cribs and the ever-reliable British Sea Power. And from other the other side of the pond Darwin Deez brings his comedy dance / NYC twangy indie-pop to cap off the day at the Gigwise arena. Not to mention Headliners of the Absolute Radio main stage, the recently "reformed" razorlight, who like a kind of indie sugarbabes have almost entirely shifted line-up as only one original member remains in ever-arrogant indie sound-bite producer Johnny Borrell who is out to prove you dont need to have all the members of your band to please a crowd. We'll be reporting from 'Get Loaded' but in the meantime here are 5 tips of who to see on the day;

1. Patrick Wolf returns in 2011 with his new album Lupercalia, an exploration of the melancholic and the theme of love. As well as performing new material such as the anthemic sing-a-long new single 'The City', Patrick is sure to pick a set encorporating the best of his previous four albums and delight his hardcore fan base with old favourites 'The Magic Position' and 'Accident and Emergency'. Performing on the main stage, Wolf's blend of Bouncy indie-folk and more traditional lovelorn romanticism should go down a treat.

2. Los Campesinos play right before Patrick Wolf on the Absolute Radio main stage. Gareth & Company write twee confessional teenage odes to such subject matters of depression (The Sea Is A Good Place To Think About The Future) and longing after girls  (Knee Deep At ATP). Three albums into their career and Los Campesinos! have already built up a devoted throng of angsty teens hanging onto their every word and dancing like maniacs to the songs that have soundtracked their progression into adulthood and the difficulties of adolescence. So go catch Los Campesinos if you are fully embracing being young or wanting to be young again.

3. Slow Club, along the same lines as Los Campesinos! provide twee love songs from a distinctively nostalgic teenage point of view. Their second record comes out later this year following the debut "Yeah So" released on Moshi Moshi in 2009, and there is a possibility of new songs on the cards at their Get Loaded slot. The Sheffield duo are sure to enthrawl with bouncy feel good songs such as 'Giving Up On Love' and 'It Doesn't Have To Be Beautiful', and equally pluck at heart strings with "When I Go"

4. O. Children are in stark contrast to a lot of the bands on the Get Loaded line-up. While other bands deal in twee hyper-active indie pop, O. Children are an altogether darker and more epic prospect. They combine  Joy Division-esque guitar reverb, pounding cold wave synths and singer Tobi O’Kandi's amazing deep voice which is so low it's frequency is only just detectable by human ears. Set highlights will include the giant killing bombastic chorused "Ruins" and the more accessible pop sensilibites of "Dead Disco Dancer". O. Children are definitely worth a look if not for their tunes, then for 'that voice'.

5. Connan Mockasin plays early on the main stage following performances supporting bands such as Egyptian Hip Hip and Late of the Pier on tour. Similar to Egyptian Hip Hop, Connan Mockasin is hardly a typical run-of-the-mill act and also includes a similarly lo-fi aesthetic. Connan creates lucious psychedelic storylines intertwined with elements of blues and reverb soaked guitar-lines on his most recent LP 'Forever Dolphin Love' and his performance at Get Loaded will surely be one of the more avant garde shows of the festival.

For more info/tickets:

By Toby McCarron

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bands to look out for #3

Holy Other
Holy Other come from the very eminent side of new music these days. Bedroom situated computer geniuses are overpopulating the blogosphere with their dreamy, flowing, atmospheric electronic snippets which are forgotten within a matter of days. The synths form a wave pattern, you can almost imagine the waves lapping over each other as each loop repeats itself. The sampled voices echo and form a choir like mentality, more spaced out than those by other artists such as Purity Ring. Holy Other are dripping in atmosphere, dragging you towards a sea of calming synths and crashing beats which fill your mind. On 'Touch', influences from Mount Kimbie and James Blake are prominent with computer altered vocals and it sounds more post dubstep than other songs. Holy Other are in the ranks with other similar artists such as oOoOO and Balam Acab who pursue a similar sound. Most likely to be seen supporting your favourite witch house/post dubstep artist on tour soon.
Debut EP With U out on 6th June from Triangle Records

By Aurora Mitchell

Monday, 23 May 2011

Dot To Dot Festival

This is Dot To Dot festival's 6th year and is a must for anyone wanting to see future stars in the making. Previous line ups have housed acts such as Ellie Goulding, Mystery Jets, Beach House, The XX, Laura Marling and many other prestigious and well loved artists who have gone on to great careers. Dot to Dot has received praise from NME - ‘A forest of new stars, old favourites and plenty of mischief at one of the UK’s fastest rising festivals’ which is a pretty accurate description especially in relation to this year's line up with favourites such as Hurts and We Are Scientists joining rising stars such as Trophy Wife, Braids and The Naked and Famous. If you're unsure of who you should see at this year's Dot to Dot festival, look no further.

5 Acts You Can't Afford to Miss at Dot to Dot:

1.  We Are Scientists
You'd be in the minority if you aren't already in love with California indie's finest, We Are Scientists or WAS to those who are lazy. They've been taking part in the NME Awards for the past few years by offering a funnier side to the awards and interviewing members of bands on strange questions, probably due to being drunk. They also have 3 albums worth of material and could potentially surprise with anything but I'm sure old hits 'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt' and 'The Great Escape' will be among their set for dedicated fans.

2.  Trophy Wife
Oxford based math rockers Trophy Wife have recently come to the music world's attention, supporting Foals and Bombay Bicycle Club on past tours. They're also part of the group of current Oxford bands - Blessing Force which includes Fixers who are also playing at Dot to Dot.  Their debut single 'Microlite', released on Moshi Moshi has got over 80,000 views on Youtube with it's confusing video which could be mistaken for an advert for cereal. Trophy Wife have a great live sound and they put all of their energy into their performance. Especially if you're a fan of Foals or Two Door Cinema Club, you should definitely check out Trophy Wife.

3.  Braids
Braids have previously received attention on music blog The Pigeon Post where I first heard the song 'Lemonade', a 6 minute dreamy track filled with wave like synth loops. Braids released their debut album 'Native Speaker' earlier this year and has since received praise from critics and music fans alike. Having watched videos of Braids performing live, the sound is incredible and they are definitely a band to watch as their popularity is slowly increasing as more people find out about them and NME's Radar section covered them not long ago.

4.  Is Tropical
Is Tropical have been around since early last year and were great at last's year's Underage Easter Special, seeming to have already built up a dedicated fan base with over 15,000 listeners on They could easily be compared to Egyptian Hip Hop who share the same quirkyness and mystery. If you haven't already heard of them, more reason to see them at Dot to Dot, as long as their tendency not to show their faces doesn't put you off.

5.  Cults
Overhyped for their three Bandcamp demos, Cults have already built up an expectation around them. With an album coming out later this month, you can expect to hear previews of the new songs before the album's out. Their sick and sweetly melodies and vocals place them in the ranks with Tennis and Summer Camp. Check out new single 'You Know What I Mean' which was recently released as a single for Record Store Day 2011 before heading off to see them at Dot to Dot! 

For more info/tickets:

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Bands to look out for #2

Purity Ring
Named after a ring that people wear to symbolise their celibacy to God, Purity Ring seems like an ironic name for a band who used an extract from a swedish horror movie as their unofficial video to the B side of their debut single 'Ungirthed'; 'Lofticries'. A side project started by Corin Roddick of Gobble Gobble, Corin has already enveloped a considerable amount of fans considering he has only released two songs. 'Lofticries' would be in the same league as Starslinger, Baths, Blackbird Blackbird and various other chillwave artists but the angelic voice that soars above the gothic synths sets the standards higher for those cut and paste artists. Described as future pop, Purity Ring has even been given the thumbs up by Chloe Moretz which was good publicity for Corin. Layers of sampled voices are interwoven and create a hook on 'Ungirthed', which shows a more pop like sensibility than 'Lofticries' which could easily be stereotyped as witch house. Genre defying and forward thinking, Purity Ring is more than your average cut and paste band. There are no plans for an album as of yet but we can only hope that more material will follow.
Debut Ungirthed 7" out now from Transparent Records

By Aurora Mitchell

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Yuck & Let's Wrestle @ Scala - Live Review

It's a warm summer night and avid punters quickly fill out the relatively small Scala, fans of all ages have come together to witness one of the most exciting new British bands in their element. Preceeding Yuck, are DIY-slack punks Let's Wrestle who have rushed to play straight after an instore at Rough Trade East promoting their sophomore effort "Nursing Home" They waste no time hammering out their distinctively British anthemic brand of angsty guitar music. They employ ludicrous lyricisms with scuzzy force, particulary with 'In Dreams Part II' and 'There's a Rock Star In My Room' in which Lead singer Wesley Gonzales barks his absurd fantasies of finding rockstars in his room into the mic with such conviction that the crowd seem to be hanging on his every word, despite the barrage of sound behind him. Let's Wrestle ooze fun, and have really bright ideas along with a sense of humour which is very refreshing considering how seriously a lot of bands at their stature take themselves,

In similar fashion to Let's Wrestle, Yuck begin by making their presence well and truly known with opener 'Holing Out' The grunge sensibilites that the band were originally likened with are thrust upon the crowd with a white-wash of guitar noise, while Daniel Blumberg yelps "Everybody says i cant get through to you" a rather ironic statement as the crowd's reaction is positively electric towards their set. 'Get Away' and 'The Wall' produces a similary euphoric reaction from the crowd, a lot of whom chant the words straight back to the stage in mesmerised unison. Yuck also show a more deep and poignant side, with early blog hit 'Suicide Policeman' and fan favourite 'Shook Down' in which Daniel Blumberg shows his softer side "You could by my destiny" shows a much more accomplished lyrical side to Yuck than just a supposed 90s grunge revival.  They end with the epic 7 minute slow burner 'Rubber', which is a stark contrast to the rest of the set but keeps the diehard fans happy, and Daniel kneels down and adjusts his pedals to create an immersive bombardment of feedback and scuzz. Yuck certainly seem like a much more comfortable band now, their earlier live performances were very rigid and souless whereas here they are charismatic and captivating, and are really looking like great prospects for being one of the best British bands about.

Toby McCarron

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Lady Gaga - Born This Way

Anyone expecting a sleeker, more classy album than The Fame Monster will be sorely disappointed with 'Born This Way'. Gaga has delved deeper into her soul and into darker territory with more techno and sci fi influences. Behind the silly lyrics and evolved instrumental, there is a sadder story within the lyrics; as Lady Gaga shows off her singing talents on 'Marry The Night', a 90s inspired anthem to independence. She sings 'Love is too cruel, to take me away from you', hinting that she's still hurting about her past relationship but inspiring other people to be proud of being an independent woman.

Single tracks, 'Born This Way', 'Judas', 'The Edge of Glory' and 'Hair' all give Gaga a more mainstream edge while the videos are still equally as ridiculous as those featured on 'The Fame Monster' but even more confusing, like the 'Manifesto of Mother Monster' at the start of the Born This Way' video. They are pop in its purest form but with a twist added, Gaga adds her own stamp with her vocals and lyrics like 'Don't be a drag, just be a queen' could be no other than Gaga. The religious aspect of Judas fuelled rage into catholics who were enraged that Gaga had further outdone herself and in one of the episodes of Gagavision, a man hands her a 'get out of hell free card'. Gaga has played on the topic of religion with other religion influenced song 'Bloody Mary' and it feels as if she has played up to this element to the right extent, just bordering on controversial and being a gimmick.  

For fans of more obscure Gaga songs such as 'So Happy I Could Die' and 'Monster', the rest of album is dedicated to you. Persistent techno beats and bleeping synths are the driving force of 'Government Hooker' and Gaga's naughty lyrics reference the affair between John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, 'put your hands on me, John F. Kennedy'. A more linguistic side is fronted in both 'Americano' and 'Schei├če', in which both Spanish and German are spoken and provide a refreshing side to Lady Gaga which has previously been shown in 'Fashion' where she sang in French but this didn't feature on either 'The Fame' or 'The Fame Monster'. 'Heavy Metal Lover' is by far the standout track on 'Born This Way' while Gaga's seductively growls 'I want your whiskey mouth, all over my blonde south' and the ooh's are incredulously catchy, Gaga even manages to fit in an element of modern pop songs, using a vocoder and providing a less mainstream robotic sounding voice than the current pop scene are annoying the world with. There is no denying that the queen of crazy has outdone herself and her career will no doubt sky rocket when 'Born This Way' comes out on CD on Monday 23rd May.


By Aurora Mitchell

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See

Is this it? The heavily awaited 4th album from guitar sensations Arctic Monkeys, ‘Suck It and See’. The artwork has been criticised by those considered musically knowledgeable people as sloppy whereas expectant fans have taken this as an encrypted message that ‘we have to wait for the album and not prejudge it’, neither of which explanations have been unveiled to be true. We are pleasantly greeted with the familiar sound of twanging guitars but ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ slowly develops into an Oasis song and just turns boring as the production is not up to standard and Alex’s voice has been mellowed out and generic brutal bashings of drums ring in your ears. It’s clear that Arctic Monkey’s time has passed as the saviours of guitar rock and it’s time to pass the baton onto the southern, younger versions of themselves, The Vaccines. The lyrics have slowly been going downhill and Alex Turner’s Submarine EP had proved this wrong by producing an excellent soundtrack to love, loss and the general problems of being a teenager. This has slightly rubbed off on ‘Suck It and See’; especially on ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ and ‘Black Treacle’.
In retrospect, ‘Suck It and See’ is not at all bad and in fact rather infectious simple rock, most famously done by bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, of which Josh Homme actually collaborated on the production with James Ford. ‘Brick By Brick’ is a straightforward rock song with slightly silly lyrics which gets adrenaline levels going and you won’t be able to help but sing along, chanting ‘brick by brick’ at this summer’s festivals. You cannot deny that Alex Turner and Co. are great at getting people up and dancing and selling out arenas but can they really carry out the critical success they received for the first two albums this far into the future? ‘Library Pictures’ is the closest we get to ‘Whatever You Say I Am, That’s what I’m not’, the frantic drum beats pounding, staccato guitar notes descending into a frenzy. Alex Turner’s voice returns to its original state, the reverberation making Turner’s voice sound younger and they manage to salvage something of what made them Britain’s favourite modern guitar band.  This heavy change has boded well for Arctic Monkeys but I fear that their time as a band may come to an end if Alex Turner decides to pursue more of his solo career which has flourished recently.

By Aurora Mitchell

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Austra - Feel It Break

Recently there has been an upsurgance in seductive siren-like voices, wailing about the end of the world. Although Austra fit into this category to some extent, former galaxy member Katie Stelmanis' new band isnt just an exploration of the dark and decrepit. Also on offer is glorious infectious synth pop as displayed in abundance with main single "Beat and the Pulse" which slowly builds into an emphatic chorus, on top of a literally pulsating club beat while Katie preaches enlongated  "Feel it breath"'s, using her very best zola jesus impersonation. Other highlights include: The Pet Shop Boys reminscent 'Spellwork', warped love song 'Shoot the Water' where Katie warns "I want your blood" backed by wonky piano chords, and 'Lose It' which really shows off the Kate Bush side to Katie's piercing vocals. The albums only draw back, is the lack of variation, while some tracks stand out, 'Feel It Break' finds itself repeating itself somewhat, with some tracks sounding very similar to others to the point of not being able to distinguish. Overall though, this is Katie's strongest work yet, and an incredibly promising and sometimes infectious debut


By Toby McCarron

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Wild Beasts - Smother

The pulsing synths crescendo at the start of ‘Lion’s Share’ into vocal harmonies and the synths evolve into two layers, pulsing and beating at the same time like a racing heartbeat.  Wild Beasts set the scene for an atmospheric gloomfest while the vocals are sultry and powerful.  Every staccato string note played is like a tug on your heartstrings on ‘Invisible’ while Hayden Thorpe laments about loss; the subject matter bears close relation to The National’s ‘Anyone’s Ghost’.  Although ‘Albatross’ is not particularly uplifting, the lead single on ‘Smother’ brings theatricality, impressive production and near operatic vocal. Hayden’s falsetto effortlessly carries the emotional weight of the song, the sensuous decline at the end of “drown in me” slightly tremors but billows towards “yeah they drown in me”. The instrumental range is lavish, the layering of the instruments perfectly timed and emphatically intriguing if you try to pick out the individual instruments. Wild Beasts have proven their talent to developing deep emotional songs while mystifying with their short but sweet lyrics. Although Wild Beasts lost out on the Mercury Prize in 2009, I think this could be a strong contender for 2011.  
By Aurora Mitchell

Friday, 13 May 2011

Bands to look out for #1

Ghost Eyes
Like so many of 2011's blog buzz stars in the making, Ghost Eyes are shrouded in mystery. From the gruff throat yelps of WU LYF to Jai Paul's bizarre merging of vampire weekend style hip-hop beats with more contemporary post-dubstep bleepery. The London trio of Ghost Eyes fit into much the same category of the latter, and likewise, are pretty hard to gather information on. Following remixes for the likes of Fujiya & Miyagi and Cymbals, comes their excellent debut single "Phantom Mountain"  an amalgamation of oriental twangs and driven synth pulsations. "We do not want to know the secrets, we do not want to be found" they chant, a line that perfectly befits the enigma that is Ghost Eyes. Through all the confusion one thing is for certain, Ghost Eyes have the capability to send shivers up the spine.
Debut 7" Phantom Mountain out 17th May

By Toby McCarron

Tyler The Creator- Goblin

Is this guy serious? Tyler the Creative? Tyler the Masturbator? For someone who makes as many jokes as Tyler, Goblin could not be more of a contrasting rap masterpiece. In behind the incessant insulting of vulnerable social groups and joking about Chris Brown beating up Rihanna, lies a revolutionary who has experienced way beyond his 19 years. Tyler has developed a new romantic side and slightly impersonates Drake in 'Analog' alongside Hodgy Beats, both voices sound equally smooth and sexual with the pitch changed. Although this is one of the slower points of Goblin, the line 'could you meet me by the lake?' is weirdly infectious and forms one of the overriding phrases on the album. Other recurring phrases on the album are most noticeable on 'Bitch Suck Dick' and 'Radicals', with the unforgetable catchphrase 'kill people, burn shit, fuck school' which is inevitably going to be recited by every teenager who's been sucked into the Odd Future hype these past few months. Tyler has certainly moved from strength to strength and as questioned in 'Goblin', 'Bastard intro, how the fuck I'm gonna top that?' the answer to your question Tyler is 'Goblin', a perfect synopsis of Tyler's career and his life story in just under 7 minutes. The closest to accessible is 'She' which features Frank Ocean, the most smooth talking member of OFWGKTA and a renowned ladies man, 'She' is somewhere in between a Drake and an N.E.R.D song. Goblin' has arrived and it's safe to say that Tyler has shown an incredible amount of life experience for a '19 year old fucking emotional coaster with pipe dreams'.

By Aurora Mitchell