Sunday, 30 October 2011

Wu Lyf @ Shepherds Bush Empire - 26/10/11

Considering most bands are swathed in promotion from their inception, it is more than a bit of a rarity to turn up to a gig and have no real idea what the band look like. Such is the case with Wu Lyf, who have kept up a mask of mystery for the past few months, shunning interviews and photos, as media hype encircled them.

Tonight Shepherds Bush Empire is packed and a buzz passes through the crowd as one of the most lauded new bands of the year casually stroll on stage, their crucifix like emblem lit up behind them. Making a request for no videos to be made of the gig, they only add to the enigmatic mystery that surrounds them. As Wu Lyf shyly start, lead singer Ellery Roberts allows himself only a fleeting grin as he surveys the venue which has become a huge mosh pit within the opening few bars of ‘Lyf’. With Roberts beating his fist against his chest, the band continue playing songs off ‘Go Tell Fire To The Mountain’, the debut album released in June and sure to make at least a few best of 2011 lists. Impeccably well-polished , the atmospheric keyboard, glittering guitar, pounding drum beat and of course the guttural voice of Roberts, bring the album to life. From ‘Spitting Blood’ to ‘Concrete Gold’ to ‘Dirt’, no song is neglected by the crowd who treat each one like it was the bands biggest hit.

As the band leave the stage the crowd chant WU LYF WU LYF desperate for ‘We Bros’, the current single, and of course Wu Lyf do not disappoint. Roberts’ vest is gone, leaving only his self-decorated denim jacket which he ditches before stage diving not once but twice to the annoyance of security guards but delight of fans. An incredible performance, demonstrating that Wu Lyf have nothing to hide and a lot to give.

By Jessy Parker

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Summer Camp - Welcome To Condale

October the 31st is the perfect release date for Welcome to Condale. Whilst everyone is getting wrapped up to brace the cold Summer Camp are brightening up our bedrooms with their sunny, synthy debut. Elizabeth’s syrupy vocals and the 80s bass work together so perfectly that even when she’s telling tales of over-obsessive love in the sexy, synth loaded "I Want You", she still sounds like a total angel.

Songs like 1988 could easily replace the Thompson Twins attempts at creating the most perfect musical moment in a film. When Jake Ryan is waiting outside the church in Sixteen Candles I can just imagine the 80s drums and Elizabeth and Jeremy’s perfect harmonies kicking in. Sigh. The song Welcome to Condale gives us an insight into what the album is really about, "leafy suburban streets" and the teens that inhabit them. Each perfect pop song is punctuated with sound bites that relate to the songs, "I am the nerd" "you crazy bitch!" This adds to the whole concept album feel and makes Condale seem like a real place. Songs like Summer Camp and Down are packed full of sing-along moments which would fit perfectly at the house parties of the "cool kids" in Condale. Ghost Train is the only song that’s managed to make it from their Young EP to the album. But it’s suffered a few changes along the way (I’ll leave it to you to work out what but I was very disappointed when I heard it! Or didn’t hear it...). Even though the album sounds upbeat, there are a lot of songs about broken hearts and trying to get over lovers, Better Off Without You being a highlight.

Welcome to Condale as a whole is a massive dose of nostalgia which will make you want to hunt down a hot psychopathic boyfriend who murders people to make it look like suicide. Or create a super babe with your geeky best friends’ laptop and magazine cuttings. Or throw a fabulous Val party at least! Summer Camp are going to help you through these wintery months by welcoming you to Condale.


By Eden Young

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Django Django - Waveforms

When Django Django first established themselves as a band, the band ethic and music were dead on average apart from the song 'Default' which was and still is unashamedly catchy. New single 'Waveforms' takes this four piece on a new direction that is altogether more current and intriguing. Although some of the cliches from popular 2010 bands still linger in the undertones of the song, Django Django have clearly progressed as a band and tightened their sound. 

As if the name Django Django wasn't weird enough for you, the video for 'Waveforms' contains many ambiguous scenes of floating material and abstract shapes that make little sense apart from the floating material which I assume is meant to represent these waves they're talking about. There are many references to waves in the song as it features a oscillating synth which sounds like the Atari Punk Console, creating the aural sensation of waves lapping in fast motion. 'Waveforms is well put together and shows a small glimmer of promise from these London boys.

By Aurora Mitchell

Fixers - Majesties Ranch

Of all the shit new indie bands coming through this year trying to revive things that don't need to be revived (ahem, Viva Brother...) what a breath of fresh air Fixers are.

Here are a band that have a lot of the right influences (Brian Wilson of the beach boys being a large one) but refuse to be put into any kind of box, and turn influences into something distinctively new and exciting. The joy in fixers' craft is that no two songs sound the same. Majesties ranch is one of their most poppy songs to date, and shows much more confidence in being unashamedly grandiose. The vocals are clearer, the guitars are louder and the choruses are bigger than anything they've done before. The thrust of previous single 'Crystals' and the oddity of 'Swimmhaus Johannesburg' are echoed, but not replicated. Jack's vocals are clearer, and while still resembling Animal Collective slightly, are infectious as he details his "small detachment by the sea"  before exploding into "you had it all in her majesties ranch" over  sun-drenched harmonies and driving guitars.

In a world of mediocre indie, Fixers triumph as one of the most exciting new bands around and if you're not already looking forward to their new EP 'Imperial goddess of mercy' than you bloody well should be. 

By Toby McCarron

2:54 - Scarlet

Build ups are a good thing in popular music. When deployed correctly they can provide a sense of elation and power, they can sign post to the listener that something is coming, that something is drawing near, that they should brace themselves. Scarlet is a brooding track that grounds itself in reverb-soaked guitars and a snaking riff that sits nicely by the silken and sultry vocals. The track lasts around 5 minutes and for the majority of its running time those elements work pretty well. It’s propulsive and engaging and teases at the beast it’s ready to unleash. Then it breaks down and the listener is treated to a guitar solo so disarmingly shite that it threatens to deconstruct any joy that was to be found in the song prior to it. But the track continues and so does that build up and then it ends. No pay-off, no chorus, no outro. Nothing.  After the wonderful (and far scuzzier) Cold Front/ On A Wire double A-side gave so much hope for them, 2:54 appear to have been defeated by the oldest of threats to the young indie band: the alluring sheen of the studio do-over. 

By Ned Powley

Monday, 24 October 2011

Florence And The Machine - Ceremonials

Writing this review without getting emotional is going to be difficult for me; when I first heard Ceremonials, half of me wanted to break into some sort of interpretive dance, and the other half wanted to curl up under a duvet in the foetal position and cry my little heart out because Florence and her Machine have created such an emotional roller-coaster, such a masterpiece. (Indeed, I did in fact do one of these, but I shall leave that to you to decide which one won.)

We got the first, proper, studio-recorded taste of Florence And The Machine's new material a few months ago, with What The Water Gave Me, a festival-ready track with a sing along chorus about drowning (of course!). Then we had the first official single, Shake It Out, a jubilant 'hangover cure' with a seriously beautiful Gatsby indebted video. And now finally, finally, finally, after two years and almost continuous teasers, we have the full 12 properly-recorded, studio-fresh, shiny new tracks.

Ceremonials is a bigger, more cohesive record than debut Lungs, however this doesn't mean that our Florence has lost any of her beguiling strangeness or charm. From the first Christmassy harp echoes, along with Flo's little echoing giggle at the start of opener Only If For A Night, to the manipulated sound of the tour bus on second single No Light, No Light to the bird calls at the start of Heartlines, this album contains so many of the little quirky details, even on first listen, that drew many to Florence and co in the first place. And then there’s the lyrics; Florence, never one for understatement and not afraid of metaphor and melodramatics, is famous- nay, infamous for her dark song writing. It’s what makes her formula work. Without her fixation on dark themes, her songs may start to grate, or be too saccharine pop.

Ceremonials certainly doesn’t disappoint in this department. Along with literary references- homages to Frida Khalo and Virginia Woolf on What The Water Gave Me- the album if full to bursting with lyrics about drowning and death, Florence herself describing it as ‘apocolypto-pop…[the] soundtrack to the end of the world!’

Only If For A Night was written about an encounter with the ghost of Florence’s Grandmother in a dream: ‘It was oh so strange/ And it’s so surreal/ That a ghost should be so practical’. There’s also a theme of religion, most prevalent on the spooky-sounding Seven Devils, (which fits in so perfectly with the UK release date of Halloween); Holy water/ Cannot help me now’ along, of course with death; ‘See I was dead when I woke up this morning/ And I’ll be dead before the day is done’. The soulful Lover To Lover also concentrates on religion: ‘There’s no salvation for me now/ No space among the clouds’. Throughout the album it feels like a battle between wanting that ‘space among the clouds’ and coming to terms with the idea of knowing you can’t have it: ‘moving up to higher ground…/ But history keeps pulling me down’ (on David Byrne-esque Leave My Body). Waltz-like Breaking Down once again seems to describe Florence’s sleep paralysis, seen on Lungs on I’m Not Calling You A Liar: ‘All alone/ On the edge of sleep/ My old familiar friend/ Comes and lies down next to me’.

But of course, any review of Florence and the Machine cannot go without a mention of that voice. Boosted by ‘apocalyptic choir’ backing vocals and rolling, tribal drums, Florence’s voice inspires such incredible, enchanting emotion: the vocal on Spectrum, for example, is epiphany-causing material. A stand out track for me is Never Let Me Go; along with simply beautiful lyrics such as ‘looking up from underneath/ Fractured moonlight on the sea’, the chorus has heart-stoppingly stunning notes, especially the line ‘in the arms of the ocean’. Her voice shows such development and prowess, and just when you are recovering from one emotional high, she hits you with another, making Ceremonials such an experience. A simply wonderful album. 

By Holly Read-Challen

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Justice - Audio, Video, Disco

It’s been a while in the making, but Justice’s second album is finally upon us. 4 years ago we were treated with debut Cross’ upbeat Daft Punk meets the indie dance-floor style as D.A.N.C.E. emerged at the start of the 2007 summer season. From start to finish, it was never a dull moment and to this day, you can put the opening seconds of their breakthrough track with Simian Mobile Disco on and you instantly get a chant of "we, are, your friends!" no matter where you are.

So after a heck of a lot of silence later, they emerged at the start of the year with Civilisation. Premiering on an Adidas advert, and now the first track proper on Audio, Video, Disco after the fist-pumpingly powerful Horsepower, it’s a standout. Canon sounds like a mix between Metronomy’s Nights Out and Daft Punk’s Robot Rock in equal measure which makes you start to wonder if Justice are losing their edge, so to speak. That’s the issue here. In their absence, Justice have been replaced. On the indie dance side, you’ve got the likes of Everything Everything and Metronomy and on the other side, Simian and Daft Punk are still forces to be reckoned with. Listening through Audio, Video Disco isn’t like listening to much new, instead it’s like Justice have spent the last few years listening through the artists they find most influential and created their own mixtape in dedication. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they’ve stolen anything or that there’s not artists out there who, in the last few years haven’t capitalised on AugĂ© and de Rosnay’s success as a duo, but Justice are now simply the frontrunners in a genre they helped bring to the foreground of music.

The combination of house and electro that they supported Daft Punk in bringing forward post Human After All in 2006, is now a much more open field than Cross was released into. Audio, Video, Disco is a good album full of new tracks that make sense and play well, but there’s nothing anthemic to be found here. Either side of Civilisation and the title track at the end, only Parade sounds like it could be released to an emphatic response, and even that’s at a push. Newlands is for all intensive purposes a track that wouldn’t sound out of place in a world where the D in AC/DC stands for Disco and On’N’On could easily have been made by anyone on the DFA roster over in NYC. So it seems all this waiting’s been in vain. Luckily, it’s going to bring about some new live shows which are when Justice can prove this album has the potential to be a tour de force when mixed with the likes of DVNO and Phantom, but until then, it’s hard to say what this means for the French masterminds.


By Braden Fletcher

Mazes - Interview

On the 8th October, Mazes played Lancaster library. Support was from the wonderfully fuzzy Milk Maid, who deserved a much bigger crowd than actually turned up. Mazes themselves fortunately gained some more audience, and very deservedly too, as their 2-minute energetic fuzz-pop songs and onstage banter ('I'm from Blackpool, so coming to Lancaster is like coming to my capital!) made for a great set. I caught up with frontman Jack before their show.

Interview: Jack from Mazes, Lancaster Library, 8th October 2011 by Wireless@DT3

By Holly Read-Challen

Friday, 21 October 2011

Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

'Suck It And See' is the title track and third single to be released from Arctic Monkeys fourth album which was released in June and entered at Number One in the UK album charts earlier this year. The single is the best taken from the album so far, truly demonstrating that Arctic Monkeys really have grown up sounding more melodic and mature, while still retaining an aspect of their boyish innocence with Turner’s touching, personal lyrics "you're rarer than a can of Dandelion and Burdock and those other girls are just postmix lemonade".

Drummer Matt Helders takes the starring role in the video which tells the story of an interesting relationship on a lost weekend. You’ll never look at Helders in the same light again after watching! Although some fans may complain that Arctic Monkeys have changed their sound drastically, 'Suck It And See' is catchy and will undoubtedly be played on radio stations and indie clubs throughout the country for a long while and who knows – it might even morph into the 'Mardy Bum' of 'Suck It And See'.

By Julia Christmas

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos! have slowly built up an almost cult following of teenage fans over the past few years and this November sees them return with their fourth album. Few bands manage to document so precisely their growing maturity and ensuing adulthood as Los Campesinos!. From the first album of twee indie pop to the most recent one of violent romanticism, Los Campesinos!’s dark undertones have always been one of their main attractions.

The first single from the album of the same name, ‘Hello Sadness’ is typically self-deprecating with lead singer, Gareth, showing off his trademark clever and quirky lyrics a with the opening couplet "a wishbone hangs between your breasts/I hope you haven’t pulled it yet" demonstrating a poignant lust. As the song builds, so does the angst, up to a roaring instrumental crescendo as faint hums remind the listener of the twee history of the band. But gone are the xylophones as Gareth echoes in the background "Goodbye courage, hello sadness".

Although it does not have the same catchy quality as free download ‘By Your Hand’, Los Campesinos! can simply do know wrong in the eyes of their fans, a number which is growing with every release. For many fans ‘Hello Sadness’ has become one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year.

By Jessy Parker

Friday, 14 October 2011

Washed Out - Amor Fati

From his first full length LP 'Within And Without', comes this cut from former chillwave pin-up turned lovelorn romanticist Ernest Greene. Amor Fati, is quite simply a really bloody lovely song, the title even features the word 'Amor' which is Spanish for love. The song is softer than the song 'Soft' from the record, and is all transcending synth wooziness and subdued vocal pining from Greene. But amidst all the soppiness, is a tune that holds a slightly mesmorising motorik beat and is immersive as it is blatently heart-swelling.

As sickly sweet as it may be, Amor Fati is no doubt one of the standouts from the record, and is a world away from Washed Out's 2009 'Life of Leisure' chillwave benchmark EP. The only thing the song, and the album lacks to an extent is some balls. Whereas ambient electronic ballads are nice and all, they're nowhere near as exciting as Neon Indian's razor-sharp dark electronic pop earworms, or the funk journey of self-discovery Toro y Moi took on 'Underneath the Pine'.

Pleasant, but with room for improvement.

By Toby McCarron

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

David Lynch - Crazy Clown Time

If it had been any other artist to release this track, you’d write it off pretty much immediately. The vocals are testing and the lyrics sound like something you’d find written on the wall of a toilet in a mental health ward in Slough. But this song is by David Lynch, so y’know, maybe there’s a little more to it if you scratch the surface. Grounded in a loose, jazzy drum loop and swamped in stomach-churning background noises, it’s not an easily accessible track in the slightest but it does give some clues as to which direction Lynch’s forthcoming debut might take. Considering the last track he put out was a slice of creepy electro-pop, this is a wholly different beast, but this can be expected of Lynch, he’s not a man known for staying still for very long.

Running at 7 minutes in length, Crazy Clown Time is a knowingly self-indulgent track and without some level of pretention it would fall on it’s arse. Thankfully Lynch plays it for all it’s worth: singing in a crackly falsetto, littering the background with slinky slide guitar and loading the refrains of "Daddy spilt beer on Sally" with enough menace to stop them sounding completely ridiculous.

By Ned Powley

Class Actress - Rapprocher

Having guzzled up the synths, pop hooks and faceless vocals of 80s Britain, nearly thirty years later Brooklyn has regurgitated Class Actress. Elizabeth Harper has unleashed an album of subtle beats and powerful choruses with her debut ‘Rapprocher’, one of many new artists looking back into pop history for inspiration.

‘Love Me Like You Used To’ is a catchy siren song which could easily be a dancefloor filler if Class Actress had the fame which her accessible pop should attract. Twirling synths compliment Harper as she repeats the title, a tactic again used to great effect in ‘Weekend’. ‘Prove Me Wrong’ continues the funk and groove of the album as does ‘Need To Know’ and it is around this point in the album that everything becomes distinctly clear. All the songs are very similar and vaguely average. ‘Limousine’ brings more attention to itself with some swooping vocals that seem a bit more interested. But after that the songs begin to blur into one another and listening begins to lose any of the enjoyment gained from the start of the record.

Sure ‘Rapprocher’ is an enjoyable album to dance around to, but it cannot reach the dizzying heights of 80s pop which it obviously aims for, and can barely keep up with contemporaries such as Robyn and Metronomy. A sadly typical record, which may captivate some at first, but holds no real depth.


By Jessy Parker

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

King Krule - The Noose Of Jah City

Back when Archy Marshall was releasing tracks under the Zoo Kid moniker, his output tended to comment on the dark side of the human condition. Rugged and raw tracks that saw Marshall’s musicianship take centre stage. But his shift to the guise of King Krule appears to have mellowed him, if this taster track of his new EP (being released through the trendier-than-thou True Panther label) is anything to go buy. His former rage has dulled to a melancholy that fits delicately beside the dubby atmospherics that fills every second of the song. Lyrically, it’s still pretty bleak, an allusion to "suffocating in concrete" offsets the genteel manner with menacing glee and cries of "I wonder why?" add more layers to the self-doubt and anxiousness that only serve in encasing the track in mellow paranoia. By allowing himself to write from a more detached angle, Marshall has succeeding in crafting a song that is at once delicate and bold, shifting dreamily onwards whilst never allowing itself to lose focus.

By Ned Powley

Monday, 10 October 2011

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

 Releasing a double album can mean a number of things, the main reasons being: an artist is releasing an album after a number of years and has an abundance of creativity and material, an artist is creating material with a concept or story too big for one album, or an artist is committing a plethora of throwaway tracks in a pretentious attempt to seem creative. For M83, the musical alias of 30-year-old Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez, there are hints of all three. Saturdays = Youth, the last album created by M83, was released to critical acclaim in 2008, despite Gonzalez lack of confidence in his own material. After its release, he relocated to California after living in Southern France for 29 years He often drove out to Joshua Tree to write and record music in a rented cabin in the middle of nowhere. Gonzalez fixation with double albums such as The Beatles White Album and Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, inspired him to create his own, Gonzalez calling it a statement.

The concept behind this double album being that one disc is “related” to the other. Track One on Disc One, the Zola Jesus featuring “Intro”, has a sibling in Track One on Disc Two, the grandiose “My Tears Are Becoming A Sea”. Listening to every song without knowing the concept makes this album a lot less enjoyable. The pairing of songs from different discs is reminiscent of Radiohead’s ‘01 and 10 Playlist’ which combined ‘OK Computer’ with ‘In Rainbows’. The only difference being that M83’s paired songs sound similar to one another, joining together almost seamlessly. The best combination is the second coupling of “Midnight City” and “New Map”, both being among the best tracks. “Midnight City” was released as a free download, which should be a crime seeing as it’s one of the best songs of the year.

However, this ambitious project isn’t without its flaws. Does a double album really need six interlude tracks? While it does make the whole thing more accessible, it seems like the idea was too big for Gonzalez to carry out, instead it’s a somewhat lazy attempt. Aside from the interludes, another deficient track is the weird children’s story of “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire”. While the music is good, the child’s narrative is odd, the track would benefit greatly without it, leaving Anthony’s woozy falsetto to truly shine in the last minute-and-a-half. Gonzalez’ vocals are a cross between Panda Bear’s croon and Ezra Koenig’s yelp, and while it suits the music well, it will grate on some people after a while, even more considering this is a double album lasting over an hour.

While the music is similar, each track blends well with its sibling which is essential in showing Gonzalez’ creativity and talent as a musician. It isn’t the best double album you’ll ever hear, but you can’t blame Anthony for taking on such a massively difficult task, he can definitely be confident in the material he has made on this project.

By Calum Stephen

Kasabian - Velociraptor!

It seems like a long time since the release of West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum (although realistically only just over two years), and it’s been an impatient wait for myself and many other Kasabian fans. West Ryder seemed a bit too hit and miss as an album, with three or four standout tracks and a lot of disappointing filler material.
Velociraptor! solves the consistency problems this time around. While some fans may feel the album lacks the edge that makes Kasabian songs unique, all of the tracks on the album are at least solid, with a few real standouts. Certainly the style sounds a little more like a classic indie-rock album in parts, but it’s certainly nowhere near generic, as demonstrated with first single Switchblade Smiles providing the edge the album needs, through the throbbing electronics at it's heart.
Tom Meighan’s vocal work is near perfect as ever. His instantly recognisable tone dragging even the least exciting tracks on the album up to a higher standard; Goodbye Kiss being a perfect example, there aren’t many vocalists who could pull off what Meighan can with a track.
Days Are Forgotten is the second single from the album, and is probably the strongest track on first listen (with title track Velociraptor! also in contention). It’s another  Kasabian classic that manages to last 5 minutes but leaves the listener thinking it’s not long enough. That’s the kind of knack Kasabian have for producing top quality singles.
The track Velociraptor! is probably the track that supplies most of the energy for the album in a just under three minute burst  (Whilst the album is still exceptional, it does lack force in parts). Re-wired and Switchblade Smiles are also well placed to make sure the overall sound of the album doesn’t go flat. Neon Noon ends the LP fantastically well, it has elements of American classic rock ballads, The Beatles and a touch of synth which mould into a beautifully crafted song.
In terms of influence and variation, Kasabian draw from a refreshingly wide pool of sounds. The introduction to I Hear Voices wouldn’t sound out of place on a Crystal Castles record, and the resulting track is a fascinating blend of all that is Kasabian and all that hasn’t been until this point.
For many, this album will be a grower, but I have no doubt that any Kasabian fan should feel it is worthy of the bands prolific music making talents. While this album certainly doesn’t sound like the first amazing album Kasabian produced, it’s still a fantastic effort, and as a record is far better than West Ryder. The evolution of Kasabian’s sound is still positive, and it’s a real testament that they can give us something new on every record to keep the sound fresh and the listeners keen.
With this album to add to the live show, Kasabian are more than ever a must-see live band! Even if you don’t buy this album, (which you should) make sure to see them on stage, they haven’t been hailed by many as the best live act around for no reason.

By Ewen Trafford

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Marina and the Diamonds - Radioactive

First she cut her hair off. Then she went blonde. Marina and the Diamonds certainly does not want to be pigeonholed as anyone or anything. And any doubters of her raw talent will be silenced with these four minutes of gorgeous pop.

After the success of her debut album “The Family Jewels”, Marina returned stating that "Electra Heart embodies the lies, illusions and death of the American Dream". Although listening to ‘Radioactive’ it sounds as if she’s embracing it. With a synth riff introduction which could easily be played in every club in the world, ‘Radioactive’ is huge. An accompanying video of her running around the desert in a blonde wig and featuring one of the best sing a long choruses of the year, it shows Marina off as confident in her song writing ability, and unashamedly chasing after a hit. In a recent interview she said that she wanted to be ‘the goth Britney’. If this is anything to go by, it’s fantastic news for the world of pop that that’s her ambition.

By Jessy Parker

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Future Islands - On The Water

The raspy baritone of Samuel T Herring could easily win an award for the most intense voice in independent music and its tortured emotion encircles the third album from Future Islands. The sound of clattering opens the album before ‘On The Water’ begins, a song which demonstrates the heartfelt questioning which makes the band so endearing. ‘Before The Bridge’ is full of calypso funk; soaring synthesizers compete with Herring’s trademark voice as he asks “do you believe in love?”

The romanticism of the album is unavoidable. ‘The Great Fire’ lists everything lost at the end of a relationship and ‘When I Found You’ is a heartbreaker as Herring sings “You know I loved you/and I still do” in a tone of utmost regret so much so, the listener can almost feel the band desperately trying to replicate the memories. 

The maturity of the song writing on this album shines through, as song after song is a poignant piece of pop perfection. Dark and brooding but at the same time mournfully hopeful, ‘On The Water’ somehow manages to console the listener while uplifting them. Whereas on previous albums Future Islands have only managed to be ‘interesting’ or ‘different’, this album makes you sit up and take notice as they become intrusive; the lyrics are universally relatable and the riffs linger on long after the song has finished. With some luck these
 songs will make more people be drawn into the world of Future Islands, and they should. Future Islands are writing pop music like no one else at the moment.


By Jessy Parker

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Goodbye Dananananaykroyd


In recent days, the news of Dananananaykroyd's split has spread. As with a lot of bands that struggle to find a concrete genre, Death From Above 1979 and Test Icicles specifically, the band have split up quite early in their career and with only two albums under their belt, it did come as a bit of a shock to their fans. Famed for their blistering and raucous live shows, the band, who's name is a pun on the actor Dan Ackroyd's name, will play one more farewell tour before they depart for good.
Some members have already started to go off in their own directions with John Bailie Jnr already having side project 'Dolby Anol' to fall back on but for similar bands, this break-up will have a massive knock out. Dananananaykroyd became mildly acknowledged with regular slots at the Reading and Leeds Festival and many saw them as the leaders of the "fight-pop" genre. Without them, many bands might struggle to find a place to slot in with.
By Robbie Baxendale

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Bondax - Interview

2011 has been a very promising year for electronic bass-influenced artists. Acclaimed releases by artists like James Blake, SBTRKT and Mount Kimbie have seen many artists lazily attributed with the tag 'Post-Dubstep' rise from the underground and familiarise themselves with the ears of the masses. Next in line for success surely, are 17-18 year old  Lancaster duo George Townsend and Adam Kaye, who go under the moniker of Bondax. Bondax's sound involves intricate, textured rhythms with prominent dub influences while still remaining wholly accessible and immersive. With an EP released later in October described by the duo as "Romance dub" I quizzed both of them about remixes, collaborations and more.

You've done a lot of remixes recently, what is your favourite out of the ones you've done so far?
I think the Monarchy remix was the most fun for us because although in most of our remixes we attempt to generate a new vibe to the original, in the Monarchy remix we completely changed the direction an only used a couple of ver short 8 bar samples. It was a kind of experimentation of sounds and ideas. In the end we were both pretty chuffed with the result. We love to remix anything with a really attractive vocal though, vocals tend to always be a big part of our productions.

Your song 'Just Smile For Me' features Bobbie Gordon, how did that collaboration come about?
Well this isn't particularly interesting. It was through Last Japan who knew we wanted to sort a vocalist the re-do some parts for us. He got in touch with her and everything was done through the internet so I guess it's a good example of modern day producing. Our collaboration with Dee (on our forthcoming track Only You Know) was a lot closer, we aim to team up with more vocalists in the future.

What would be your dream collaboration?
In terms of vocalists Alicia Keys. In terms of producers, probably Bonobo but it's very difficult to say really there are so many great musicians.

Being only 17 and 18, how do you juggle making music with other commitments?
Well we do find it very hard and due to the fact we tend to work late at night both our sleeping patterns are pretty wrecked. We try and work only at our peak times to ensure music doesn't clash with commitments, but we have to admit our EP has been massively delayed
because we just can't keep up with the workload at the moment.

You're clearly influenced by more contemporary bass-inspired artists, is there anything in particular about that genre that inspired you to go in that direction?
Yeah there are many things that took us in this direction. I think primarily it was a lot about how diverse some of the producers are in this sort of genre. Electronic music like music is general will always evolve however there's a lot of commercial and indie styles that don't actually seem to be going anywhere at the moment. For us we fit into a style of bass music due to the weighting of our production but I think the beauty of this style of music is that not only is most of the sound completely original, if you tweaked it slightly, maybe replaced a few synthetic parts for real instruments you could create a massively complex and unique sound that would lie miles away from dance music.

What are your favourite things to do outside making music?
This is a weird one because a lot of going out and our social lives evolve around music but we are both pretty big football fans and I'm (George) very into art. We both like getting to as many things as we can and now I'm 18, we try to get out to any decent nights.

You're set to release an EP this month, what can we expect?
The EP will hopefully sound fairly original with emphasis lying upon creating a dance sort of sound with a more melodic twist. It's hard to describe but a lot of the tracks are centred around romance and are highly chord based. Naming genre's can get ridiculous but we all need to categorise things or we go insane so we're gonna call it romance dub. Expect romance dub.

Thinking long term, what is the ultimate goal for Bondax?
For both of us it's to get to a point were we can live off what we do. That's pretty much the main goal because if we can live of the thing we love, isn't that like true happiness or some shit? Haha but in all serious our primary goal is to be able to put this as the main thing in our lives and not have to worry financially.

By Toby McCarron

Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes

Bedroom Eyes, the second single from Dum Dum Girls’ second album doesn’t catch my attention in any way. It sounds like it could be used over a makeover montage in The Sleepover Club…and not in a good way. Dee Dee’s wavering vocals add a little bit of charm to the easy listening, easy going pop song. However, people hoping for something new and exciting will be left with a bitter taste that’s reminiscent of hipster girl band, The Plastiscines, in their mouth.

Being a Dum Dum Girls virgin (apart from repeating Jail La La throughout summer last year), the trippy kaleidoscopic video showcasing the Girls’ ultra-cool striped tights, clashing lipsticks and leather jackets look appeals to me more than the actual song.

By Eden Young

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Kindness - Cyan

"Thank christ for that" seemed to be the general reaction to this, the new track from the ever-elusive Kindness,  surfacing online. It seemed many had forgotten about or at least moved on from the initial excitement surrounding Adam Bainbridge's early art-pop / disco-funk spats of genius that got blogs and the music press in a minor frenzy back in late 2009. There was the repetitious 'Gee Up' which boasted an absurdly funky Sugarhill Gang style bassline and suitably avant-garde DIY video, in which Bainbridge donned a stars and stripes cape and wore his hair entirely obscuring his face. And of course the arguably improved version of The Replacement's 'Swinging Party'. Both of which presented Kindness' potential for great things.

'Cyan' isn't a massive departure for Kindness. It is however, one of the tracks of the year. The production values are noticeably higher, but the DIY bedroom effect still hums around your head throughout. The bassline underpinning the track is funkier than James Brown at a carnival and blends expertly with the baggy drumbeat and  Bainbridge's tentative cooing vocals echoing "Cyaaaaaan". The song doesn't make perfect sense, but Kindness' 80s disco ode to the colour blue (presumably) is an intriguing and exciting listening, and a long-awaited restart to what is sure to be a prosperous career.

By Toby McCarron 

Goodbye R.E.M.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

But I feel fine. Music journos all over the world spent years waiting for the day when they could finally make that joke and unfortunately this week the news came. After 31 years, R.E.M. announced they were calling it a day.

Boasting a career that many bands can only dream of, R.E.M. released 15 albums in their timespan, enjoying mass popularity while at the same time retaining a cult following. Songs such as ‘Man On The Moon’, ‘Shiny Happy People’ and ‘Losing My Religion’ enabled them to permeate culture but allowed them to keep their nonchalant air and the anonymity to write and perform how they wanted to.

The return of alternative rock in the 90s allowed R.E.M. to flourish. Michael Stipe’s baffling but somehow still poignant lyrics began to properly connect with a scene fed up of Brit Pop brats and the grunge obsession. It seemed that maybe they would become the leaders of a familiar genre to conquer the new directions taken by bands like Nirvana and Blur, but it was not to be, as they continued to fade in and out of obscurity over the next decade or so.

Being an R.E.M. fan has always been a tense experience with many of their albums being a bit hit and miss and failing to live up to the high standards previously set by records like ‘Murmur’ and ‘Green’. Although ‘Accelerate’ suggested a possible return to form, most recent record ‘Collapse Into Now’ failed to connect to the majority of fans, leaving many feeling that it was the right time for the band to draw a line under their time together.

Michael Stipe once said that the reason R.E.M. had managed to stay together for so long was due to the fact that they had never put their faces on an album cover and it is this kind of ethic which means that they are one of the few bands who have managed to break up with their dignity still remaining intact. 

By Jessy Parker

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Slow Club - Interview

After seeing Slow Club tonight at Barfly for The Fly Presents..., I can safely confirm that Slow Club have matured to become a band in their own right and they're also very fantastic at performing drunk, as shown tonight.

Anyway, last week our writer Holly was lucky enough to interview Slow Club after their gig at Lancaster Library (17th September) so here's the wonderful interview for your listening pleasure below. Enjoy!

Holly - "Charles and Rebecca talk Beyoncé, books, good gig venues and pre-gig rituals. (Also including an exclusive [2 second] snippet of a demo! ha.)"
Slow Club interview 17/09/11 by hollysses

By Holly Read-Challen
Photography by Aurora Mitchell