Photos and words by Braden Fletcher
Friday, 31 May 2013
Photos and words by Braden Fletcher
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
You will probably be hearing Los Porcos billed as the new band from former members of WU LYF. Los Porcos consists of three quarters of the recently disbanded group, no prizes for guessing who the absentee is. Also made up of members from FAMY, who supported WU LYF on tour, and solo artist Profondo, Los Porcos played their first show at the Salon Club in London’s Embassy Hotel in April. The new outfit, who wore matching t-shirts with ‘New Pork City’ printed on the front, played a six-strong-setlist, including two tracks that have been posted online, “Jesus Luvs U Baby” and “Do You Wanna Live?”.
The former is a slow, dreamy affair. Slinking guitar lines shift in and out, swapping time with the main vocal melody. The track doesn’t really go anywhere, and similarly to its compadre is repetitive. However, “Do You Wanna Live?” is one of the most infectious songs of the year. The falsetto vocal melody can be off-putting to the hopeful WU LYF fans, it effectively acts as a polar opposite to Ellery Roberts’ gruff, incoherent howls. It’s obvious that moving on from the past was the best option, and while this may be hard for some to accept, it has resulted in this catchy tune of, self-proclaimed, yacht rock.
Los Porcos might not be to everyone’s taste, especially the most devoted of WU LYF fans. However, it will be interesting to hear more music from both parties, especially if this new collective has anything to match the contagious shimmer of “Do You Wanna Live?”.
Friday, 24 May 2013
|The 1975 at Live at Leeds|
|Dinosaur Pile Up|
Words: Holly Read Challen
Photos: Braden Fletcher
Thursday, 23 May 2013
‘Japan (Space Echo Version)’ is an elaborate development on the original EP version of the track, which takes synth-loaded reverberation and echoed byzantine beats to another level entirely. The re-working of this track, already powerful in its chiming orientalism, encapsulates the group’s quietly enigmatic melodies and striking meaningfulness. I highly recommend this awe-inspiring track, and the others featured on Shreddin’ On Heaven’s Door, which are available to stream on SoundCloud, and are guaranteed to give you that uplifting level of transcendence that only the best tracks can. So take a listen and renew your passion for the spiritual musical-stylings of this band, or if you’re a Magic Eye virgin, kick-start your obsession now.
Monday, 20 May 2013
If the bludgeoning 'Bloodsports' hasn't been enough to keep you tided over from Drenge, then new track 'Backwaters' should do quite nicely. After witnessing an incendiary set at last weekend's Great Escape in front of a packed Brighton corn exchange, it's hard to see how the DFA1979 meets QOTSA pummeling guitar/drums duo won't blow everyone's minds, and ears this year.
As usual, their lyrical focus is intellectual and sometimes downright obscure to the average listener, especially on first listen. But that is the joy with Vampire Weekend; their music can be understood- or not- and enjoyed on many levels: the harmonies, the hooks and the strange percussion or the classics influenced, religious referencing and historical allusion heavy lyrics. And there’s plenty of both. There are the typical flashes of Vampire Weekend lyrical brilliance, like the fantastic ‘stale conversation deserves but a breadknife’ on the stately, harpsichord heavy ‘Step’. There are also moments of lyrical universality, for example on ‘Unbelievers’, ‘the world is a cold, cold place to be/ want a little warmth but who’s gonna save a little warmth for me?’
This album, though still having that quintessential Vampire Weekend sound, is definitely stranger than those preceding it, most notably thanks to the prominence of chopped, screwed and auto tuned vocals throughout. One of the teaser tracks for the album, ‘Diane Young’, a hyperactive stomp which is just plain addictive, uses this technique, as does the beautifully weird ‘Ya Hey’, with particularly manipulated vocals. (They will stick in your head for days and they are almost impossible to replicate out loud). Another new touch is the use of spoken monologues during the songs; ’Ya Hey’ and a particularly beautiful example of forbidden falafel shop love in ‘Finger Back’. And it works: it’s these touches which move the record on from the previous ones, while fitting the band’s signature commitment to intelligent, strange, slightly wonky pop music.
In true Vampire Weekend tradition, the album is a mix of fast and furious tracks and slower, more leisurely ones. ‘Hannah Hunt’ and ‘Don’t Lie’ are examples of the latter, ‘Hannah Hunt’ being particularly beautiful. The piano-lead ‘Young Lion’ is also a slower number and at under 2 minutes, is a perfect, simple close the album. ‘Hudson’ is probably the strangest song on the record, a slightly menacing tale accompanied by broken up military tattoo drums. The verses of ‘Worship You’ shows Ezra spitting lyrics at a properly impressive speed, and follows on nicely from songs like ‘California English’ on the previous record.
‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ really is a triumph. It is as infectiously strange as it is beautiful and it surely is a contender for album of the year (yes, already!)
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Gloom-pop, glitch-pop, dark wave; riding a wave of emoticons, reblogs and fickle, LOL hungry teens, the New York duo of Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow deliver their debut album.
Owing a debt both to Blondie’s sleek new-wave and the present generation of synth-pop assisted divas, it effectively pre-empts Florence Welch’s next move by throwing big-lunged choruses over syncopated rhythms and glossy synths. With beats that wouldn't seem out of place on a Calvin Harris record it seems as if every ingredient is present for ‘Secondhand Rapture’ to be a big success. Yet despite Plapinger’s Tumblr friendly hair colour and the duo’s dark-wave pretenses the choruses are as sugary and predictable as they come and there’s no sense of illicit thrills that the very best electronic music can offer; the razorblade in the cotton candy or the bittersweet pill that makes the highs all the more vivid.
At least Florence’s faux-pagan theatrics and private school upbringing were offset by interviews in which it became apparent that the wide-eyed kook in Victorian attire was not some carefully thought out marketing gimmick and she genuinely did live her life as if she were Kate Bush in the Wuthering Heights video. In contrast, by surfing in on a wave of net zeitgeist MS MR are left re-packaging the tropes that made them a trending topic in the hope of making an album that holds together for more than forty minutes. In some ways ‘Secondhand Rapture’ is an unfortunate choice of title because rather than conjuring up the air of mystique that MS MR evidently strive for, it actually highlights their most prominent weakness: we've heard this before.
All four tracks from last year’s Candy Bar Creep Show EP are included here; the product of a record company wanting to capitalise on their online buzz in an era of low attention spans, but the problem is that the duo just haven’t generated enough top quality material. For this reason it will probably be judged a disappointment that ‘Bones’ failed to become a smash hit despite appearing in a trailer for Game of Thrones but both ‘Bones’ and the earlier single ‘Hurricane’ are still the two best moments here. The former’s macabre refrain and enormous piano motif contrast nicely with the clattering percussion of the latter whilst both push Plapinger’s soulful vocals to the front and centre.
They’re not inventors or innovators but they’re competent scavengers with a 21st century grasp of presence and presentation. Ultimately however MS MR make music that when matched to the right visuals or dropped on an undemanding dance floor delivers a brief spark but tends to leave the soul alone.
Monday, 13 May 2013
Her premier release in 2009, Hands, was met with moderate success due to the rise of kinswoman Lady Gaga, La Roux and Ellie Goulding. With her new album Nocturnes, Little Boots delves into the more recent archives of 90's synth pop dance hybrids rather than the 70's disco tinges of her first album. It creates a soundscape immediately familiar to the audience. At times it sounds like Kylie Minogue at her best, and that is served up as a compliment. It's what is needed or expected in order to meet the genre and her perfect pop vocal rides high.
Opening track 'Motorway' is a beautiful segue, a welcome mat of a track. The piano intro is reminiscent of Miike Snow, and the dropping out of the bulk of the instrumentation to highlight the lyrics about the pining of a need to escape with the one you love is blissful. Similarly 'Confusion' has the slow electro clap of a thousand 90's floor fillers. It's a Ministry Of Sound track.
The cool thing about Nocturnes is that it doesn't sound like a straight album, some of the tweaks and drops are akin to the remixes found as B-sides on CD singles, in a time when Woolworths had a purpose. It gives an edge. It's impossible to imagine Little Boots performing synchronised moves in a midst of writhing backing dancers or having elaborate costume changes or set pieces. The songs and their messages and style speak for themselves, she's a serious artist who doesn't need the bells and whistles to be the head of discussion. 'Shake' begins with the Madonna's Erotica form of sensuality through hushed, compressed issues of the title before giving out to the GarageBand preset warbling bass part which is the modern day equivalent of the 80's synth we all mock so readily now. By the time the chorus; "Everybody shake, until your heart breaks" begins, all is forgiven. It's another example of how to work the genre and an album perfectly. This is followed by 'Beat Beat' which is so close to Can't Get You Out Of My Head you can almost hear the court case.
Closer 'Satellites' is the sumptuous end required. Her husky vocals in the opening verse call you in before the chorus jumps about with the bouncing synth spots on either side like being overtaken. What Little Boots has managed to achieve is an absolute feat. In a world where there are far too many artists trying to do the same thing, she has dared to tuck into the pocket of 90's house and pulled out gold.
Nocturnes should be one of the pop albums of the year. It's refreshing in its immediate references and bold in content and delivery. It's not an album to sit on a commute with, it is a top down sunset drive album. Lets pray the sun is around for us to race towards it.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Our Mancunian friends and sorcerers of dangerously infectious pop music that will get the indie-kids moving as much as those prone to the dancefloor fillers; Swiss Lips will be playing Live at Leeds for the second year running this weekend. Their new single U Got The Power is bound to go down a storm and we're sure the band will pick up a lot of new friends across the day. Their slot promises to be: sexy, northern, powerful and full of dancing.